Four students dissecting an organ during a lab session

BIOLOGY

Course Duration
2 Years

Entry Criteria
GCSE Combined science grade 66 or above OR GCSE Biology at grade 6 or above.
GCSE Mathematics at Grade 5 or above.
GCSE English at Grade 5 or above.

Home » Welcome to our Sixth Form » Curriculum subjects » A Level Biology

Why study A level Biology?

Students will be expected to demonstrate and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills described in the content for each topic below. In addition, they will be expected to analyse, interpret and evaluate a range of scientific information, ideas and evidence using their knowledge, understanding and skills.

What will I study during the course duration?

The course is split up into 10 topics:

  • Biological Molecules 
  • Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things 
  • Classification 
  • Exchange and Transport 
  • Energy for Biological Processes
  • Microbiology and Pathogens
  • Modern Genetics
  • Origins of Genetic Variation 
  • Control Systems 
  • Ecosystems

You will also develop the 12 practical techniques required to show practical competency across the 2 years of the course.

How will I be assessed?

Practical Assessment

  • There are 16 core practicals that cover all of the 12 techniques required for the practical competency measure.
  • Knowledge of all the core practicals can be tested within exam papers.
  • Core practicals form part of the practical competency assessment

Paper 1 – Advanced Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genetics (30%)
90 marks that covers half the A level topics and some AS content

AO1
11-13%

AO2
12-14%

AO3
5-7%

Total for AOs
30%

Overview of content

This paper will examine the following topics:

  • Topic 1: Biological Molecules
  • Topic 2: Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things
  • Topic 3: Classification and Biodiversity
  • Topic 4: Exchange and Transport
  • Topic 5: Energy for Biological Processes
  • Topic 6: Microbiology and Pathogens
  • Topic 7: Modern Genetics

Overview of assessment

  • Assessment is 1 hour 45 minutes.
  • The paper consists of 90 marks.
  • The paper may include multiple-choice, short open, open-response, calculations and extended writing questions.
  • The paper will include questions that target mathematics. A minimum of 10% of the marks across the three papers will be awarded for mathematics at Level 2 or above.

Paper 2 – Advanced physiology, evolution and ecology (30%)
90 marks that covers half the A level topics and some AS content

AO1
11-13%

AO2
12-14%

AO3
5-7%

Total for AOs
30%

Overview of content

This paper will examine the following topics:

  • Topic 1: Biological Molecules
  • Topic 2: Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things
  • Topic 3: Classification and Biodiversity
  • Topic 4: Exchange and Transport
  • Topic 8: Origins of Genetic Variation
  • Topic 9: Control Systems
  • Topic 10: Ecosystems

Overview of assessment

  • Assessment is 1 hour 45 minutes.
  • The paper consists of 90 marks.
  • The paper may include multiple-choice, short open, open-response, calculations and extended writing questions.
  • The paper will include questions that target mathematics. A minimum of 10% of the marks across the three papers will be awarded for mathematics at Level 2 or above.

Paper 3 – General and Practical Principles in Biology (30%)
90 marks that covers half the A level topics and some AS content

AO1
8-10%

AO2
16-18%

AO3
13-15%

Total for AOs
40%

Overview of content

  • This paper will assess topics 1-10. 
  • Experimental methods (including questions on core practicals)

Overview of assessment

  • Assessment is 2 hours 30 minutes.
  • The paper consists of 120 marks.
  • The paper may include short open, open-response, calculations and extended writing questions.
  • The paper will include synoptic questions that may draw on two or more different topics.
  • The paper will include questions that target mathematics. A minimum of 10% of the marks across the three papers will be awarded for mathematics at Level 2 or above.
  • The paper will include questions that target the conceptual and theoretical understanding of experimental methods.

Career opportunities and Future study

A-level biology can help you set up for a range of careers such as:

  • Medical professions
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Research science (life sciences)
  • Microbiology
  • Marine biology
  • Conservation
  • Ecology
  • Environmental management
  • Food science
  • Agricultural engineering
  • Zoology