Head of Department – Mrs H Gardiner
Entry Requirements – Core and Additional Science – Grade 6/7 or Biology – Grade 7 Mathematics – Grade 6
Examination Board: AQA
Introduction/General Advice and Requirements
Biology is the study of life on every scale, from large ecosystems like rainforests to a single antibiotic-resistant bacterium, from the nervous system to DNA and biochemistry. The study of biology will allow you to discover how diverse the natural world really is.
To succeed in A-level Biology, you will need to have:
• Scientific ability – Students often say that they find A-level Biology very different from GCSE. It is a scientific course and contains compulsory elements of Chemistry and Maths.
• A willingness to work hard – Biology contains a wealth of fascinating detail that you will need to assimilate before you can attempt the analytical questions that come up on exam papers. A-level Biology students are given regular assignments to do each week to help them to meet this challenge.
• A real liking for science – A-level Biology involves students in a very wide range of activities. These include microscopy, laboratory-based practical investigations, fieldwork, calculations, statistical analysis, essay writing and the study of biochemistry as well as those activities encountered more regularly at GCSE. Would you enjoy getting involved in these activities?
• Ability in Mathematics and English – Because A-level Biology involves both essay writing and many calculations, we recommend a minimum of grade 6 in both English and Mathematics.
Course Content & Assessment
Our students will follow the A-level Biology course (7401/7402) which is divided into 8 units:
1. Biological molecules
3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
5. Energy transfers in and between organisms
6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
8. The control of gene expression
Paper Content, Duration of exam, Style of Questions, Percentage of A-level marks
1 Any content from topics 1-4 including relevant practical skills, 2 hours, A mixture of short & long questions an extended response question, 35%
2 Any content from topics 5–8 including relevant practical skills, 2 hours, A mixture of short & long questions & a comprehension question, 35%
3 Any content from topics 1–8 including relevant practical skills, 2 hours, Structured questions, critical analysis of experimental data & one essay, 30%
There are also 12 compulsory “required practicals” that must be completed over the two years in order to qualify for the Practical Endorsement.
An A level in Biology will allow you access to a tremendous range of opportunities in higher education and beyond.
University: Many of our students go on to university to study Biology related subjects like medicine, veterinary science, pharmacy, neuroscience, biochemistry, psychology, sports science, biotechnology or biomedical science.
Careers: Opportunities exist in many areas including the food industry, plant and animal breeding, the health and medical professions, sport, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, nature conservancy, medical engineering, research, education and politics. Biology is a stimulating, relevant and absorbing subject. During their A level course many students develop an enthusiasm for Biology which stays with them for the rest of their lives, whether or not they pursue a Biological career.