Biology is essentially a practical subject, both in the laboratory and in the field, and great emphasis is placed on this in A Level lessons at The Grange.
The practical work will involve observation of biological material (both living and preserved), carrying out experimental investigations in the laboratory and field studies in the local environment.
The syllabus studied is AQA specification ‘Biology 7402’.
There are eight main areas of study;
1. Biological molecules
3. Organisms exchange substances with their environment
4. Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
5. Energy transfers in and between organisms
6. Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
7. Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
8. The control of gene expression
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Assessment is by three written papers, all of which are taken at the end of the Upper Sixth year.
Paper 1 examines Units 1-4
Paper 2 examines Units 5-8
Paper 3 examines all eight units and includes an assessment of practical skills
The full specification (Biology 7402) can be viewed on the AQA web site, www.aqa.org.uk
Biology is the study of living things and how they work. Particular importance is placed on the study of humans and how our knowledge of living things can be used for the benefit of humankind. One of the most important problems facing biologists at the moment is how we can get the most out of our environment without damaging it.
During the Biology course at A level, not only is knowledge acquired, but also a variety of important skills will be implemented such as data interpretation and presentation, problem solving and communication. At each level, biological study provides sound preparation for those wishing to take the subject further, and also a challenging and rewarding course for those whose study will not be continued.
For those wishing to study a biological science at university, the choice of subject is huge; Biochemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Ecology, Environmental Sciences, Genetics, Human Biology, Immunology, Marine Biology, Medicine, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychology, Plant Science, Sports Science and Zoology are some of the most popular options.
Successful study will open up a whole world of careers; Animal Scientist, Conservationist, Dentist, Dietician, Diver, Ecologist, Forensic Scientist, Marine Biologist, Medic, Patent Lawyer, Pharmacologist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Science Journalist, Research Scientist, Veterinary Scientist or even Teacher!
Pupils must have a good GCSE (grade B or above) in either Biology, or Science. Students wishing to take the subject further than A level are advised to consider Chemistry as another A level subject. Other options that combine well with Biology include Physics, Maths and Geography. It is recognised that there will also be students for whom Biology will be the only science studied. These pupils should find the course to be a fulfilling and worthwhile challenge in its own right.