Specifications that use this resource:

Co-teaching guide

This resource is to help you understand how to co-teach our new AS and A-level Biology specifications.

A-level Biology
AS Biology A-level Biology

1. Biological molecules

2. Cells

3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment

4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Plus six required practicals

All AS Biology topics (1-4) plus:

5. Energy transfers in and between organisms

6. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

8. The control of gene expression

Plus 12 required practicals:

  • Six from the AS
  • Six from the A-level only

Our approach

We have written the course so that the AS topics are identical to the first half of the A-level. Most schools and colleges will teach topics 1-4 in year 12, and the remaining topics in year 13.

Students at the end of year 12 can:
  • take the AS exam and finish there
  • take the AS exam and continue to A-level
  • continue through to A-level without taking the AS exam.

The A-level exams cover topics from both years. Some of these questions will be at AS standard, some will be at full A-level standard.

You won’t need to re-teach the same content twice. By the end of the second year, students will naturally have a greater understanding of the topics they covered in the first year. Their mathematical, practical, investigative and communication skills will be better. They will have a greater understanding of the links between different areas of the subject.

In practice, this means that the questions in the A-level papers on content from topics 1-4 could:
  • make links between content from different topics in the AS (for example, using an idea about biological molecules in a question on cells)
  • ask students to make links between the AS content and the full A-level content (for example, using information about variation in a question on gene expression)
  • use mathematical skills developed in topics 5-8 (for example, using understanding of the chi squared test in a question on variation)
  • less structured questions requiring students to construct longer, logically sequenced answers without scaffolding.

Free support

Our comprehensive support package will help you through these changes.

We are producing two schemes of work which will help you to teach in a style that suits your students.

A second set of specimen papers, plus a bank of extra questions will be added to help you see the kind of questions we could ask. These will be on our secure website so they can be used without your students having had access to them as mock exams.

Three publishers are producing text books you can use in the classroom.

Free introduction to the new spec and preparing to teach courses, both face to face and online, will help you plan.

Many other resources, such as information on progression from GCSE, focus on the changes from our current specifications, and ideas about how to switch to AQA are available on our website.

Contact us

To receive regular updates about our science subjects, register with us at Subject updates

Telephone our subject team on 01483 477 756

Email the team: alevelscience@aqa.org.uk