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Biology A Level at The Judd School

Course description

Why choose this subject?

The diversity of life on our planet is the most unique and complex phenomenon in the universe. The study of biology allows you to understand the complex interactions occurring between the tens of billions of cells that form the tissues and organs you are using to read this prospectus right now. It will help you explain the form and function of the diversity of living things that surround you (including the ones that live inside you) day in and day out. Biology can not only be used to explain the past and present, it is shaping your future.

As you read this, biologists are crafting synthetic genomes and synthetic cells that have the potential to solve some of our biggest environmental and agricultural problems. Even as you are thinking about that, new approaches to genetic modification are being tested and developed that might allow genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis to become a thing of the past. Every time you look at a living thing and wonder about how it works, why it lives where it does or how it came to be, you are asking the fundamental questions that lay at the heart of this exciting science. In short, biology is a beautiful thing!

If that is not enough for you, biology is, of course, a natural prerequisite for potential medicine, veterinary and nursing qualifications as well as a valuable addition to the A-levels of students with many different subject aspirations ranging from Egyptology to Engineering.

Rolls-Royce Science Prize/iGEM competition: In 2014, we entered the Rolls Royce Science competition with a project that would enable our students to become experts in the field of molecular biology. A team of Y13 students planned and ran a series of workshops to explain the incredible advances in DNA technology. The project has helped us purchase expensive specialist equipment and has made it possible for us to increase the level of practical work in this area. We won the 2015 Science Prize and this means we can partly fund our participation in the iGEM competition on synthetic biology. We will be the first British state secondary school to enter and this will be an excellent opportunity for a select number of our students.

Young Scientists Journal: Led by the Biology Department and a few dedicated students, we have become a Hub School for the Young Scientists Journal. The journal celebrates scientific and creative thinking of young scientists, aged 12-20 and encourages them to share their love of science by communicating their ideas, research and opinions with other young scientists around the world. By becoming a hub, we hope to promote science communication and scientific research amongst our students while providing opportunities to participate in the publishing process and to engage with other schools. This is an amazing opportunity for students who are interested in a career in scientific research.

Course content

Course details: Board and Specification Code: AQA 7402

What you will be learning (course outline):

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells and transport across membranes
  • Exchange of substances between organisms and the environment
  • Cell division and gene expression
  • Biodiversity
  • Bioenergetics
  • Inheritance and selection
  • Stimulus and response
  • Immune system

Entry requirements

Either 7 in GCSE Biology if taken or 8 in Combined Science.


How it will be assessed:

The new A level Biology is a linear course to be assessed at the end of year 13. The assessment consists of three 2-hour exams, including one essay from a choice of two titles. You will also be assessed on your practical skills in 12 required practicals throughout the duration of the course. You will be awarded a pass/fail endorsement of practical skills which will not change your final grade but will be reported to universities.

Internal assessment will be made at regular intervals (usually every four weeks) in order to track and support student progress throughout the course. Because we will not offer AS level, we will use internal assessments to base our UCAS predictions.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 16 October 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Course code: Course details: Board and Specification Code: AQA 7402