Why study A Level Biology?
Biology is the study of living organisms, but the subject has moved on by a long way from the days of dissecting rats and classifying half-eaten dead leaves, to become one of the most diverse and exciting topics available. Biologists are fundamental in the search for solutions to some of mankind’s greatest challenges. Whether it be securing global food chains to feed the burgeoning human population, managing and reversing man’s impact on the natural environment or developing effective treatments and vaccines to combat the scourge of disease. A-level biology provides a rigorous and fascinating introduction into this dynamic field.
The A-level biology course encompasses the study of a wide range of exciting and challenging topics, all at the cutting edge of present day scientific research. A few of these topics include, molecular biology, cell biology, human physiology, genes, heart and lung diseases, microbial diseases such as TB and Cholera, medical uses of DNA, cloning, stem cells, biochemistry, drugs and their effects, the study of ecosystems and the effect of man on the environment.
How will I be assessed?
Throughout the two years there are twelve compulsory practicals to be completed in lessons. In Year 1 you will study:
- Biological Molecules
- Exchange in Organisms and with their Environment
- Genetic Information, Variation and Relationships between Organisms
In Exams in Year 13:
Paper 1 will assess you on any content from the four topics listed above and any relevant practical skills. It will be a two-hour paper and represent 35% of the A Level.
Paper 2 will assess you on any content from the following topics:
- Energy Transfers in and between Organisms
- Organisms Respond to Change
- Genetics, Populations, Evolution and Ecosystems
- The Control of Gene Expression
It will be a two-hour paper, including any relevant practical skills and be 35% of the A Level.
Paper 3 will assess you on any content from the eight topics listed so far and any relevant practical skills. It will be a two-hour paper and be worth 30% of the A Level.
Grade 66 (with at least 6 in the Biology component) in Combined Science, or 6 in Biology plus a Grade 6 in another science subject (ideally Chemistry). Grade 5 or above in Mathematics (on Higher Tier Paper) is required due to the increased maths content of the course.
What skills will I gain from studying A Level Biology?
While studying Biology you will gain several skills; many of them are transferable. These include assembling data, analysing and interpreting data and problem solving. Biology also involves evaluation and deduction. Lots of the work will be carried out independently, but you will also work closely with others as part of a team. Effective interpersonal skills are vital if you are to be successful in any organisation.
What else do I need?
You will need to purchase an A4 hard backed lined Laboratory Book (not spiral bound). These are available at a discount price from the Department or you may purchase your own.
Where can Biology lead?
Biology is one of the most popular A Level subjects in the country attracting students studying a wide range of other subjects. Many of these students enjoy the subject so much that they eventually choose a biologically related degree course, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Biomedicine, Microbiology, Physiology, Optometry, Anatomy, Nursing, Biochemistry, Zoology, Forestry, Marine Biology, Forensic Science, Food Science, the list is endless!
Some students following their Biology based studies proceed to Law, Computing, Accounting, Teaching, Business etc.
So whether you prefer to work in the field of Science, Education, Law or in Business, you will find Biology a very rewarding and challenging course, which will develop many of the skills essential for a successful career.
What will I study?
First Year Units:
- Unit 1: Biological Molecules
- Unit 2: Cells
- Unit 3: Exchange in Organisms and with their Environment
- Unit 4: Genetic Information, Variation and Relationships
Second Year Units:
- Unit 5: Energy Transfers in and between Organisms
- Unit 6: Organisms Respond to Change
- Unit 7: Genetics, Populations, Evolution and Ecosystems
- Unit 8: The Control of Gene Expression Organisms