Biology literally means the study of life and if that’s not important, what is? A fascination with animals, plants and humans, the environment, conservation, genetics, medicine and complex living systems are just some of the reasons why A level biology would be the perect subject for you.

Studying biology has allowed me to gain insights into how living systems work with broad topic areas to develop my individual interests further. A level biology has extended my practical, research and analytical skills which have been transferable to my other studies.


A level biology

Awarding body


Year 12

Biological molecules – the basic biochemistry of living organisms.

Cells – the ultrastructure of cells as seen by electron microscopy and practical light microscopy.

Organisms – transport mechanisms. The exchange of substances with their environment, gas exchange, circulation and digestion.

Genetics – DNA and protein synthesis and the variation and relationships between organisms. The study of DNA and RNA, mitosis and meiosis, mutations and the impact on biochemical and physiological function.

Year 13

Energy – energy transfers in and between organisms; photosynthesis, respiration and ecosystems.

How organisms respond to changes – responses to internal and external environmental changes; homeostasis, the nervous and hormonal systems

Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems – the inheritance of characteristics. Evolution and speciation and their effects on populations.

The control of gene expression – DNA technologies and their potential uses; epigenetics, totipotency, genetic engineering, gene sequencing and expression.

Practicals are essential in science and there are a series of required practicals to complete. There will also be a residential field trip in Year 13 where you will apply your knowledge to a real habitat.


Three written examinations at the end of Year 13. At least 15% of the written papers will assess knowledge and understanding of practical skills. 10% of the papers will assess mathematical skills.

Practical endorsement – students will complete a minimum of 12 practical activities to demonstrate practical competence.

A level biology helped me to develop research, problem solving, organisation and analytical skills, all of which will help me in the future.
Cara Stewart, Year 13 student

Why study biology?

A level biology gives you access to a wide range of university courses such as those in the fields of medicine, biomedical sciences, dentistry, orthotics, and veterinary medicine, scientific research for example. A level biology is also highly recommended for many courses, including environmental science, occupational therapy, pharmacy, sports science, speech therapy, forestry, teaching and nursing.