Examination Board: AQA
Specification: 8461

Head of Department:
Dr Stephanie Warren









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Biology Assessment:

The course is externally assessed at the end of year 11 via two equally weighted papers both lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes. Grades will be awarded from 9 to 1 and a foundation tier is available if necessary which assesses up to grade 5. Experimental skills will be developed throughout the course and assessed via the examination papers where the focus will be specifically on ten compulsory experiments named in the syllabus.

The assessment for this qualification is linear and both papers must be taken in the same series.

Students may be required to perform calculations, draw graphs and describe, explain and interpret biological phenomena. Some of the question content will be unfamiliar to students; these questions are designed to assess data-handling skills and the ability to apply biological principles to unfamiliar situations.

Questions will be of multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response types.

The weighting of the assessment objectives will be:

AO1: Knowledge and understanding 40%

AO2: Application of knowledge and understanding 40%

AO3: Analysis and evaluation of data and methods 20%

Course content

In preparation for Paper 1

  • Cell biology
  • Organisation
  • Infection and response
  • Bioenergetics

In preparation for Paper 2

  • Homeostasis and response
  • Inheritance, variation and evolution
  • Ecology

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to work as investigators, planning and analysing their practical work. They are also encouraged to develop their ICT and communication skills.






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