A Level Biology
Head of Department: Mrs J. Vatcher
Examination Board: EDEXCEL (specification B)
Specification Code: 9BI0
Entry Requirement: GCSE Biology grade A or 7, GCSE Mathematics grade B or 6
Biology A level is a concept-based course combining traditional and modern biological ideas. Many familiar topics from GCSE are studied together with new subjects such as Epigenetics and Microbiology, giving a taste of the breadth of study Biology offers. Additionally, mathematical skills are taught and mathematical questions make up 10% of the examination. A level Biology allows development of specific practical techniques, which are assessed throughout the course. To achieve a pass, students must demonstrate competence in all the practical skills.
Paper 1: 1 hour 45 minutes. (30%)
Advanced Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genetics
Paper 2: 1 hour 45 minutes. (30%)
Advanced Physiology, Evolution and Ecology
Paper 3: 2 hours 30 minutes. (40%)
General and Practical Principles in Biology
Students may participate in the Royal Society of Biology’s Olympiads in both the Upper and Lower 6, and many attain Gold, Silver and Bronze awards. Optional lecture visits to the Royal Institution are popular and may provide inspiration for the extended project. There is no coursework, but a one-day field trip at the end of the Lower 6th is an integral part of the course. Students aiming to study Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry receive additional specialist guidance throughout the sixth form. This includes interview techniques and practice, UCAT and BMAT training, outside speakers, a trip to a surgical skills workshop, and guidance on how to obtain a work experience placement.
Who should study Biology?
Biologists work in some of the most innovative and exciting areas of science, helping to solve the biggest challenges currently faced by people and the planet. Choosing Biology will give you a broad base of skills, developing your abilities in communication, team work and how to think logically and critically as well as gaining deeper subject knowledge. Having such a broad skill set gives opportunity to study a wide range of biological degree subjects and will make you more attractive to employers. It is often useful to choose Physics, Maths or Chemistry as your other A levels, if you want to pursue a scientific career. Biology is not only for the pure scientists, however, and is a good choice if you want to combine your love of science with other subjects.