A Level

Course Entry Requirements

Five A* – C grades at GCSE including a grade 5/C in GCSE English Language.

A minimum of a grade B in either GCSE Physics, Chemistry or Biology or a double B in General Science. A minimum of a grade 6/B in GCSE Mathematics, a BTEC Level 2 Distinction may qualify.

If you are interested in joining the College we will arrange a meeting with an experienced subject counsellor who will help you to choose courses that best suit your ambitions and achievements.

All entry requirement details are correct at the time of publication, September 2018, however, the College may need to make some changes by September 2019 in the light of student demand, staff availability and external factors beyond the College’s control.

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What will I study?

In the first year you will study four topics. Initially you will study biological molecules which form the building blocks of all cells. You will then study the ways cells combine to form tissues, organs and organ systems and how they maintain life. Finally you will study how genetic differences between organism’s affects how they interact with the environment and you will learn practical techniques to measure these factors.


3.1           Biological molecules
3.2           Cells
3.3           Organisms exchange substances with their environment
3.4           Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

In the second year you will study at a higher level and in a greater depth than in the first year. The first topic focuses on the flow of energy through ecosystems and how humans can manipulate this through applying scientific principles to food production. The second half of the course looks in detail into genetics and the numerous techniques of how gene technologies are applied to living organisms.


3.5           Energy transfers in and between organisms
3.6           Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
3.7           Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
3.8           The control of gene expression

Mathematics emphasis is 20%.

Practical emphasis is 15%.

What skills do I need?

  • Good time management – punctuality to lessons is important, as well as getting into good routines of doing homework so that it is handed in on time.
  • Determination and persistence – there will be times when you are likely to find the course difficult and it might take more time than you’re used to for a full understanding.
  • Initiative – if you’re stuck, ask the Science department for some help. You will find the teachers approachable
  • Good ICT Skills – The Biology team regularly use Moodle, Prezi, Twitter, Memrise & Internet Research as useful tools to enhance learning. You will need to have a twitter account set up if you do not have one at the start of the year. You will also be provided with usernames and passwords to access multiple learning platforms so be organised.

Examining Board


Why should I study this course?

Study a fascinating topic, delve into the living environment, and climb the building blocks of life for a career in science. We believe that Biology is fundamentally an experimental subject and you will be provided with numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality, and equip yourself with the essential practical skills you need.

This is a fundamental course for progression on to scientific and medical subjects at university. You will study all living creatures, animals and plants, and discover how these work and interact in an ecosystem. If you are interested in medicine or veterinary science it is a must-have course. You will also get the opportunity to participate in a University of Hull curriculum enhancement project studying Kin selection in colonies and hives.

How is the course assessed?

There will be three exams at the end testing the knowledge and skills that you have acquired over the two year course. Now more than ever there is an emphasis on practical and mathematic based skills.

A Level Mathematics is essential in order to meet the large mathematics requirement of the new examination paper.

What will this course prepare me for?

Biology is a necessity for the study of biological subjects, medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and physiotherapy. It is also an extremely well regarded subject, which demonstrates to universities and employers that you have analytical skills and the ability to process information and develop new ideas.

Students who take A Level Biology can also go on to study one of the following courses at university  optometry, psychology, nursing, pharmacy, sports science, microbiology, forensic science, biophysics, genetics, neuroscience, botany, zoology, ecology and environmental science and of course, biology.

Private Study

The Biology team have produced a wide variety of learning materials for you to use during independent study time. To be successful you will need to regularly review past work whilst also reading ahead to enable you to link ideas and concepts to future topics. To assist you the team has produced a complete breakdown of the course complete with learning checklists and revision videos on Prezi. There is also a complete set of revision materials on the department moodle page which will be used in parallel to the website.

What materials will I need to provide?

You will be given the opportunity in September to buy a workbook at a discounted price of £10 (£16 RRP)

In addition to this you will need the following stationery items: pen, pencil, ruler, notepad, and a scientific calculator (CGP recommended

How will I be taught?

You will have 5 hours of Biology on your timetable and be taught by one teacher. The lessons have many creative ideas and there is a good mixture of individual work, paired work, and group work.

Lessons are practical and develop ideas from observations made during practical experiments.

Students find the lessons interesting and useful – and that the teaching helps them make really good progress. iPads and Laptops are regularly utilised to enhance the learning experience and you are welcome to bring in your own Wifi enabled devices subject to ICT Helpdesk approval.

A Level Biology is for you if:

…you are prepared to ask difficult questions. You have to reject the bland unscientific statements and sound bites that the media throw at you and be prepared to appreciate all around you from a biological standpoint. It has to be said that you will have to learn a lot of detailed facts and apply them in an intelligent manner. If you are inquisitive about the world, you will love Biology.

A Level Biology is not for you if:

…you do not feel you will be suited for end of year examinations. As there is no coursework students who are used to being assessed mainly through assignments may find it difficult. If you feel you will benefit from an assignment based science route perhaps our BTEC Applied Science is more appropriate. If you are in doubt please talk to one of our counsellors or subject staff who will help you to find the right course for you.