Biology is relevant to every aspect of your life. You don't have to be a brilliant mathematician nor do you have to deal in symbols all the time. You don't even have to learn lots of Latin names any more. However, you do study the life that exists on Earth from minute viruses to gigantic blue whales. Strange as it may seem, all organisms can be investigated using overall questions, including: How do they get from one place to another? How do they obtain their energy? And, finally, how do they avoid becoming an energy source for other organisms?
An understanding of the principles of biology will allow you to appreciate not only how our bodies work and how diseases stop them working, but also the fragility of life on Earth. In addition, a biologist understands the potential benefits and dangers of genetic engineering. Once you grasp the full significance of biology be prepared to look at the world in a new light because some day a biologist may change it beyond recognition.
To study biology you must be 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.
Year 1 - AS Level
The first year in biology places a great emphasis on knowledge and understanding of key biological theory: breathing, cells, circulation, classification, differentiation, digestion, disease, diversity, enzymes, exchange, genetic code, immunity, molecules, pathogens, reproduction, risk factors, transport systems, variation.
Year 2 - A Level
The second year modules lead to a full A Level in biology and the emphasis is on application and analysis of the key concepts learnt on the AS course plus concepts of: co-ordination, ecosystems, energy transfer, gene cloning techniques, gene expression, homeostasis, inheritance, mutations, nutrient cycles, photosynthesis, populations, respiration and selection.
Your knowledge and skills will be tested in a variety of ways, including:
- Practical assessments
What can I study alongside this A Level?
Many of our students who choose to study biology, will also study another science subject and/or maths. However, there are grade implications with this subject. An 7-9 (A/A*) grade at GCSE in science must be achieved to secure your place on this course.
You could also choose to study psychology or English alongside biology.
What are the career opportunities?
The range of degrees you could study include Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry degrees plus Marine Biology, Biotechnology, Pathology, Toxicology, and Pharmacology. The top universities and employers are looking for a science at A Level as an indication of analytical skills; so other Biology students choose degree subjects such as Economics and Business Studies. As everyone becomes aware of climate change, there is also a growing interest in degree courses on Environmental Sciences. Biology A Level is an essential entry requirement for all these courses.