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International AS-level Courses

Biology AS-level & IAS

Biology AS-level & IAS

Biology is the study of life, encompassing ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, botany, zoology & anatomy. Biologists study the natural world, understanding how all living things including humans, animals and plants function and how they interact with the world around them.

Pearson-Edexcel International AS-Level in Biology Qualification (XBI11)

Biology is the study of life, encompassing ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, botany, zoology & anatomy. Biologists study the natural world, understanding how all living things including humans, animals and plants function and how they interact with the world around them. Moreover, the AS-level in Biology course includes aspects of science that are relevant to everyday life, therefore, studying biology helps learners develop lifelong skills of scientific enquiry especially when practicing or discussing health and care issues.
Studying biology is an essential choice if you plan to go on to study medicine, dentistry, pharmaceuticals, nursing, physiotherapy, biomedical sciences biochemistry, Environmental science, Zoology or Oceanography, then studying Biology at A Level is a vital first step.
Studying the International AS-level curriculum in biology is an appropriate qualification for distance learning in terms of teaching and receiving education and taking the formal examinations. Once you have completed your course, you will have prepared yourself to attend an external formal examinations in either of the British Council or one of the Pearson-Edexcel approved examination centers in your country of residence.

Accreditation and Course Code

The course prepares you to sit for Pearson-Edexcel examination in the International AS-level in Biology in any Pearson-Edexcel approved examination center in the UK, or if you are an overseas student then you can either sit for the formal exam of this course in any of Pearson-Edexcel approved exam centers in your country of residence or with the nearest British Council branch to you. The full name of the qualifications is:

(PEARSON-EDEXCEL International Advanced Subsidiary in Biology (XBI11

Entry Requirements

Academic requirement: We recommend for candidates planning to join this course to have a minimum prerequisite including Any of the below:

  • Have passed successfully your IGCSE in biology
  • Or have passed successfully the IGCSE in Science Double Award
  • Or have passed successfully grade 10 school level in your country. In this case, if English was not the medium of instruction of the biology books you studied from then you would need to study some introductory courses including the below preparation courses to bring you up to the acceptable basic technical English level with the physics  and also the essential mathematics skills:
    • Short preparation course in physics (free of charge)
    • Short course in mathematics for science (free of charge)

The two preparation courses are provided free of charge for students enroll in this course, each of the two preparation courses takes around one month or 40 hours of studying considering studying 10 hours per week in average.

English language requirement : If your first language is English, then you may skip this section. But if your first language is Not English then check the below to know the English language the requirements:

  • If you have studied and passed successfully IGCSE in English As A Second Language (ESL) then you have met with our English language requirements and you can start immediately with our AS-level courses
  • Or if you studied and passed successfully at least 3 IGCSE subjects
  • Or if you have any suitable English language qualification or test that is equivalent to IELTS band 5 or Cambridge A2-Key (KET) qualification.

If you don’t have any of the above 3 prerequisites options and you wish to enrol in our A-International A-level courses then you are required to take our free online English proficiency test (EPT) in order to assess if you can join our IGCSE courses immediately or would require to take some English language courses for preparation first. Upon finishing your EPT test you will immediate have a feedback on your English language skills and which level it is equivalent to, just follow the on-screen instructions to the end. To take the English proficiency test please click here.
If your English language skills do not qualify you to start immediately, then you can still enrol in our A-level courses, that will entitle you to join our English language preparation courses from any English level that you have presently up to the Elementary level 3B  free of charge provided you have already enrolled in 3 International A-level subjects.


The International AS-level biology provides progression to International A2-levels in biology. Alternatively, for students who are planning to study something not related to biology at university level, they can still benefit from achieving this qualification as it will add a great value to their university application along with other International A-levels qualifications. While if the students are planning to apply for university foundation year then the International AS-level can replace one of the 5 IGCSE subjects admission requirements with better consideration by universities since the International AS-level is higher than International GCSE. The two alternative routes can be tabulated follows:

University level applying for

Standard Qualifications Needed for Universities Admission 

Better Alternative Entry Requirements to Universities

Direct entry to university foundation year

5 IGCSE Subjects

With any International AS-level qualification replaces any of the 5 IGCSE subjects, student can boost their chances of acceptance by universities

Direct entry to the first-year university level

3 International A-level Subjects

Adding one International AS-level or more to 3 full International A-levels qualifications from different subject will increase the student’s chances to get accepted by the best British universities

Course Content

The course is designed to prepare students for the Pearson-Edexcel examination in the International AS-level qualification in biology, course code XBI11. Full details of the specification can be obtained from Pearson-Edexcel's website by clicking here.

