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Luton Sixth Form

Biology (A Level)

Why study Biology?

If you want to be continually amazed study the fascinating world of Biology. How does your body work? Why do we have a limited life span? What enables trees to move water 60m upwards? How does cancer develop? Come and find out the answers to these and many other questions!

Entry Requirements

In addition to our general entry requirements, you must have:

  • GCSE English – grade 4 
  • GCSE Maths – grade 6
  • GCSE Science – two grade 6s (if taking Triple Science, must have a 6 in Biology)
  • Must have an overall GCSE average of 5.6

The Course

Biology is the study of life and living processes. You can expect to examine life at a cellular, organism and ecosystem level and look at the complexity of interactions that occur

Course Activities

As a Biology student you will carry out practicals, pair work and group discussions. You will also make use of the internet to view animations and carry out online quizzes and research activities.
You will be expected to be creative in your exploration of the subject, building models and making posters which illustrate complex structures processes.
The lessons are designed to contain a combination some note-taking and engaging activities to help you learn. You will need to build a minimum of five hours of self-study or independent learning into your life each week as well as the time spent in lessons.

Career and Progression Opportunities

Biology is an essential subject for many medical-based careers, veterinary science, biochemistry and any degree subject with Biology in the title, such as Marine Biology. The variety of career opportunities is vast and the skills you gain will be useful in any science occupation. The subject also allows progression into other professional areas such as business, catering and horticulture as your knowledge base will be broad, allowing you to analyse data and critically evaluate its worth.

Course Structure and Assessment

This is a two-year course. All examinations are at the end of the second year.

Module title and content

Module 1: Development of Practical Skills in Biology

The development of practical skills is a fundamental and integral aspect of the study of Biology.
Learners will be required to develop a range of practical skills thoughout their course in
preparation for the written examinations.

Module 2: Foundations in Biology
All living organisms have similarities in cellular structure, biochemistry and function. An
understanding of these similarities is fundamental to the study of the subject. This module
includes: cell structure, biological molecules, nucleotides and nucleic acids, enzymes, biological
membranes, cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation.

Module 3: Exchange and Transport
In this module learners study the structure and function of gas exchange and transport systems
in a range of animals and terrestrial plants. The significance of surface area to volume ratio in
determining the need for ventilation, gas exchange and transport systems in multicellular
organisms is emphasised. The examples of terrestrial green plants and a range of animal phyla
are used to illustrate the principle.

Module 4: Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease
In this module learners study about the biodiversity of organisms; how they are classified and the
ways in which biodiversity can be measured. It serves as an introduction to ecology, emphasising
the practical techniques and an appreciation of the need to maintain biodiversity. The learners
also gain an understanding of the variety of organisms that are pathogenic and the way in which
plants and animals have evolved defences to deal with disease. The impact of the evolution of
pathogens on the treatment of disease is also considered.

Module 5: Communication, Homeostasis and Energy
Plants and animals respond to stimuli, this is achieved through communication within the body,
which may be chemical and or electrical. The biochemical pathways of photosynthesis and
respiration are considered with an emphasis on the formation and uses of ATP as the source of
energy for biochemical processes and synthesis of biological molecules.

Module 6: Genetics evolution and ecosystems
This module cover the role of genes in regulation and controlling cell function and development.
Heredity and the mechanism of evolution and speciation are also covered. Some of the practical
techniques used to manipulate DNA such as sequencing and amplification are considered and its
therapeutic medical use.


Additional Information

Examination Board: OCR (A)

  • You will be required to enrol on Level 3 Mathematical Studies if you are not studying A
    level Mathematics
  • You will be required to attend a transition day in the summer term and complete work
    over the summer to hand in at enrolment. Without this, you may not be able to take your
    place on the course.

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