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Why study Biology?

Studying A-level Biology at HSC will develop your understanding of science and the human body. The course is suitable for students who have studied and enjoyed science at GCSE and looking to continue this further in Higher Education. 
A-level Biology compliments other sciences but can also go well with other subjects such as Geography and History. An A-level in Biology could be the start of an exciting career in areas such as veterinary science, medicine and forensic sciences, biomedical and environmental science as well as law and teaching to name a few. 

What will I study?

A level Biology looks at the physiology, core principals and the biology of disease. The variety of living organisms is also studied incorporating cell and molecular biology and some biochemistry. In the second year the environment is studied in depth with particular focus on human activity affecting ecological balance. Control of cells and organisms reflects the development of the subject over the specification and considers such topics as the control of gene expression in detail.

AS Level

Consists of 4 units:

Unit 1: Biological molecules
Biological molecules, enzymes, DNA and its replication.

Unit 2: Cells
Studying cells structure, transport across membranes and immunity.

Unit 3: Exchanging substances
The digestive system, lungs and heart structure and transport in plants.

Unit 4: Genetics and variation
Inheritance, protein synthesis, diversity and classification.

A2 Level

Consists of 4 further units:

Unit 5: Energy transfers between organisms
Photosynthesis, respiration, energy transfers and ecosystems.

Unit 6: Organisms responding to the environment
The nervous system, muscle structure, homeostasis and control of heart rate.

Unit 7:Genetics, evolution & populations
Inheritance of genetic diseases, evolution and population studies.

Unit 8: Control of gene expression
Mutations, gene expression, advances in DNA technology, causes and treatments of cancer.

Link to AQA Biology website

How is the course assessed?

AS Biology

In AS Biology the assessment consists of two written exam papers at the end of year 12. Both papers are worth 50% of the AS qualification and cover the contents of Units 1-4 and relevant practical skills.

A-level Biology

In A-level Biology the assessment consists of three written exams at the end of Y13.

  1. Paper 1 assess content of units 1-4
  2. Paper 2 assess content of units 5-8
  3. Paper 3 assess content of units 1-8 and includes a synoptic essay.

All three paper also assess relevant practical skills.

AS and A-level biology courses will be taught in tandem in Year 12.

What grades do I need to study Biology at HSC?

You will need a grade B minimum in Core Science and Additional Science or a grade B Biology GCSE and one other science subject. A grade B in maths GCSE and B in English is also required.