Why should I study Biology?

A level Biology provides a useful background for those considering careers in areas such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, agriculture, environment science, food science and the rapidly developing biotechnology industry.

Useful companion subjects therefore include Chemistry, Geography, Physical Education and Mathematics. The subject is also often taken by those students who are simply fascinated by the variety of life on the planet and the ways organisms deal with the challenges that they face.

What skills will I gain?

The A level Biology course is intellectually challenging and to be successful you will need to develop the capacity to express yourself in clear, scientific English both verbally and on paper. You will also need to be mathematically competent.

There is a strong emphasis on experimental work so you will develop a range of practical skills as the course progresses. Your ability to analyse data, solve biological problems and apply your knowledge in unfamiliar situations will also be tested frequently and these skills should improve throughout the course.

What will I learn?

The new A level Biology course aims to develop more deeply and explore more widely the principles introduced in GCSE Biology as well as introducing new, more complex concepts. The course reflects the quantum leaps in our understanding of biological issues over recent decades, particularly in the field of genetic engineering.

It is also designed to develop further theoretical and practical study skills, with much emphasis placed on the understanding and application of biological ideas rather than just learning facts.

Major topics in Year 12 include the internal structure of cells, transport systems in animals and plants, biological molecules such as enzymes and DNA, human health and disease, biodiversity and evolution.

Major topics in Year 13 include photosynthesis, respiration, the nervous system, hormones, genetics, biotechnology, plant and animal responses and cellular control.

Entry requirements

You should have at least a grade 8 pass in GCSE Biology or Additional Science. A similar grade in both Mathematics and English would also be expected. Examination Board OCR

Examination Board: OCR

Mr W P Eardley
Head of Department