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Biology AS/A Level at Gloucester Academy

Course description

Biology is an exciting and inspiring subject best suited to those who are passionate about how complex living organisms are physiologically adapted to an ever changing environment. For individuals who are astounded by the intricacy of cell biology and organisation as well as the appreciation for complex behaviours between different species and the constant struggle for existence.

The subject is grounded in practical activity to develop and apply the concepts learnt through a variety of topics. Students master a wide range of techniques including dissection skills and management of structured investigations. There is a strong element of on-going practical assessment which can count towards a practical endorsement at the end of A2. Candidates can be awarded a pass or a fail in this award. The AS specification leads on from core and additional GCSE material which all students will have followed. A student with double award Science is equally well qualified to study the AS course, but it is preferable for students to have studied separate Sciences. It has to be acknowledged that Biology is one of the most challenging A-level subjects. Science based candidates do well, but arts-based candidates opting to attempt AS Biology unsupported by any other scientific discipline must be aware that their task will be more difficult. Biology is strongly recommended for students considering medical, veterinary or other biomedical/biology associated careers. The majority of medical schools insist on Biology as an entrance requirement. Biology is also useful for careers further afield due to its practical nature and the key skills that students will acquire will no doubt be critical to future success.

Course content


    Two units which cover he following:-

    Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Biology

    Module 2 – Foundations in Biology

    Module 3 – Exchange and Transport

    Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease

    The modules are broken down into topics which covers the ultra structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. There is a comparison of plant and animal cell structures whereby students learn the functions of cell organelles and how cellular pathways and processes are co-ordinated and organised. The structure of the cell surface membrane is linked to its role in various transport mechanisms and further on students will learn about the significance of cell division and the advances of stem cell research. Human Biology enthusiasts will be keen to learn about the mammalian lung and heart; this is then later compared to transport mechanisms in insects and plants. In addition, we also cover the fundamentals of biological molecules, how they are synthesized and metabolized within a human organism and diseases related to over nutrition and malnutrition. Furthermore, students will learn about the vast biodiversity of life on this planet and how different species are classified by binomial nomenclature. Food production is great for topical discussion and lends well to relevant stories in the scientific press related to GM crops and genetic engineering. Lastly students will learn about the defense mechanisms of the human body and how the immune system launches a strategic and co-ordinated response to a range of pathogens.





Entry requirements

Five GCSE grades A*-C or equivalent to include Mathematics and English Language. A B grade minimum at GCSE Biology or a minimum of two Bs in Core and Additional Sciences, or a distinction in BTEC Science is also required. It is strongly recommended that you take A Level Chemistry to support the biochemical aspects of the course.


The Biology syllabus is wide ranging and challenging covering the key concepts in Biological Sciences which are assessed as separate concepts at AS, and synoptically at A2.

The AS course in Biology has two units which are externally assessed. Breadth in Biology: 1HR30 (50% of total AS) – 70 Marks Depth in Biology: 1HR30 (50% of total AS) – 70 Marks

Future opportunities

Biology is strongly recommended for students considering medical, veterinary or biomedical/biology related careers. The vast majority of medical schools now insist on Biology to at least AS-level as an entrance requirement. Biology is also useful for Law, the social and natural sciences and of course the biological sciences. A combination of Biology and Chemistry allows progression onto many science and medicine related courses. Biology also complements further study in sports, animal and agricultural sciences and vocational science courses.

Further information

We have a purpose built super-lab with access for small group and whole class experiments. We have 6 teaching rooms. All rooms and the super lab have state of the art audio visual equipment and full access to the internet and academy intranet.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gloucester Academy directly.

Last updated date: 30 October 2017
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