Biology

Biology is an exciting and constantly changing discipline, where new developments in research are made almost on a daily basis.

This course allows you opportunities to discover many aspects of biology, from the simple molecules that allow life to exist, to the interdependence of living organisms across the planet.

Throughout the course we aim to develop your scientific methodology, awareness of the advances in technology and recognition of the value of biology in society.

Entry Requirements

2 x Grade 6 in GCSE Science OR 6-6 in GCSE Combined Science
Grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics*
*if student achieves Grade 5 in Maths they must study Core Maths

What will I study?

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Organisms, substances and environment
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • Organisms, response and internal/external environments
  • The control of gene expression

Specification Information

How will I be assessed?

There will be regular end of topic assessments in class or in the Study Centre which will focus on key areas so that clear feedback is given on a regular basis and students know how to improve.

There will be Year 12 and Year 13 mock exams, but the only externally graded exams happen at the end of Year 13. There is no coursework for A level Biology.

Throughout the course you will develop your practical skills and complete 12 required practicals to work towards a practical endorsement, which is additional to the A level qualification.

You can find more information here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/biology-7401-7402/a-level-practical-assessment

Paper 1

You will be assessed by a 2-hour written exam worth 91 marks/35% of your A Level.

There will be short and long answer questions (76 marks) and extended response questions (15 marks).

Sections 1-4 are assessed, including relevant practical skills.

Paper 2

You will be assessed by a 2-hour written exam worth 91 marks/35% of your A Level.

There will be short and long answer questions (76 marks) and extended response questions (15 marks).

Sections 5-8 are assessed, including relevant practical skills.

Paper 3

You will be assessed by a 2-hour written exam worth 78 marks/30% of your A Level.

There will be a mix of structured questions including practical techniques (38 marks), critical analysis of given experimental data (15 marks) and one essay from a choice of two titles (25 marks).

Sections 1-8 are assessed, including relevant practical skills.

What else can I get involved in?

For information on all our enrichment opportunities, please see our enrichment programme here.

Cranedale Residential Fieldcourse 

We go to Cranedale Residential centre (near Malton, York) for three days and two nights to study a variety of ecosystems and carry out several ecological surveys.

Whilst there, we complete one of the required practicals which counts towards the practical endorsement part of the A level course.

Further Education and Careers in Biology

Courses you could study at university include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Bio-Veterinary
  • Dentistry
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Paramedic Science
  • Radiography
  • Sports Science
  • Zoology

Careers which require a Biology qualification include:

  • Academic Researcher
  • Biotechnologist
  • Conservation and Habitat Management
  • Dentistry
  • Doctor
  • Ecologist
  • Marine Biologist
  • Midwifery
  • Microbiologist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Nature Conservation Officer
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research Scientist 
  • Science Communications Officer
  • Scientific Laboratory Technician
  • Teaching

Preparation Work

Please look at this work which will prepare you for your studies.

  1. The 4 research activities: You will produce an A4 page of Cornell style brief notes on each of the 4 topics. This involves reading and summarising skills.
  2. Pre-knowledge topics: you need to choose 4 tasks out of the 10 described to complete. It is up to you which tasks you do but these need to be done to a high standard and should be targeting areas you struggle with or need to develop understanding on. 4 is a minimum so if you want to do any more tasks, they will all help with the A level course content.
  3. A level baseline assessment (page 19 onwards). Please complete this assessment to the best of your ability. You should not use other resources to help you, this is to help your teachers get a basic understanding of any misconceptions you have and the score is irrelevant.