Exam Board

Additional Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE mathematics and English language - and 7 + 6 in Science Combined Trilogy or OR grade 7 biology + 6 chemistry + 6 physics.
NB. BTEC Science is not a suitable entry qualification

Course Content

Why biology?
You’ll learn about the complexity and diversity of life in such detail that you’ll become an expert in plant, bacterial and animal physiologies. Successful students will become problem-solvers, logical thinkers, and will be able to apply their advanced biological knowledge to unfamiliar contexts. Twelve compulsory experiments will produce practical scientists who can analyse data and evaluate methodologies expertly.
Many students go on to study biological, chemical, or environmental sciences. Others pursue courses in psychology, physiology, or sport sciences. Students with exceptional GCSE and A level grades go on to study the biological or natural sciences at Oxford or Cambridge, or vocational courses like medicine, veterinary sciences or dentistry. Visits, guest speakers, essay competitions, university summer schools, and the Biology Olympiad are all available to our students.
Course content
You’ll begin with an in-depth analysis of the chemistry of biological molecules, then cellular biology, along with the functions of up to ten intra-cellular structures.
From the microscopic to much larger systems, the transportation systems of plants, insects, fish and mammals are studied. Larger still, you’ll learn how diversity emerges in whole populations due to mutation and natural selection.
The biochemistry of photosynthesis and respiration in ecosystems comes next, then homeostasis and the nervous systems of individual organisms.
Ending where you began – at the molecular level – genetics, inheritance and the control of gene expression complete the course and this prepares you for studying the biological sciences at university.
Mark scheme
Exam - 2 hours - 35%
91 marks. Short and long questions with an extended response question of 15 marks
  • Molecules
  • Cells
  • Exchange
  • Diversity
Exam - 2 hours - 35%
91 marks. Short and long questions with an extended response question of 15 marks
  • Energy
  • Response
  • Genetics
  • Genetic control
Exam - 2 hours - 30%
78 marks. Short and long questions with an essay of 25 marks
  • Examines all eight topics through questions and an essay 

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the headings below.

How big are the classes and how many are there?

There are 11 classes in the year 12 group, with up to 21 students in each class.

How much homework is there?

There is at least 5 hours of additional guided independent work set each week.

How much practical work and coursework is there?

A practical record is kept across two years with six required practicals per year.
A certificate of endorsement is awarded at the end of the A level course (there is no coursework).

What higher education routes does biology lead to?

Biological sciences, biochemistry, bioinformatics, cell biology, dentistry, medical sciences, immunology, medicine, marine biology, computational biology, zoology

What are the entry requirements to study medicine?

A Levels in Chemistry and Biology - AAA to A*AA  (Including a minimum of six 8/9 grades at GCSE).
Finchley Catholic High School
“It is very different to GCSE, there’s a lot more detail and that’s why I like it.
Teachers here are mostly specialists. Genetics is my point of interest in biology and my teacher has a Masters in genetics. He talks about it passionately and that really gets me involved in learning.
There’s a very welcoming atmosphere. I made lots of friends instantly and the community is fantastic.”

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