Course Description

Would you like to contribute towards the cure for dementia, help develop techniques in genetic engineering, save an endangered species from extinction or motivate future generations of potential scientists at school, college or university? Perhaps you simply have a fascination with the living world and wish to learn more about its processes and interactions.

Entry Requirements

Students will be expected to have at least three GCSEs at grade 6. If you studied Combined Science you will be expected to have a double grade 6 in Science and grade 6 in Mathematics (higher grade tier). If you studied separate sciences, you will be expected to have GCSE grade 6 in Biology, grade 6 from Chemistry or Physics and grade 6 in Mathematics. You will also be expected to have English Language at grade 5 and the remainder no less than grade 5/4.

Features of the Course

Year 1 of the specification begins by building on work covered at GCSE, looking at biological molecules, cells and how organisms exchange substances with their environment. This then leads on to studying genetic information, variation and relationships between organisms. Year 2 builds on Year 1 work, covering energy transfers in and between organisms, how organisms respond to changes in their internal and external environments. This then leads on to studying genetics, populations, evolution and ecosystems.


Biology A Level is a linear course with all external exams at the end of the two-year course. There are 12 practical endorsement assessments which are graded as a pass or unclassified.

Exam Board: AQA

Enrichment and Work Experience

Students are expected to complete a one-week work placement in the Summer term. Students of Biology have enjoyed various enrichment activities, including a visiting speaker from Medical projects, taken part in the Society of Biology quiz and visits to Formby Beach and Chester Zoo. Students also take part in a number of debates on current issues.

Additional Information

There is a compulsory one-day field trip which is part of the 12 practical endorsement assessments and costs will therefore be met by The Sixth Form. Students need to bring basic stationery and a calculator to all lessons, be punctual, engaged and ready to learn. We also expect you to commit to at least five hours per week outside of lesson on independent learning including: homework, reading, research and revision for this subject.

Links With Other Subjects

Biology links well with Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Geography and Physical Education.

Future Career Opportunities

Career opportunities include medicine, pharmacy, dietetics, forensics, ecology, science journalism, research, conservation, biotechnology, genetics, veterinary science, physiotherapy, biochemistry and dentistry. There are also many biology related degree programmes at university.

Why study at The Sixth Form Bolton?

Paired with Chemistry, Biology opens up the greatest opportunities to enter the medical professions. The Sixth Form has attractive, well equipped teaching laboratories where you will have every opportunity to link theory with practice and develop confident practical skills. We offer opportunities in and out of the laboratory to enrich and challenge you. We also have good links with prestigious universities which have allowed our students to experience undergraduate practical work in university laboratories.

Students have the opportunity to attend Operating Theatre Live, partially funded by The Sixth Form and a bespoke STEM event designed to provide independent advice and guidance on a wide range of careers and courses in the scientific and medical fields.

Many science students are also members of the Science Academy and Honours Programme within The Sixth Form that provides extensive opportunities for personal development to success in their applications to university.