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AS/A2 Level Biology B

Teacher in charge of Subject


Biology is a fascinating and vast subject.  It allows students to explore the world around us, and is an opportunity to develop key concepts for use in the fields of medical study and research. Students will be introduced to all fundamental principles of biology, from the building blocks of DNA, to the emerging research in stem cells.  As the effect of human impact on the environment becomes an increasingly current issue, students will also begin to look at the importance of biodiversity and the sustainability of the world’s resources.

  1. Course Title

    Edexcel B Biology

  2. Exam Board and Specification No

    Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Biology B (9BI0).
    First Teaching from September 2015
    AS: First Certification: Summer 2016
    A2: First Certification: Summer 2017

What do I need to have studied/have knowledge of?

The entry requirements discussed at interview for C6 highlighted the need to gain a level 5 in Science, Maths and English to study any of the science A levels.

Maths must also be taken on the higher paper if you are studying physics and chemistry due to the increased amount of Maths requirement in the course.

What will I learn on this course?

The aims of the GCE in Biology are to enable students to:

  • Acquire essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other.
  • Demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods involved when studying a science based subject.
  • Develop a high level of competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem-solving skills.
  • Nurture an interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject.
  • Gain an understanding of how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

What key skills will I develop?

  • Define scientific problems, present scientific arguments and scientific ideas.
  • Carry out experimental and investigative activities, including appropriate risk management, in a range of contexts.
  • Analyse and interpret data to provide evidence, recognising correlations and casual relationships.
  • Evaluate methodology, evidence and data, and resolve conflicting evidence.
  • Appreciate the tentative nature of scientific knowledge.
  • Communicate information and ideas in appropriate ways using appropriate terminology.
  • Consider applications and implications of science and appreciate their associated benefits and risks.
  • Consider ethical issues in the treatment of humans, other organisms and the environment.
  • Appreciate the role of the scientific community in validating new knowledge and ensuring integrity.
  • Use theories, models and ideas to develop and modify scientific explanations.
  • Appreciate the ways in which science is used to inform decision making about issues to benefit society.

How will I be assessed?

The Pearson’s Edexcel B GCE in Biology comprises ten units and contains an Advanced Subsidiary subset of four AS units:

  • The Advanced Subsidiary (AS) GCE is the first half of the GCE course and consists of Units 1, 2, 3, and 4. This is a stand-alone qualification. It also includes the completion of 8 core practicals.
  • The full Advanced (A Level) GCE award consists of the three 3 externally-assessed papers, and completing 16 of the core practicals. To achieve the full GCE, students need to have completed the AS topics and core practicals.

The Examined Units.
Topic 1 Biological Molecules
Topic 2 Cells, Viruses and Reproduction
Topic 3 Classification
Topic 4 Exchange and Transport
Topic 5 Energy for Biological Processes
Topic 6 Microbiology and Pathogens
Topic 7 Modern Genetics
Topic 8 Origins of Genetic Information
Topic 9 Control Systems
Topic 10 Ecosystems

The breadth and depth of content knowledge will be assessed in a variety of different question styles as well as the practical knowledge gained from core practical completion. Maths skills now account for 10% of each written paper.

The Core Practicals.
There are 16 core practicals to complete for the full GCE Biology Award (8 AS, 8 A2).  These will be conducted and assessed internally via practical activities directed by Edexcel.  Students will be assessed against the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC).  Upon successful completion, students receive a PASS for their Practical Endorsement in Biology, which is a highly sought after qualification by higher institutions.

What could this course lead to?

Degree courses in the biological sciences, biomedical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, forensic sciences, dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, plus many more.

Additional events, trips or enrichment activities

There are day trips available as well as lectures by speakers from the Biological industry/working fields.  Furthermore, there is the opportunity for you to get involved in organising and co-ordinating a STEM club for KS3 students.

Are there any additional costs for this course?

Resources required by the course will be fully outlined in the student’s free Biology handbook, given to new students.  Resources do include:

  • The main textbook plus any additional revision books,
  • A4 Hardback Laboratory books
  • Stationery including calculators,
  • Field trips/ Day trips

Who do I contact if I have any further questions?

Dr S Blagg-Newsome –

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