Topics you will learn in your International AS-level qualification in biology course including:

Unit 1: Lifestyle, Transport, Genes and Health:

Topic 1: Lifestyle, Health and Risk

1-Transport Around the Body
2-The Heart and Health
3-Food and Health
4-The Risk of Developing Cardiovascular Disease

Topic 2: Gens and Health
1-Nucleic Acids -The Molecules of Life
2-The Basics of Genetics
3-Transport Across Membrane
4-In-depth Study of a Genetic Disease

Unit 2: Lifestyle, Transport, Genes and Health:

Topic 3: The Voice of the Genome
1-Animal Cells and Asexual Reproduction
2-Sexual Reproduction and Cell Specialisation
3-Stem Cells and Beyond
4-Expressing the Genome

Topic 4: Biodiversity and Natural Resources
1-Plant Structure
2-Plants as Natural Resources
3-Species and Evolution
4-The Importance of Biodiversity

What Sudents Age We Accept to The International AS-Level

 The minimum student’s age we accept to our courses is 13 years and there are no age restrictions above that. Please note that most of the British universities accept students from any age including mature students as long as they can meet up with admission requirements hence taking mature students of any age with no restriction is possible with the British universities which is unlike most of the universities outside the UK who have age restrictions.

When Can You enroll in This Course

In the beginning of each month we have a new student intake but to ensure we have an exceptional service that can meet every ambition; we have made all our courses available for enrolment at any time of the year, but the formal start-off of any of the courses begins usually in the first of the following month of that you have enrolled in. That means you will have immediate access to the course materials where you can read the study guide, starter files and also can have a go with the study materials like watching the tutorial videos and eBooks till you get contacted in the beginning of the next month directly by one of our dedicated tutor who will explain to you the whole process. 

Duration of the Course and Study Period for International AS-level

The duration of any of our AS-level or A2-level courses is 12 months, however, student has the flexibility to finish it earlier. Each International AS-level or A2-level, each course would need approximately 250-study hours for each course; hence you may estimate the time needed for completing your course as below:

  • For 12 months study plan: you would need 6 hours a week per 1 subject.
  • For 9 months study plan: you would need about 8 hours a week per 1 subject.

For each of the cases above we have allowed for 6 weeks revision period before the exam which we strongly recommend in order to revise and practice past exams papers.
Other factors to be taken into considerations when thinking of the duration needed to complete your course are things such as the number of subjects you study concurrently, whether you are employed or fully dedicated to studying the courses, your initial English language skills in reading and writing and other life commitments.


The best way to develop practical and investigative skills is achieved through experimental activities. This course contains a number of experiments you can carry out either by using our virtual experiment or by practicing with our digital interactivities resources to help you grasping specific concepts taught across the syllabus. The virtual labs and experiments will be perfect tools to develop your experimental skills.
Please remember that there are some practical components in the content of the specifications, which students need to describe where the knowledge of this practical part and the ability to interpret the resulting data, is required for the examinations. Our virtual labs and experiments interactivities would be of a great help to you with your practical-based components in the formal exams which is a written test (No laboratory access is required in the exam for neither full-time nor distance learners). We assure our students to have a decent amount of digital interactivities and experiments resources that cannot be found in any other single school and all of this to ensure equipping your study with us with the best learning quality.

