Curriculum – KS5 Biology

Examination Board: Edexcel

Course Name: Biology A (Salters-Nuffield) from 2015

Link to Specification: Click here.


Course Content

In Biology you will develop practical skills by planning experiments, collecting data, analysing experimental results and making conclusions. You will also learn how scientific models are developed, the applications and implications of science, the benefits and risks that science brings and the ways in which society uses science to make decisions.

The syllabus is divided into eight topics:
1. Lifestyle, Health and Risk.
2. Genes and Health.
3. Voice of the Genome.
4. Biodiversity and Natural Resources.
5. On the Wild Side.
6. Immunity, Infection and Forensics.
7. Run For Your Life.
8. Grey Matter.


Course assessment

The A level course is examined via three exams at the end of two years. Each exam is worth a third of the total marks. Practical work is assessed equally through all three papers and is worth 15% of the total marks. Mathematical skills account for 10% of all the marks. All three papers are 2 hours long and worth 100 marks.

The papers are asfollows:
Paper 1: Topics 1-4, 5 and 6.
Paper 2: Topics 1-4, 7 and 8.
Paper 3: All topics. A pre-released scientific article will underpin one exam question. This paper will include synoptic questions that draw on two or more different topics.
Practical skills are assessed through core practical investigations. There is no
coursework.


Skills Gained from Taking this Course

In biology you will develop practical skills by planning experiments, collecting data, analysing experimental results and making conclusions.

You will also learn how scientific models are developed, the applications and implications of science, the benefits and risks that science brings and the ways in which society uses science to make decisions.

Field work will be carried out at Epping Forest Field Studies Centre.


St Marylebone Entry Requirements

To gain entry into the sixth form at St Marylebone School, students must gain a minimum of five 9-6 grades at GCSE and a 5 grade in English and Maths GCSE.


Subject Specific Entry Requirements

Combined Science students: A Grade 7 in Combined Science.
Separate Sciences: Grade 7 in GCSE single science Biology.

All students must also gain Maths GCSE at grade 7 and English Language GCSE at grade 6.


Entry Suggestions

What do I need to know, or be able to do, before taking this course?

The qualification builds on the knowledge, understanding and practical skills that you gained in GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science.

You should also have at least a 7 grade in GCSE Mathematics, as numerical and mathematical skills are important in biology.

You will also need to be able to communicate effectively, be able to plan and carry out research and think critically about problems. Above all you need to be motivated and interested in the subject.


If you are made an offer, you will be expected to complete the following before your first lesson in September:

The CGP ‘Head start to A level Biology booklet (ISBN 978 1 78294 279 5) is a very useful book to have in Year 12 so that you can read the relevant section before you start that topic at A Level . If you get the book try to go through sections 1 and 2 before you start the course in September. Background reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (ISBN: 9780007284870) is an extremely useful and interesting summer read. Complete the pre-course Maths task on worksheet provided, particularly for those not studying Maths at A Level.


Resources Needed for this Course:

Edexcel AS Biology Students’ book.