Biology

A-Level

Careers related to studying Biology:

If you choose to study Biology, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of the many key processes that underpin life on Earth. From cell biology to extinction, students will study a variety of topics and global issues that affect our everyday lives. As a result, Biology students can be found in more or less every industry, filling a variety of roles – from medicine to conservation, or forensic science to accountancy.

You could consider careers in: medicine, zoology, scientific research, teaching, microbiology, dentistry and many more.

Course content:

An A level Biology course allows you to develop a number of important skills. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate effective practical skills, including the collection and evaluation of experimental data. They will also gain experience in using ICT to research and communicate ideas on complex scientific concepts. Students will therefore work individually or in groups on a variety of different activities in lesson.

Entry requirements:

You must have achieved at least a grade B in Science at GCSE.

Subject specific events:

As part of the course you will get the opportunity to experience different aspects of Biology away from the classroom.

In recent years, students have travelled to Liverpool University and had the chance to carry out practical activities related to DNA and genetics and also gained hands-on experience of ecological fieldwork skills.

Methods of study:

There are five lessons per week which are divided between two subject specialists. Teaching groups tend to be between eight and sixteen in number, and the
course is taught through a range of teaching and learning strategies.

These strategies include group discussion (whole group, small group and pairs), practical skills, and research tasks. You will also prepare presentations (individual, paired or small group) and will report back on your findings.

Much of your work will be produced independently. However, there are frequent opportunities to share ideas either prior to, during or after written assignments. You should expect to complete approximately 5 hours of independent study outside of your lessons. This could include: reading, research, essay writing or other activities. In order for you to take full advantage of the course it is also recommended that you immerse yourself in the wider reading of any journals or texts that interest, inspire or intrigue you.

Methods of assessment:

AS level:

Two 90 minute exam papers, each worth 50% of the overall grade. Each paper will cover the following topics:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Exchange
  • Genetics and variation

A level:

Three 120 minute papers, two papers worth 35% and one paper worth 30%. Each paper will cover the following topics (in addition to those above):

  • Nervous system
  • Genetics
  • Technology Energy
  • Evolution