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A Level Biology – XIC

A Level Biology

A Level Biology

Introduction

The International Advanced Level in Biology are modular qualifications. The content is relevant for students who have achieved a GCSE in Biology and who want to study this subject at a higher level. The content covers the major topics in biology: 

Unit 1: Molecules, Diet, Transport and Health:  

             Topic 1:Molecules, Transport and Health

             Topic 2 – Membranes, Proteins, DNA and Gene Expression

Unit 2: Cells, Development, Biodiversity and Conservation

             Topic 1:Cell Structure, Reproduction and Development

             Topic 4: Plant Structure and Function, Biodiversity  and Conservation

 

In preparation for the Unit 3 examination, students will also develop their practical skills. This specification includes 18 core practical activities, including additional practical activities to develop students’ practical skills further:

Use a semi-quantitative method with Benedict’s reagent to estimate the concentrations of reducing sugars and with iodine solution to estimate the concentrations of starch, using colour standards.  Investigate the vitamin C content of food and drink.

Investigate membrane properties including the effect of alcohol and temperature on membrane permeability.  Use a semi-quantitative method to estimate protein concentration using biuret reagent and colour standards.  Investigate the effect of temperature, pH, enzyme concentration and substrate concentration on the initial rate of enzyme-catalysed reactions.  Use a light microscope to make observations and labelled drawings of suitable animal cells (ii) use a graticule with a microscope to make measurements and understand the concept of scale.   Investigate factors affecting the growth of pollen tubes. Prepare and stain a root tip squash to observe the stages of mitosis. Use a light microscope to: (i) make observations, draw and label plan diagrams of transverse sections of roots, stems and leaves (ii) make observations, draw and label cells of plant tissues (iii) identify sclerenchyma fibres, phloem, sieve tubes and xylem vessels and their location.   Investigate plant mineral deficiencies.

Determine the tensile strength of plant fibres.  Investigate the antimicrobial properties of plants, including aseptic techniques for the safe handling of bacteria.

Teaching

The assessment consists of three written papers at IAS level that are externally assessed. The International A level consists of three further written papers that are externally assessed. 

Students will develop their knowledge and understanding of biology by applying the concepts in this specification to a range of different problems, set in a variety of contexts. Students will need to apply mathematical skills to the problems.  Students will also develop their practical skills. 

The examinations are modular and are:

IAS Unit 1: Molecules, Diet, Transport and Health 

Written examination: 1 hour and 30 minutes. 80 marks 

Availability: January, June and October 

40% of the total IAS.  20% of the total IAL 

The paper may include multiple-choice, short-open, open-response, calculations and extended-writing questions. 

 

IAS Unit 2: Cells, Development, Biodiversity and Conservation 

Written examination: 1 hour and 30 minutes.  80 marks 

Availability: January, June and October First assessment: June 2019 

40% of the total IAS. 20% of the total IAL 

The paper may include multiple-choice, short open, open-response, calculations and extended-writing questions. 

 

IAS Unit 3: Practical Skills in Biology I 

Written examination: 1 hour and 20 minutes 

Availability: January, June and October 

20% of the total IAS. 10% of the total IAL 

Students are expected to develop experimental skills, and a knowledge and understanding of experimental techniques, by carrying out a range of practical experiments and investigations while they study Units 1 and 2. 

Assessment: the paper may include short-open, open-response and calculation questions. 

 

IA2 Unit 4: Energy, Environment, Microbiology  and Immunity  

Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes. 90 marks

Availability: January, June and October 

40% of the total IA2.  20% of the total IAL 

The paper may include multiple-choice, short-open, open-response, calculations and extended-writing questions. 

 

IA2 Unit 5: Respiration, Internal Environment, Coordination and Gene Technology 

Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes. 90 marks

 Availability: January, June and October 

40% of the total IA2.  20% of the total IAL 

The paper may include multiple-choice, short-open, open-response, calculations and extended-writing questions. 

Pre-released reading (scientific article) will be provided for this assessment.  

  

IA2 Unit 6: Practical Skills in Biology II 

Written examination: 1 hour and 20 minutes. 50 marks

Availability: January, June and October 

20% of the total IA2.  10% of the total IAL 

This unit will assess students’ knowledge and understanding of the experimental procedures and techniques that were developed in Units 1, 2, 4 and 5.

The paper may include short-open, open-response and calculation questions. 

 

All papers will include a minimum of 5 marks that target mathematics at Level 2 or above. 

All papers will be expected students to apply their knowledge and understanding to familiar and unfamiliar contexts.

Why study Biology at XIC?

At XIC our students’ skills are broadly developed by including a number of experiments in the specification content. The skills developed will be assessed through questions in written examinations – improving students’ analytical and logic skills by applying understanding of scientific concepts and principles to a range of situations. 

Our aim is to enable students to develop the essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other as well as a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods. The course provides our students competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem-solving skills.  As teachers, we build up our students’ interest and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with Biology.

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