Accessibility links

Biology A-Level at Chesham Grammar School

Course description

By studying the courses you will learn about the fascinating ways in which individual organisms, including human beings, function and interact with the environment. Some key areas include; exploring the common chemistry that is shared by all organisms; investigating the way in which cells are formed from other cells by binary fusion, meiosis and mitosis; explaining the way in which the genetic code leads to biological diversity; and describing the way in which organisms meet their energy demands.

You will gain an understanding of the ways in which biologists contribute to the welfare of society in areas such as agriculture, environmental conservation, veterinary science, medicine, and the rapidly expanding areas of genetics and biotechnology.

This specification builds on the skills and subject knowledge that you have developed at GCSE. It focuses on a range of exciting, relevant and challenging concepts. From the structure of the biological molecules that form the building blocks of all organisms, to the way in which gene expression is controlled at a cellular level.

Course content

AS Examinations (AS Award 7401)

There are four core topics which are studied:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

A level Examinations (Award 7402)

There are four core topics which are studied in addition to the AS topics

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression

Entry requirements

For Advanced level courses, students will be expected to have successfully completed GCSE level examinations, with an average score of 46 points from their best eight GCSEs.

The average is worked out by converting each grade to a numerical score where:

A* = 58, A = 52, B = 46, C = 40, D = 34, E = 28, F = 22 and G = 16 b.

In an A level subject to be taken there is a requirement of grade B or above at GCSE (Grade A or above in Maths, Music and the Sciences), either in the subject itself or in an appropriate related subject in the case of new courses, as indicated on the subjects’ requirement. At least a C in English Language and Mathematics.

Subject Specific

GCSE Grade A or above in Triple or Double Award Sciences



Two exam papers: What’s assessed

  • Any content from topics 1-4, including relevant practical skills Format
  • Each written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 75 marks
  • 50% of AS Questions
  • 65 marks: short answer questions
  • 10 marks: comprehension question


Three written papers: What’s assessed

  • Paper 1 – Any content from topics 1-4, including relevant practical skills
  • Paper 2 – Any content from topics 5-8, including relevant practical skills
  • Paper 3 – Any content from topics 1-8, including relevant practical skills Format of papers 1 and 2
  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 35% of A level Format of Paper 3
  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 78 marks
  • 30% of A level

Practical Assessment

  • Students will complete ‘assessed’ practicals across their AS and A level courses
  • Questions in the exam papers will test students’ knowledge and understanding of their practical work
  • Students will be awarded an A level grade based on their exams, and a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ for practical work in lessons

Future opportunities

The course provides a strong foundation for the further study of biology at university.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 30 April 2015
Provider logo

Key information