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Biology AS and A Level *Fees Payable* at Cheltenham College

Course description

Biology is one of the most popular and relevant subjects in the school curriculum today and with such controversial and challenging issues as Swine Flu, BSE, GM foods, AIDS, cancer, human fertility, the Human Genome Project, environmental destruction, pollution and global warming, it touches all of our lives in some way or another. It is the science of life itself.

Biology thrives on a keen interest in the study of living organisms, an enjoyment of investigative work both in the laboratory and in the field, and an awareness of new developments and their implications to society in the 21st Century.

We incorporate 'How Science Works' (from the AQA specification) into our teaching of the subject, building and improving skills such as data interpretation, criticising and improving experimental design and drawing appropriate conclusions.

Course content

AS Biology comprises two units; practical skills are embedded into the teaching and are assessed as part of the two theory units. The students study the following subjects:

Unit 1

  • Causes of Disease
  • Enzymes and the digestive system
  • Cells and transport of substances into and out of them
  • Lungs and lung disease
  • Heart and heart disease
  • immunology

Unit 2

  • Variation and genetic diversity
  • DNA and Cell division
  • Transport of gases in animals and transport in plants
  • Classification


A2 Biology

Unit 3

  • The reactions of photosynthesis
  • The reactions of respiration
  • Populations and Ecology
  • Food chains, webs and Ecosystems
  • Nutrient cycles
  • Ecological Succession


Upper Sixth Field course - Autumn Term

The Ecology material covered in Unit 3 is supported by the Upper Sixth field course. At the beginning of the Autumn term of the Upper Sixth year we attend a field course in Dorset. We study rocky shore ecosystems as well as succession in sand dunes. All the teaching and equipment is provided by the field centre who deliver first-rate teaching of this material.

Unit 4

  • Response to stimuli and the Nervous system
  • Muscle contraction
  • Homeostasis
  • Oestrous cycle
  • Protein synthesis
  • DNA technology incuding genetic therapy, cloning and genetic fingerprinting



Practical work is embedded in the teaching process and all skills are assessed in the 3 theory examinations at the end of the course. 

Financial information


Please ensure that you understand that course fees will be payable before submitting your application.

Future opportunities

Many of our pupils go on to study biology related courses at university. An increasing number each year are successful in obtaining places on highly competitive courses including medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, pharmacy, physiotherapy and a variety of courses at Oxford or Cambridge universities. Other students use biology as a valuable and interesting subject to take them on to a variety of courses including Agriculture, Sociology, Archaeology, Law, Drama and Surveying.

Further information

Biology lectures

Our Upper Sixth attend a weekend’s field course in Dorset where they learn more about rocky shore ecology and succession in sand dunes. This helps to put their understanding of ecology into practice and develop their practical skills. Field days and afternoons are also organised for the Lower College.


The MDV Society (Medicine, Denistry and Veterinary Science)

The MDV Society directly supports students who are applying to read Veterinary Science, Dentistry or Medicine or related subjects at University. Students are asked to give presentations each week on areas of interest. This helps the students speak more convincingly on the areas of interest that they have referred to in their UCAS personal statement, when asked further questions at interview. It helps foster a desire to beyond the syllabus and hone their questioning and analytical skills.


Practice of University examinations - BMAT and UKCAT

For our Sixth Form prospective Medics, Dentists and Vets we provide weekly sessions to help prepare them for the BMAT and UKCAT exams that some Veterinary and Medical schools require for entrance to their courses. Although these tests are aptitude ones, and therefore by their nature are more difficult to prepare for than a normal exam, students can become more familiar and more confident in answering questions by practicing past papers. 




How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Cheltenham College directly.

Last updated date: 13 December 2016
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