Accessibility statement

Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology SNAB



Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology (SNAB) is an advanced level Biology course.

The course uses real-life contexts as a starting point to introduce relevant knowledge and understanding of biological principles. There is a focus on active learning using the multi media resources that accompany the course.

The awarding body for the course is Edexcel. The SNAB resources are published by Pearson Education.

Find out about the new 2015 SNAB Edexcel A specification and the new resources from Pearson Education.

About Us

About SNAB

The Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology Project is a GCE Advanced level Biology development funded by the Salters Insitute and the Nuffield Foundation.  The course was developed by the University of York Science Edcuation Group and the Nuffield Foundation in partnership with Edexcel and Pearson Education.

The Edexcel GCE Biology specification can be studied through either a context-led approach (SNAB) or a concept-led approach. The SNAB approach provides a course which students can relate to, the contexts help them understand why the concepts they are learning are important.  Follow the links below to find out more about the SNAB approach.  See this message from Edexcel about the context-led (SNAB) and the concept-led approaches. 

Contact Details

Contact details for the Project Office, Nuffield Foundation, Salters' Institute, Edexcel (Awarding body) and Pearson Education Ltd (Publishers) 






SNAB Resources

The SNAB materials for the context-led approach to Edexcel's GCE Biology specification are published by Pearson. The materials include:

  • AS and A2 Students' books
  • AS and A2 ActiveBook site licence CD-ROM
  • electronic resources on SNABonline 

SNABonline provides multimedia resources for AS and A2. Downloadable activity sheets for students are accompanied by teacher and technician notes. In addition to activities incorporating, among other things, practical work, debates, discussions, research and role plays, there are lots that include electronic resources: interactive tutorials, simulations, animations, spreadsheets, tests and an online glossary are all included. Support on biochemistry, maths, ICT, study skills, examination and coursework is also provided. These electronic resources support learning and encourage more independent work.

Suggested teaching schemes help in the planning and preparation for teachers and lecturers.



Different approaches to teaching and learning

The Edexcel GCE Biology specification provides two approaches to teaching and learning, the Salters-Nuffield Advanced Biology (SNAB) context-led approach and the concept-led (traditional) route. Both approaches cover exactly the same content. The SNAB resources published by Pearson support the context-led approach.

Common assessment

The assessment is common to both routes. You can download the specification from the Awarding Body's website. See our Guide to the Edexcel website. 

Six assessment units

There are four written papers taken under formal examination conditions, two at AS and two at A2. The remaining two units are coursework, one at AS and one at A2.

Written papers
AS coursework
A2 coursework


Frequently asked questions

Please click on a subject heading below which will take you to the revelvant section.  The section contains several FAQs related to that topic.

SNAB 2015

SNAB 2015

We are pleased to say that there will be a SNAB course/specification for first teaching from 2015.

What will this look like?

The subject criteria for A level were signed off by the DfE in February 2014 and they remain virtually unchanged in comparison to the current criteria. Three statements have been moved from A to AS (two of these statements were moved from AS to A2 for 2008!). One statement has been reworded: ‘Organisms usually consist of one or more cells’ becomes ‘The cell theory is a unifying concept in biology’. There is one new statement: ‘The genome is regulated by a number of factors’.

These changes with only mean minor modifications are required to the current SNAB. Although, we have taken the opportunity to make some slight adjustments either to update where the science has moved forward or to clarify statements where feedback indicated that this would be beneficial. All the resources are being revised in the light of the changes. As soon as the specification is finalized we will be able to provide a comparison document matching the new and old specification statements.

Maths in all new Biology specifications

The Smith Report which reviewed all A level subjects recommended minimum weightings for assessment of mathematical skills in science A level, with 10% for A level Biology at level 2 or above. This will impact all A level Biology courses. In SNAB these requirements will be incorporated into the resources to ensure that students have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills as they progress through the course.

Practical skills assessment

As you are probably aware the most significant change to all biology (and other science courses) will be the changes to assessment of practical skills. Assessed coursework will not contribute to the A level grade. All Awarding Organisations will have to incorporate ‘Core Practicals’ within their specifications with assessment of knowledge of ‘Working Scientifically’ within the written papers – as we already have within SNAB. In addition to this indirect assessment of practical skills which contributes to the A level grade there will be direct assessment of practical skills with an endorsement for this assessment reported alongside the A level grade. The details of how this will be assessed and reported have not been finalized. We are working to ensure that the method adopted continues to be effective in developing students’ skills in a way that is of value and does not have an assessment method that overburdens teachers. We will let you know as soon as more detail is available.

Edexcel have produced two very good pod casts, in which Damian Riddle explains the changes including the relationship between AS and the full A level. They provide a very good summary of the changes. You can find them on this page of the Edexcel website:


News archive

For previous news articles relating to SNAB.

Getting in touch:

UYSEG Project Office
Science Education Group
Alcuin College
University of York
York YO10 5DD

tel: +44 (0)1904 322601


Keeping in touch:

Join the SNAB-teachers email Google group

                                         new Salters' logo from November 2016