Biology: A-Level

Course Description
The course sees students developing knowledge and understanding of biological concepts, principles and facts. The aims of the course are to encourage students to:
 
Develop their interest and enthusiasm for Biology, including developing an interest in further study and careers in Biology
Appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society
Develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of How Science Works
Develop essential knowledge and understanding in different areas of Biology and how they relate to each other
Develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills
 
The course suits students with enquiring minds and a real interest in the natural world.
 
Course Outline 
Year 1 (AS Level)
Development of practical skills in biology 
Foundations in biology 
Exchange and transport 
Biodiversity, evolution and disease
 
Year 2 (A2 Level)
Development of practical skills in biology 
Communication, homeostasis and energy 
Genetics, evolution and ecosystems
 
Course Assessment
Year 1 (AS Level)
Only those students following the one-year AS course take external exams at the end of year 12. Otherwise, all external exams are taken at the end of the two-year A level course.
There are two written papers for AS Biology, each contributing to 50% of the overall AS qualification. The exams are as follows:
Breadth in biology (01) - 1 hour 30 minutes written paper.
Depth in biology (02) - 1 hour 30 minutes written paper.
 
Year 2 (A2 Level)
There are three written papers for A level Biology, each contributing to the overall AS qualification. The exams are as follows:
 
Biological processes (01) - 2 hour 15 minutes written paper; 37% of total A level 
Biological diversity (02) - 2 hour 15 minutes written paper; 37% of total A level 
Unified biology (03) - 1 hour 30 minutes written paper 26% of total A level
 
The Practical Endorsement requires a minimum of 12 practical activities to be completed from the Practical Activity Groups (PAGs). The assessment of practical skills is a compulsory requirement of the course of study for A level qualifications in biology. It will appear on all students’ certificates as a separately reported result, alongside the overall grade for the qualification. 
 
Career Opportunities
Biologists are employed in many areas including agriculture, bioengineering, veterinary science, medical research, teaching, ecology, microbiology, forestry, marine studies, health care (including medicine, radiology, midwifery, nursing, dentistry), biochemistry and biophysics.
 
Progression to University
This course contains some overlap with A Level Chemistry and Human Biology in the areas of biochemistry, physiology and microbiology – it is essential for medical related degrees where the highest possible grade is necessary.