Why study Biology?

Biology is fundamental in the most literal sense of the word. It is all about how organisms live, breed, breathe and die and how they interact. Studying Biology gives students an understanding of the impact of our actions on our environment as well as understanding how our bodies function.

Biology is fundamentally an experimental subject. There are numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality, and equip students with the essential practical skills they need.

Exam Board:

AQA:  www.aqa.org.uk

Course Outline:

Core content

Year 12:

  1. Biological molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

Year 13:

  1. Energy transfers in and between organisms
  2. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  3. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  4. The control of gene expression

How you are assessed:

The Biology qualification is linear. Linear means that students sit all the A-level exams at the end of their A-level course. Students sit three two-hour papers in the summer of year 13.

Paper 1:

  • Any content from topics 5–8, including relevant practical skills
  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 35% of A-level
  • 91 marks
    • 76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions
    • 15 marks: comprehension question

Paper 2:

  • Any content from topics 5–8, including relevant practical skills
  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 35% of A-level

91 marks:

  • 76 marks: a mixture of short and long answer questions
  • 15 marks: comprehension question

Paper 3:

  • Any content from topics 1–8, including relevant practical skills
  • written exam: 2 hours
  • 30% of A-level

78 marks:

  • 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

Studying this subject could lead to a career in:

Jobs directly related to Biology include:

  • Biotechnologist
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Marine biologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Scientific laboratory technician
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Soil scientist
  • Teaching laboratory technician

Jobs where studying Biology would be useful include:

  • Animal physiotherapist
  • Dental hygienist
  • Dentist
  • General practice doctor 
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Healthcare scientist, cardiac sciences
  • Physician associate
  • Science writer
  • Sustainability consultant 
  • Veterinary nurse
  • Zoologist

Subject requirements:

Minimum grade 6 in GCSE Biology

or 6+6 in Combined Science.

Grade 5 in Maths also required.

Useful web links:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk

www.aqa.org.uk

www.ucas.com

https://www.rsb.org.uk/careers-and-cpd/careers/employment/apprenticeships

https://wellcomecollection.org/

 

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