Why study advanced level biology at King Solomon Academy?

Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to mammoths. Biology is never far from the headlines either... The human genome has been sequenced and we know the complete arrangement of the three thousand million bases that make up human DNA. In Kenya 350 people die every day from AIDS and in South East Asia the skies are dark with smoke as the last Bornean rainforests are burned to grow oil palms. Biologists are concerned with all these issues. They work in the fields of cell biology, medicine, food production and ecology and the work they do is vital to us all!

What will you study in the first year?

The AQA Biology course covers the core biology required for the A level student, but has been specifically designed to engage and inspire students by showing how an understanding of many contemporary issues requires a grasp of fundamental biological ideas.

The following topics are studied in year 1:

  • Biological molecules
  • Cells
  • Organisms exchange substances with their environment
  • Genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms

What will you study in the second year?

The following units are studied in year 2:

  • Energy transfers in and between organisms
  • Organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments
  • Genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems
  • The control of gene expression

How is learning assessed? 

  • Paper 1: Year 1 content including practical skills (35%)
  • Paper 2: Year 2 content including practical skills (35%)
  • Paper 3: All content including a synoptic essay (30%)

Which subjects complement a subject of biology? 

Some of the content overlaps with the physics and chemistry curricula. Studying these subjects alongside biology would be advantageous.

Studying Biology would complement A levels which are essay based, or that have a heavy reading load, like History, Geography, English and Modern Languages.

What could  you do next wiht an A Level qualification in biology?

Pupils of biology often progress to study medicine, veterinary science and dentistry. They are also able to study marine biology, biotechnology, pathology, toxicology, pharmacology and forensic science. Biology is also a good subject for pupils who move on to study more diverse analytical degree subjects such as economics and business studies. With climate change being such a topical issue, there is also a large interest in degree courses in environmental sciences. Even more now we see students who are interested in immunology and medicine, we discuss the causes, treatments and prevention of bacterial and viral infections such as Covid-19.

What skills will you be developing  through studying biology?

Biology will help develop some key skills that can be applied outside of the subject discipline; these include problem solving, analytical skills, practical skills, critical thinking, essay writing as well as developing a broad scientific background.

Are there any extra-curricular opportunities to support my study of biology?

British Biology Olympiad

Students in Y13 will have the opportunity to take part in the British Biology Olympiad (BBO), a competition held at a prestigious university each year. The BBO tries to challenge and stimulate gifted pupils with an interest in biology to expand and extend their talents. It allows gifted pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and to be suitably rewarded and publicly recognised by the award of medals, certificates and other prizes. It is hoped that competing in the Olympiad will encourage pupils already interested in this valuable, wide-ranging and rewarding subject to continue their study beyond A-level.

Nuffield Research Placements

Pupils will have the chance to work alongside professional scientists on a research project for four weeks during the summer holiday. Pupils will have the opportunity to learn new skills, get hands-on experience of a professional research environment and an insight into the careers available in their chosen field.

Frontier & Operation Wallasea

Both these organisations offer Y12 and 13 pupils the opportunity to attend an ecology residential course in another country. Past countries visited for project work include Indonesia, Madagascar, Peru and South Africa. The pupils’ ability to attend is determined by the amount of money they are able to raise through fundraising initiatives.

Entry requirements

You must have achieved at least 7, 7, 7 in Triple Science GCSE.

You must have achieved at least 7/7 in Combined Science GCSE.