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AQA A Level Biology at The Canterbury Academy

Course description

Biology is one of the most popular A Level subjects in the country, attracting students studying a wide range of other subjects. Many of these students enjoy the subject so much they eventually choose a biologically related degree course. Others go on to careers in law, computing, accounting or teaching. Whatever field students eventually choose to work in, they will find biology a very rewarding and challenging course which will develop many of the skills essential for a successful career.


The Science of Life

Biology 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 South East Asia the skies are dark with smoke as the last Bornean rainforests are burned to grow oil palms. Biology has strong links to all of these issues. They work in the fields of cell biology, medicine, food production and ecology; the work they do is vital to us all.

Course content

The full A level course is comprised of 8 units and are examined at the end of the second year. Additionally, 12 mandatory practical investigations are required to complete the A level.  You will be expected to carry out dissections as part of the requirement of the course.


The A Level biology course consists of: Unit 1, biological molecules; Unit 2, cells; Unit 3, organisms exchanging substances with their environment; Unit 4, genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms; Unit 5, energy transfers in and between organisms (A-level only); Unit 6, organisms responding to changes in their internal and external environments (A-level only); Unit 7, genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems (A-level only); Unit 8, the control of gene expression (A-level only).

Entry requirements

We would recommend a minimum of two 6s at GCSE science, however would prefer a 7 in Biology.


Examinations at A Level:       

  • Paper 1: two hours 35% (91 marks - 76 short and long answer questions, 15 extended response questions)
  • Paper 2: two hours 35% (91 marks - 76 short and long answer questions, 15 extended response questions)
  • Paper 3: two hours 30% (38 marks - structured questions, including practical techniques, 15 marks critical analysis of given experimental data and 25 marks for an essay from a choice of two titles)
  • 12 compulsory investigations

Future opportunities


Biology is essential for further study and careers in physiotherapy and veterinary or medical science. This would also provide skills needed for careers in laboratory research and technician work.



This course will enable students to study biology, biochemistry or further sciences at university.  This A-Level 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.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 07 November 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years

Contact details