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A-level Biology is a challenging, rewarding course that will help you to develop skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career. 

Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to fin whales. Biology is never far from the headlines either

The human genome has been sequenced and we know the complete arrangement of the three thousand million bases that make up human DNA. In Kenya, roughly 4% of the population are living with AIDS and in South East Asia the skies are dark with smoke as the last Bornean rainforests are burned to grow oil palms.

Biologists are concerned with all these issues. They work in the fields of cell biology, medicine, food production and ecology.

The work they do is vital to us all.

Topics covered

In Year 1, you'll study 4 main topics:

  1. Biological molecules
  2. Cells
  3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organismsThese topics will give a solid grounding in Biology 

Year 2 helps you build on that firm foundation and consists of the following 4 main topics:

  1. Energy transfers in and between organisms
  2. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  3. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  4. The control of gene expression

In addition, a separate endorsement of practical skills will be taken alongside the A level. This will be assessed by your teacher and will be based on direct observations of 5 skill areas in at least 12 different compulsory practicals. You will be awarded a pass or a fail for this aspect of the course at the end of Year 2.


  • In Year 1 there will be opportunities to take part in ‘Be a Biologist for a Day’ at the University of Sheffield. 
  • In Year 2 there will be field work days where you will carry out one of your compulsory practical investigations from the topic on ecosystems.

Overview of Exams

The qualifications are linear. Linear means that you will sit all the AS exams at the end of your AS course and all the A-level exams at the end of your A-level course.

Written exam: 2hrs

78 marks (30% of A-level)

NB: Paper 3 includes one 25 mark synoptic essay (from a choice of two essay titles)

Entry requirements

Grade B in Core/Additional Science or if separate science then a Grade B in Biology

Grade B in Maths 

What can A level Biology lead to? 

Biology is one of the most popular A level subjects in the country, attracting students studying a wide range of other subjects. Many of these students enjoy the subject so much they eventually choose a biologically related degree course for example medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, zoology, nursing or forensic science. Others go on to careers in law, computing, accounting or teaching. So, whatever field you eventually work in, you will find biology a very rewarding and challenging course which will develop many of the skills essential for a successful career.

Support for Biology at Chapeltown Academy

The course will be academically challenging but you will be offered support to help you e.g. lunchtime drop in sessions and CBT sessions that cover specific topics from the course.

AS Assessments 

Paper 1 (Any content from topics 1 – 4, including relevant practical skills)

Written exam: 1hr 30min

75 marks (50% of AS) 

Paper 2 (Any content from topics 1 – 4, including relevant practical skills) 

Written exam: 1hr 30min 

75 marks (50% of AS) 

A level Assessments 

Paper 1 (Any content from topics 1 – 4, including relevant practical skills) 

Written exam: 2hrs 

91 marks (35% of A-level) 

Paper 2 (Any content from topics 5 – 8, including relevant practical skills) 

Written exam: 2hrs 

91 marks (35% of A-level) 

Paper 3 (Any content from topics 1 – 8, including relevant practical skills) 

Additional Information

Tutor: Jackie Skeer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

AQA Spec Page