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Biology AS/A2 Level at Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School

Course description

The course will stimulate and sustain an interest and understanding of modern Biology, its research, application, facts and concepts, and enable students to appreciate the contribution of Biology to society, providing the academic rigour required for undergraduate study.
Year 12 subjects covered include Cells, Molecules, Nutrition / Food production, Health & Disease, Animal & Plant Transport, Biodiversity, Classification and Evolution.
Year 13 subjects include biochemistry, photosynthesis, genetics, biotechnology, ecology and populations.

Course content

See above.

Entry requirements

The following qualifications are needed to commence the course, either:
- Grade A or A* in GCSE Core Science and GCSE Additional Science
or - Grade A or A* in GCSE Biology
It is advisable that a Grade B or above in GCSE Chemistry is achieved. Students who have studied Applied Science at GCSE are advised not to attempt the course. All students will need to be enthusiastic and motivated to study on their own. An interest in topical Biology, Applied Biology or Natural History will be useful.


This course is one of the first new linear A Levels to be introduced in September 2015.
The linear A level course is assessed in three external papers. Paper 1 ‘Biological Processes’ will include multiple choice questions and structured questions covering practical skills and theory and carries a 37% weighting. Paper 2 ‘Biological Diversity’ includes structured questions and extended response questions covering practical skills and theory and carries a 37% weighting. Paper 3 ‘Unified biology’ includes structured questions covering theory and practical
skills and carries a 26% weighting.
In addition there is also a non-exam assessment called ‘Practical endorsement for biology’ assessed by the teacher at either pass or fail level. This practical endorsement does not contribute to the Year 13 assessment/grade and is reported
separately. We are very confident that all students who undertake the course at BWS will have sufficient opportunities to develop these skills to ensure a pass.
The practical endorsement covers essential skills for any biologist and is common to all examination boards. Areas of focus for the practical endorsement include, microscopy, dissection, sampling techniques, enzyme reactions, colourimetry, potometry, chromatography, microbial work, cellular transport studies,
qualitative tests, data logging or computer modelling, investigations into plant or animal responses and research.
The stand-alone AS qualification would be assessed on the content that forms Year 12 of the linear course.

Future opportunities

Biology students normally develop a range of skills suited to many higher education courses or careers. Studying Biology brings a wide range of career options; biologically focused careers include Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary work, Microbiology, Genetics, Biochemistry or teaching.
Students who are considering studying a Biological science at university need to ensure that they study Chemistry at A Level.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 08 June 2015
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Key information

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