M463
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Hey guys, can somebody just explain to me how the a-level reforms are going to affect biology starting from September 2015?

I don't understand whether I should be taking the AS in 2016 then the A-level in 2017 or doing both in 2017?
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Neuth
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(Original post by M463)
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From what I understand you'll be taking all exams at the end of the two years, but some colleges/schools are still giving you the option to take the "As" exam at the end of the first year (allowing students to still drop a subject with a qualification). If you do this, though, it won't count towards your "A2" as such - it's a standalone qualification.

Hope this helps
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M463
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(Original post by Neuth)
From what I understand you'll be taking all exams at the end of the two years, but some colleges/schools are still giving you the option to take the "As" exam at the end of the first year (allowing students to still drop a subject with a qualification). If you do this, though, it won't count towards your "A2" as such - it's a standalone qualification.

Hope this helps
So does this mean the AS is effectively redundant, and I may as well just take all of the exams in year 13? If I did the AS at the first year would I be repeating it again the second? I'm a private candidate so have to pay for my exams, I don't want to pay for the same exams twice!
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Neuth
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(Original post by M463)
So does this mean the AS is effectively redundant, and I may as well just take all of the exams in year 13? If I did the AS at the first year would I be repeating it again the second? I'm a private candidate so have to pay for my exams, I don't want to pay for the same exams twice!
Errr, I think so, yes - there's no point taking the As exam if you know you'll be studying the 'A2', as it won't count towards your 'A2' marks.

I'd ask someone like a teacher, or someone from the exam board, to make sure though! :yep:

Which exam board will you be using?
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Neuth
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
in our school we have to take the AS even if we are doing the A2
It's the same in my college for the newbies.

They have to take 4 subjects, sit the As exams, drop one, then carry on 3.

So they sit the 'As' exams, then all the exams at the end of the 2 years for the 'A2'.
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CoolCavy
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In my school we have to take the AS even if we are doing the A2
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CoolCavy
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(Original post by Neuth)
It's the same in my college for the newbies.

They have to take 4 subjects, sit the As exams, drop one, then carry on 3.

So they sit the 'As' exams, then all the exams at the end of the 2 years for the 'A2'.
yes! we are doing that
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Neuth
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(Original post by CoolCavy)
yes! we are doing that
It does work in your favour though - it means you get an extra qualification, and you get to drop a subject if you dislike it after the first year.
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(Original post by Neuth)
It does work in your favour though - it means you get an extra qualification, and you get to drop a subject if you dislike it after the first year.
hmm..true but i don't know whether to drop history or biology
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SuperHuman98
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In my 6th form we take the AS exams so they are used for predicted grades
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gdunne42
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(Original post by M463)
So does this mean the AS is effectively redundant, and I may as well just take all of the exams in year 13? If I did the AS at the first year would I be repeating it again the second? I'm a private candidate so have to pay for my exams, I don't want to pay for the same exams twice!
Whether or not you take the AS exams you will be tested on the AS knowledge in the full A level exams in year 13. You don't "repeat" the AS exams rather some of the questions will rely on what you learned in the first year. You could say the AS exam would be pointless except 1. It's a chance to take a set of exams in exam conditions and marked by an examiner, so a good test of how you are progressing in your private study 2. It gives you an interim qualification that can be used as evidence for grades you predict yourself for a uni application. There is no expensive practical exam to pay for so shouldn't cost too much to enter for the papers alone and well worth the investment.

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M463
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(Original post by gdunne42)
Whether or not you take the AS exams you will be tested on the AS knowledge in the full A level exams in year 13. You don't "repeat" the AS exams rather some of the questions will rely on what you learned in the first year. You could say the AS exam would be pointless except 1. It's a chance to take a set of exams in exam conditions and marked by an examiner, so a good test of how you are progressing in your private study 2. It gives you an interim qualification that can be used as evidence for grades you predict yourself for a uni application. There is no expensive practical to pay for so shouldn't cost too much to enter for the papers alone and well worth the investment.


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I have actually been told by the examination centre that for AQA Biology I have to do 6 practicals of AS, costing £300, then another 6 practicals as well as the AS ones for the A-Level, costing another £300. It's all so confusing!
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Neuth
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(Original post by M463)
I have actually been told by the examination centre that for AQA Biology I have to do 6 practicals of AS, costing £300, then another 6 practicals as well as the AS ones for the A-Level, costing another £300. It's all so confusing!
But they've scrapped coursework?

I'm sure you'd be able to get away with not doing those.

If it's anything like Edexcel, they will be 'core practicals', where you're expected to know the method and various other things to do with the practical, and could be asked questions on them in the exam paper.

You'd be able to find out about them online, I'm sure, if you didn't actually do the practicals yourself. I missed 4 of mine, for various reasons, and managed to find resources online which meant I'd not really missed out on much at all!

Hopefully you'll work something out :hugs:
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gdunne42
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(Original post by M463)
I have actually been told by the examination centre that for AQA Biology I have to do 6 practicals of AS, costing £300, then another 6 practicals as well as the AS ones for the A-Level, costing another £300. It's all so confusing!
Doing practical activity is of course an important part of learning a science A level.

The endorsement of practical skills, where the centre formally tests you on performing a practical, is only done at full A level. If you are doing full A level then you will potentially be tested on any of the AS and full A level skills. Note this is a pass/fail component and the results don't contribute to your grade.

Part of the AS exam is written with the expectation that certain practical activities have been completed but the assessment of what you learn is by exam only.
http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/scien...cal-assessment

So yes you will at some time have to research or do some practical activity to prepare for endorsement of practical skills but it's the same stuff and cost whether you do AS exams or you choose to do just the full A level at the end of year 13.

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M463
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(Original post by gdunne42)
Doing practical activity is of course an important part of learning a science A level.

The endorsement of practical skills, where the centre formally tests you on performing a practical, is only done at full A level. If you are doing full A level then you will potentially be tested on any of the AS and full A level skills. Note this is a pass/fail component and the results don't contribute to your grade.

Part of the AS exam is written with the expectation that certain practical activities have been completed but the assessment of what you learn is by exam only.
http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/scien...cal-assessment

So yes you will at some time have to research or do some practical activity to prepare for endorsement of practical skills but it's the same stuff and cost whether you do AS exams or you choose to do just the full A level at the end of year 13.

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I actually asked the centre whether I could just watch youtube videos for the practical aspect assessed only by written exam. I haven't heard back yet though. My textbook contains entire sections dedicated to practical too, so I think that should be fine, especially seeing as I would be carrying out those practicals anyway for the A2 section, so if I sat the AS at the same time A2 it wouldn't be a problem anyway. That said, what would I do about predicted grades for university?
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gdunne42
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(Original post by M463)
. That said, what would I do about predicted grades for university?
You in conjunction with who ever writes your reference will make them up.
Anyone applying as an independent candidate has to.


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