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Biology is the study of life, encompassing everything from molecules to ecosystems! Consequently the course offers a huge variety of disciplinary knowledge and skills, including drawing microscope images and studying biochemical pathways, right through to examining the problems of human population growth. A good grade in the subject will allow progression to higher education as well as a wealth of career opportunities. Biology is a challenging course; the best grades are achieved by students studying Biology with Chemistry, Maths or Physics.

Course content

Year 1

  • Cell structure
  • Biological molecules
  • Nucleic acids
  • Enzymes
  • Biological membranes
  • Cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation
  • Exchange surfaces
  • Transport in animals and plants
  • Diseases and the immune system
  • Biodiversity
  • Classification and evolution 

Year 2

  • Homeostasis
  • Excretion
  • Neuronal communication
  • Plant and animal responses
  • Photosynthesis
  • Respiration
  • Cellular control
  • Patterns of inheritance
  • Manipulating genomes
  • Cloning and biotechnology
  • Ecosystems
  • Populations and sustainability

Methods of Teaching and Learning

Students will be expected to take a very active role in their learning. Before each lesson students will prepare for their learning by watching videos and reading through relevant sections of our online textbook to familiarise themselves with the topic. This means that there is more time in lessons for students to practise skills, investigate topics further, consolidate learning and complete practical investigations.

Additional support can also be offered to those students who are not studying Maths and/or Chemistry along with Biology.

Methods of Assessment

A-level Biology is entirely assessed by written examination at the end of the 2-year course; a total of six hours of assessment split over three examination papers. Students will also complete a range of practical activities; and the knowledge and understanding will also be assessed within the written exams.

Enrichment

Previous trips have included a trip to the Jenner Museum and WWT at Slimbridge and field work at Bath Spa. Students can also join the Biomed group; which aims to inspire, encourage and support students aspiring to study Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Nursing, Midwifery or Biomedical sciences. This group can help students to gain work experience and prepare for the competitive application processes. Extra-curricular events have included master classes delivered by scientists, skills workshops, practice interviews and personal statement workshops.

Resources

Biology has modern, well equipped laboratories serviced by a team of Science Technicians.

We use a range of online learning resources including an online textbook, the learning platform Seneca and curated video clips.

Progression

Our students have progressed to university to study a wide range of courses including Animal Biology and Conservation, Biochemistry, Biology, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Cancer Biology, Dentistry, Medicine, Microbiology, Ophthalmology, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy and Veterinary Sciences.

If you intend to study Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science at University you must study Chemistry alongside Biology A-level.

Although A-level Biology is suitable for Nursing and Midwifery, we recommend BTEC Applied Human Biology instead. Historically students have been more successful following this route into a healthcare career.

Additional Costs

Trips will incur a small cost for transport.

We recommend purchasing a revision guide early on in the course to help with preparing for lessons, regularly reviewing learning as well as revision for Key Assessments in class.

 

Where can this course lead?

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