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Biology GCSE at St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College

Course description

Biology is the study of life and living organisms. This Science encompasses a wide range of domains including genetics, microbiology, taxonomy, biochemistry, physiology but also ethology and ecology.

This one year course is designed to allow progression to A level Biology if a grade B or higher is achieved.  Two of the three units will be similar to work covered in GCSE Double Science.

Course content

The course is made up of three units and a coursework component, which are as follows:

Unit 1:  Diet and exercise, defense against microorganisms, nervous systems, homeostasis, fertility treatment, plant hormones, developing new drugs, adaptations, energy and biomass, Genetics, evolution (25%)      

Students take 1hr exam for this unit in June.

Unit 2:  Cells and cell structure, photosynthesis, limiting factors, community of organisms, protein structure, enzymes, respiration, cell division, inherited disorders, development of new species. (25%)

Students take 1hr exam for this unit in June.

Unit 3:  Diffusion, osmosis, active transport, circulation, homeostasis, human impact on the environment, biofuel, biogas, intensive animal farming. (25%)    

Students take 1hr exam for this unit in June.

Coursework: Practical Skills Assessment (PSA) during the year, and at least one Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA). (25%)

Entry requirements

Four D grades or equivalent.

Students need to be keen and interested in Biology.

Students need to have completed a GCSE course in Double Science or Biology and gained at least a grade E.

Successful students are those that have an interest in Science and are curious about the natural world.  Good attendance, punctuality and organisational skills are essential and a full-time commitment to the class work and homework over the whole year is a necessary requirement if the full benefits are to be realised.


Lessons consist of formal teaching, questions, discussions, seminars on topics of particular interest and practical work, which is done individually or in small groups. Students are given a booklet to complete and learn from per module and homework is set every week. Tests are also set on a regular basis, with bigger end of module tests.  

Workshops in the Biology labs provide the opportunity for individual study and consultation with staff.  A variety of study aids are available in these sessions to improve understanding and exam performance.

Future opportunities

A good qualification in Biology is highly prized by future employers. The wide range of topics covered and the skills developed during the course will enable you to progress into a diverse range of careers including medicine, dentistry, animal care, nursing, pharmacology, environmental research and many more.

If you gain a B grade in this subject and want to then do an AS level in Biology, you can speak to the relevant teacher who may offer you a place.

Further information

The Biology department is part of the Society of Biology. We receive offers for scientific competitions, conferences and A level revision days.

We subscribe to weekly scientific journals and Science apps. Some of the journals are also available to read online.

Students have the opportunity to take part in field trips and workshops to debate ideas and actively put their knowledge into practice.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 14 October 2016
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