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Biology GCE A Level (AQA) at Guiseley School

Course description

This subject is a two year, linear A level course.  This means that the whole course is assessed in Year 13. 

Students are expected to write an essay in the exam and carry out various statistical tests. A level Biology combines well with A level Chemistry, Geography and PE.

Why study Biology?  Global warming, antibiotic resistance, famine, recycling..... these are just a few of the problems facing mankind today.  As we understand how living things work and how they interact with their environment, Biologists will be able to develop new ways of solving the problems we all face.  We can already alter the genetics of living things to enable them to produce important drugs or cope with difficult environments.  Imagine designing an organism to do a specific job.  Biologists will be the engineers of the future.


Entry requirements

Students should achieve a minimum of:

5 GCSEs grade 4-9, which must include Maths and English Language or Literature.

In addition, GCSE grade 5 is required in the subject areas chosen to study at A level.




A level Biology grades will only be made up of the exam results students gain at the end of their A level course. There will be no coursework content but 15% of marks for A level exams will be based on the understanding and interpretation of practical work. Students will be awarded a separate endorsement of practical skills which will be assessed by teachers.



· Biological molecules

· Cells

· Organisms exchange substances with their environments

· Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms


· 76 marks: mixture of short and long answer questions

· 15 marks extended response questions

This is a 2 hour written paper worth 35% of the A level




· Energy transfers in and between organisms

· Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environment

· Genetics, populations and evolution systems

· Control of gene expression

· Practical skills

This is a 2 hour written paper worth 35% of the A level



· 76 marks: mixture of short and long answer questions

· 15 marks: comprehension question




· All content

· All practical skills

· Essay


· 38 marks: structured questions, including practical techniques

· 15 marks: critical analysis of given experimental data

· 25 marks: one essay from a choice of two titles

This is a 2 hour written paper worth 30% of the A level


Future opportunities


If you are interested in healthcare careers , (e.g. Midwifery, Medicine, Dentistry, Speech Therapy etc.), Pharmacology, Genetic Engineering or any other area of Biology, then this course will provide a firm foundation.

Further information

It is a challenging and varied subject, covering everything from biochemistry through cells and systems, to how whole organisms interact with their environment.  You will be expected to take part in the Biology field trip.  It will be hard work, but very rewarding.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 08 November 2018
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September