The Nature of the Course
The course has eight general topic areas. Topics 1-4 are taught in Year 12 and topics 5-8 are taught in Year 13. There is no coursework element, but practical skills are assessed in all the written papers. There are also required practical’s that must be carried out in order to pass the practical endorsement qualification.
The topic areas covered in the Biology A Level course are:
1. Biological molecules
3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
5. Energy transfer 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
There will be a compulsory field course in Year 12 that will cost in the order of £150. The purpose of the field course is to deliver the sampling techniques and ecological concepts required through the study of a series of different habitats.
Both departments are very well resourced to provide excellent support that is relevant to the course and specification being studied. Extra sessions, often part of the Saturday activity programme, are also provided to provide help with interviews for Oxbridge, medicine and veterinary science and the Biology Olympiad.
Skills Demanded and Developed
It is expected that any student wishing to embark upon studying Biology A Level would have achieved at least a B grade in Biology GCSE or the Biology components of Additional Science at GCSE. Those who are not entering three separate sciences should seek advice from their teachers about their readiness for the demands of A Level.
Good motivation is essential at A Level, as is the ability to develop study skills and to work independently in a subject that is academically challenging. It will be necessary to question and discuss ideas to reinforce understanding. Students must take an active part in their learning and aim high.
Careers and Higher Education Implications
We are confident that many students will continue to find Biology a rewarding and stimulating choice at A Level. Every year students achieve well, and some go on to study Medicine, Veterinary Science or Biological Sciences. Others choose to study Biology with a variety of non-scientific A Levels and this does not prevent them from achieving good grades and enjoying the subject. Students must always take sound careers advice about combinations of subjects. Chemistry is sometimes required if you intend to study Biology at HE level.
Strong A-Level Combinations
Biology with Chemistry
Biology with Physics
Biology with Philosophy and Ethics
Biology with Psychology
Biology with Geography
Biology with History
Possible Further Study and Degree Courses
Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Sci, Bio-Chemistry