Quick Links

GSO Test

Est. 1921

Biology

What is this course about?

Biology is the science of life. It involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to mammoths. Biology is never far from the headlines either…

The human genome has been sequenced and we know the complete arrangement of the three thousand million bases that make up human DNA. In Kenya, 350 people die every day from AIDS and in Southeast Asia the skies are dark with smoke as the last Bornean rainforests are burned to grow oil palms. Biologists are concerned with all these issues. They work in the fields of cell biology, medicine, food production and ecology... and the work they do is vital to us all. 

At A level you will be encouraged to think and to develop your understanding through questioning and reading. Homework is an integral part of the course and allows students to test their understanding of the material covered in class. Reading around the subject is also of great benefit to developing a better comprehension of the ideas taught. On most weeks there will be a practical session aimed at supporting the theory covered and at developing the practical skills needed at this level. There is not a detailed report required but the results are processed into graphs and a statistical analysis carried out. You do not need to study A level Maths but a good grade at GCSE will help.

Course Content

  • Biological molecules,
  • Cells,
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment,
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms,
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms,
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal & external environments,
  • Genetics, populations, evolution & ecosystems,
  • The control of gene expression 

Paper 1:

  • Sections 1-4, Two hours, 91 marks, 35% of A-level
  • 76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions
  • 15 marks: extended response questions 

Paper 2

  • Sections 5-8, including relevant practical skills.
  • Two hours, 91 marks, 35% of A-level
  • 76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions
  • 15 marks: comprehension question

Paper 3

  • Sections 1-8, including relevant practical skills
  • Two hours, 78 marks, 30% of A-level
  • 38 marks: structured questions, including relevant practical skills
  • 15 marks: critical analysis of given experimental data
  • 25 marks: one essay from a choice of 2 titles

Use of apparatus and practical techniques

Practical skills will be taught and 12 specific practical activities must be carried out.

What might this course lead on to?

Biology is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and clinical professions, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, nursing, zoology, marine biology or forensic science. Students who take Biology often also study from a wide range of subjects, including Psychology, Sociology, PE, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Science, Critical Thinking and Environmental Studies.

Entry Requirements:

Grade 6 in GCSE Biology or 6/6 in GCSE Trilogy or Synergy Science.