Home » A Levels: Oxford College » ODL
  [ 0 Items    £0.00   ]  
Your Selection more
0 items
Most Popular
01. A Level in English Literature (Full AS+A2)
02. A Level in Biology (Full AS+A2)
03. A Level in Biology (AS) 8BI01
04. A Level in Mathematics (Full AS+A2)
05. A Level in Ancient History (Full AS+A2)
06. A level in Business Studies (AS) 1131
07. A level in Business Studies (A2) 2131
08. A level in Economics (AS) 8EC01
09. A Level in Environmental Science (Full AS+A2) 2440
10. A level in Law (Full AS+A2) 2160
A Level in Biology (Full AS+A2) [ODL] £295.00

AS Biology


Welcome to the Biology AS course.

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 Edexcel but you need to register with them first, and there will 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.

The web site is: www.edexcel.org.uk

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
AO2 Application of knowledge and understanding of
AO3 science and of How Science Works
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


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


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


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.


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


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!

Entry Requirements

Basic English reading and writing skills, as full tutor support is given.

Study Hours

Approximately 300 hours.


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

What's Included

Learning documentation, Online Resources and Tutor support for 2 years.

Course Fee

Full A Level (AS & A2) £295.00
AS Level Only £195.00
A2 Level Only £195.00 (Enrolments taken from Summer 2009)

Further Information

Courses in paper/file format are still available at an additional fee of £45. This service is only available to those students studying within the United Kingdom. All students outside the United Kingdom will receive the online format.

Windows: Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista - Acrobat Reader 8.0 and above
Macintosh: Mac OS X, Mac OS 9.2 - Acrobat Reader 8.0 and above

As an A Level student you will have access to our online 'Common Room', where you are able to receive the latest course updates, extra materials and information. You will also be able to take part in the student chat room and forums as part of our online student community.

Once enrolled, your username, password and personal Oxford College Student number will be emailed to you within 5 working days, which will give you access to your course materials via the ‘Common Room’.

The full A Level will be a 2 year course, AS Exams to be taken in 2009 and A2 in 2010. Due to Examination Board restrictions, there is no flexibility to complete this course any sooner.

Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.


Available Options:
Format selected::

Easy Payment Scheme

Distance Learning | Home Learning | Home Study Courses | GCSE Courses | A Level Courses