A Level

Exam Board AQA

Course 7402

Lead Teacher Mrs J Jones

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

  • The qualification builds on the knowledge, understanding and process skills inherent in GCSE Science and Mathematics.
  • There is no requirement to have studied GCSE Biology separately; Additional Science provides a good grounding for the study of A-level Biology.
  • The qualification integrates theory and relevant practical work.
  • You will need to be able to communicate effectively, research and think critically and independently about biological problems.
  • There is a significant mathematical element.

Specific requirements

You should have at least a grade 6-6 in GCSE double award science or a grade 6 in separate GCSE Biology

What will I study?

The course is split into eight sections:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic Information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Energy transfer in and between organisms
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression

Sections 1 to 4 are studied in the first year, sections 5 to 8 are studied in the second year.

We will ensure that you cover all the theory required in the syllabus so that you can prepare for your exams with confidence.  In addition, you will have lots of opportunities to develop your practical skills. Lessons will involve a range of activities including individual and group work, practical investigations, presentations and videos.

The eight sections are examined in three 2 hour written papers at the end of the second year.

Paper 1 - 91 marks total

Any content from topics 1, 2, 3 and 4 (including relevant practical skills).

  • A mixture of short and long answer questions (including 15 marks: extended response question).

Paper 2 - 91 marks total

  • Any content from topics 5,6,7 and 8 (including relevant practical skills).
  • A mixture of short and long answer questions (including 15 marks: comprehension question).

Paper 3 - 78 marks total

  • Any content from topics 1– 8 (including relevant practical skills).
  • Structured questions (including 15 marks: critical analysis of given experimental data, 25 marks: one essay from a choice of two titles).

Practical endorsement

Practical competency will be assessed and reported separately and does not contribute to the final grade.  However, knowledge of the twelve core practicals is essential for success in the written exams.  A range of practical work will be carried out to support your studies beyond the core practicals.

Where does it lead?

The range of courses and work opportunities involving biology is vast and includes: veterinary science, medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy, sport science, psychology, pharmacy, biotechnology, zoology, marine biology, plant and animal science, cosmetics, forestry, agriculture, environmental science and many others.

Even if you decide not to pursue a biology related career, studying it still develops useful and transferable skills for other careers outside of STEM. You’ll develop research, problem solving and analytical skills, alongside teamwork and communication. universities and employers regard all of these very highly. 

Wider Reading

Suggested Authors: Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones, Matt Ridley