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Biology A Level at The Thomas Hardye School

Course description

Biology is an exciting and varied subject, covering a range of topics and issues that are up-to-date, relevant and challenging. The course includes a good mixture of theory and practical lessons developing a wide range of scientific thinking skills with an increased emphasis on developing relevant mathematical and practical skills. Students will all complete six required practicals in year 12 and a further six in year 13, which will be assessed in the written papers.

Course content


Students will learn about the building blocks of life, covering the biological molecules carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, DNA and ATP. At the same time, we study microscopes and how they can be used, learning about organelles and how cell structure relates to function. This will lead on to the ways in which tissues and organ systems exchange and transport substances and interact with their environment. Genetic inheritance, variation and immunity are also covered, combined with a range of practical and mathematical skills. We then look at plant productivity and follow the transfer of energy between organisms in ecosystems and the ways in which vital nutrients are cycled. The year finishes with sampling ecosystems, the use of statistics to interpret data and a required practical investigation into animal behaviour.


The year begins with a recap of succession and environmental study techniques in preparation for a field trip to Studland. Lessons then focus on how living organisms harness energy through photosynthesis and respiration. Students move on to learn about genetics, genetic crosses, populations, evolution and speciation. Genetic analysis and the use of DNA technologies is discussed and evaluated. Students then look at the ways in which organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments including nervous and hormonal control and explain, in detail, the processes involved in muscle contraction. Time is also spent developing essay planning and writing skills in preparation for the exams


There are three exams, each 2 hours long. The first covers any content from topics from year 12 while the second paper incorporates topics from year 13 work. The third paper can include questions on any content from both years including the analysis of given experimental data and a 25 mark synoptic essay.

Future opportunities

Biology supports a very wide range of career paths including business, public sector and industry. There are also many Bioscience degree related research and employment fields including: biology, bioinformatics, botany, biochemistry, conservation, dentistry, environmental science, genetics, medicine, microbiology, NHS careers, pharmacology, physiology, physiotherapy, veterinary science, zoology.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Thomas Hardye School directly.

Last updated date: 06 December 2017
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