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Biology A-Level at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Course description

Biology involves the study of living organisms: the way they work and their interactions with each other and the environment. It can cover a range from the smallest virus to the largest blue whale or redwood tree! The Biological Sciences have developed rapidly during recent years and their relevance to a wide range of agricultural, environmental, medical and industrial problems is becoming more apparent.

This course has a strong practical emphasis and aims to develop problem-solving ability through discussion work and practical experience.

Course content

Biology A – AS (H020)/ A Level (H420)

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology
Includes: Skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation

Module 2 – Foundations in biology
Includes: Cell structure; Biological molecules, Nucleotides and nucleic acids; Enzymes; Biological membranes; Cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation.

Module 3 – Exchange and transport
Includes: Exchange surfaces; Transport in animals and Transport in plants.

Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease
Includes: Communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system; Biodiversity; Classification and evolution.

Module 5 – Communications, homeostasis and energy
Includes: Communication and homeostasis; Excretion as an example of homeostatic control; Neuronal communication; Hormonal communication; Plant and animal responses; Photosynthesis and Respiration.

Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems
Includes: Cellular control; Patterns of inheritance; Manipulating genomes; Cloning and biotechnology; Ecosystems; Populations and sustainability.

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirement to QE is 5 GCSE grades at C or above including Maths or English. A good number of students study four AS Levels in their first year and to do this we require at least 3B grades and 3C grades at GCSE including Maths and English Language. Students who do not achieve these GCSE grades take fewer subjects at A Level and will be required to do resits in GCSE Maths and English if they have not already achieved a grade C in these core subjects. The College is large enough to have a very flexible timetable that allows students to take almost any combination of subjects at A Level. The advantage of this system is that we can tailor your programme to suit your needs and abilities. We give lots of advice if you decide to apply to the College.

Subject Specific

Students should have at least a Grade B in GCSE Maths and one of the following:

  • Grade B in GCSE Core Science & Grade B in Additional Science
  • Grade B in GCSE Biology
  • Two B grades from GCSE Core Science, Additional Science and Further Additional Science

Students should also meet the general college entry requirements for Advanced Level study. 

Assessment

Practical Skills

Practical skills will be assessed within all written examinations.

Students will also build up a portfolio of evidence based on their practical experience in the following areas:

Core techniques

  • Microscopy
  • Dissection
  • Sampling techniques
  • Rates of enzyme controlled reactions
  • Colorimeter OR photometer

Specific techniques

  •  Chromatography OR electrophoresis
  • Microbiological techniques
  • Transport in and out of cells
  • Qualitative testing

Investigative techniques

  • Investigation using a data logger OR computer modelling
  • Investigation into the measurement of plant or animal responses
  • Research skills

This will be reported separately as the Practical Endorsement.

Future opportunities

The range of possibilities is vast: agriculture, horticulture, plant biology, medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy, speech therapy, nursing, biomedical science, pharmacy, pharmacology, forensic science, veterinary science, biological science, marine biology, microbiology, food sciences, biochemistry, biotechnology, ecology, environmental studies and teaching.

Equally, the problem solving and investigative skills gained are useful to enter a non-scientific area such as the legal profession.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 17 April 2015
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