There are a number of career opportunities that can be followed in diverse areas of the biological sciences, including Medicine, Ecology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, Food Technology, Forensic Science, Pathology, Agriculture and Animal Behaviour. Lawyers and patent agents seek good Biotechnologists with an interest in intellectual property.
Biology looks in depth at the processes underlying the functioning of living organisms, and the interactions of organisms, including humans. Biology emphasises the application and interpretation of factual information in different biological situations. It requires students to recall and use GCSE material as well as that learnt during A Level teaching, in situations that may be unfamiliar. Practical work involves 12 detailed and assessed experiments carried out over two years. Students must attain competencies in five areas during these experiments. This involves researching, following methodology, recording data, reporting, referencing and communicating with others, as well as discussing current issues of ethical, medical and environmental research. There is an increased emphasis on the Mathematical elements of Biology. These skill areas enable students to develop essential knowledge and understanding of biological concepts and to apply these in novel situations.
The examination board is AQA. Entry to the A Level requires students to have a grade 7 in separate Biology and at least a grade 7 in separate Chemistry due to the challenging nature of the subject. At least a grade 7 in Mathematics is beneficial. Students who have not taken the separate sciences will be considered on an individual basis, with work ethic being a strong determinant of entry success. It should be emphasised that the A Level course builds on knowledge acquired, understood and remembered from GCSE Science courses since much information is not re-taught. All exams are taken at the end of Year 13.
Mathematical skills are an important part of the Biology course. Students will be expected to learn a great deal of detailed factual information and be able to describe and explain data and concepts concisely, using the relevant biological vocabulary. This subject requires high and consistent effort throughout both years.