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Biology A level

What will I study in Biology A level?

The AQA exam board for A level Biology has produced an interesting, stimulating and relevant course that opens pupil’s minds to the wonders and intricacies of how living organisms survive and function. Biology is fundamentally an experimental subject and there are numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality, and to equip pupils with the essential practical skills they need. There is no coursework but practical skills and understanding will be assessed in the final exam and pupils will need to complete the required practicals to receive their certificate of competency.

Entry requirements

To be eligible for this course pupils will need to have, in addition to the requirements set by the School for entry to the Sixth Form, a minimum of two grade 7s in Science at GCSE. It will be advantageous to have studied triple Science and pupils will be accepted onto this course if they have achieved a grade 7 for Biology overall and passed the other two Sciences with a 6 grade or above. Pupils will also need to have passed Mathematics with a grade 6 as there is a high level of mathematical skill required.

Units of study

  • Unit 1: Biological molecules (in Year 12)
  • Unit 2: Cells (in Year 12)
  • Unit 3: Organisms exchange substances with their environment (in Year 12)
  • Unit 4: Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms (in Year 12)
  • Unit 5: Energy transfers in and between organisms (in Year 13)
  • Unit 6: Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments (in Year 13) Unit 7: Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems (in Year 13) Unit 8: The control of gene expression (in Year 13)

Assessment

A level Biology is examined through three exams which are taken at the end of Year 13. Each exam is 2 hours long. The practical component is examined through questions in each of these exams.

Where could it lead?

A level Biology is also a useful stepping stone to future study in any Biological Science degree courses such as Botany, Zoology, Genetics, Microbiology, Sports and Exercise Science, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Psychology. A level Biology allows further study in courses such as Natural Sciences and Medicine at university.