Awarding Body Meaning

In most of the world countries, the traditional formal qualifications are issued directly by country’s ministry of education, but this is different in the UK where in order for a qualification to be recognized it must be accredited through one of the United Kingdom awarding bodies that is authorised by regulated by any UK regulatory body/Department for Education.
Awarding bodies such as Pearson-Edexcel or Cambridge Assessment International are responsible for developing, implementing and organising all aspects of of the specifications and curriculum of every qualifications they offer and to monitor and maintain excellent quality to the qualifications and keep them relevant and contemporary. Add to that, the responsibility of these awarding bodies of issuing the formal examinations, marking the answers of the students’ exam and issuing students qualifications accordingly.
Our courses are designed to be to conform with the curriculums and examinations provided by Pearson-Edexcel. We also offer some subjects follows Cambridge qualification requirements. Pearson-Edexcel is one of UK main examination boards and is wholly owned by Pearson organization, the world's largest education publishing and technology Company. The company is specialised in a variety of academic qualifications including International A-levels and International GCSE’s. Pearson-Edexcel operates Internationally and awards over 1.5 million certificates to students around the world every year. To know more about Pearson-Edexcel visit their page by clicking here. The other awarding body is Cambridge International, the oldest awarding body with over 150 years of practical experience working with schools and governments worldwide and are wholly owned by a world-leading university, the University of Cambridge. Over 160 countries benefit from Cambridge International qualifications which recognised by universities and employers worldwide. To know more visit Cambridge International website by clicking here.
Another terms used interchangeable with “awarding body” but still mean the same are “examination body”, “examination board” and “examination council” hence no need to be confused since all refers to the same body.
If your course qualification is awarded by Pearson-Edexcel and you are in the UK, then you would need to be prepared to look for an approved exams center by Pearson-Edexcel nearby you. Approved exams centers are also available outside the UK in many countries, but you may also contact the British Council in your country of residence to find out if you can set for Pearson-Edexcel exams with them as a “Private Candidate”. When contacting the exam centers or the British Council make sure to indicate the exam code of the qualification you want to sit for.
Similarly, if the qualification of your course is awarded by Cambridge then you will follow the same steps described in the previous paragraph with Pearson-Edexcel.
There are thousands of schools across the UK and outside who deliver Pearson-Edexcel or Cambridge courses. Typically, schools arrange for the students exams and provide the venue for the students in its premises where they can sit for their exams but schools are not allowed to issue or mark the exams papers, rather schools receive the examination paper from the examination board and after the exam day the schools send the students answers-papers to the examination board to mark them and to issue the transcripts and qualifications.
As a distance learning student, you would be described as a “Private Candidate” by the approved examination centers or the British Council in your country, they will be like a coordinator between you and the examination board, such that they will provide you with the venue where you can sit for your formal exams then they will send your exams answers to the examiner board who ultimately will mark them and send the transcript of the result to the same place where you sit for the exams for you to collect.

Important Exam Information

It is very important for you to know that your formal exams are externally assessed, that means OBA School assessments within your study period has no credited marks towards your qualification and are called internal assessments. The only credited exams are obtained 100% from your formal exams in either the British Council or Pearson-Edexcel approved exam centre in your country of residence. Student usually sits for their exams when completes their study for the whole course.
Please note that finding an approved examination centers and registering yourself for exams is an easy process with either of the British Council or an approved examination centers. Kindly note that you will have to pay the examination fee to center as your subscriptions fees to OBA School don’t include any exams fee or any arrangement for your external exams. For more information about the British Council in your country visit their main website by clicking here and select your country from the dropdown menu to find the British Council website link relevant to your country of residence. Alternatively, you can find Pearson approved examination centre by clicking here.
Note that when you communicate with the British Council or with Pearson-Edexcel approved examination centre you would need to mention you are a “Private Candidate” which is explained in the next section.

Assessment Dates and When to Register for it

The formal exams will be held every January and June every year, that means two opportunities a year to sit for the exams hence if you are not ready in January then you can sit the exam in June. That gives you a great flexibility to schedule your study and to have ability to shorten or lengthen your study period without much compromising.  You would need to be careful about how you plan your study schedule so you have completed your course with at least one month before the exam day to use it for revision, accordingly, we recommend completing your course by mid of April.
Students should register for their examination at least six months prior to the exam day.  Usually the examiner board such as Pearson-Edexcel or Cambridge set their exams in January and June of every year. The exams timetable for January and July series for each year usually can be found on the British Council website, or alternatively, you may source for this information through simple Google search. Exams timetable is different from year to year and can be visited by clicking here.

