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Welcome to Biology A level

An A level in biology is a versatile stepping stone to many and diverse fields of work and study. It is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and medical professions, such as medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy veterinary science, nursing pharmacy and optometry. It could open the way to an exciting range of degree and higher education courses such as neuroscience, zoology, marine biology, microbiology or forensic sciences. In fact the key skills of analysis, questioning, forming hypothesis and prediction are prerequisites for most higher education courses.

Many of our students have gone on to study biology - based degrees and higher degrees at university.  Recently qualified students include those who have gone on to:

Northumbria University – Biomedical Sciences

Cambridge University - Veterinary Science

Edge Hill University to study Early Years Learning

Surrey – Bioscience

University of Hull – Industrial chemistry

Newcastle University and QUB – Medicine

University of Ulster - Mathematics and Sports Studies

 

In the A level biology course we study life at every level of organization - from biological molecules to organ systems, from the genetics of populations, to the interaction of organisms within ecosystems. We seek to inform on the topical issues of which students should be aware such as the impact of climate change on ecosystems, problems associated with cholesterol, the MMR debate, and gene therapy. Students are guided in their consideration of these issues so as to develop a range of skills with the emphasis on thinking scientifically. Lesson based theoretical and practical work is supported by after school revision classes and a wide range of resource types for independent study is available to students on our virtual learning environment.

 

A level biology outline

 
We follow the AQA biology specification.
 AS biology (Year 13) has 3 units:
 
Unit 1: Biology and Disease
  • How digestive and gas exchange systems may be affected by communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • How knowledge of basic biology allows us to understand the symptoms of disease and interpret data relating to risk factors.
Assessment
                    
Written Paper:   1 hour 15 minutes

                     Weighting:        33% of total AS Level marks
                                                  16% of total A Level marks
Five - seven short answer questions plus two longer questions (a short comprehension and a short structure essay)
 
Unit 2: The Variety of Living Organisms
  • The influence of genetic and environmental factors on intraspecific variation
  • How the variety of life is reflected in similarities and differences in its biochemical basis and cellular organisation
  • How size and metabolic rate affect an organism's requirements and give rise to adaptations.
Assessment
                             Written Paper:   1 hour 45 minutes
                             Weighting:         46% of total AS Level marks
                                                          23% of total A Level marks
Five - seven short answer questions plus two longer questions (one will emphasise data handling and include a section requiring continuous prose. The other will assess How Science Works).
 
Unit 3: Practical and Investigative Skills
  • Practical work in the contexts of Units 1 and 2
  • Assessment of implementing skills on practical work as a whole
  • Assessment by AQA-set tasks, to reduce the burden on teachers and students.
Assessment (Internal Assessment)
                        Weighting:     20% of total AS Level marks
                                              10% of total A Level marks
Practical skills assessment (PSA)
Investigative skills assignment (ISA).
 
A2 (Year 14) has 3 units:
Unit 4: Populations and Environment
·        How living organisms form ecosystems through which energy is transferred and chemical elements cycled.
·        How human activity affects ecological balance in a variety of ways.
·        How genetic variation and isolation may lead to the formation of new species.
Assessment
                    
Written Paper:   1 hour 30 minutes
                     Weighting:   16% of total A Level marks
Six - nine short answer questions plus two longer questions (a short comprehension and a short structure essay).
 
Unit 5: Control in Cells and in Organisms
·        Stimulus and responses - the biology of the nervous and endocrine systems.
·        Homeostasis and the maintenance of a constant internal environment.
·        Genes and genetic expression.
 
Assessment
                             Written Paper:   2 hour 15 minutes
                             Weighting:         23% of total A Level marks
Eight - ten short answer questions plus two longer questions (a data handling question and a synoptic essay – choice of one out of two).
 
Unit 6: Practical and Investigative Skills
  • Practical work in the contexts of Units 4 and 5
  • Assessment of implementing skills on practical work as a whole
  • Assessment by AQA-set tasks, to reduce the burden on students.
Assessment (Internal Assessment)
                         Weighting:         10% of total A Level marks
 
Practical skills assessment (PSA)
Investigative skills assignment (ISA).
 
Please visit the AQA A-level Biology website for more information.
 
 
 

 

Welcome to Biology A level

An A level in biology is a versatile stepping stone to many and diverse fields of work and study. It is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and medical professions, such as medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy veterinary science, nursing pharmacy and optometry. It could open the way to an exciting range of degree and higher education courses such as neuroscience, zoology, marine biology, microbiology or forensic sciences. In fact the key skills of analysis, questioning, forming hypothesis and prediction are prerequisites for most higher education courses.

Many of our students have gone on to study biology - based degrees and higher degrees at university.  Recently qualified students include those who have gone on to:

Northumbria University – Biomedical Sciences

Cambridge University - Veterinary Science

Edge Hill University to study Early Years Learning

Surrey – Bioscience

University of Hull – Industrial chemistry

Newcastle University and QUB – Medicine

University of Ulster - Mathematics and Sports Studies

 

In the A level biology course we study life at every level of organization - from biological molecules to organ systems, from the genetics of populations, to the interaction of organisms within ecosystems. We seek to inform on the topical issues of which students should be aware such as the impact of climate change on ecosystems, problems associated with cholesterol, the MMR debate, and gene therapy. Students are guided in their consideration of these issues so as to develop a range of skills with the emphasis on thinking scientifically. Lesson based theoretical and practical work is supported by after school revision classes and a wide range of resource types for independent study is available to students on our virtual learning environment.

