A Level Biology

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What Board do we do?  Edexcel B (9B10)

What is Biology?
Biology is the study of living organisms and how these interact with each other and their environments. Biology is really a multidisciplinary subject that is made of many different and interdependent fields. Biology explores how living systems are constructed, as well as how they develop, communicate, interact, reproduce, defend themselves, and shape the biophysical environment around them. Biologists are constantly looking to understand links between different disciplines of biology and in this sense evolution is a unifying concept in biology. Never before in the history of science has it been more exciting and fascinating to study the biological sciences; the opportunities and potential to comprehend and problem-solve are endless.

At Advanced Level, the subject is made up of major core components such as cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, genetics, ecology and evolution. At degree level these macro-sub disciplinary areas further divide into further interesting topics, such as medical genetics, microbial genetics, molecular genetics and ecological genetics, which are just some branches of genetics. All of this demonstrates that biology really is the science that is undergoing an incredible and exciting revolution in our understanding, one that started in the 20th century with the elucidation of the structure of DNA, and now continues in the 21st century with the completion of the Human Genome Project, and the emergence of disciplines such as proteomics, genomics and synthetic biology.  The subject of biology is never dull or static. For example, disciplines such as neuroscience, immunology and regenerative medicine (bioengineering) are just some of the exciting and fascinating undergraduate courses that students, who have completed their A Levels, can aspire to. It is also important to note that degree and non-degree apprenticeships in the Biological Sciences are also becoming more prevalent and popular.

What subjects combine with Biology?
Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Psychology.

How much Mathematics and Chemistry is required for A Level Biology?
The mathematical content of the specification is about 10% and is set at basic GCSE maths and statistics. Students who have less than grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics should be made aware that the subject requires some basic ability in mathematics beyond grade 4. While it is quite possible to complete A Level Biology and not do A Level Chemistry, the two subjects do rather complement each other. It is, however, very difficult to successfully complete A Level Biology without GCSE Chemistry. A knowledge of basic organic chemistry is required as well as some basic foundation principles in Chemistry.

What can studying Biology lead to and why is it important?
Careers in medicine and medically-related disciplines, such as pharmacy or pharmacology, medical genetics, virology, parasitology, immunology, and medical microbiology, medical genomics, all require knowledge of Biology. Biology is an important component for most psychology degrees, owing to cognitive and abnormal psychology components. Biology is also important if someone wants to become a forensic scientist, ecologist or biomedical technical scientist. Furthermore, the subject is relevant for those who wish to study radiography or operate CT or fMRI scanners in a clinical setting. In short, the subject of biology is important as the basis for a wide range of biologically and medically-related careers and provides students with a balance of skill-sets including, the scientific method, observation, data-analysis and statistics, and understanding correlations and causal relationships.

Biology is also important for many other undergraduate disciplines, such as marine science, plant science, agriculture, animal science, and mycology. Many new biology courses and disciplines, such as mechanobiology, reflect how biology-based courses are now so multidisciplined and computational.

AS Biology (Edexcel 8B10)

This is a stand-alone qualification that can be taken at the end of the first year of the 2-year A Level course. It covers topics 1-4, which are as follows:

Topic 1:                Biological Molecules
Topic 2:                Cells, Viruses, and Reproduction of Living Things
Topic 3:                Classification and Biodiversity
Topic 4:                Exchange and Transport

Students are expected to complete 9 core practical experiments for AS Biology

A Level Biology (Edexcel 9B10)

This is a two-year course that contains 10 topics:

Topic 1:                Biological Molecules
Topic 2:                Cells, Viruses, and Reproduction of Living Things
Topic 3:                Classification and Biodiversity
Topic 4:                Exchange and Transport
Topic 5:                Energy for Biological Processes
Topic 6:                Microbiology and Pathogens
Topic 7:                Modern Genetics
Topic 8:                Origins of Genetic Variation
Topic 9:                Control Systems
Topic 10:              Ecosystems

Students are expected to carry out 16 core practical experiments.

The specification consists of three externally examined papers and the Science Practical Endorsement.

Paper 1:               Advanced Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genetics (30% of the total qualification)

                              Assessment is 1 hour 45 minutes

The paper will include multi-choice, short open, open-response, calculations and extended writing questions

Paper 2:               Advanced Physiology, Evolution and Ecology (30% of the total qualification)

Assessment is 1 hour 45 minutes

The paper will include multi-choice, short open, open-response, calculations and extended writing questions

Paper 3:               General and Practical Principles in Biology (40% of the total qualification)

Assessment is 2 hours 30 minutes

The paper will include multi-choice, short open, open-response, calculations and extended writing questions. It will also include synoptic questions.

 

 

Meet Our Students

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Jelal

University of Cambridge

Caroline

Imperial College, London

Bob

UCLan

Kuda

Brunel University

Iman

Queen Mary University

Kumsal

Queen Mary University

Emmeline

King's College, London

Jack

GCSE Student

Molly

University of Sussex

Ruqaya

GCSE Student

Nitin

University of Manchester

Grace

(UAL) University of the Arts London


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