A private Candidate Meaning

  A private candidate in the British education is a learner among any of the below categories:

1- Student who studies through distance learning.
2- Student who studies by themselves.
3- Students who taught privately by private teachers or parents. 
4- Students who would like to re-sit or re-take exams 
5- Students studying a course not offered by their own school or college. 

A private candidate is responsible for making appropriate arrangements to register with the British Council or the any approved examination center in their country of residence. For more information about the meaning of “Private Candidate” please visit the Pearson related page by clicking here or Cambridge International related page by clicking here. Alternatively, search on Google for the British Council definition of “Private Candidate” meaning.
Student who attends a full/part time course in school is not consider as private candidate since she/he will have the school arranging in their behalf for the exams. It is important that private candidate make these arrangements as early as possible from the exams date, we recommend six months earlier from the exam day.
Please note that Edexcel exams for any subject will be the same for either private or none private candidate since the exams take place in the same day across the world.

When Should I Arrange for My Exam?

Students should register for their examination at least six months prior to the exam day. You’d need to check with the British Council or any approved examination center by Pearson-Edexcel in your country of residence for the requirements for exam registration. Usually the examiner board such as Pearson-Edexcel or Cambridge set their exams in January and June of every year. The exams schedule for January and July series for each year usually can be found on the British Council website, or alternatively, you may source the information through simple Google search.

Language of Assessment

Assessment of this specification will be available in English only. Assessment materials will be published in English only and all work submitted for examination and moderation must be produced in English.

Examination Centres

It is known that everywhere in the word student studies full time at a school sits her/his exams in the same school, but due to the popularity and demand for the British qualifications many examination boards such as Pearson-Edexcel and Cambridge International have allowed private candidates such as distance learners to be able to sit for their exams from their country of residence without the need to come to the UK to take those exams, this was dealt with by appointing some organizations in each country chosen by the examination boards (Pearson-Edexcel or Cambridge International) in order provide the exams location to the students. There are two options for distance learner where they can register and sit for their exams in their country of residence:

Option-1: Pearson-Edexcel Approved Exam Centres

  • For Students in the UK click here.
  • For Student Outside the UK click here.

Option-2: British Council
Pearson-Edexcel and Cambridge work in a partnership with the British Council which allows students in many countries to be able to sit for their exams in the British Council as private candidates. To find more information about the British Council click here then choose your country from the dropdown menu. Please remember to inform them that you are a “Private Candidate” and would like to register for Pearson-Edexcel or Cambridge exams and provide them with exam name and code.

Grading meaning (A, B, C, D, E and U)

The grade is referred to symbolically as a letter that will be indicated in your qualification transcript and can be any from A to E for AS-level while it can be any grade from A* to E for any A2-level subject, where A* is the greatest grade can be achieved and the E is the lowest acheivement. Grading is easy to understand and can be explained such as saying if a student achieve in her/his final exam in one of the subjects say 80% or above then her/his grade will be A, and if the student achieve between 70% and 79% then the grade will be B, and so on, however, not all the subjects have the same mark-grade system, and not every year the the mark-grade for the same system is maintained the same. Some examples are explained are given in the end of this section.

The admission departments in the British schools and universities usually use the grading scale to evaluate a student performace at International GCSE and A-level and compare them with their admission requirements to determine if the student meets their admission conditions. For example. you may look into a university admission requirements and find that they require you to have AAB in International A-level, that means you need to have three qualifications in three different subjects at International A-level with grade “A” in two subjects and “B” in the third subject, for example you may read the admission criteria for one university such as AABB in International A-level in math, physics, chemistry and biology, so in order to interprete this requirement we firstly notice the university indicated 4 letters; “A”, “A”, “B” and “B” for which each refers to one subject at A-level, they also specify what are the conditional subjects, that means you need to have grade “A” in two of the four mentioned subjects since the “A” letter represented as “AA”, and similarly you would need to have achieved at least grade “B” in the other two subjects since letter “B” represented as “BB”. Moreover, if the university hasn’t specified which grade for which subject then it is assumed that it doesn’t matter in which subjects you achieve A or B.

