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A Level Environmental Studies [UKOL] 320.00

A Level Environmental Studies

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AQA  A Level Environmental Studies (1441/2441)

Testing Centres

Course Aims and Objectives
Students gain an understanding of the natural environment including biodiversity and natural resources, the processes that control and affect the environment, as well as threats posed to the environment. Students learn how processes interrelate within the environment and how they influence other environmental events. How human activities impact different aspects of the environment and approaches used to minimise impacts are explored. The key subjects covered in this course include; conservation, natural resources, global climate change, pollution, energy, human population impacts and sustainability.

Students are not required to submit internally assessed work, but are expected to carry out investigative activities appropriate to course unit content. Students should complete suitable laboratory-based and field-based assessed practical work, in order to develop and utilise practical skills. Assessments will include planning and implementation of investigations, data analysis and comprehension of environmental texts related to the investigation.

Prior Knowledge and skills
Candidates should have gained skills and knowledge from a GCSE Science/Additional Science course or equivalent, additionally, skills and knowledge from GCSE Geography are beneficial to candidates. The course builds from knowledge gained in GCSE Environmental Science, although its study is not essential to undertake the A Level course. Candidates need to have mathematical knowledge and competence and A-Level candidates should be familiar with using and interpreting selected statistical tests.

This course is only provided in English.

Course Content
AS Environmental Studies Course Contents
The course consists of 2 units: Unit 1 (ENVS1) The Living Environment and Unit 2 (ENVS2) The Physical Environment. Unit 1 introduces the subject of life biodiversity on Earth and the conditions needed to maintain it. The relationships between organisms and their environments, and issues related to how these affect conservation and management of land resources are investigated. The importance of conservation is explored, examining conservation methods used both internationally and within the UK. These subjects are covered in 4 main topics; Conditions for Life on Earth, Wildlife Conservation, Life Processes in the Biosphere and Land Resources. In practical work students gain skills in measuring biosphere features including diversity and ecological stability, population sizes as well as habitat assessment.

Unit 2 introduces the available physical resources essential to life on Earth, how humans utilise these resources and issues relating to resource over-exploitation. Additionally, the natural occurrence resources (atmospheric gases, water and minerals) and cycles involving these processes are explored. The uses, management and threats to these resources are also investigated, including global climate change, water demands and management as well as mineral exploitation. Three main topics are covered in this unit; The Atmosphere, The Hydrosphere and The Lithosphere. Practical work involves students gaining experience of soil analysis methods.

AS Examinations
Units 1 and 2 are examined for this award, both units have written exams and all questions are compulsory. The formats of the exam for each unit are as follows:
Unit 1 The Living Environment:

1 hour

Five short questions (45 marks)

One structured question (15 marks)

60 marks

40% of total AS marks

20% of total A level marks

Unit 2 The Physical Environment:
1 hours

Eight short questions (75 marks)

One structured question including extended prose (15 marks)

90 marks

60% of total AS marks

30% of total A level marks

The qualification gained from successful completion of this course is an AS Level in Environmental Studies

A2 Environmental Studies Course Contents

The course consists of two units: Unit 3 (ENVS3) Energy Resources and Environmental Pollution and Unit 4 (ENVS4) Biological Resources and Sustainability. Unit 3 consists of two main topics: Energy and Pollution. The Energy topic examines issues with energy supply and demand and possible solutions to these issues using available energy resources. The Pollution topic examines pollutant properties to explain why certain materials cause damage to the environment. Atmospheric, aquatic and terrestrial pollutants are also examined and strategies to minimise their releases, treat effluent and manage damage explored. Practical work includes measuring the effects of climate on renewable energy resources and measuring the effects of pollution in a range of situations.

Unit 4 explores human population growth and increased materialism in relation to natural resource demands and life support systems. Food production and forestry systems are examined, exploring factors limiting their productivity, environmental problems/issues these systems pose and methods to address these. Human lifestyle sustainability is also examined. These subjects are covered in 5 main topics; Human Populations, Food Production Systems, Aquatic Food Production Systems, Forestry and Sustainability. Practical skills gained from this unit include investigations into vegetation and erosion, microclimates and the effect of land use on biodiversity.

A2 Examinations

Units 3 and 4 are examined for this award, both units have written exams. The formats of the exam for each unit are as follows:
Unit 3 Energy Resources and Environmental Pollution:

1 hours

Seven compulsory short answer/structured/comprehension questions (45 marks)

One compulsory data analysis question (15 marks)

One essay from a choice of three titles (20 marks)

Includes synoptic assessment

80 marks      

25% of total A level marks

Unit 4 Biological Resources and Sustainability:
2 hours

Five compulsory short answer/structured/comprehension questions (45 marks)

One compulsory data analysis question (15 marks)

One essay from a choice of three titles (20 marks)

Includes synoptic assessment

80 marks

25% of total A level marks

The qualification gained from successful completion of this course is an A Level in Environmental Studies (both AS and A2 examinations must be completed for this qualification).

Suggested reading
Core Textbook and Additional Reading
The course core text is essential to support material within the course and is needed for students to fully understand biological concepts and terminology. The core text is:

AQA A Level Environmental Studies Student book by Richard Genn (2008) Published by Nelson Thornes ISBN-10: 1408513900 ISBN-13: 978-1408513903

Additional textbooks useful for revision of subjects covered in GCSE Science and Geography, that are relevant to this course may include:

AQA Science GCSE Science Students Book by Ann Fullick, Patrick Fullick, J Breithaupt, Lawrie Ryan (2006) Published by Nelson Thornes ISBN-10: 0748796347 ISBN-13: 978-0748796342

Understanding GCSE Geography: For AQA Specification A (Understanding GCSE Geography) by Ann Bowen and John Pallister (2006) Published by Heinemann Educational Publishers; 3Rev Ed edition ISBN-10: 0435351710 ISBN-13: 978-0435351717

Study Time
To complete a full A level it will take in the region of 200 study hours.

To take an A Level you should have a GCSE grade C or above, or the equivalent and preferably in your chosen subject

You will have access to tutor via email who will mark your work and guide you through the course to ensure you are ready for your examinations.

Examination Centres
The examination board can provide you with a list of examination centres but it is entirely your responsibility to find a centre which will accept you as an external candidate.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do your courses meet the latest syllabus changes?
A. yes, all our course materials meet any changes and will be updated free of charge if further changes are made.

Q. Why do I have to find a centre myself?
A. We have students all over the UK and Europe and it is impossible for us to arrange dates and times for individual students.

Q. What if I cannot find an examination centre in my home town?
A. If you wish to gain the qualification then be prepared to travel it is worth it!

Q. How much are exam fees?
A. These vary from centre to centre so please check with your local centre.

Q. Are the courses paper based or on-line?
A. All our courses are paper based and come in attractive sturdy folders.

Q. How do I contact my tutor?
A. Tutors are all working Teachers or Lecturers so contact is by email only.

Q. Why can I not take my exams when I have completed the course and why do I have to wait?
A. Exams are taken at the same times as schools and colleges and are not flexible.

Q. I want to take my exams but there are only a few months to study, is this possible?
A. Depending on the time of year, it is sometimes impossible to complete your studies in a short space of time as your work has to be marked and checked. More importantly the examination boards have cut off times which are not flexible. See our web site for further information.

Q. Will I receive UCAS points on completion of this course?
A. Yes all of our A Levels carry UCAS points. The number of points awarded will depend on the grade you achieve.

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