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A-Level Biology

Course Code: BA168

Course Overview

A-Level Biology is an academic qualification that is widely valued by universities throughout the UK.

This course enables students to develop a solid understanding of a range of biological topics, including:

  • Human and cellular biology
  • DNA and biodiversity
  • Photosynthesis and respiration
  • Cells and organisms
  • Practical and investigative skills in Biology

This A-Level course is a FAST TRACK course, which means that students need to take their exams in June 2016. This is the last opportunity for students to take any exams for this course. For full 2 year A-Levels please see our website for other course options.

Studying A-Levels with Open Study College lets you choose when to take your exams, so that you are always fully prepared. You set the pace of your studies, and receive full tutor support by email.

Simply receive your course materials by post, study from home, arrange your examinations at a convenient test centre, and gain that all-important A-Level!

Special discount - Enrol on 2 A-levels and get the third for only £150.*

*Offer applies to selected A-Levels only.

Course Content

  • Unit 1: BIOL1 - Biology and Disease
    • Infectious pathogens and the effects of lifestyle
    • The digestive system
    • Active and passive transport: substance exchange through plasma membranes
    • The lungs: pathogens and lifestyle
    • The heart and blood circulation
    • Mammalian blood: defensive factors
    Unit 2: BIOL2 - The Variety of Living Organisms
    • Genetic and environmental variation in organisms
    • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and its impact on proteins and enzymes
    • DNA and genetic diversity
    • Variation at the biochemical and cellular level
    • The cell cycle
    • Cells, tissues, organs and systems
    • The requirements of organisms and adaptation
    • Species and classifications
    • Adaptation and selection as part of evolution
    • Biodiversity within a habitat.
    Unit 3:Investigative and Practical Skills in AS Biology
    • Investigating biological problems
    • Changing a specific factor, the independent variable
    • Measuring changes in a dependent variable
    • Methodical and safe procedure
    • Manipulative skills and time efficiency
    • Methodical data collection
    • Identification of limitations in material, apparatus and procedures
    • Evaluation of limitations and suggested ways to overcome them.
  • Unit 4: BIOL4 - Populations and Environment
    • The dynamic equilibrium of populations is affected by a number of factors
    • ATP synthesis and energy
    • Photosynthesis
    • Respiration
    • Glycolysis
    • Energy transfer and efficiency through ecosystems
    • Chemical elements recycled in ecosystems.
    • The role of micro-organisms in recycling chemicals
    • Geographic isolation and its effect on genetic information
    • Potential formation of new species
    Unit 5: BIOL5 - Control in Cells and in Organisms
    • Internal and external stimuli
    • Cellular response.
    • Chemical and electrical co-ordination.
    • Nerves and skeletal muscles
    • Homeostasis
    • Negative and positive feedback
    • The sequence of bases in DNA affecting proteins, such as enzymes
    • Gene expression
    • Gene cloning technologies and its relevance to increased understanding, as well as industrial and medical processes.
    Unit 6: Investigative and Practical Skills in A2 Biology
    • Independent and dependent variables
    • Manipulative skills and time management
    • Methodical data collection during the investigation
    • Data analysis and appropriate statistical testing.
    • Calculating the probability that an event is due to chance.
    • Drawing appropriate conclusions, using scientific knowledge from the A-level specification to explain them.
    • Limitations: identification, evaluation and improvement.

Other Information

  • Assessment

    You will be assessed across six units in total. Four units will be assessed by paper-based examinations, and two will be assessed by practical assessments. A more detailed breakdown is provided below:

    Unit 1: BIOL1
    33.3% of the total AS level marks
    16.7% of the total A level marks
    1 hour 15 minutes examination paper
    60 raw marks
    5-7 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions

    Unit 2: BIOL2
    46.7% of the total AS level marks
    23.3% of the total A level marks
    1 hour 45 minutes examination paper
    85 raw marks
    7-9 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions

    Unit 3: BIO3T: Internal Assessment for AS Biology
    20% of total AS level marks
    10% of total A level marks
    Centre marked route T, 50 raw marks
    Practical skills assessment 6 raw marks
    Investigative skills assessment, 44 raw marks

    Unit 4: BIOL4
    16.7% of the total A level marks
    1 hour 30 minutes examination paper
    75 raw marks
    6-9 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions involving continuous prose.

    Unit 5: BIOL5
    23.3% of the total A level marks
    2 hours 15 minutes examination paper
    100 raw marks
    8-10 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions

    Unit 6: BIO6T - Practical skills in A2 Biology
    10% of the total A-level marks
    Centre marked route T, 50 marks
    Practical skills assessment, 6 raw marks
    Investigative skills assessment, 44 marks

    Course Duration

    You will have until June 2016 to complete this A-Level. For our full 2 year A-levels, please take a look at our other course options.

  • Study Method

    This course enables you to study for an A-Level in Biology by distance learning at home or at work. Your course materials will be sent out in the post once you enrol, and full tutor support will be available via email. Your course pack will include self-assessment exercises and tutor-marked study questions, so you can monitor your progress.

    Course Outcomes

    This course prepares students for A-Level Biology for examination in 2013 and later years. Once you have successfully completed the examinations you will receive the AQA accredited A-Level in Biology.

course questions & answers

What skills are needed to enrol onto this course?

Students will need a minimum of GCSE grade C or above in Biology. Students should also be familiar with the following:

  • Arithmetic and computation
  • Handling data
  • Algebra
  • Graphs
  • Geometry
Is this the same as an A-Level from a School or College?

Yes! You take the same examinations, the same practical assessments and get the same qualification. The only difference is that the course is designed to be studied from home and you receive your tutor support via email.

What is included in the cost of my course?
  • Pen
  • Study guide
  • Comprehensive study notes
  • Personal tutor support
  • Assignment marking and feedback
  • Accreditation
Is there a required reading list?

We recommend you purchase the following text books to help you with your studies but these are not essential:

  • AS Biology for AQA, Michael Kent, Oxford University Press. (ISBN: 978-0748782758)
  • A2 Biology for AQA, Glenn Toole and Susan Toole, Publisher: Nelson Thornes (ISBN: 978-0748798131)
Do I have to sit an exam?

Yes, you will need to take the standard A-Level examinations and internal assessments in order to fully complete this course, but arranging them is simple. The examinations run on specific dates which can be obtained by visiting the AQA website. You will be required to book these examinations yourself, and Open Study College can provide you with a list of examination centres for you. The costs of the examination can vary depending on which examination centre you choose.

Students will also need to find a centre for the practical elements of this course. We have an arrangement with a centre in Birmingham which will allow students to take practical and theoretical exams, but you may wish to find a local centre of your own choice. Students will need to contact their chosen centre directly to arrange these assessments. For further information on the Birmingham centre, please click here

Are there any additional costs?

You will normally be required to pay a fee for your exam entries at the examination centre you choose to attend. You may also wish to purchase textbooks to supplement the course, but this is entirely optional.

What if I live outside the UK?

You are still able to study this A-Level course. You will, however, be required to take the examinations within the UK, as this is the only reliable way to access examination centres.

What do i do if i still have questions?

For further information please contact us.

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Reviews For This Course

  • Course Rating

    "i'm finding the course really engaging"

    - Oliver Sheldon, Leek

    i'm finding the course really engaging and am managing to both remember and learn multiple new topics within biology, the only downside is that my ringbinder folder containing the 600 odd pages of biology study work was damaged when I recieved it.

View More Reviews

Course Cost £419.00

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Offer ends 14th October

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