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Biology

Welcome to A Level Biology

Pre-course preparation

Click on the links below to download the A Level Biology pre-course preparation material:
Click here to visit the exam board course page for A Level Biology.

What do our students say about Biology?

Millie's A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Maths are ideal preparation for her application to study Medicine at university.

My favourite thing about studying A Level Biology are the topics involving mammalian bodies. I find it interesting to learn how the body works and how different processes are carried out. I also enjoy the topics on how organisms have adapted for life on earth today.

The best advice I have for students starting Year 12 is try to keep on top of your notes and make revision material as you go – it helps so much! Also, try to go back to old lessons and refresh the material in your mind regularly because it is very easily forgotten!

Something I wish I knew at the start of Year 12 would be to keep on top of writing up my experiments in my lab book, and always note down the results! Also, how important it is to include risk assessments when I’m writing my own practical methods. A big part of A Level Biology is the Required Practicals. These are assessed over the two years and you get a Pass/Fail on the practical component as well as your A Level grade. If you are going to university to study science subjects, they almost always require a pass in the practicals as part of your offer. Having said that, the teachers make sure you have every opportunity to pass the practicals and offer catch up time if you miss a practical lesson for any reason.

As well as Biology, I do Chemistry and Maths A Level and I’m also doing my EPQ on body positivity.

I plan to do medicine and eventually become an A&E doctor dealing with emergency patients. Biology has helped me learn the basics of how the human body works including digestion, respiratory and circulatory systems.

My favourite thing about studying Biology was that there was a variety of topics and lots of different styles of questions. The subject incorporated maths but also long answer questions. This allowed me to develop both skills which could be transferred to other subjects.
In Biology, I wish I’d known how much content there was to learn right from the start of Year 12. However, don’t let this put you off, it is very interesting and it is easier to remember than you think because in Year 2 the topics link back to previous Year 1 topics.
My advice is to keep on top of things from the start and to keep organised. As there is lots of content it is good to makes notes and start exam questions from the start. This means you can always refer back to them if another topic overlaps with a previous one and it means you can go back and do quick revision sessions of previous topics to refresh your mind rather than overloading yourself before exams.
My other subjects are Psychology and Health and Social care. The three link really well together, especially because I would like a career in the healthcare sector. 
After Sixth Form, I plan to go to university to study Paediatric Nursing. Biology has helped prepare myself for this as it gives an insight into the human body and many of the skills and information you learn will be transferable to this course and any degree. A Level Biology allowed me to link practical health examples to the theory being taught. We see the human body’s biological processes and why these occur to explain the necessity of treatment. The practical assessments also allowed to progress my practical skills which will benefit me when working in a medical environment as I will have more precision and confidence when using medical instruments.

Olivia's nursing skills were put in to practise during her Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition, where she was able to patch up members of her group when they needed it!

My favourite thing about A Level Biology is the fact that although it is a challenging subject almost everything we learn is very interesting and new and things are being discovered everyday across all fields of Biology. It is a constantly changing subject, with new research published all the time.

At the start of Year 12, I wish I had realised the importance of regularly revising topics during the year in order to help me remember what I learnt. It would have saved me so much time if I hadn’t had to relearn a lot of the topics at the end of Year 12 and Year 13.

I think it’s important that new Year 12 students know that it’s okay to not understand something you learn in class straight away; you have so much time in free periods to go over it and the teachers will help you whenever they can. It’s no problem if you have to ask teachers or friends for help, but it’s also valuable to try and work out the answer yourself too.

I studied Biology, Chemistry and Maths. There is a lot of overlap between those subjects so I think it is a good group of subjects to take together.

I plan to go to university and study Zoology, that’s basically just Biology but with more focus on animals and their environments. Studying A Level Biology has set me up perfectly for this degree and given me a wide understanding of all parts of biology and lab work, which will be a good foundation for the next stage in my education.

Alec (third from the left) and his DofE Gold group at the summit of Hellvelyn in the Lake District - hopefully DofE will have prepared him for field trips during his Zoology degree.

Olivia is studying at Sheffield Hallam University to become a Paramedic

I really enjoyed Biology at GCSE level, and while A Level is a big step up, that big step provided me with a much deeper understanding to the topics I enjoyed at GCSE. I also really enjoyed the required practicals we did as they married up really well to the theory you learn and further deepened my understanding. I especially enjoyed the Malham Tarn trip, although it’s an educational trip, it was a chance to have fun and spend time away from the Sixth Form setting. The teachers at Crompton House are very nice and caring and will help you every step of the way. I used to go in at lunch times and get some help or even sit in on Year 12 classes to refresh myself when it was coming up to the big exams. They really understand and give you everything you need and ask for.
I wish I had known at the start of Year 12 the true hard work I would have to put in. Biology isn’t easy but it is very enjoyable and I can’t stress how much it has helped me with my degree, every topic I now do in my degree involves a lot of topics I learnt at A Level like viral replication, action potential generation and kidney filtration (although these words may seem overwhelming, once you get it you’ll never forget it!)
To new Year 12 students I would say, if you are choosing to do Biology (which I definitely recommend), after every topic you do, test yourself and make sure you thoroughly understand the content before moving on, it will make it so much easier to revise and also make exam questions easier to understand and read. I would also recommend doing lots of exam questions to prepare yourself, but that is a long way off yet so most importantly, enjoy Biology! It is an interesting and fun subject.
Alongside Biology, I studied Psychology and English Literature. Doing Biology really helped my understanding in Psychology when starting topics based around nerves, neurones and neurotransmitters. And English Literature was another subject that I really enjoyed and wanted to continue in my studies after GCSE. I would definitely recommend all of these subjects at A level.
After a very long and well deserved summer holiday after my A Levels I found out that I had got in to my 1st choice university to study a Paramedic Science degree with the aim to qualify and become a paramedic. It is a degree I thoroughly enjoy and I am confident I have made the right choice for my future career. I couldn’t have done it without A level Biology, it has really helped me quickly understand topics it may take others a while to get their head around, so if you are thinking about Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedicine or anything healthcare related, I highly recommend doing Biology at A Level.