Biology is exciting! Its name is derived from the Greek words "bios" (life) and "logos" (study) and is often referred to as the ‘study of life.’ One of the greatest scientific feats of our era is the astonishing progress made in understanding the intricate machinery of life.
As you progress through your Biology course, you will study life from the smallest units, including genes and organelles, to whole ecosystems. You will be examining not just observations made, but the mechanisms behind them and will develop a wide range of transferable skills including clear communication, data analysis and presentation.
Autumn and Spring terms:
Module 1 – Biological molecules.
All living organisms share a few carbon-based compounds, this unit focuses on these compounds and their importance.
Module 2 – Cells.
This module investigates the different components of cells and their function, and how different cells interact with each other.
Module 3 – Organisms exchange substances with their environment.
This unit includes exchange surfaces, transport in animals and transport in plants.
Module 4 – Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms.
Topics include DNA, genetic diversity and biodiversity.
Completion of practical activities for Year 12 Preparation in use of Scientific language and exam technique Commencement of Year 13 work in June, after the end of year assessment
Practical work: Practical work is assessed and carried out over the year in six additional required practical activities. This totals to 12 assessed practical activities over the two years. These contribute to a pass/fail practical endorsement and do not affect the final letter grade.
Year 12: End of topic testing on recent and previous work.
PPE (Mock) exam in exam conditions, following this format:
Paper 1 – 50% Content from modules 1 to 4 plus practical activities 75 marks – 1 hour 30 mins 65 marks are short answer and 10 marks: comprehension question
Paper 2 – 50% Content from modules 1 to 4 plus practical activities 75 marks – 1 hour 30 mins 65 marks are short answer and 10 marks: comprehension question
Future Opportunities - Progression to University or modern apprenticeship:
A-level Biology is a great choice for people who want a career in health and clinical professions, including Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Forensic Science. Many universities also offer biological science courses such as: Molecular Biology; Cell Biology; Biochemistry; Botany; Zoology; Parasitology; Marine science; Genetics; Immunology; Virology; Pharmacology; and many more.
Other employment opportunities: Employers are looking for a science A level as an indication of analytical skills, so some Biology students choose careers in, for example, economics, business; the Civil Service; management and marketing.
A minimum of five subjects at grade 4 (or above) including: Grade 6 in Biology or Grade 6,6 in Combined Science, Grade 5 in Mathematics (Higher Paper) and Grade 5 in English Language.
Final A level Examinations
This qualification is linear; students will sit all their exams at the end of their A-level course/end of Year 13.
Paper 1 – 35%
• Any content from modules 1 to 4 plus practical skills • 91 marks – 2 hours • 76 marks short and long answer questions and 15 marks: extended response questions
Paper 2 – 35%
• Any content from modules 5 to 8 plus practical skills • 91 marks – 2 hours • 76 marks short and long answer questions and 15 marks: comprehension question
Paper 3 – 30%
• Any content from modules 5 to 8 plus practical skills • 78 marks – 2 hours • 38 marks: structured questions, including practical techniques • 15 marks: critical analysis of given experimental data • 25 marks: one essay from a choice of two titles
We expect our students to complete extra reading around the topics taught in lessons, as this deepens their understanding and gives them an edge in examinations.