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Biology A Level at Shirley High School Performing Arts College

Course description

The Edexcel A Level Biology A specification has been designed to engage and inspire students by showing how an understanding of many contemporary ideas requires a grasp of fundamental biological ideas. The course follows a context-lead approach and is fully supported by a dedicated online platform, ACTIVE LEARN.

Course content

Students will study 8 topics:

  1. Lifestyle, Health and Risk
  2. Genes and Health
  3. Voice of the Genome
  4. Biodiversity and Natural Resources
  5. On the Wild Side
  6. Immunity, Infection and Forensics
  7. Run for your Life
  8. Grey Matter

Entry requirements

When qualifying to study A level subjects we will accept a ‘5’ as the equivalent grade for the new GCSE 1-9 measure for English and Maths. Most A level courses require a ‘B’ which is the equivalent of a ‘6’. BTEC Level 2 qualifications will only be counted in place of one GCSE subject. This is because they are not considered to have the required breadth of study necessary for the demands of a varied combination of A level subjects.


In addition students will complete 18 Core Assessed practical tasks:

These cover all of the 12 techniques required for the practical competency measure:

  • Knowledge of all core practicals can be tested within exam papers
  • Core practicals form part of the practical competency assessment.


A level Paper 1:

  • Topic 5: On the wild side
  • Topic 6: Immunity, infection and forensics
  • Some AS topics
  • Experimental methods (including questions on core practicals)

A level Paper 2:

  • Topic 7: Run for your life
  • Topic 8: Grey matter
  • Some AS topics
  • Experimental methods (including questions on core practicals)

A level Paper 3:

  • General paper assessing topics across the AS and A level qualifications
  • Questions on a pre-release article
  • Experimental methods (including questions on core practicals)

Each paper is 2 Hours long, has a mix of question styles and will include assessment of mathematical skills. Each is worth 33.3% of the total grade.

Future opportunities

An A grade in Biology A level is a requirement for degrees in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry and Physiotherapy. A good grade in Biology A level is also desirable in other degrees with a science focus such as Radiography, Nursing, Pharmacology, Pharmacy, Chiropody, Forensic Science, Marine and Environmental Biology, Environmental Science, Sports Science and Archaeology.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Shirley High School Performing Arts College directly.

Last updated date: 21 November 2017
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