For AQA past papers and mark schemes, click here.
As amazing as biology is, and as broad and deep and fascinating as its reaches are, at the end of the day your grasp of knowledge is tested by exams. Exams strip the beauty of biology and leave it naked. Exams are limited by time and space in a restrictive way in which the beautiful biospheres of the universe aren’t.
Don’t let that take the focus away from news articles, breakthroughs and your own wandering imagination for too long. But every now and again, and certainly before exams, take time out to practise answering exam questions from past papers. Unfortunately, on top of knowing biology, you need to also get an idea of the language of exam questions, the answers you are expected to regurgitate, and often, an examiner’s idiolect which will surely metamorphose in time.
Practising with past papers and mark schemes is essential to understanding what the examiners expect of you, and getting accustomed to the type of questions that come up. There is a big range which includes:
short answers of one word or two, which generally test basic knowledge – grade E
comprehensions about case studies and experiments, which include tables, graphs and introductory information; all these must be used together to work out the correct answers – grades D to A
essays with synoptic content; these are used to assess your overall A Level Biology knowledge, ability to select relevant content from AS and A2, as well as your extra reading done outside of the specification; you can improve this by reading articles – grade A*
The process of diffusion and its importance inliving organisms.2.
The different ways in which organisms useATP (June 2002) OR ATP and its roles in livingorganisms.3.
The movement of substances within livingorganisms (Jan 2003) OR Transportmechanisms in living organisms.4.
Mutation and its consequences.5.
The properties of enzymes and theirimportance in living organisms OR The role of enzymes in living organisms.6.
The ways in which a mammal maintainsconstant conditions inside its body.7.
Negative feedback in living organisms (June2005)8.
Chemical coordination in organisms.9.
The production and elimination of metabolicwaste products in living organisms.10.
The biological importance of water (Jan 2003)OR The role of water in the lives of organisms.11.
The importance of proteins in livingorganisms.12.
How the structure of proteins is related totheir functions (Jan 2004).13.
The importance of lipids in living organisms.14.
The importance of carbohydrates in livingorganisms OR The structure and functions of carbohydrates (June 2003).15.
How the structure of cells is related to theirfunction (June 2002).16.
Natural selection and the effects of environmental change.17.
Gas exchange in animals and flowering plants.18.
The importance of molecular shape in livingorganisms.19.
The factors affecting the growth and size of populations.20.
Cycles in Biology (June 2003).21.
The causes of variation and its biologicalimportance (Jan 2004).22.
The process of osmosis and its importance toliving organisms (June 2004).23.
Energy transfers which take place inside livingorganisms (June 2004).24.
How microscopes have contributed to ourunderstanding of living organisms (Jan 2005).25.
Enzymes and their importance in plants andanimals (Jan 2005).26.
Mean temperatures are rising in many partsof the world. The rising temperatures mayresult in physiological and ecological effectson living organisms. Describe and explainthese effects. (June 2005)27.
The transfer of substances containing carbonbetween organisms and between organismsand the environment (June 2006).28.
Cells are easy to distinguish by their shape.How are the shapes of cells related to theirfunction? (June 2006)29.
Movements inside cells. (June 2007)30.
Transfers through ecosystems. (June 2007)31.
The part played by the movement of substances across cell membranes in thefunctioning of different organs and organssystems (June 2008).32.
The part played by enzymes in the functioningof different cells, tissues and organs (June2008)33.
Ions and Organisms (June 2009)34.
DNA and the transfer of information (June2009)35.
Carbon dioxide may affect organisms directlyor indirectly. Describe and explain theseeffects. (June 2010)36.
The causes of disease in humans (June 2010).37.
The role of carbon containing compounds inliving organisms.38.
The role of nitrogen containing compounds inliving organisms.39.
The roles of membranes in living organisms.40.
The role of DNA in living organisms.41.
Applications and implications of genetechnology.42.
Genetic variation and speciation.43.
Control of the internal environment in livingorganisms.44.
The movement of molecules and ions throughmembranes.45.
Roles of pigments in living organisms.46.
Light and life.47.
Support and movement in living organisms.48.
The chemical and biological control of insectpests.