This NEW course is designed for all teachers who are teaching AQA Biology A Level. The aim of the course is to help teachers to fine-tune pupils’ performances so that they can achieve the highest grades.

The course is aimed at experienced teachers of AQA A level Biology who want to explore expert and high level teaching approaches in order to maximise outcomes for their students. Analysis of different types of questions will be used to identify where teachers can focus their efforts to ensure students gain the highest grades. The aim of the course is to go beyond the specification content to look at developing the skills students require to maximise exam performance. This will include teaching approaches and strategies for developing better conceptual understanding and higher order skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis.

The course will also highlight potential areas of weakness in pupils’ approaches and answers, and offer suggestions as to how to overcome these.


  • Increase awareness of what success looks like for the most able Biologists

  • Gain the latest evidence-informed practice that challenges A/A* students

  • Develop greater understanding of what examiners are looking for in Grade A/A* responses

  • Challenge your students with problem solving, modelling and questioning to stretch pupils’ thinking processes

  • Take away a range of innovative teaching ideas and resources to impact your pupils’ learning immediately

  • Deepen your understanding of assessment criteria and mark schemes

  • Bring back concrete strategies and ideas to share with other Biology teachers

  • Explore how to maximise success levels for your students in the examination

  • Improve understanding of how to move beyond GCSE-style answers to high-scoring A-Level ones

  • Learn how to develop resilience so that talented psychology students achieve their A/A* potential


London | Monday 22 November 2021

  • All teachers of AQA A Level Biology
  • Heads of Biology
  • Heads of Science
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

10.00 – 11.00am: Key A/A* skills: Mastery and Metacognition

  • Strategies to construct outstanding exam responses, looking at example A/A* exam responses

  • How to tackle the sticker exam questions and gain top marks

  • Creating room for success: Training students to ‘Mentally step back’ and  to develop ‘head space’ for clearer thinking under pressure

  • Transition from GCSE to A Level: what are the difficulties faced by the pupils who have achieved high grades at GCSE?

  • Supporting pupils with the increased content: how to make the most of the two years.

  • Teaching the language of biology to achieve A/A* – how to use the stem of questions and understand the command terms

11.00- 11.15am: Morning Break

11.15 – 12.00pm: Key A/A* teacher skills: Feedback, Practice, Student Expectations

  • Scaffolding as a key elements of high quality instruction, even the most able need to have clear structures.

  • Providing higher order skills practice and model responses for students. Showing A/A* students what top mark exam responses look like, how to develop their own answers.

  • Addressing key impact factors – ‘Teacher Credibility’ and ‘Student Expectations’ – research evidence suggests these are vital and I will share tips on how to address these.

12.00 – 1.00pm: Paper 1 and Paper 2: Maximising the Performance of All Students

  • The transition from GCSE to A Level making the big leap and making sense of terminology. What are the difficulties and how to tackle them?

  • Use familiar principles and concepts in building up a solid foundation for Yr 1 content for Paper 1

  • Evaluating new contexts that involve multiple steps in the argument when handling qualitative in AO2 for paper 1 and paper 2

  • Demonstrating the importance of apply scientific knowledge in AO3 questions in paper 2

1.00 – 2.00pm Lunch

2.00 – 2.45pm Tackling Successfully the 15 markers and 25 markers n Paper 3

  • Using effective observational skills – what other information and clues are provided?
  • How to support students in critically analysing the stem of the question, to extract information that provides clues to help answer the question
  • Sequencing the LOR answers – the importance of the relevance of student’s response
  • Developing students’ expertise in producing a top grade essay – a test of memory recall or understanding of content learnt and the ability to apply your knowledge?
  • Evaluating what is expected in the essay – identifing an underlying theme or idea in an essay title – it will be a ‘big idea’, not a minor topic.
  • Teaching strategies that show students how to demonstrate the theme or idea making the synoptic links

2.45 – 2.55pm: Afternoon Tea

2.55 – 3.40pmpm: Key curriculum insights for A/A*: Less is More strategies

  • Avoiding misconceptions by re-routing student expression

  • Use of ‘Threshold concepts’ and ‘Hinge questions’ – a way to challenge top end students and mid/lower end ability simultaneously

  • Decoding the mark schemes – what are the examiners looking for?

  • Focus on the extended response questions and essay: what does an A/A* candidate need to do.

  • How to deal with the large content in Biology A level – selectivity and re-cycling top tips for overlap key-studies that high end students can re-signpost across topics

3.40pm: plenary discussion and depart

Harjit Singh