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Biology A Level at The Downs School

Course description

This course is designed to enable students to sustain and develop an enjoyment of, and interest in, biology and its applications.  To develop an understanding of the link between theory and experiment and foster the development of skills in the design and execution of experiments.  To develop essential knowledge and understanding in biology.  To enable students to appreciate the significance and skills needed to use applications of biology in new and changing situations.

This is a very challenging course and success is dependent on hard work and commitment from all students throughout the course. Those students achieving Grade B at GCSE must carefully consider if this is an appropriate choice for them.

Course content

Biology (A level) is a two year course split into 6 modules;

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology Includes: skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation.

Module 2 – Foundations in biology Includes: cell structure, biological molecules, nucleotides and nucleic acids, enzymes, biological membranes, cell division & cell diversity and cellular organisation.

Module 3 – Exchange and transport Includes: exchange surfaces, transport in animals & transport in plants.

Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system, biodiversity classification and evolution.

Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy Communication and homeostasis, excretion as an example of homeostatic control, Neuronal communication, hormonal communication, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis & respiration.

Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems cellular control, patterns of inheritance, manipulating genomes, cloning and biotechnology, ecosystems & populations and sustainability

Entry requirements

GRADE B in Biology GCSE (with overall BBC in Triple Science) or BB in Science/Additional Science and GRADE C in English & Mathematics


The A- Level course is assessed by three externally marked written papers at the end of year 13 (two exams are 2 hours 15 minutes long and the third exam is 1 hour 30 minutes). Each paper will cover content from modules 1-6. Pupils will also need to complete 12 teacher assessed practical‟s throughout the two year course.

NOTE: All pupils will be entered for the AS Level qualification in year 12. Examinations will be sat at the end of year 12 and consist of two 1 hour 30 minute papers. The content will be based on modules 1-4. This is a standalone qualification and does not contribute to the overall A-Level

Future opportunities

Biological Sciences: e.g. agriculture, botany, forensic science, horticulture, marine biology, microbiology, soil science, biotechnology, zoology, forestry, oceanography. Medical Sciences: e.g. pharmacology, environmental health, genetics, nursing, nutrition, veterinary work, medicine, bacteriology.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Downs School directly.

Last updated date: 26 June 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years