Edexcel-Pearson issues every year something called “grade-boundary-mark” such as the sample shown in table below for the International AS-level in chemsitry for year 2017. The sample in the table provides information about how your grade will be calculated against the marks achieved for the chemistry exam in June 2017. It is crucial to understand that the grade-boundries values change from year to year based on the exams difficulties of that particular year. Let’s together interprete the values in the grade-boundary in the table blow for further clarification:

  • The full marks for this exam paper is 80 marks, if a student achieve 61 or more from 80 marks then the student will receive grade “A” which is the highest grade and indicates an outstanding marks.
  • If a student achieve between 54 to 60 marks, the student will receive grade B.
  • If a student achieve between 47 to 53, the student wil receive C.
  • And in similar way you would be able to interprete the remaining grades including D, E, and U. However, in this sample table E indicated a failing grade for who achieved equal to or below 34 marks from 80 is considered E in this sample table a failed grade. Student gets grade “U” if fails the exam or has not attended it.

How You Will Learn?

 Upon enrolment you will be supplied with a comprehensive Study Guide that explains the primary matters of what you would need throughout your course, including an adjustable schedule that you can tailor and modify based on your other commitments and change in circumstances.
Your primary study place with OBA School will be our eLearning platform online, where all your course materials will be provided for you, where you will be able to communicate with your tutors and you colleagues students of the same course.
Our courses are available 24/7 online hence no matter where you live, you can learn with us!
Our courses are just as real as the full-time courses at a traditional school premises. There will be no paper pack to send to you by OBA to learn from that is because we at OBA do not believe studying from books in your own can be an effective way to learn for a distance learning student, rather we provide you with one of the best ways to learn from home through our online eLearning platform where you will find all your materials that include tutorial videos covers all of the curriculum lesson by lesson so you can watch your lessons and hear the explanation directly from the tutor as opposed to the old fashion of distance learning via silent reading IGCSE and A-level textbooks.

As a student with OBA School, you can benefit from the following services and advantages: 

1- 1- You will have all of the study materials 24/7 on our eLearning platform.
2- Every lesson from the curriculum is made available to you on a tutorial video format, you’ll have a full control, rewind and replay as many times as you like.
3- Animated simulations and interactive resources: These are stunning 2D and 3D animations, videos, imageries, voice-overs, texts and interactive activities and simulations available to you in our eLearning platform to ensure you acquire the new knowledge in easiest possible way through interaction and visualisation.
4- Lab and experiments for science-based courses: these resources include web-based learning activities for science subjects, in particular the biology and chemistry because these two subjects require gaining some lab skills and techniques in the curriculum. Again, OBA has gone extra mile by bringing to the doorsteps of its students the best virtual labs and experiments to ensure that they feel confident as any full-time student would feel in traditional schools./div>
5- For many of the courses you will have a digital copy of the books.
6- Ongoing internal exams and assignments similar to exams questions format. The goal of this is to continuously assess your progress and knowledge so you can identify your strong and week areas in the related course subject thus would allow you to work on improving your weak areas so by the time you sit for your exam you will be well prepared.
7- OBA will provide you with an adjustable study schedule in order for you to work at your own pace. Speeding up or slowing down by modifying your study schedule the way that suits you to meet up with your formal exam date accurately. 
8- You will have access to the student forum: it is a place in your course page online where you can address any question related to the course and discuss it with your students colleagues and tutors for discussion. Such forum is proven to be very helpful and beneficial tools for the students.
9- The content of the site will adapt to students’ requests and additional tutorials and examples will be added regularly based on students’ feedback and arising needs.
10- Top quality tuition guaranteed. All tutorials are designed and provided to you by qualified teachers.

We are so confident of our learning materials and we believe that the learning and supporting we offer to our students is equivalent to the traditional full-time school services if not more!

