Sixth Form Applications
Applications to Heart of England Sixth Form are welcome.
Sixth Form: Biology
A Level Biology is a post-GCSE course which is split into two halves – AS Biology and A2 Biology. AS Biology must be completed before A2 Biology can begin.
Syllabuses (Course Outline and Structure)
At Heart of England School we follow the AQA Syllabus. Both the AS and A2 sections of the course are marked out of 300 UMS points. The two sets of marks together constitute the entire A level, out of a total of 600 UMS points. The course is split into AS and A2 Biology as follows:
The link below will take you directly to the AQA pdf file for the course specification.
Entry Requirements and Prohibited Options
The entry requirements for AS Biology are a B grade in both Core and Additional Science GCSE (Double Science) or a B grade in GCSE Biology (from the Triple Science pathway). We also prefer a B grade in Maths and English.
There are no prohibited options with A level Biology, but combinations with another Science subject are recommended.
Activities and Trips
There is one field course which is recommended for all students intending to complete A2 as well as AS Biology. This is a four day residential trip to Juniper Hall in Surrey, and usually takes place in the final week of the summer term of Year 12. The field course is designed to prepare students to return in September of Year 13 with the experience and skills required for Unit 4. It takes place at a time when there are plenty of organisms to investigate and which doesn’t cause disruption to other subjects.
Students are expected to pay a £5 refundable book deposit for each text book which they take home. There is also a cost for the A2 Field course.
Complimentary Subject Combinations and Enrichment Activities
It is suggested that students undertake A level Biology in combination with another Science subject. Students are expected to be able to write essays in Biology, and therefore a combination with a subject such as Psychology could be beneficial.
Past papers are used regularly by the teachers of A level Biology in order to have thorough monitoring and effective reporting to students and parents. These take the form of tests which are specific to one smaller section of the unit and means that when students come to revise they have a bank of past paper questions on a particular topic to hand, allowing them to target their revision to specific sections of the course in which they need greatest preparation. It also allows students to see the form which questions take and the regularity of them within the papers.
In addition to this, students will complete whole past papers towards the end of the teaching for each unit in order to prepare them for the overall structure of each paper and the time restrictions associated with them. We fully encourage all students to work independently and the following URL can be followed to locate all of the past papers for the course and their mark schemes.
The textbooks which we use are both from Nelson Thornes publishers, and are written specifically for the course. All students are given the opportunity to borrow a copy of these books in return for a refundable £5 deposit.
An alternative pair of textbooks which are well regarded by the teaching staff are:
If the students require a revision guide they must supply their own. We recommend the AQA AS and A2 Biology revision guides, published by CGP.
Useful Links (internal and external)
There are only a few dedicated websites designed for A level Biology, but
is recommended. It is also recommended that students are reading around the subject, specifically looking up and recording named examples of current research projects and diseases. This is so that students can show extra reading in their synoptic essays in Unit 5, which is essential to achieving the highest grades. A suitable place to begin this is through the reading of journals such as New Scientist and Scientific American because these re-word the findings of the original papers into smaller bite size pieces. These can either be purchased from newsagents or subscribed to through their websites; the links for which are below:
Although Biology is not considered a creative subject, the ways in which people learn and revise is so diverse that YouTube contains a huge number of video clips which have been created either by individuals or by universities, to communicate concepts. These are of varying quality and should be evaluated to decide if the level of content is to an appropriate depth.
Some institutions such as McGraw-Hill have also made available all of their animations of concepts for free. The easiest way to access these is through Google, typing in the topic you’re interested in, followed by “animation”.
A level Biology is taught by 4 dedicated specialist teachers, and all lessons take place in either the VI form classrooms or the Science labs.