Index Studying as level Biology at Havant College

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Studying AS Level Biology at Havant College

  1. Where is Biology?

  2. What is Biology AS?

  3. What will you study?

  4. Havant College Biology and Environmental Science Code of Practice markingAssessment

  5. Dates

  6. Homework

  7. Reading

  8. Time management and organisation

  9. Notes

  10. AS coursework assessment

  11. Revision

  12. Examination terminology

Studying AS/A2 Level Biology at Havant College
Where is Biology?? .......
The Department of Biology is on the ground floor at the end of block 2. There are 4 labs: Lab 1, Lab 2, Lab 4 and Lab 11.
The Biology staff which consists of Mr Hugh Smith (ACD Natural Sciences), Dr Marion Arkle, Mrs Maria Oyegbile, Mr Bruce Derby, Mr Paul Sweeney and Mrs Lin Pursglove (our lab technician), can usually be found in the prep room between Labs 1 and 2, or in the room behind Lab 4.

Mr Smith also has an office in Lab 8.




LAB 11





Lab 4

What is Biology AS?
At GCSE you will have gained some factual knowledge and also done a few practicals.

At AS and A2 Level,

  • The theory is much more detailed.

  • You will need to discuss results from practicals in much more depth.

  • There is greater emphasis on understanding, interpretation, (often involving data handling) and application of knowledge.

You cannot rely on class notes alone - you will also need to refer to textbooks and other resources. More about this later.
During your course we will:

  • give you 4 lessons of one hour 5 minutes a week, which will be a mixture of theory and practicals.

  • keep records of your attendance and marks (see marking scheme).

  • carry out subject reviews, write reports and attend parents’ evenings.

  • set and mark homework, tests and practice examinations using the departmental or board’s marking scheme.

  • where appropriate set you specific targets to give you a particular focus for the next time you do a similar piece of work.

  • estimate grades and write subject references for UCAS, based on your performance.

  • be available to explain things and offer support and guidance.

  • Offer extension material to support and stretch you.

  • we also have a Learning Support service, who will help anyone with study skills worries.

We expect you to:

  • attend all lessons punctually

  • organise your work and equipment (particularly your lab coat and raw data book).

  • meet deadlines (we will not mark late work unless the circumstances are very exceptional)

  • show a little interest and enthusiasm!

You will also need to spend around 4 hours per week outside of lessons, studying Biology.

Work set by your tutor may not fill this time - use the rest to organise your notes, write up practicals, do extra reading, revise for topic tests, etc, etc.

What will you study?

You will study the EDEXCEL AS SPECIFICATION, which includes the following …..


Unit 1 Lifestyle, Transport, Genes and Health

  • structure and function of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins; enzyme action

  • structure and properties of cell membranes; passive and active transport

  • structure and role of DNA and RNA

  • replication; protein synthesis

  • monohybrid inheritance

  • gene mutations

  • principles of gene therapy; social and ethical issues.

Unit 2 Development, Plants and the Environment

  • cell structure and ultrastructure of eukaryote and prokaryote cells: cell specialisation

  • the role of meiosis

  • genotype and environmental influence

  • stem cell research and its implications

  • biodiversity, adaptations and natural selection

  • principles of taxonomy

  • plant cell structure

  • transport of water in plants

  • uses of plant products.

Then you may decide to go on to A2 to complete your A level. These units are…..

Unit 4 The Natural Environment and Species Survival

  • photosynthesis; energy transfer within ecosystems

  • evidence for global warming

  • evolution through natural selection and speciation

  • nutrient recycling

  • DNA profiling and PCR

  • structure of bacteria and viruses

  • infectious diseases (eg AIDS and TB) and immunology.

Unit 5 Energy, Exercise and Coordination

  • ATP, glycolysis, anaerobic/aerobic respiration

  • control and functioning of heart; ventilation and cardiac output

  • homeostasis

  • the nervous system

  • impact of exercise on body, and improving performance

  • hormonal coordination

  • brain structure and development

  • imbalances in brain chemicals

  • Human Genome Project.



Marking Code of Practice

In order to help you make the best possible progress it is obviously important for you to have some feedback on the contents and quality of your written work. You need to have a realistic view of your own efforts - some students are always very hard on themselves, whilst others can sometimes think they are doing “O.K” when, in fact, their work needs to be improved significantly.

There are three main ways that information can be fed back to you to form a basis for you to take action where it is necessary

1. Your teacher will go over work in class.
They will make specific comments about the way work has been presented, and will highlight points which caused difficulties. Sometimes they will work through questions on the board to show you how it should or could have been tackled.

2. When your work is returned to you it will have some written comments and indicators of good and “bad’ points: significant errors in your answer, misuse of terminology, indication of lack of detail

perhaps, a particularly good solution or explanation may be noted

3. Your work will receive an overall grade.

This grade will be based on our expectation of what the standard of work should be in relation to that stage of the course.
What work will be marked and assessed?
The notes you make during lessons will not be “assessed” in the way described above. However, you do need to keep notes & folders in an organised manner, and your teacher may ask to see them from time to time.

