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Biology AQA A GCE Level 3 at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys

Course description

Why study biology? Biology is quite simply the study of life in all its awe-inspiring complexity. We are all part of the improbability of life and as such it holds a particular fascination for each and every one of us but a study of Biology starts to unlock a deeper understanding of how the living world functions at a range of different levels. The diversity with which science approaches biological understanding is part of its appeal; scientists study processes at the level of biological molecule right up to the level of whole ecosystems. Biology is also a fast moving subject and the development of new techniques, such as in the field of molecular genetics, routinely offers up new insights, opportunities for exploitation as well as ethical challenges for society to debate.


The new AQA Biology A level course is split into 8 topics, the first 4 of which are taught in Year 12 and second 4 in Year 13. Subject content is examined for all 8 topics at the end of the Year 13 for the A level qualification. The 8 topics are as follows:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression


For the A level course there are 3 written papers. The first two written papers last 2 hours each and cover topics 1 to 4 and 5 to 8, respectively. The third written paper also lasts for 2 hours buts assesses practical technique, critical analysis of experimental data and includes a 25 mark synoptic essay question. Throughout the course students will be assessed on their practical skills and receive a separate endorsement of practical skills alongside the A Level grade at the end of the course. This is reported as a either a Pass or Fail.


It is highly recommended that students wishing to study Biology at A level choose at least one other science, preferably Chemistry, as a supporting subject. Past students who have done so have, on average, performed significantly better in their exams. The ability to formulate and sequence ideas in good English should also not be underestimated as a skill necessary to gain a high grade in A level Biology.

Entry requirements

Grade 7 in GCSE Biology guarantees a place on this course.  A Grade 6 in Biology and 6 in Maths may be accepted.

Please note that applicants must also meet our overall entry requirements of 8 GCSE passes at grade 9 - 5.‚Äč

Further information

There will be a presentation on this course at our Sixth Form Open Evening in February.

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: 16 November 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Throughout the year
  • Duration: 2 years