Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 7 in biology or combined science | Grade 6 in mathematics

What will you learn?

A-level biology builds on GCSE learning. You will get the opportunity to deepen your understanding of biological phenomena and get increased exposure to biological experimental procedures. You will study the following topics:

  • Biological molecules – learning about carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and water
  • Cells – learning about cell structure, communication between cells, transport, and disease
  • Organisms exchange substances – learning about gas exchange, digestive system and transport
  • Genetics – leaning about DNA, protein synthesis, genetic diversity and taxonomy
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments learning about the nervous system and homeostasis
  • Energy transfers – learning about photosynthesis, respiration and nutrient cycles

What does the assessment look like?

You will sit three 2 hour examinations covering a combination of content and practical skills. Papers 1 and 2 contain short and long answer questions and extended responses. Paper 3 contains structured questions on practical techniques, critical analysis of experimental data and one essay.

Choose this subject if you…

Are curious about the world around you, the relationships between different organisms and find the human body, plants or animals interesting.

What can an A-level in this subject lead to?

Students taking biology can go on to study biology at university as well as any of the following:

  • Biomedical science
  • Medicine / veterinary science / dentistry / nursing / midwifery
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology
  • Neuroscience
  • Anthropology
  • Zoology
  • Sports science
  • Dietetics and nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology

Recommended reading:

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre

The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins

Genome – Matt Ridley