Biology A Level

Who is this suitable for?

A Level Biology is an exciting and intellectually stimulating course with a fantastic mix of different specialisms; botany, zoology, genetics, immunology, biochemistry, physiology and much more. If you are a talented biologist who wishes to study the subject to a far greater level of complexity and wish to pursue the sciences at higher education, then A Level Biology may be the subject for you.

Many reasons why you should study A Level Biology:
  • You are fascinated by the living world and want to understand deeper how living organisms function and interrelate.
  • You want to excel at planning experiments, collecting data, analysing experimental results and making conclusions.
  • You want to find out the benefits and risks that science brings and the ways in which society uses science to make decisions.
  • You want to get ‘hands on’ experience of ecology in one of our field trips.
  • You want to pursue a career in a Biology related subject.

What will I learn?

There are eight main units in A Level Biology.

In Year 12 you will be taught four units: 1) Biological molecules; 2) Cells; 3) Transport systems and 4) Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms. There will also be six compulsory experiments to carry out; your understanding of principles of these will be assessed in your exams.

In Year 13 you will study a further four units: 5) Energy transfers; 6) Organisms respond to change; 7) Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems and 8) The control of gene expression. Again, another six compulsory experiments to carry out; your understanding of principles of these will be assessed in your exams.

How will I be assessed?

End of Year 13:
  • Paper 1 (Units 1-4). 91 marks. 2 hrs. (35%)
  • Paper 2 (Units 5-8). 91 marks. 2 hrs. (35%)
  • Paper 3 (Units 1-8). 78 marks. 2hrs. (30%)

Each paper has a mixture of short and long answer questions. Paper 3 includes an essay from a choice of two titles.

Practical skills will also be assessed through the ‘Practical endorsement in biology’. This is not an exam. Instead, your teacher will assess whether or not you have adequately completed the skills required in 12 class practicals. This will then be reported as a pass or fail on your final A Level certificate but will not affect your grade.

What other subjects go with Biology?

A Level Biology primarily complements Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Geography.

Where could it lead me?

Successful Biology A Level students build up a commanding knowledge of complex systems and are skilled at applying the underlying principles to novel situations. Being such a broad topic, you’re bound to find a specific area of interest with further progression into many undergraduate degree courses including Medicine, Forensic Science, Physiotherapy, Veterinary medicine, Dentistry, Biochemistry, Nutrition, Ecology, Marine Biology, Sports Science, Food Science, Biotechnology, Biomedical Sciences, Optometry and so on.

A Level Biology is also regarded as a facilitating subject by the Russell Group of Universities such as Geography, Sociology, Economics and the Political Sciences.

A Level Biology opens the door to a fantastic range of interesting careers, especially for students wishing to pursue careers in research, medical and healthcare professions, environmental work and sports science.

“From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”Charles Darwin