A Level – Biology


Biology is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and clinical professions, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, medical research, nursing, zoology, microbiology or genetics, as well as a wide range of science careers.

  • Who Is This Course For?

    Biology is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and clinical professions, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, medical research, nursing, zoology, microbiology or genetics, as well as a wide range of science careers.

    An A level in Biology, is also a great choice for anyone with an interest in the subject, who wishes to study it alongside a set of complementary or contrasting subjects.

    Entry Criteria

    The College entry criteria for all level three courses can be found on our ”Entry Criteria Guidance” pdf document.

  • Course Details:

    Exam Board

    AQA

    A level Biology

    Year 1 (Y12)

    • 1 Biological molecules

    Biochemistry: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins and DNA.

    • 2 Cells

    Cell structure, Cell Division Processes, the Immune System.

    • 3 Organisms exchange substances with their environment

    Gas Exchange in a Variety of Organisms, the Circulatory System, Digestion

    • 4 Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

    Genes, Protein Synthesis, Taxonomy and Diversity.

    Year 2 (Y13)

    • 5 Energy transfers in and between organisms

    Photosynthesis, Respiration, Ecosystems and Nutrient Cycles.

    • 6 Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments

    Nerves, Muscles and Homeostasis

    • 7 Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems

    Inheritance, Populations and Evolution

    • 8 The control of gene expression

    Mutations, Gene Technology and Control of Gene Expression

     

    A Level content is assessed through two 120-minute exams covering topics 1-4 (Y12) and 5-8 (Y13), plus the associated practical skills from the 12 required practical lessons in the course. The third exam covers data analysis and extended writing, featuring a choice of two essays.

    The complete specification, together with past exam papers, can be seen on the AQA website. www.aqa.org.uk

     

    Departmental Enrichment

    The department offers lunchtime exam clinics and holiday intensive revision days as well as lots of additional help in-between lessons and by email.

    There is an annual Ecology trip to a rocky shore and other residential trips are offered on a regular basis. Previous trips include a trip to London Zoo and the Science Museum as well as a trip to study Mediterranean Ecology in Barcelona.

    The Biology Department at Wyke Sixth Form College

    The department uses three specialist laboratories that are equipped to the highest standards. In addition, there is an open access computer area adjacent to the laboratories.

    All students receive an AS and A2 textbook along with printed module notes, past paper booklets and a wide range of handout materials.

    The department makes wide ranging use of interactive on-line resources to facilitate independent learning.

    Practical skills are an essential part of the course and our newly built, well equipped laboratories supported by our experienced teachers and skilled technicians, ensure opportunities are available to enhance learning, develop skills and confidence in this area.

    Many of the teaching staff are, or have been, external examiners for A level Biology.

    The Biology staff team is:

    • Valerie Evans (Faculty Head)
    • Mark Rothery (Vice Principal)
    • Lee Baxter (Head of Biology)
    • Sophie Thompson (Teacher of Science)
    • Kimberley Lawrence (Teacher of Science)
    • Beth Freeman (Teacher of Science)
    • Jeanette Kitteringham (Senior Technician)
    • Ally Rigg (Technician) 

    What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

    The start of the A-level course is always challenging, but you will find these tasks aid the transition from GCSE.

    To do these tasks you need to download the notes from the Wyke Start Summer Work section of the Wyke Sixth Form College website.

    1. Read (Biological Molecules)
    • Learn the four main biochemical groups and the elements that make them up
    • Learn the differences between the two kinds of chemical bond in biology
    1. Read (Carbohydrates)
    • Learn the chemical and structural formulae of glucose
    • Learn the names of the two other monosaccharides
    • Learn the names and components of the three disaccharides
    1. Read (Eukaryotic Cells)
    • Draw up a large table of the 14 organelles. For each organelle give its name, a simple diagram, and describe its structure
    • Describe its main function in as few words as possible within the table.
  • Progression:

    Having A-level Biology can open up a world of opportunities in both university choices and career options. If you are considering applying to university to study biology, zoology, ecology, animal science, marine biology, life sciences, medicine, environmental science, forensic science or any other subject related to the natural world, then A-level Biology is essential, with many other courses preferring Biology at either AS or A-level.

    Possible career choices that require A-level Biology include: biological testing, biotechnology, independent research, food industry jobs, nutrition, medicine, doctor, nurse, veterinarian, zoologist, zookeeper, animal care, veterinary nurse, scientist, amongst a huge range of others. In fact, having an A-level in Biology will put you in great stead for a huge range of careers, as it is a great qualification to have.

    Student success

    The Biology department has helped many students achieve excellent grades and move on to further education. Below are details of four such students:

    Lewis Robinson (former Trinity House Academy), Sheffield University, Biology

    Holly Smith (former Beverley High School), Glasgow University, Dentistry

    Stephanie Kelly (former Cottingham High School), Northumbria University, Physiotherapy

    Tom McKenzie (former Winifred Holtby), Sheffield University, Medicine