Click on the image above for more about studying A level biology.

Exam board: Edexcel

Who is it for?

All students who meet the entry requirements, with a genuine interest and willingness to learn. You should have a strong work ethic. You will need to have easy access to the internet to complete the course.

Entry Requirements

In addition to the general entrance requirements, grade 5 (higher tier) maths is preferred but negotiable depending on individual circumstances. Students also need to achieve grade 5 in two HIGHER TIER science subjects one of which needs to be biology. 

The reason for the high tier papers is that some content is not taught at foundation level.

During induction, you will be given homework to be handed in during your first biology lesson. You will also have to revise for a short test during the second week of term. This test is designed to show you the level that you should be working at and therefore how hard you need to be working.

Course content

A Level biology – a two year course with ALL examinations, covering the material learned across both years of the course, taken in the summer of Year 13.

Paper 1: The Natural Environment and Species Survival

This exam covers the content of Topics 1-6:

  • Topic 1 Lifestyle, Health and Risk,
  • Topic 2 Genes and Health,
  • Topic 3 Cells,
  • Topic 4 Biodiversity and natural resources.
  • Topic 5 covers photosynthesis, ecosystems and the evidence for climate change.
  • Topic 6 covers forensic biology and infectious disease.

Examination: 2 hours (June year 13; 3.33% of total qualification)

Paper 2: Energy, Exercise and Coordination

This exam covers the content of Topics 1-4 above and 2 new topics 7 and 8.

  • Topic 7 covers the physiological adaptations that allow us to move and exercise
  • Topic 8 covers how the brain and nervous system work.

Examination: 2 hours (June year 13; 33.33% of total qualification)

Paper 3: General and Practical Applications in Biology

This exam covers the content of both Year 12 and 13 (topics 1-8) and will include synoptic questions that may draw on two or more different topics. In addition, a pre-released article will underpin one exam question.

Examination: 2 hours (June year 13; 33.33% of total qualification)

Both exam papers may include multiple-choice, short response, calculations and extended writing questions. In addition, you will carry out core practical experiments. The practical skills and the understanding of these experimental methods will be assessed in both exam papers.

Overall a minimum of 10% of the marks across the three papers will be awarded for mathematics which will be at, or above, the higher level of GCSE mathematics. In addition, you will carry out eighteen core practical experiments over the course of the two years. The practical skills and the understanding of these experimental methods will be assessed in the exam papers.

Weekly commitment

Nine teaching hours per fortnight class time which will include theory and practicals, plus five hours per week homework and supported study.

Additional costs

Student past paper packs - £10*; residential fieldwork in July of year 12 - £125 - £150*; Biological Sciences review magazine (optional) - £13 *.

*All costs are approximations and vary from year to year.

Career prospects

Medicine, physiotherapy, dietitian, pharmacist, speech therapy, paramedic, chiropody, ambulance service, PE teacher, lab oratory work, beauty therapy, ophthalmics, social work, nursery nurse, psychology, forensic science, hotel and catering management, sports and leisure, health and safety.

Further information contact:

Ms A Townley, Head of Biology