1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Best A Level Biology exam board?

Discussion in 'Science' started by carolynrhiannon, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. carolynrhiannon

    carolynrhiannon New commenter

    We teach International A level Edexcel and really don't like the course, it is very vague and we don't feel it prepares students particularly well for University - some important subjects are glossed over whilst others are focused on in detail I have never experienced before. The unit structure also does not make much sense especially when sharing with another teacher. We are looking to change to a more traditionally structured course - our students like to have a clear syllabus and we want to teach more human Biology topics.
    Any recommendations? What do people think about CIE IAL?
    Many thanks in advance!
  2. rehaank

    rehaank Occasional commenter

    AQA seems to be the go-to for a majority of centres. But if you want weird (and challenging) exams with shockingly low grade boundaries and very strict marking pick them!!

    In terms of subject content, AQA offers a nice breadth and depth, starting with basic biological molecules and building up to organs and organ systems at AS and then more detailed topics in A Level such as neurones, kidneys, DNA and gene expression.

    OCR also do similar topics but they have some other good topics such as the TSA cycle and plant defences against bacteria. Their exams are also much easier compared to AQA.
    carolynrhiannon and treeickle like this.
  3. treeickle

    treeickle New commenter

    I tutor in all three, and have taught all three. I'd put Edexcel firmly at the bottom of the pile, it was by far and away the weirdest to teach and the insistence on contextualising everything made appllication too hard for the students.

    I like OCR next, the exams are easier than AQA, there's no final essay question- this intimidates students who are uncertain of themselves or don't do an essay subject along side it. If your cohort is more biology, psychology and sociology AQA might fit, if it's biology, maths and chemistry, OCR would work better. The multiple choices are foxy though.

    OCR has much extended some topics (communicable disease, photosynthesis is more detailed) but completely bypasses epigenetics and RNAi.
    carolynrhiannon likes this.
  4. carolynrhiannon

    carolynrhiannon New commenter

    Thanks! OCR sounds good, Nd I have taught that course before but we are an international school and only accredited for Edexcel and CIE. Has anyone Amy experience of CIE? Thanks!
  5. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    One bit of exam advice for you: answer the question set, not the question you would like to answer.
    msuxg likes this.

Share This Page