Biology is the study of living things and life processes. In A level Biology you will look in detail at the functions of cells, organ systems, organisms, populations and ecosystems. Starting with the biological molecules that make up living things, you will explore the delicate balance needed for a healthy, functioning body and the interaction of diverse species in ecological settings.
You need to be passionate about science; inquisitive, analytical and inspired by the living world. You must be willing to work hard and give time outside of lessons to deepen your understanding. You should have good practical skills and the ability to analyse data to spot trends and give explanations.
Biological molecules - Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids. Enzymes. DNA replication. ATP.
Cells - Structure of eukaryotic cells, prokaryotic cells and viruses. Microscopy. Transport across cell membranes. The immune system.
Exchange in living organisms - Surface area to volume ratio. Gas exchange. Digestion and absorption. Blood and circulation. Transport in plants.
Genes and variation - DNA and genes. Protein synthesis. Genetic diversity and adaptation. Species and taxonomy. Species diversity.
Energy transfers - Photosynthesis, respiration, energy in ecosystems, nutrient cycles.
Coordination and control - Detecting stimuli, nervous coordination, muscle contraction, homeostasis.
Genetics and populations - Inheritance, population genetics, evolution, speciation, ecosystems.
Gene Technology - Regulation of gene expression, cancer, genetic modification, genetic fingerprinting, diagnosis of genetic diseases.
Paper 1: 2 hour written paper, 91 marks, 35% of A level.
Paper 2: 2 hour written paper, 91 marks, 35% of A level.
A Level Examinations:
Paper 1 and 2 are taken as well as:
Paper 3: 2 hour written paper, 78 marks, 30% of A level.
6 and 6 in Combined Science or a 6 in Biology and a 6 in another science, and a 6 in Maths.
Students require a D grade in the AS Level or in their end of year exam to progress from Year 12 to Year 13.
Universities in the UK offer a wide range of biological degree courses. Many lead directly to employment, e.g. Veterinary Science, Pharmacology, Medicine, Dentistry, Food and Nutrition. Areas such as Biotechnology, Microbiology, Genetics and Environmental Science are becoming increasingly important in society. A biological degree may lead to jobs in research laboratories, medical diagnosis, ecological fieldwork, patient treatment, teaching, business and sales. Some degree courses in medical fields have tuition fees paid by the Department of Health. If your future career lies outside of science, studying A Level Biology might help you to develop useful skills and ways of thinking.