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Biology A Level at Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Course description

Biology is often described as the ‘Science of Life’. It involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to mammoths.

Biology is never far from the headlines.

During the course you will explore questions such as:

  • How did the incredible variety of organisms on the planet evolve?
  • What is stem cell research and why is it important?
Is Biology for you?
  • You may wish to consider studying AS/A2 Maths or Statistics alongside this subject to help you develop the necessary mathematical skills required to study Biology.
  • You are fascinated by the natural world.
  • You like combining investigation, collecting and analysing data, problem solving, practical skills and socially relevant content.
  • Biology at A-Level could be essential if you want a career in health and clinical professions.
  • Biology provides a useful complement to other subjects including other Science subjects, Sports studies and Maths.

Course content

AS Year

Development of practical skills in biology

You will develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments in biology

Foundations in biology

You will study cells as the basic units of all living things: how they communicate, divide and become specialised to their function. You will also discover the key biological molecules and develop
an understanding of their importance in living organisms.

Exchange and transport

You will develop an understanding of how the heart and lungs are adapted for their functions and how oxygen and nutrients are transported around the body. Similarly you will examine the transport systems found in plants.

Biodiversity and evolutionYou will learn about diseases and their control by the immune system. You will also consider evolution and how it has generated such a wide variety of organisms.


A2 Year

Development of practical
skills in biology

You will continue to develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments in biology.

Communication, homeostasis
& energy

You will learn how organisms respond to changes in their environment and the importance of hormones and the nervous system in these responses. This will involve learning about the key features and functions of the liver, kidneys and pancreas. This unit also allows you to further develop your understanding of the fundamental processes of photosynthesis and respiration.

Genetics, evolution & ecosystems

You will discover how genes control the way in which cells function. You will develop this by studying how changes within genes lead to variation and how variation provides the raw material for evolution. You will also learn how ecosystems work and how to manage them for
sustainability and conservation.


Entry requirements

You need to have achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including at least 2 GCSEs at grade B in Science (including at least a grade B in Biology) You will also need at least a grade C in GCSE Maths.


The AS Level in Biology is assessed in two written papers that assess content from all four modules studied.

The A level in Biology is assessed in three written papers that assess content from all six modules that have been studied. A practical endorsement in Biology is also awarded at A level as a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ alongside the overall grade for the qualification.

10% of the marks available within written examinations will be for assessment of mathematics in the context of Biology

Future opportunities

Students who study Biology A-Level gain many transferable skills, including scientific method, problem solving, data analysis and practical skills.

There are many careers for which Biology is either essential or very useful. These include medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, health education, veterinary science, zoology, agriculture, pharmacy, pharmacology, bio-chemistry, PE, Psychology, speech therapy, forestry, biotechnology, food science, microbiology, laboratory work, radiography and teaching.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Birkenhead Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 25 October 2016
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