KS5 Biology

At this level students will study many areas of Biology in detail and be working towards the three exams at the end of year 13. In addition to the grade that the students receive at the end of the course, they will also receive a “pass” or “fail” for their practical work throughout the two years.

Year 12

Term 1 – Students study 3.1, where they learn about Biological molecules such as carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. They also learn about the structure and function of both DNA and RNA. In addition to this, they also study 3.2, where they learn about cells, their structure, movement of substances in and out of cells and the immune system. The students will cover at least three required practicals this term.

Term 2 – Students study 3.3, where they learn about how Organisms exchange substances with their environment. This includes studying how gas exchange occurs in plants and animals, detail on gas exchange in humans and movement of substances in plants and animals. In addition to this, they also study 3.4, where they learn about genes and how they code for the production of proteins within organisms, the synthesis of these proteins, the effects of mutations, cell division and diversity in species and communities. The students will cover at least three required practicals this term.

Term 3 – Students will sit and end-of year exam of a standard similar to an AS. They will use this time to prepare for this exam and also move on to units from year 13, such as ecology field techniques, photosynthesis and respiration. There will be opportunities in this term for students to catch up with any required practicals that they may have missed and we also run our field course to Tynny Felin during this term.

Year 13

The students will learn four new units this year.

Term 1 – In this term they will learn about photosynthesis and respiration in detail in unit 3.5. In 3.6 they will learn about how organisms respond to their environment. During this term they will also complete at least three of the required practicals. At this stage, we expect students to be developing excellent practical skills as they work towards being awarded their practical competency.

Term 2 – In this term the students learn about genetics and populations in unit 3.7 and about the control of gene expression in unit 3.8. The students will complete the remaining three required practicals this term and will work on any areas of their practical skills that still need to be developed before a “pass” can be awarded for this section of the course. Exam preparation and technique will feature more prominently this term

Term 3 – This term focus on developing exam technique through revision of topics and past paper question practise. Any students that still need to develop practical skills can work on these during this term. The students will sit three exams at the end of the course.


Homework is usually set using homework booklets which feature past paper questions. Whenever possible, the questions will focus on prior learning and offer the students regular practise with past paper questions, thus developing their exam technique.

Useful information

The AQA website features most of the past papers, and mark schemes from recent years. Students who use this resource wisely are usually very successful in exams.

5 ways to help my son/ daughter

  • Ensure that they complete their homework
  • Ensure that they know when assessments are taking place and are doing the necessary revision for them
  • Ensure that they use their PLCs (personal learning checklists) in order to self-check what they have covered in the specification
  • Ensure that they use their PLCs when revising
  • Ensure that they are using the AQA website to download, and complete, as many past papers as possible