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Biology A-Level at Burnham Grammar School

Course description

A-level Biology is a challenging, rewarding course that helps students develop skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career. Students studying Biology at this level will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other, develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods, develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills, develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject and understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

Course content

The course covers eight units:

  1. Biological molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  5. Energy transfers in and between organisms
  6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  8. The control of gene expression

Entry requirements

You must achieve at least 368 GCSE capped points (i.e. your best 8 subjects) for entry to the Sixth form. You must also achieve a C grade in English Language GCSE and Mathematics GCSE alongside meeting the entry criteria for each individual subject. Option 4 is conditional upon achieving 400+ GCSE capped points. 

GCSE points: A*= 58, A= 52, B= 46, C= 40, D= 34

Subject Specific

ABB in GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics, where the A grade is in Biology; or one grade A and one grade B in Core & Additional Science GCSEs. In addition students require Grade B in GCSE English Language and Grade B in GCSE Mathematics. Those who have not followed a triple Science course will be expected to complete extra study and further testing to bring them in line with those with triple Science GCSE.


The AS examinations will assess your knowledge and understanding from units 1-4 in two written papers, paper 1 and paper 2, which are equally weighted.

The A2 examinations will assess your knowledge and understanding from units 1-8 in three written papers. Paper 1 and 2 are both worth 35% of the A2 course with the remaining 30% coming from paper 3.

Practical work is at the heart of Biology and is placed at the heart of the course. Practical work will be completed in lessons but only assessed in the written examinations (15% of every paper relates to practical work). Furthermore, students who study the A2 course will gain a separate endorsement of practical skills which are assessed by their teachers during lessons.

Future opportunities

Biological sciences at university opens up an enormously broad world of diversity, both in its literal sense of life on earth, and also in the context of modern developments in all types of life sciences from molecules to genes, ecology to evolution. It enables students to cover the whole range of topics, or alternatively to specialize, ranging from, for example, marine ecology to cell biology. As well as providing one of the most exciting subjects in the modern world, graduates acquire a broad range of talents which are highly suitable for many careers outside biology.

With a Biology A2 a wide range of university courses are open to students, such as; biology, biological sciences, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, marine biology, ecology, environmental biology, forensic biology, natural science anatomy, zoology, dentistry, medicine and many more. Courses are generally three years full-time but can be found with a year abroad.

Students who have a Biology degree will find they have a good footing from which to transfer to medicine, while others go to work in research laboratories or the pharmaceutical or biotech industries. The list of possible careers available with a Biology degree is endless.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Burnham Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 28 April 2015

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