Biology A Level goes into much more detail than you will have covered at GCSE. It will give you the skills to make connections and associations with all living things around you. Biology literally means the study of life and if that’s not important, what is? Being such a broad topic, you’re bound to find a specific area of interest, plus it opens the door to a fantastic range of interesting careers. The new course launched in September 2015 is very similar in content to the old specification, but it is 100% examination. Practicals will be assessed in examinations and you will be ‘endorsed’ for your practical skills, which universities will take into account when you apply for them. Students will need to do a lot of reading around the subject and commit to independent out-of-lesson learning. In addition, 10% of the marks awarded will be linked to mathematics, so students that study biology must have an ability to apply mathematical concepts, for example, standard index, significant figures and percentage calculations.
Biology, like all sciences, is a practical subject. Throughout the course, you will carry out practical activities including:
• Using microscopes to see cell division
• Dissection of animal or plant systems
• Aseptic technique to study microbial growth
• Investigating activity within cells
• Investigating animal behaviours
• Investigating distributions of species in the environment.
In the new course, there is an real emphasis on
practical work – so expect lots of lab time!
There are three exams at the end of the two years for A Level, all of which are two hours long. At least 15% of the marks for A Level Biology are based on what you learned in your practicals.
The AS has two exams at the end of the year. Both are 1 hour 30 minutes long. Students will sit the AS exams at the end of year 12, although if they continue to A2, the results of this will not count towards their A-Level grade.
1. Biological molecules
3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
5. Energy transfers 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
POSSIBLE DEGREE OPTIONS
According to bestcourse4me.com, the top seven degree courses taken by students who have an A Level in Biology are:
• Sport and exercise science
• Physiology and Pathology Pharmacology
• Toxicology and Pharmacy Chemistry.
POSSIBLE CAREER OPTIONS
Studying A Level Biology at university gives you all sorts of exciting career options, including:
• Clinical molecular geneticist
• nature conservation officer
• Research scientist
• Higher education lecturer
A in Science.
Further details about an aspect of the course can be obtained from Mr Turner and Mr Rashid (KS5 Biology Teachers) or Miss J Gumbs (Head of Science).
Modules (AS & A2)
- Biological molecules (AS)
- Cells (AS)
- Organisms exchange substances with their environment (AS)
- Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms (AS)
- Energy transfers in and between organisms (A2)
- Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments (A2)
- Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems (A2)
- The control of gene expression (A2)
- Clinical molecular geneticist
- Nature conservation officer
- Research scientist
- Higher education lecturer