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Biology AS & A Level at Presdales School

Course description

Practical work is at the heart of studying Biology A level. Coursework practicals do not contribute towards the final AS or A2 level grade, however examination questions will be based on the wide variety of practical activities that are integrated into day to day teaching. This means that you will have more opportunities to learn and use practical skills to link theory with practice, which will deepen your knowledge and understanding.

Course content

At AS, you will study 4 topics:

1. Biological Molecules
2. Cells
3. Organisms exchange substances with their Environment
4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

At A2, you will study a further 4 topics:

5. Energy transfers in and between organisms
6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environment
7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
8. The Control of gene expression

Entry requirements

Students are required to have obtained at least a grade A in GCSE Biology or GCSE Additional Science. 10% of Biology examinations will assess mathematical skills at higher tier GCSE level plus there are extended response, comprehension, critical analysis and essay questions, so you will require at least a grade B in both Mathematics and English Language.


At the end of AS, there are 2 written examinations covering any content from topics 1–4 including relevant practical skills. Both examinations are 1 hour and 30 minutes long and each is worth 50% of AS.

At the end of A2, there are 3 written examinations, each are 2 hours long. Paper 1examines content from topics 1–4 and is worth 35%, paper 2 examines content from topics 5–8 and is worth 35% and paper 3 examines content from all 8 topics and is worth 30% of A2. All 3 papers include questions on relevant practical skills.

All examinations at A2 are terminal, which means that results at AS Level do not contribute towards A2 Level.

Future opportunities

A level Biology lays the foundations for further study and careers in biological sciences and medicine and the course ensures progression from GCSE and ensures that the skillsand knowledge that universities want to see are developed.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 03 November 2016
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Key information


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    • Presdales is a five-form entry all-ability school which became an Academy on 1st April 2012, for girls aged from eleven to eighteen. Boys are welcomed into the Sixth Form. Founded as Ware Grammar School for Girls in 1906 on the Amwell House site, it moved to its present site at Presdales in 1964. Since 1975 – when the school’s intake was enlarged – we have accepted girls from a wide area of Hertfordshire.

      The school was rated ‘outstanding’ at all four inspections in 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2008. Language College status was granted by the DfES in 1995 and, on the strength of the school’s high performance overall, Music College status with English as an accompanying strand was awarded in 2006, followed by Mathematics & Computing College status with a Gifted & Talented focus in 2008.