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Biology at Queen Mary's Grammar School

Course description

Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Modern biology is a vast and eclectic field, however, despite the broad scope of biology, there are certain general and unifying concepts within it that govern all study and research, consolidating it into single, coherent fields.

Year 1 of the course gives students an understanding of Biological basics from cells to whole organisms. It then moves on to look at interactions between organisms and genetic information. It is split into the following four topics; Biological Molecules, Cell Biology, Exchange, Genetics. For AS -students this is the only content assessed.

Course content

Biological Molecules are the building blocks of all life. In this topic students will learn how biological polymers such as protein and DNA are formed.
Cell Biology is the study of life in its most basic subunit. Students will study differences between different types of cell and then study the structures and organelles found within cells of higher organisms. The course will then investigate movements into and out of cells before looking at the immune system as an example of cells communication.

Exchanging substances with the environment is a vital process for all living organisms. In this broad topic students will learn how oxygen and other materials are delivered to respiring cells in a range of creatures such as insects, fish and mammals.

Generic Information is found in all living things. This gives an indication of its importance. In this topic students study the structure of DNA and how its sequence is the basis of inheritance.

Year 2 of the course gives students the opportunity to learn at a deeper level and allows for more opportunity to apply their knowledge to a range of biological phenomena. It is designed to give students a complete understanding of the principles of biology to allow them to study a particular field further. It is split into the following four topics; Energy Transfers, Homeostasis, Genetics and finally Gene Control. For A-level student all of the above topics are assessed as well
as the topics below.

Energy Transfers between organisms concerns the study of supply of energy into the ecosystem via photosynthesis and its release via respiration. It then goes on to look at the flow of this energy through different ecosystems.
is the study of how organisms manage their own internal environments. Students
will study how nerve transmissions provide quick short acting responses in contrast to longer lasting hormonal responses.

Genetics concerns the study of a single molecule, DNA. Its importance to life is studied in this topic where students will learn how it is inherited and how it codes for all living things.

Finally, students will study Gene Control. This topic is concerned with how genes on the DNA molecule can be regulated. We then look at epigenetics as an emerging subject and the uses of genetic engineering.


Entry requirements

You will need at least 7 B grades at GCSE* (including English and Maths). We normally expect at least a grade A (A* for Further Maths) in subjects which you wish to pursue at A level.               


40 practical tasks are completed over the two years of the course with 20 in each year.
12 of these are the required exam board practical tasks which are examined within paper 3. The additional tasks are to build up the required practical skills in the subject.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 September 2016
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