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Level: A level Examination board: AQA Specification: A level 7402

Year 12 course outline

Biology, not just the study of Life, but the study of people and how the amazing body functions and fits within the natural world. Through detailed study of biological molecules and cells, students will learn about the common chemistry and features shared by all life on Earth and how this provides indirect evidence for evolution. They will also learn how survival in any environment is only possible because organisms are able to move substances across membranes and exchange them with the environment. Lastly, students will gain a deeper understanding of how the genetic diversity, that arises from mutations in DNA, enables natural selection to create the biological diversity that has made the natural world so complex, beautiful and intriguing.

Year 13 course outline

Building biological knowledge and scientific skills, students will gain a deeper appreciation of the importance of continuous transfers of energy to all life. They will learn the means by which organisms detect and respond to change in both their internal and external environments and study population genetics, evolution and ecosystems, gaining a greater understanding of the common chemistry of physiological pathways and the universality of the genetic code. Differences in the DNA ultimately lead to the evolution of new species and students will learn about the factors that affect their success. The control and expression of the genetic code continues to be explored at the cutting edge of science. They will learn about the epigenetic regulation of gene expression, how humans are discovering means to control it and use it in many medical and technological applications. Students will also gain an appreciation of the use of DNA technology in the diagnosis and treatment of many human diseases.

Opportunities beyond the classroom

Students will enjoy an ecological field trip to explore a variety of habitats, observe local wildlife and design qualitative ecological assessments. They will develop a deeper understanding of the natural world, the interdependence of life and the precarious balance that it struggles to maintain.

Students will attend lectures, and read beyond the limits of your specification. To achieve the highest marks in Biology, they must show passion and interest beyond the pages of their textbook.

Course requirements (GCSE grades/interests)

Minimum of grade 6 in GCSE Biology or 7-7 in Combined Sciences: Trilogy, with grade 6 in mathematics.


Assessment of practical skills will be by written exams only, but there will be a separate endorsement of practical skills which will be taken alongside the A-level. Teachers will assess their students’ competence at carrying out practical work, awarding a pass for students who achieve mastery level, which is required for students who go on to become undergraduates in science subjects at university.

There are 12 required practical activities and students can expect questions in the exams to be written with these as context.


A level Paper 1: Unit 1-4 | 2 hrs | 91marks | 35% of A level.

A level Paper 2: Unit 5-8 | 105 hrs | 91 marks | 35% of A level.

A level Paper 3: All content | Practical skills | 2 hrs | 78 marks | 30% of A level.

Higher education courses linked to the subject

Having studied Biology at A level, students will be able to study Biology at degree level as well as Agricultural Science,

Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry, Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Forensic Science, Anatomy, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Sport Science, Physiotherapy and Veterinary Science.

Careers linked to the subject

Possible career options include Research scientist, Pharmacologist, Biologist, Doctor, Nurse, Ecologist, Nature conservation officer, Biotechnologist, Forensic scientist and many roles in pharmaceuticals and Government agencies.

Get in touch

For more information contact the Head of Department.

Name: Mrs Louise Chappell