 

A level biology outline

 
We follow the AQA biology specification.
 AS biology (Year 13) has 3 units:
 
Unit 1: Biology and Disease
  • How digestive and gas exchange systems may be affected by communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • How knowledge of basic biology allows us to understand the symptoms of disease and interpret data relating to risk factors.
Assessment
                    
Written Paper:   1 hour 15 minutes

                     Weighting:        33% of total AS Level marks
                                                  16% of total A Level marks
Five - seven short answer questions plus two longer questions (a short comprehension and a short structure essay)
 
Unit 2: The Variety of Living Organisms
  • The influence of genetic and environmental factors on intraspecific variation
  • How the variety of life is reflected in similarities and differences in its biochemical basis and cellular organisation
  • How size and metabolic rate affect an organism's requirements and give rise to adaptations.
Assessment
                             Written Paper:   1 hour 45 minutes
                             Weighting:         46% of total AS Level marks
                                                          23% of total A Level marks
Five - seven short answer questions plus two longer questions (one will emphasise data handling and include a section requiring continuous prose. The other will assess How Science Works).
 
Unit 3: Practical and Investigative Skills
  • Practical work in the contexts of Units 1 and 2
  • Assessment of implementing skills on practical work as a whole
  • Assessment by AQA-set tasks, to reduce the burden on teachers and students.
Assessment (Internal Assessment)
                        Weighting:     20% of total AS Level marks
                                              10% of total A Level marks
Practical skills assessment (PSA)
Investigative skills assignment (ISA).
 
A2 (Year 14) has 3 units:
Unit 4: Populations and Environment
·        How living organisms form ecosystems through which energy is transferred and chemical elements cycled.
·        How human activity affects ecological balance in a variety of ways.
·        How genetic variation and isolation may lead to the formation of new species.
Assessment
                    
Written Paper:   1 hour 30 minutes
                     Weighting:   16% of total A Level marks
Six - nine short answer questions plus two longer questions (a short comprehension and a short structure essay).
 
Unit 5: Control in Cells and in Organisms
·        Stimulus and responses - the biology of the nervous and endocrine systems.
·        Homeostasis and the maintenance of a constant internal environment.
·        Genes and genetic expression.
 
Assessment
                             Written Paper:   2 hour 15 minutes
                             Weighting:         23% of total A Level marks
Eight - ten short answer questions plus two longer questions (a data handling question and a synoptic essay – choice of one out of two).
 
Unit 6: Practical and Investigative Skills
  • Practical work in the contexts of Units 4 and 5
  • Assessment of implementing skills on practical work as a whole
  • Assessment by AQA-set tasks, to reduce the burden on students.
Assessment (Internal Assessment)
                         Weighting:         10% of total A Level marks
 
Practical skills assessment (PSA)
Investigative skills assignment (ISA).
 
Please visit the AQA A-level Biology website for more information.
 
 
 

 

 Resources

All AS and A2 biology resources are now our our VLE

 

 

 

British Biology Olympiad

The British Biology Olympiad (BBO) is an annual competition for post-16 students. It challenges and stimulates gifted students with an interest in biology to expand and extend their talents. It allows the A Level biology students to demonstrate their knowledge and to be suitably rewarded and publicly recognised by the award of medals, certificates and other prizes.  We have been entering students in this competition since 2009 and our winners are pictured below.

2009
Conor Poland - gold medal
Orla OConnor - bronze medal
Siat Can Ozdemir - highly commended
 
 
 
2010
Orla OConnor - bronze medal
Laura Scott - bronze medal
 
 
 
2011
Alex Henderson - highly commended
  
2012
Kemal Ozdemir - highly commended
 
 
 
2013
Artiz Sterne - bronze medal
John Paul Killyleagh - bronze medal
 
 
Head of Biology email contact:  

 

Useful Links

For further information click on the following links:
 
Site for our exam board:
http://www.aqa.org.uk/

Alevel biology revision website:
http://www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/biology

All AS and A2 biology resources are now our our VLE

 

 

 

British Biology Olympiad

The British Biology Olympiad (BBO) is an annual competition for post-16 students. It challenges and stimulates gifted students with an interest in biology to expand and extend their talents. It allows the A Level biology students to demonstrate their knowledge and to be suitably rewarded and publicly recognised by the award of medals, certificates and other prizes.  We have been entering students in this competition since 2009 and our winners are pictured below.

2009
Conor Poland - gold medal
Orla OConnor - bronze medal
Siat Can Ozdemir - highly commended
 
 
 
2010
Orla OConnor - bronze medal
Laura Scott - bronze medal
 
 
 
2011
Alex Henderson - highly commended
  
2012
Kemal Ozdemir - highly commended
 
 
 
2013
Artiz Sterne - bronze medal
John Paul Killyleagh - bronze medal
 
 
Head of Biology email contact:  

 

Useful Links

For further information click on the following links:
 
Site for our exam board:
http://www.aqa.org.uk/

Alevel biology revision website:
http://www.s-cool.co.uk/a-level/biology

 6th Form Pictures

 

 

A Level biology fieldwork

 

 

 

A Level biology fieldwork

 

Contact Details
Address: The Lawnfield, King Street, Newcastle, Co Down, BT33 0HD
Telephone: 028 437 26107   Fax: 028 437 26109
E Mail: info@shimna.newcastle.ni.sch.uk

Copyright Shimna Integrated College    |   

Contact Details
Address: The Lawnfield, King Street, Newcastle, Co Down, BT33 0HD
Telephone: 028 437 26107   Fax: 028 437 26109
E Mail: info@shimna.newcastle.ni.sch.uk

Copyright Shimna Integrated College    |