Written assignments will be set to be done outside of lessons - this work will generally be assessed, although sometimes we do use questions from text-books which may not be marked formally.

Your practical work reports will also be marked and graded
In order to give you a fair representation of your work, the department will follow the same, common procedure below.

  • All end of topic tests and practice examinations will be marked using the examination board’s marking scheme (or an equivalent).

  • All assessed practicals will be marked using the examination board scheme. You will be told what you have to achieve in order to gain the marks.

  • Any other practical work or written work will be marked on a 1 – 5 scale where

6 EXCELLENT WORK, well above A level Grade C standard
5 EXCELLENT WORK, above A level Grade C standard
4 GOOD WORK, A level Grade C standard
3 ACCEPTABLE WORK, of an average AS/A2 level standard
2 JUST ACCEPTABLE, below average AS/A2 level standard. Some work may need

rethinking or doing again after discussion with your tutor

  1. This work DOES NOT reach an acceptable standard for AS/A2 level and automatically needs doing again after discussion with your tutor.

  • You must make every effort to hand in your work by the deadline time and date given by your tutor. If you do not, your subject tutor reserves the right not to mark it. If you know that you are to be away hand the work in earlier than the deadline.

  • Under normal working conditions every effort will be made to return pieces of work within 5 days of being taken in. Longer pieces will obviously take longer to mark but should be returned within 3 weeks of handing in on time unless they are being withheld for moderation.

The department follows the College Marking Policy.


Written Assessments are end of module examinations


Unit 1 – Jan/June 2011 (1 hour 30 minutes) 40% of the total AS marks

(20% of total A level)

Unit 2 – June 2011 (1 hour 30 minutes) 40% of the total AS marks

(20% of total A level)

There is also a Centre-assessed coursework component (Unit 3) worth 20% of the total AS marks or 10% of the A level, which will be finished by March 2011.


Unit 4 – January 2011 (1 hour 30 minutes) 20% of the total A level marks
Unit 5 – June 2011 (1 hour 30 minutes) 20% of the total A level marks
There is also a Centre-assessed coursework component (Unit 6) worth 10% of the total A level marks.


Expect a formal homework every week. Wherever possible you will be given homework well in advance. This will enable you to manage your time more effectively. The homework could be questions from past examinations, or from the textbook, or preparation for the next lesson or practical. Sometimes you will have to work in pairs or groups preparing presentations to give the rest of your class. Some of them will be set using the SNAB Web site ( ) so you will need to check it regularly for updates.
Don’t forget that deadlines are important!
The Intranet will have all your coursework and general maths assignments published on it, as well as the biology calendar. It will also have the answers to the questions in the textbook on it. You should also expect to receive information via the college email system.
To see how you are getting on you will have an internal test at the end of most topics. This will be based on examination questions. Be prepared for this any time after the topic has finished.
Check the television and radio schedules - there’s nearly always something interesting or relevant on.


  • We recommend that you buy your own textbook.

  • When studying a topic, read the relevant section of your book several times and make notes to add to your class work.

  • You will also need to consult other resources to supplement your studies. These can be found in the following places:

Moodle: Biology Subject Area: It contains notes, a list of related Internet sites, and a lot more. Give it a visit – it could be your second most valuable resource.

Textbooks: Main Library, Biology Prep Room Library, and Biology Labs.

Other specialist books: Main Library, Biology Prep Room Library.

Biofacts sheets: Main Library, Biology Prep Room Library and are available on the Intranet.

Biological Science Reviews: Main Library, Biology Prep Room Library. Some copies in Biology Labs

Resource Packs: Biology Prep Room Library, Biology Labs.

Biochemistry Soc. Booklets: Biology Prep Room Library, Biology Labs.

Newspaper clippings: Lab1, Notice boards in Labs.

Posters: Walls of Bio Labs. Read them - they are useful.

Periodicals: New Scientist via the Intranet using the login-Name: havantco and Pass code: 5278. Scientific American is also available in the Main Library.

Student Biology Menu on Network: Bioexplorer and rat dissection Video plus other things.

  • Use them anytime - you are free to walk through lessons and into the prep room

  • Remember to read relevant newspaper articles and watch TV programmes such as Horizon - it all helps to extend your knowledge and keeps you up to date with current issues.

When doing extra reading:

Short articles - photocopy and highlight (e.g. Biological Science Review)

Longer articles - skim read and jot down notes. See Learning Support if you are not sure how to do this.

Time Management and Organisation
Biology is a weighty subject - if you are not organised you will soon get bogged down.
A few hints:

  • Use the planner - write deadlines down and prioritise your work.

  • Plan study time into your timetable, stick to it and use it effectively. Don’t let leisure time get out of proportion.

  • Don’t leave everything to the last minute.

  • Know when to stop and ask for help (ask any member of staff, or go and see Learning Support).

