Why study Biology?

Do you want to learn about the world around you? A level Biology teaches you how things work; whether it’s your own body, a sub-microscopic cellular process or even a complex ecosystem. You will also learn about when things go wrong and the innovative ways that biologists are attempting to overcome these problems.

Our A level Biology courses place a high value on practical work as an essential part of the learning process, enhancing understanding of the theory and providing ample opportunity to apply and extend your knowledge and understanding in novel situations. Developing proficiency in practical work is a vital component of furthering investigative, problem solving, analysis and evaluation skills that are increasingly important due to the current skills gap in the bioscience industry but are also highly sought after in a wide range of careers beyond medicine and the sciences including the business, legal and financial sectors.

Biology continues to be a rapidly advancing subject in the modern world. Recent and ongoing advances in molecular genetics, proteomics and neuroscience are opening up possibilities that we could not have dreamt of only 30 years ago. Biology is a key subject in preparation for a career in medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, all of which demand top level GCE grades. Studying biology can also lead to careers in pharmacy, the food industry, environmental protection, planning & policy development, forensics and drug development among many others. The analytical and evaluative skills are highly valued in a wide range of career pathways.

You will study a range of topics in class using a variety of up to date resources: scientific articles and data, text books, video, websites, field work and of course experiments and practical investigations.

Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth School for Boys currently follow a different specification.

Heads of Department: Ms L Woodburn (Girls), Miss E Barson (Boys)

Further details of Biology at Monmouth School for Girls
Further details of Biology at Monmouth School for Boys

Course content

Monmouth School for Girls
Board: Edexcel    A level Syllabus Code: 9BN0

Monmouth School for Boys
Board: AQA    A level Syllabus Code: 7402

During your A level Biology course you will study the extensive variety of life on earth, both past and present. In studying the biochemical basis of life you will learn about the molecules and reactions of life processes including photosynthesis and respiration. You will learn about the human immune response, the underlying biology of some important diseases and how our developing understanding of this is leading us towards improved treatments and potential cures.

Method of assessment

Three written exams, each of 2 hours in length, which examine topic content and the general and practical applications in biology including the mathematical skills you will have acquired during the course.

Paper 1 covers only the course content of Year 1 whereas Papers 2 and 3 are more synoptic covering content from across Year 1 and Year 2.

Additionally there is a teacher-assessed practical endorsement that assesses practical skills and is to be externally monitored. All papers contain synoptic questions and are set in a context. The nature of questions in the A level papers requires depth of analysis and evaluative thinking.