King James' School


What’s it all about? 

How do we start to conserve an endangered species?  What is actually happening inside your body when you eat your breakfast or run for the school bus?  What will you find inside a cell?  How do your genes make you unique?  Where does your urine come from? Find out all of the answers to these questions (and many more) in A level Biology.  If you have a good general understanding of science and an urge to find out more about the living world around you, A level Biology could be for you. 

During Year 12 you will learn the important basics of biology, including cells, biochemistry and biodiversity.  In Year 13, we study specific systems in much more detail.  In order to enhance your learning and experience biology in the real world, we will visit several local organisations including the Yorkshire Wildlife Park to find out how they conserve their animals, both locally and internationally, Harlow Carr Gardens in order to complete ecological experiments that are not possible within a school setting.  You will also have the opportunity to develop your research skills by completing a series of independent projects throughout the course, in which you study specific areas of biology and apply them to examples of your choice. 

Exam and Assessment Information: 


Biology A - H420 

Assessment will be 3 hours of exams at AS and 6 hours for A level.  There is no coursework element but practical skills will be assessed within the written exams.  The exams will also include assessment of higher tier GCSE mathematical skills. 

AS includes Cell Structure, Biochemistry, Breathing and Circulation, Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease. 

A2 includes Communication Systems, Homeostasis, Energy, Genetics and Evolution.

To get started: 

We ask for B grades for GCSE Triple Science or Core and Additional Science as well as grade 6 from the higher tier of Maths.  All of the assessment of the course will be through exams, there is no coursework.  To succeed at Biology A level you need good GCSE mathematical skills, problem solving skills, a good understanding of GCSE Science and to be able to explain your ideas clearly in writing.

What next? 

Having an A level in a science subject is great for university applications and opens many options to you.  Depending on what other A levels you choose, A level Biology could lead to a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, science journalism, pharmacy, conservation, research science, nutrition and the food industry, forensic science, sports science, zoology or nursing, amongst a huge range of others. In fact, having an A level in Biology will stand you in great stead for a huge range of careers, as it is a great qualification to have.

Our students say … 

“You learn about a range of different topics which are all fascinating in different ways.”  Rebecca Pearson 

“It’s a challenging but interesting subject which equips you for lots of different career paths.”  Sophie Revill

There are aspects of this course that are mathematical, you may want to support this subject with a Level 3 Certificate in Mathematical Studies.  The details of this can be found on page 28.