Specification at a glance

This A-level requires students to sit a total of four written exams and to complete two internal assessments.

Internal assessment can be centre marked or AQA marked, giving the flexibility to meet the needs of individual centres and candidates.

  • Route T, centre marked – the AQA set tasks are designed to be flexible and won't impose excessive demands on either time or budget.
  • Route X, AQA marked – the Practical Skills Verification requires teachers to verify their students' ability to demonstrate safe and skilful practical techniques and make valid observations and an Externally Marked Practical Assignment set and marked by AQA.

There are no previous learning requirements but candidates should have acquired the skills and knowledge associated with a GCSE Additional Science course or equivalent.

Examinations (AS Award 1411)

Unit 1 BIOL1 Biology and disease
Examination paper (60 raw marks / 100 UMS) 5 – 7 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions (a short comprehension and a structured question requiring continuous prose)

1 hour 15 minutes
33.3% of the total AS marks
16.7% of the total A-level marks

Available in June only
Unit 2 BIOL2 The variety of living organisms
Examination paper (85 raw marks / 140 UMS) 5 – 7 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions involving the handling of data and How Science Works

1 hour 45 minutes
46.7% of the total AS marks
23.3% of the total A-level marks

Available in June only
Unit 3 – Internal Assessment Investigative and practical skills in AS Biology

Either NBIO3T 
Centre Marked Route T (50 raw marks/60 UMS)
Practical Skills Assessment (PSA – 6 raw marks)
Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA – 44 raw marks)

Or NBIO3X
 
Externally Marked Route X (50 raw marks/60 UMS)
Practical Skills Verification (PSV – teacher verification)
Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA – 50 raw marks)

20% of total AS marks
10% of total A-level marks

Available in June only
A2 Examinations (A-level Award 2411)
Unit 4 BIOL4 Populations and environment
Examination paper (75 raw marks / 100 UMS) 6 – 9 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions involving continuous prose and How Science Works

1 hour 30 minutes
16.7% of the total A-level marks

Available in June only
Unit 5 BIOL5 Control in cells and in organisms
Examination paper (100 raw marks / 140 UMS) 8 – 10 short answer questions plus 2 longer questions (a data-handling question and a synoptic essay - choice of 1 out of 2)

2 hours 15 minutes
23.3% of the total A-level marks

Available in June only

Unit 6 – Internal Assessment Investigative and practical skills in A2 Biology

Either NBIO6T Centre Marked Route T (50 raw marks/60 UMS)
Practical Skills Assessment (PSA – 6 raw marks)
Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA – 44 raw marks)

Or NBIO6X Externally Marked Route X (50 raw marks/60 UMS)
Practical Skills Verification (PSV – teacher verification)
Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA – 50 raw marks)

10% of the total A-level marks

Available in June only