OBA Ongoing Internal Exams and Performance Assessment

With OBA you will have ongoing internal exams including end of chapter exams and self-mark assessments. These contain set of questions that are exam format which you would need to solve and submit for marking and feedback. Commitment to doing your internal exams with OBA is a key success as it will prepare you to a great extent for your formal exams as well as it will enable you and your tutor to measure your progress throughout the course. Please note that completing the course assignments will greatly increase your chances to achieve good marks.
Moreover, all marks you will achieve throughout the course will be stored in your grade table on the eLearning platform so you may refer to it whenever needed. These internal exams are provided to you to evaluate your progress and performance in order to help you throughout your course to keep eye on your performance and identify any weak area you have with the subject you’re studying and to prepare you for the final exam.
Please remember that any kind of internal exams you take with OBA School doesn’t count towards your final score. You will have one formal exam that will carry all your marks that you will see in your formal script and certificate that will be issued to you by the awarding body. This final exam is external i.e. you will sit for it in either of an approved examination center or the British Council.

Support and Communication

 As for your general inquiries and support, right from the onset you will be provided with a personal tutor who will support you throughout your course and be of reach in different ways to answer your inquiries.
While for your courses teaching support, you will get full support in several ways including the frequent virtual live-classes, emails, your course forum and chatting box, Skype or different type of chatting programs or phone calls. You will be given guidance in your study guide booklet on how approach any departments during your enrolment.

What I Need?

You will need a good internet connection, a good computer, a quality headset with built in microphone, study desk, chair, stationary and some notebooks, a quiet place with sufficient brightness to study from and most importantly you would need to create enough time to study your courses with an average of 5 hours a week for each IGCSE subject or each International A-level.

Enrollmeent and Payment Options

You can enrol online by making the following steps:  
Step One: you would need to go to OBA website to the course page you would like to enrol in and locate the section named as “Enrol Now”.
Step Two: Once you have selected your payment option to enrol you will be redirected to our PayPal payment page for you to select your payment method. You will then be asked to select whether you are a new or returning student, if you are new student you will be asked to fill out an enrolment form online, that would take less than ten minutes and it is done only once such that in the future if you would like to enrol in another course you won’t need to fill another form but instead when you will be asked to select if you are “a new student” or “a returning student” then select “a returning student” option which will take you directly to the payment page since the system now can recognises you.
Step Three: Once your payment is successful you will receive instantly a confirmation email with your account details, in addition to the “Study Guide” for your course.
Step four: Within 7 days (normally 48 hrs) a dedicated tutor will get in touch with you to introduce herself/ himself and initiate the first communication.

Alternatively, if you prefer to pay your course using bank transfer, then you can go to the online application page on our website by clicking here, fill it out and submit it online. After that within 2 business days one of our team will get in touch with you to provide you with the necessary steps and with OBA bank account. Once we receive the course fee into our bank account, we will email you your enrolment confirmation with your account details for direct entry to the courses you enrolled in and the “Study Guide” and shortly after that a dedicated tutor would get in touch with you to introduce her/himself to you and provide you with guidance and any support needed throughout your course.

Our Promise to You

Because at OBA School we want each and every one of our students to succeed in her/his studies, we would make you this promise; if for any reason you should fail your examination after you have completed all your internal exams and your mock exams with OBA, then we will provide you with an extension to your course and support at no extra charge until the next available examination comes up.

What Your Course Fees Covers

1- Sixteen-month enrolment for your International AS-Level. 
2- Access to OBA School online eLearning platform where you find your course tutorials and the materials resources.
3- Frequent pre-scheduled virtual live classes online.
4- Following up with you your internal exams, marking and feedback.
5- Responding to your inquiries and concern and providing you with personal tutor to full up with you your study progress and provides you with guidance on various essential matters.
6- An access to the student forum of each respective course you are enrolled in.

What your Course Fees Doesn’t Cover

Course fees do NOT include examinations or arrangement fees which required to sit for your formal exams and are paid for either the examination centre whether it is Pearson-Edexcel Examination Approved Centre or the British Council in your country of residence.

That's it!
Thank you and we wish you all the best of luck with your studies!