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Biology A level – AQA

Examining Board

Specification Title

Specification Code


(AS and) A Level Biology

(7401) 7402


Course Leader: Mrs Sarah Horne

What’s it all about?

Biology is the study of living organisms, their physical structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution. Biology is divided into many specialised fields to cover such a broad content- it is a complex subject! Biologists study molecular structure first, to grasp the basic understanding of living organisms and further on they will study deeper concepts of chemical processes, physiological mechanisms, behaviour and development.


Why study this course?

If you have an interest in any concepts of Biology, you should study this course!

Biology is often studied in conjunction with other subjects and lay the foundations for further study, such as: biochemistry, ecology, medicine, veterinary nursing and zoology. The course is structured in a way that will allow you to nurture your passion and be challenged at the same time. Practical aspects of the course will give you the opportunities to embed your skills and knowledge.


Who would the course be suitable for and what are the entry requirements?

Biology is a fascinating, but complex subject- underpinned by some demanding ideas and concepts therefore the entry requirements for this course are there to ensure that the students who are accepted onto A level biology are able to cope with the mass of information packed in this course.


The entry requirements for A level biology are:

Grade 6 In Science (ideally separate science/triple.  Some crucial content is missed from the trilogy course and will need to be caught up on over summer holiday before the course begins)

Grade 6 in English (there is a large essay/reading/writing aspect to the course)

Grade 6 in maths (there is a maths requirement within the course)


What will I learn on the Biology Course

  The challenging two year course on offer will include the following topics:

Course content:

  • Biological Molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances and their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms
  • Energy transfers in and between organisms (A Level only)
  • Organisms responding to changes in their internal and external environments (A Level only)
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems (A Level only)
  • The control of gene expression (A Level only)



How will I be assessed?


All assessment takes place at the end of this two year course (summer of Year 13).  The A Level Biology course is assessed by sitting externally examined written papers.  All examinations assessed in the summer of Year 13 (3 exam papers in total).  Practical work will be continually developed throughout the course and students will carry out 12 core investigations over the course of the A level, with the aim being able to develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of ‘How Science Works’.  These practical skills are assessed in written papers. 10% of the overall assessment of A Level Biology will contain mathematical skills equivalent to Level 2 or above.

At least 15% of the overall assessment of A Level Biology will assess knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to practical work.


What Can I do with A-Level Biology?


As a fascinating A Level, the career options following on from A Level Biology are virtually endless. However, Biology should be considered an essential A Level to take (where possible) in preparation for degrees in medicine or veterinary sciences.


Higher Education

A Level Biology is a fascinating A Level; this means that it is one of a handful of A Level subjects commonly asked for in universities' entry requirements, regardless of the course you are applying to do. This makes it a good choice to keep you degree options open.


Is there anything else I need to know?

Practical work is an essential part of the course. Therefore, you will be expected to take an active and confident role within these practical lessons. However, support will be on hand throughout).

The handling of dead tissue (for dissection) is expected/required as part of the course (unless agreed beforehand by your teacher)


Fieldwork is an essential part of this course and in the past students were attending a 3 days residential Field Studies at the end of the first year. Due to covid-19 restrictions Biology Field trip 2021 will be confirmed later in the year.


For More information on AQA Biology go to AQA website


Who can I contact for further information?