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Biology AS & A Level at Barking Abbey School

Course description

Biology is a subject that seeks to understand and explain the living world. The subject provides a good background for students who wish to study a wide range of subjects at a higher level, for example medicine, medically related subjects and biotechnology or work in related fields.

The AS Course 

Biology at AS Level is a one year course which assumes that students already have a thorough knowledge and understanding of GCSE Chemistry, gained through the study of at least GCSE Double Certificate Science course, including extension work (higher paper). The course is very intensive and consists of two written papers, each 1 hour and 30 minutes. Understanding of practical work will also be assessed in the exam papers, and therefore there will be many required practicals completed throughout the year.

Amongst the skills demanded from students will be competence in handling apparatus, the ability to manipulate numbers and to think logically. Students must be prepared to gather and learn quite a large body of knowledge and then collate and utilise this to solve unfamiliar problems and predict chemical behaviour.

The A Level 

Biology A Level is a two-year linear course with all exams taking place at the end of the two years. Similar to the AS course, required practicals will take place throughout the year. This course will be examined through three papers, the third being synoptic. 

Although there is no coursework component to this course a good and regular level of background reading will be essential to aid with essay writing in the synoptic paper.

Course content


  • Biological molecules.
  • Cells.
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment.
  • Genetic Information, variation and relationships between organisms.

At A level, all of the above units, plus

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms.
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environment.
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems.
  • The control of gene expression.

Entry requirements

Minimum of GCSE Grade BB Double Award Science, or B in Biology. GCSE Maths B, English language grade B (not Applied Science GCSE)

Future opportunities

Commerce, Environment, Industry Medicine and Research, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Healthcare, Teaching

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Barking Abbey School directly.

Last updated date: 28 October 2016
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