Course Title AS/A Level Biology
Level: 3
Code MS013

Overview of the Course

Modern Biology is an exciting and rapidly changing science where the pace of new discovery means that our knowledge of living organisms is constantly being updated. Throughout the course you will gain an understanding of the full range of biological processes and you will develop analytical and practical skills necessary for aspiring scientists.

What are the career opportunities?

You can progress into a range of Science and Health related University courses such as Microbiology, Biotechnology, Medicine, Nursing and Conservation. Biology is also an academically challenging subject that is held in high regard for many other University courses.

What are the entry requirements?

To study three AS Levels or two AS Levels and one Applied Qualification then the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including three subjects or more at or above grade C/5. These must include  two GCSE grades A*-B (9-6) in Sciences (Core and Additional Science / Separate Sciences including Biology); and grade 9-5 GCSE English and maths.

Should you wish to study four AS Levels the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including two subjects or more at or above grade C/5 and two subjects or more at or above B/6.

In addition to the above a minimum of 9 grade points are required from maths and English combined.

How long is the course and when can I start?

One year for AS or two years for the full A Level starting in September.

How is the course structured and how will I be assessed?

For AS Biology the content of the AS Level will be assessed in two 1.5-hour exams in the summer of your course. The exams will consist of short answer questions, extended response questions and comprehension questions. For A Level Biology the full content of the A Levels will be assessed in three two-hour exams in the summer of your final year. The exams will consist of a mixture of short and long answer questions, extended response questions, comprehension questions and an essay (from a choice of two) in the final paper. Both AS and A Level Biology papers will also assess your data analysis skills.

What employability skills will I develop on this course?

Throughout the course you will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of Biology and how they relate to each other. You will also become adept with carrying out investigations, working independently within a laboratory setting and you will work towards completion of a Practical Competences Certificate. The course will help to develop an interest in further study and careers which will be essential in the future. A range of question types will be used, including those that require extended responses. Extended response questions will allow you to demonstrate your ability to construct and develop a sustained line of reasoning which is coherent, relevant, substantiated and logically structured. Overall at least 10% of the marks in assessments for Biology will require the use of mathematical skills of at least the standard of higher tier GCSE mathematics. You will be building upon your GCSE data analysis skills throughout the course.

Work experience

During your course, work experience can be carried out during the college holidays or at weekends through paid opportunities or voluntary work. A number of organisations offer work experience of varying length including the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Wellcome Trust, Nuffield Foundation and Sanger Institute. You can also try contacting science museums, research and clinical laboratories, conservation facilities or pharmaceutical companies.

Study programme enrichment opportunities

There will be a range of enrichment opportunities to take part in throughout the course. These could include field investigations to Ainsdale Sands, talks from visiting university lectures or industry specialists, educational trips to local universities and Heart Start first aid training.

Are there any additional costs or requirements?

There may be additional supplements for course textbooks and some enrichment opportunities.


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