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Examination Board: AQA

What is the course about?

Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from micro-organisms to mammoths.

In Year 12 you will study:

There are four main topics in the first year and six practical assignments.
Unit 1: Biological molecules
Unit 2: Cells
Unit 3: Organisms exchange substances with their environment
Unit 4: Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

In Year 13 you will study:

Year two helps you build on the firm foundation from Year 12, and, like year one, has four academic topics plus six practical assignments.
Unit 5: Energy transfers in and between organisms
Unit 6: Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
Unit 7: Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
Unit 8: The control of gene expression

How is the course assessed?

Year 12
Two end-of-year written exams: 1 hour 30 minutes

Year 13 (A Level)
Paper 1 and Paper 2
Each testing any content from topics 1-4 and 5-8, including relevant practical skills
Written exams: 2 hours (91 marks – 35% of A Level)

Paper 3
Testing any content from topics 1-8, including relevant practical skills
Written exam: 2 hours (78 marks – 30% of A Level)

What skills will I need and develop in this course?

The biology A Level course helps students develop a number of skills:

  • How to collect data and evaluate it.
  • How to investigate facts and use deduction.
  • How to communicate your point of view effectively.
  • How to take responsibility for your own learning.

Subject combination advice

Students who take biology often also study from a wide range of subjects, including psychology, sociology, PE, chemistry, physics, geography, languages and the arts.

What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

Biology is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and clinical professions such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, nursing, zoology, marine biology or forensic science.

What are the formal entry requirements?

Biology GCSE minimum Grade 6, combined science GCSE minimum Grade 7.

What activities enrich this subject?

Attending Biology in Action lectures, an ecology field trip, keeping abreast of the news and topical TV articles and programmes dealing with current biological issues.

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