The new AQA Biology A level course is split into 8 topics, the first 4 of which are taught in Year 12 and second 4 in Year 13. Subject content is examined for all 8 topics at the end of the Year 13 for the A level qualification. The 8 topics are as follows:
1. Biological molecules
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
For the A level course there are 3 written papers. The first two written papers last 2 hours each and cover topics 1 to 4 and 5 to 8, respectively. The third written paper also lasts for 2 hours buts assesses practical technique, critical analysis of experimental data and includes a 25 mark synoptic essay question. Throughout the course students will be assessed on their practical skills and receive a separate endorsement of practical skills alongside the A Level grade at the end of the course. This is reported as either a Pass or Fail.
It is highly recommended that students wishing to study Biology at A level choose at least one other science, preferably Chemistry, as a supporting subject. Past students who have done so have, on average, performed significantly better in their exams. The ability to formulate and sequence ideas in good English should also not be underestimated as a skill necessary to gain a high grade in A level Biology.
Grade 6 in GCSE Biology and 6 in Maths guarantees a place on this course.
Please note that applicants must also meet our overall entry requirements of scoring at least a total of 42 points (simply add up all your GCSE grades) and achieve a Grade 4 or higher in both English Language and Mathematics.