International AS and A-level Biology (9610)

A-level Biology

Harness your students' interest in the world of living things.

Thanks to relevant, up-to-date and motivating content, this International AS and A-level Biology specification gives students an excellent springboard to higher level study, allowing them to demonstrate the skills required for university study of subjects such as Biology, Medicine or Dentistry.

  • The four units each explore an overarching topic such as diversity or disease. These topics allow students to see links between concepts and bring the subject to life.
  • Students must carry out ten practical activities, these include investigations into enzymes and photosynthesis as well as using equipment such as microscopes and potometers.
  • Practical activities are flexible around local access to equipment and materials, allowing each school to choose resources that best suit their circumstances. Practical knowledge is assessed through the main exam papers.
  • Our papers are carefully designed to avoid cultural or linguistic bias and include a range of question styles, allowing students to demonstrate scientific skills, logical thinking and depth of knowledge. Learn more about our approach to Fair Assessment.

International AS and A-level Biology (9610)

Unit 1: The diversity of living organisms (AS)

Unit 2: Biological systems and disease (AS)

Unit 3: Populations and genes (A2)

Unit 4: Control (A2)

Unit 5: Synoptic paper (A2)

View the switching guide to see the differences between your old International AS/A-level Biology specification and the OxfordAQA specification (version updated November 2022).

OxfordAQA International AS/A-level Biology covers the following topics:

The diversity of living organisms
  • Biological molecules
  • Cells and cell structure
  • Biochemical reactions in cells are controlled by enzymes
  • Transport into and out of cells
  • Gas exchange and the transport of oxygen in living organisms
  • Living organisms vary
  • DNA, genes and chromosomes
  • Protein synthesis
  • Genetic diversity may arise by meiosis
  • Species and taxonomy
  • Biodiversity within a community
Biological systems and disease
  • The causes of disease: pathogens, lifestyle and genes
  • Digestion and absorption
  • Cholera
  • HIV as an example of a human disease caused by a virus
  • The defensive functions of mammalian blood
  • The circulation of blood and the structure of the mammalian heart
  • Heart disease may be associated with specific risk factors
  • Mass transport systems in plants
  • The role of aphids in spreading plant viruses
  • Cell division by binary fission and mitosis
  • Mutation and cancer
Populations and genes (A-level only)
  • The effect of biotic and abiotic factors on populations
  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration
  • Energy transfer through ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycles
  • Inheritance
  • Allele frequencies in populations
  • Evolution may lead to speciation
Control (A-level only)
  • Control systems involve stimulus and response
  • Receptors
  • Nerve impulses and synaptic transmission
  • Skeletal muscles as effectors
  • Control systems in plants
  • Homeostasis and negative feedback
  • Hormones and the control of blood glucose concentration
  • Control of heart rate
  • Regulation of transcription and translation
  • Recombinant DNA technology

OxfordAQA provides all the resources and advice you need to teach International AS and A-level Biology specification effectively.

We have too many International AS and A-level Biology resources to list here, so please visit our resource area for teachers to see them all, including:

  • Schemes of work to allow you to plan how to deliver the specification in a way that will best suit you and your students
  • Teaching guidance to outline clearly the scope of teaching and learning
  • Topic tests and mock exam analysers to allow you to track your students’ progress throughout the teaching year

These qualifications are modular. The full International A-level is intended to be taken over two years.

For full details of the assessments for International AS and International A-level, please see pages 9 and 10 of the specification.


  • Candidates may re-sit a unit any number of times.
  • The best result for each unit will count towards the final qualification.
  • Candidates who wish to repeat a qualification may do so by re-sitting one or more units.

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You must be an approved OxfordAQA centre to enter students for our exams. Make sure you become an OxfordAQA centre before you start teaching a course.

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Course specification
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