Changes for 2022

Because of the ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are some changes to how AS and A-level Biology will be assessed in 2022.

These changes are for 2022 only.

What you need to know

  • AS only students who are not intending to progress to A-level can observe practical demonstrations
  • All students starting or completing an A-level course should carry out practical activities in person
  • Students in their final year of A-level must complete a minimum number of practical activities
  • Advance information on exams will be available

Practical demonstrations for AS only

AS students not intending to progress to A-level can study the required practical activities by observing demonstrations or simulations, if it’s not possible to carry them out in person.

Teacher demonstrations and simulations will provide effective learning opportunities to develop understanding of the skills required at this level.

Where possible, students should still carry out the required practical activities in person.

Practical activities for A-level

All students starting or completing A-level Biology are still expected to carry out practical activities in person, and should be assessed on the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC).

For students in their final year of A-level Biology, the minimum number of practical activities required is at the teacher’s discretion. You must be confident that your students are routinely and consistently competent in all areas of CPAC, including coverage of the majority/all of the apparatus and techniques listed in the specification.

We will monitor each school or college’s application of CPAC remotely. For more information about this process, see our practical endorsement resources.

You’ll still need to submit a signed centre declaration form for students taking A-level Biology exams in 2022.

Advance information on exams will be available

To help students focus their exam preparation, there will be advance information on what exams will cover.

This advance information will be available by 7 February 2022, or sooner if the pandemic worsens.

In the meantime, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) has published guidance for teachers and students on the use of advance information for 2022.

No other changes

There are no planned changes to our assessments for AS and A-level Biology (7401, 7402) in 2022.

Summer 2022 exams will follow the same structure and format as those in summer 2019. They will assess all of the components and objectives described in the specifications, including students’ knowledge and understanding of the apparatus and techniques and the required practical activities.

Help and support

For support with practical activities, contact our experienced science technician adviser, Dr Maxine Opperman at moppermantechnician@gmail.com

For further guidance, please contact us.