A2 BIOLOGY ESSAYS – The Synoptic Essay
The essay titles will be very general and students are expected to draw on relevant information from the complete specification to illustrate their understanding of general principles. They may wish to include detailed knowledge of topics from any of the AS and A2 units. They may also gain credit for including material which stems from wider reading and reflects greater depth of knowledge.
The choice of material to include lies entirely with the student. How Science Works is an integral part of the specification and, while not being specifically tested in the essay, will certainly gain credit if relevant.
The maximum number of marks that can be awarded is:
Breadth of knowledge
Quality of Written Communication
This means that the examiner is looking for; evidence of knowledge and understanding in keeping with an A level course of study, selection of material relevant to the title, and drawn from different areas of the specification, the ability to present an argument coherently and logically, using appropriate biological language.
Here is a list of essays that have been set by AQA in the past. The ones highlighted in BOLD are the essay titles more akin to the new specification.
How ATP is produced and used in living organisms.
Mutation and its consequences.
The adaptations of organisms that help them survive extreme conditions. Nitrogenous excretion and water control in animals.
How nucleic acids are suited to their functions in living organisms. The interactions between organisms of the same and different species. How a mammal is able to see.
The causes and nature of the variation on which selection depends. How nitrogen in mammalian muscle may become nitrogen in an amino acid in a plant. How the ultrastructure of different cells is related to their functions. The properties and...
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