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Biology A Level at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College

Course description

Biology has been at the cutting edge of scientific research for years, with no sign of decline. New areas are continually opening up in medical research, genetics, molecular Biology, forensic science, food technology, pharmacology and conservation to name but a few areas. AS and A level Biology is designed to build on concepts and skills that will have been developed at GCSE, presenting Biology as exciting, relevant and challenging. This prepares students for either a career in a Science discipline or provides essential skills for a wide range of courses. The new specification provides you with the opportunity to learn a number of important skills and show understanding of scientific knowledge and be able to organise and communicate information in a variety of ways. It gives you the ability to demonstrate and describe practical techniques and processes.

Course content

You will learn how to record observations and measurements with appropriate precision and analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of your own and others' experimental and investigative activities. These are essential skills applicable to a wide range of disciplines.


In order to be successful on the A level Biology course you will need to be confident in taking external exams, as there is no coursework. You will also need to have achieved the following grades in the following subjects:

- Grade B in Core and Additional Science (on the Biology paper)
- Grade 6 (B) in English Language and Mathematics
- All assessments for A level in Biology take place at the end of the two year course:
- Paper 1 is a 2 hour exam on topics 1-4 and the relevant practical skills
- Paper 2 is a 2 hour exam on topics 5-8 and the relevant practical skills
- Paper 3 is a 2 hour exam on all topics 1-8 and the relevant practical skills. This paper includes a 25 mark essay question

If you opt for Biology as your AS subject then you will only study topics 1-4. Your assessments will take place at the end of year 12 as follows:

Paper 1 is a 1 hour 30 minute paper on topics 1-4 and the relevant practical skills Paper 2 is a 1 hour 30 minute paper on topics 1-4 and the relevant practical skills.

Future opportunities

A level Biology covers so many “fields” of study the career opportunities are diverse and exciting. Listed below are the major divisions of Biology, a brief description of what each field is about and a sample of the jobs available.

Environmental Biology:- The way life interacts with and depends on its physical surrounds. Conservationist, Environmental Consultant, Environmental Law Consultant

Ecology:- The organization and interactions between groups of plants and animals. Ecosystem Manager, Zoo Management.

Botany:- The characteristics, structure, function and classification of plants. Horticultural, Forestry Manager, Agricultural Scientist.

Zoology:- The diversity of structure, function and behavior of different animals. Veterinarians, Zoo Worker..

Anatomy:- The overall structure of an organism. Surgeon. Dentist, Forensic Medical Examiner, Physical Therapist.

Physiology:- The ability of an organism to survive by using processes such as respiration:- Physician, Pharmacist, Toxicologist, Nurse.

Cell Biology:- How the smallest living units, cells, bring about physiology. Medical Laboratory Technician, Cancer Research Biologist.

Microbiologist:- The features and life-styles of the smallest types of cells, such as bacteria. Food Technologist, Pollution Manager, Food and Water Quality Control Personnel.

Genetics:- The study of how hereditary information is passed from one generation to another. Biotechnologist, Plant and Animal Developers, Genetic Counsellors.

Molecular Biology: - How genetic information is read and controlled inside a cell. Genetic Engineer

Biochemistry: - The interaction of simple chemical compounds to generate living matter. Pharmacist, Biotechnologist.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College directly.

Last updated date: 09 March 2017
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