  • Talk to your tutor during one of your interviews about how to become a more effective learner

These should be based around information given in lectures - they are very important, as you will need to revise from them. You must take responsibility for your own notes and arrange them around the SNAB activity sheets.
A few hints:

  • Concentrate on writing down the main ideas and themes and try to be concise.

  • Use plenty of headings, abbreviations and highlighter pen.

  • Leave large gaps, so you can supplement your notes later, from your textbook.

  • Use mind maps, flow charts, diagrams and lists of key words to help you remember information.

  • Use a loose-leaf file with coloured dividers to organise your notes.

  • You must keep your notes up to date. Re-read them and make additions on the same day.

  • Ask immediately if there is anything you don’t understand - exam time is too late (Learning Support may also be able to help).

AS Coursework Assessment 6 BIO 3
Your coursework is divided into two

A written report which you will do at the end of February and the beginning of March


a teacher observation of you carrying out practical work. The latter is also linked to some core practicals which you will need to be familiar with.

Core Practicals

  • Describe how the effect of caffeine on heart rate in Daphnia can be investigated practically, and discuss whether there are ethical issues in the use of invertebrates.

  • Describe how to investigate the vitamin C content of food and drink.

  • Describe how membrane structure can be investigated practically, eg by the effect of alcohol concentration or temperature on membrane permeability.

  • Describe how enzyme concentrations can affect the rates of reactions and how this can be investigated practically by measuring the initial rate of reaction.

  • Describe how totipotency can be demonstrated practically using plant tissue culture techniques.

  • Describe how to determine the tensile strength of plant fibres practically. Describe how to investigate plant mineral deficiencies practically.

  • Describe how to investigate the antimicrobial properties of plants.


  • You must revise for topic tests and practice examinations - they will give you some indication of how you are getting on.

  • Try to accumulate knowledge throughout the course - you will not be able to learn it all at the last minute.

  • Make sure your notes are complete and organised before you start.

  • Write a timetable for revision - particularly if you have a willpower problem!

  • Work where you won’t be distracted i.e. not in front of the TV.

  • Be realistic - revise for an hour, then take a break.

  • Avoid pointless flicking through your notes - do something constructive e.g. list key words, sketch things, draw mind maps, do rough notes, highlight things, write essay plans, answer questions etc.

  • If you have no idea how to revise, see Learning Support.

  • Be aware of your own preferred learning style to help you make your revision effective.

  • Don’t forget that past papers are a vital element in revision.

  • Use the specification summary at the back of this booklet as a checklist.

Examination Terminology

Here are a few terms taken from the specification which may be used in examinations:

Advantages, disadvantages

Here there will be two (or more) sets of data, structures, functions, processes or events to be referred to and the answer must relate to both. One process, or whatever, is required to be compared with another. It is important that the answers are comparative and that the feature being referred to is clearly stated.

Analyse and interpret

Identify, with reasons, the essential features of the information or data given. This may involve some manipulation of the data.


Show an awareness of the significance of, but without detailed knowledge of, the underlying principles.

Compare, contrast, distinguish between, differs from

As with advantages and disadvantages, here there will be two (or more) sets of data, structures, functions, processes or events to be referred to and the answer must relate to both. It is important to select equivalent points and keep them together.

Compare generally indicates that similarities as well as differences are expected; contrast, distinguish between or differs from indicate that the focus should be on the differences.


Show the effects, probably through practical experiment.


This may be related to a biological event or process, or to data presented in a table, graph or other form. The description must be concise and straightforward, using relevant biological terms rather than vague generalisations. The trend should be presented in words or translated into another form. If interpreting numerical data, it is often appropriate to refer to the figures, and these should be ‘manipulated’ in some way, for instance the trend could be quantified or the percentage difference over a period of time calculated.


Give a considered account of a particular topic about which a degree of uncertainty exists.


Identify appropriate differences in a given context.

Explain, give explanations, give reasons

The answer would be expected to draw on biological knowledge to give reasons or explanations for the information or data given. Usually 2- or 3-mark answers are required and the answer should go beyond just repetition or reorganisation of the information or data presented. It is reasonable to expect that if you are explaining something you are also able to describe it.

Make a link

Point out the connection between separate points.

Name, state, give

Indicate that short, factual answers are needed, possibly with precise use of biological terms or the name of a structure. Often one-word answers are sufficient.


Present knowledge gained at GCSE and through the study of units in this specification.


Make a general survey of an extensive topic.


Implies that the answer may include material or ideas that have not been learnt directly from the specification. A reasonable suggestion, using biological knowledge and understanding of related topics, is required.


Give a concise account of the main points.


Describe and explain the underlying principles and apply the knowledge to novel situations.

Using the information in the diagram/on the graph/in the table/features visible in the diagram

Refer only to the information presented in the question and not other examples or features, which may be perfectly correct but are not shown and are, therefore, not what the examiners require. In answers requiring the use of more than one word technical terms should be given in a correct biological context.

And finally


Don’t forget we are here to help.

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