Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an internal assessment (coursework) component that counts towards the final grade?

Yes, for both AS and A2 qualifications there is a teacher-assessed practical component. The focus is on carrying out experiments and recording observations and/or drawing conclusions. Evaluation and detailed analysis are assessed in an external examination.

How does A2 differ from AS?

As well as the difference in content, A2 papers are longer and carry more marks. The weighting of the three assessment objectives (AOs) is slightly different for the A2 papers. The A2 units include some questions assessing synoptic material, encouraging students to develop their understanding of the subject as a whole. The A2 assessment units also provide opportunities to demonstrate higher order thinking skills. (See sections 4.5–4.6 of the specification for further details.)

Are the AS and A2 units equally weighted for the final qualification?

No, the AS units together contribute 40 percent of the overall A level qualification and the A2 units together contribute 60 percent.

Are there any prerequisites for the course?

The AS course content builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills developed in GCSE Biology and the biology aspects of GCSE Double Award Science. Students do not need to have reached a particular level of attainment before beginning to study this specification. Knowledge, understanding and skills developed in GCSE Mathematics are also relevant.

Can candidates take re-sits?

Candidates can re-sit individual AS and A2 units once and count the better result for each unit towards an AS or A level qualification.

CCEA Curriculum Monitoring Programme 2018-19