Accessibility links

Biology A Level at King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls

Course description

Why should I study Biology?

It is a fascinating subject for general knowledge, often in the news due to its impact on society. Biology raises many issues of interest in religion & ethics, such as what it is to be human, whether and how we might be altering ourselves as a species, and what to do about moral decisions around the start and end of life in the light of scientific facts. Biology demands and therefore develops your literacy, numeracy and graphical skills. If you can do Biology you can tackle most types of University degree!


Course content

What will I learn about?

  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

How will I be taught?

A variety of teaching styles are used within the department including ICT, observational practicals, investigative practical work and fieldwork. Attendance on a one day field trip in Shropshire is compulsory, costing about £40. Any students experiencing financial hardship may apply to the school for support. All of the staff are enthusiastic about their subject and this is contagious!

Entry requirements

  • You are required to have an A or A* at GCSE. Although it is good if this is in the separate Sciences, similar grades from Core, Additional and Further Additional Science GCSE are acceptable, but only if your Biology papers are of an A grade standard.
  • It is best to be doing AS Chemistry at the same time, although occasionally some students cope well without Chemistry.
  • Good ability in Mathematics is always useful. Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments for Biology will require the use of mathematical skills. These skills will be applied in the context of Biology and will be at least the standard of higher tier GCSE Mathematics.


Examination Board: AQA
Specification: Advanced GCE 7402

Paper 1:

  • Topics 1 - 4
  • 2 hours
  • Year 13
  • 91 marks
  • 35% of A Level

Paper 2:

  • Topics 5 – 8
  • 2 hours
  • Year 13
  • 91 marks
  • 35% of A Level

Paper 3:

  • Topics 1 – 8
  • 2 hours
  • Year 13
  • 78 marks
  • 30% of A Level

Practical Assessment:

  • 12 set practicals throughout the course.
  • 15% of examinations will assess practical skills


Future opportunities

It is a basic qualification for university courses in Biological Sciences, Medicine, Ecology, Industry, the caring professions and many more if taken to A Level.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls directly.

Last updated date: 31 October 2017
Provider logo

Key information