Key InformationLevel: A Level
Examination Board: AQA
Subject Leader: Mrs Williams
Entry Requirements6 in GCSE Biology, 6 in GCSE Combined Science, 6 in GCSE Maths.
Why Choose this course?In recent years many A level Biologists have gone on to study Biology in some way at university, for example, our past students are currently studying medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, biochemistry, midwifery, pharmacology, pharmacy, marine biology and nursing. Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to ecosystems and from microorganisms to human populations.
Biology is never far from the headlines and the A level specification reflects recent developments in the subject such as genetic engineering, stem cell research and epidemiology. It is considered by universities to be a challenging and rigorous academic subject.
Possible careers choices include medicine, dentistry, nursing and associated careers, physiotherapy, radiography, veterinary medicine and nursing, pharmaceuticals, research work, teaching, conservation, forestry and many more options.
In year 12 the Biology course covers 4 topics:
Organisms exchange substances with their environment
Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
These 4 topics are assessed in papers 1 and 3 at the end of year 13. There is no coursework but there are 6 Required Practical Tasks that will be completed throughout year 12.
In year 13 the Biology course covers a further 4 topics:
Energy transfers in and between organisms
Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
The control of gene expression
These topics are assessed in papers 2 and 3 at the end of year 13. There are another 6 Required Practical Tasks in the A2 course.
Successful completion of the 12 required practicals, along with the assessment of practical skills during other experiments will lead to the Practical Endorsement award.
Course Opportunities/ Activities
Students will undertake a trip to Formby National Trust site to complete a range of Ecology practical activities.
Support and Challenge
All students are provided with booklets that complement the resources used in class and are given a textbook to help them work independently outside of the classroom. Students with additional needs are provided with the specialist support they need and all students benefit from the usually small class sizes that allow for much 1:1 help to be given. After school support sessions are offered to the whole class and additionally, individual students often take advantage of the drop-in support that is available from the Biology department. Our most able students are challenged to complete wider reading and a range of resources such as New Scientist magazine, The BMJ and similar scientific publications are available for students to borrow.
I chose to study biology at A level as it challenges me and allows me to learn about the natural world, whilst developing lifelong transferable skills and critical thinking.
A level Biology is challenging but fascinating. I enjoy learning about a wide variety of interesting topics and getting to apply my knowledge through practicals."
I enjoy biology as it allows you to understand what occurs in your body day to day and allows you to develop a wide range of skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.