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Course - AS Biology - Distance

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Comments about Course - AS Biology - Online

  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements Basic English reading and writing skills, as full tutor support is given.
  • Academic Title
    AS/A2 - A level in Biology. Both AS and A2 level courses and examinations must be successfully completed to gain a full A level. Specification: Edexcel (AS) 8BI01 and Edexcel (A2) 9BI01
  • Course description
    Introduction

    This course is based on two approaches:

    • The concept-led approach which includes study of the laws, theories and
    models of biology, exploring the practical application of these in both
    knowledge and with reference to everyday life.

    • The context-led approach considers applications of biological knowledge and
    looks at the underpinning concepts.

    This particular course will offer both these approaches in combination, so students
    will benefit from a ‘mixed’ approach; this is more appropriate for distance learning
    students as there is a need for flexibility. The assessment criteria and structure is
    the same for both approaches. After each topic there will be a tutor marked
    assignment, this can be emailed to your tutor as an attachment in Word, Works or
    RTF format. You will be sent a welcome letter by your tutor, as soon as you make
    contact, which will outline assignment submission in more detail.

    There is a project element to the AS award which expects distance learning
    students to reflect on practical biological knowledge as well as theoretical. This
    project will be based upon a field visit but does not require students to have
    laboratory access.

    Your project will be marked and moderated by an independent coursework marker
    at the centre where you sit your examinations. There may be a fee for the marking.

    All distance learning students should download the Private Candidates Handbook
    form Edexcel’s website which gives you guidance on finding an examination centre
    and registering. Likewise, International students need to download the specific
    handbook for them, which will give alternative examination arrangements etc.

    Your tutor will give you various resource sites to visit and there is extra material on
    the student common room (ODL). In addition there are several supporting texts
    books for this course but again this depends on which approach you are following
    and which book best suits your individual needs:

    Biology for AS by C.J. Cleg; ISBN 978-0-340-96623-5
    This book is for the context-led approach and comes with a CD-ROM for which there
    is a single user licence and this gives you extensive animated diagrams, material
    and an electronic glossary.

    Edexcel AS Biology (Student’s Book) ISBN 978-1-4058-9632-0
    This is for the concept-based approach and again has an accompanying CD-ROM
    which allows you to access additional material.

    The whole course is assessment objectives based and combines a number of
    ‘learning outcome’ expectations. The assessment objective weightings for the AS
    award are as follows:

    AO1
    Knowledge and understanding of science and of
    How Science Works
    30-34%
    AO2
    Application of knowledge and understanding of
    AO3 science and of How Science Works
    34-40%
    AO3 How Science Works 28%
    Total 100%

    The Units
    Unit 1: Lifestyle, Transport, Genes and Health
    Unit code 6B101
    This unit carries 40% of the total AS marks and 20% of the total GCE marks
    The unit is externally assessed.

    Availability: January and June

    Content summary
    • 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

    Assessment
    This unit is assessed by means of a written examination paper which lasts 1 hour
    and 15 minutes:

    • Objective questions
    • Structured questions
    • Short answer questions
    • How Science Works
    • Practical-related questions

    Unit 2: Development, Plants and the Environment

    Unit code 6B1202

    This unit carries 40% of the total AS marks and 20% of the total GCE marks

    The unit is externally assessed Availability: January and June

    Content summary
    • Cell structure and ultra structure 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

    Assessment


    This unit is assessed by means of a written examination paper which lasts 1 hour
    and 15 minutes:

    • Objective questions
    • Structured questions
    • Short answer questions
    • How Science Works
    • Practical-related questions

    Unit 3: Practical Biology and Research Skills Unit code 6B103

    This unit is worth up to 20% of the total AS marks and 10% of the total GCE marks

    The unit is externally assessed

    Availability: June

    Summary

    You will write a report of between 1500 and 2000 words which will be either a
    record of a visit to a site of biological interest, or a report of research into a
    biological topic. Your practical skills knowledge will be assessed within this unit but for distance learning students this will not be hands-on.

    Assessment


    The report will be marked and moderated by Edexcel and the ‘practical knowledge
    element will be authenticated by your tutor.

    The full specification can be viewed and downloaded from the Edexcel website.

    How Science Works

    You may have noticed that this phrase comes up in assessment and objective
    criteria. This builds on from Key Stage 4 science and is related to the following:
    • The use of theories and models, ideas and clarifications
    • The ability to use knowledge and understanding to address scientific
    problems
    • The ability to use appropriate methodology and ICT to answer scientific
    questions
    • Practical knowledge and risk assessment
    • Analysis and interpretive skills
    • Evaluation skills
    • Be able to communicate information and ideas using appropriate approach
    and terminology

    Summary


    The introduction has covered the basic course content and assessment criteria.

    Further information can be obtained through Edexcel.

    The final assessment criteria and structure is the same regardless of which
    approach you choose.

    Your tutor will support you with your project formulation and give you guidance
    with appropriate topics and ideas.

    Predicted grades can only be given upon sufficient assignment submissions, and
    students are encouraged to complete all assignments as they provide valuable
    revision resources for written examinations and ensure that all topics have been
    covered.

    Hopefully you will enjoy the course and achieve a successful outcome!

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