The future of our own, and other species will depend upon the quality of scientists being educated now and one of those scientists could be you, ready to make an impact on the living world.
The variety in Biology is astounding, ranging from massive ecosystems to the minuscule world of biological molecules and cells. The topics you will study include – the heart, the digestive system, the immune system, DNA, evolution and biodiversity. You will also look at photosynthesis, respiration, genetic inheritance, the nervous system, muscles, gene technology and genetic fingerprinting. Biology also includes a lot of practical work, teaching you the skills to carry out lab techniques and to analyse and scrutinise data.
We run a programme of enrichment activities, including talks from visiting university academics and dissections. Students aiming for degree courses at Oxbridge, or in Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry are given additional support to help them achieve their goals, such as interview practice, personal statement workshops and entrance exam preparation from visiting experts and experienced members of staff.
Most Biology students go to university to study for degrees in biological sciences, the sciences of the future, e.g. healthcare, genetics, biotechnology, pharmacology, zoology and biomedical science. Biology A level is essential for medicine, veterinary science and dentistry, and important for physiotherapy, nursing and sports science.
Topics 1-4 – Exam Paper – 35% of marks
Topics 5-8 – Exam Paper – 35% of marks
Topics 1-8 – Exam Paper – 30% of marks
Topic 1: Biological molecules
Carbohydrates, lipids, proteins; Enzymes; DNA and RNA; ATP, water, inorganic ions
Topic 2: Cells
Cell structure; Cell division; Transport across cell membranes; The immune system
Topic 3: Organisms exchange substances with their environment
Gas exchange; Digestion and absorption; The heart and blood transport in animals; Water and glucose transport in plants.
Topic 4: Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
DNA, genes and chromosomes; Protein synthesis; Genetic diversity by mutation or meiosis Classification and taxonomy.
Topic 5: Energy transfer in and between organisms
Photosynthesis; Respiration; Energy and ecosystems; Nutrient cycles
Topic 6: Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
Control of Heart Rate; The nervous system and receptors; Muscles; Control of body temperature, blood glucose and blood water.
Topic 7: Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
Genetic inheritance; Evolution and natural selection; Ecosystems and ecology.
Topic 8: The control of gene expression
Control of gene expression; Using genome projects; Gene technologies and genetic engineering
Students will also complete 12 required practicals over the two years including: Investigation into the effect of a named variable on the rate of an enzyme-controlled reaction; Production of a dilution series of a solute to produce a calibration curve with which to identify the water potential of plant tissue; Dissection of animal or plant gas exchange or mass transport system.
Re-read your GCSE Biology notes from GCSE and make sure you understand the content as best as possible, as a majority of A level Biology builds upon your GCSE knowledge.
Dr C Tweed
Head of Department