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Kilkeel High School, Knockchree Avenue, Kilkeel

Biology A level

The course encourages candidates to develop their understanding of concepts in Biology and the skills needed for the use of these in new and changing situations. An awareness of advances in technology, including Information Technology, relevant to Biology is raised. Candidates are also encouraged to recognise the responsible use of Biology in society and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in, this subject.
The ‘AS’ has been designed to improve the progression from GCSE to Advanced Level. It builds on the knowledge and skills developed during the study of GCSE Biology; a good level of understanding is needed to enter an ‘AS’ or ‘A’ Biology course.

Due to the Chemistry content in this course it is strongly recomended that Sixth Form pupils have obtained a good result in GCSE Chemistry before attempting Biology at this level. However undertaking 'A' level Chemistry is not a requirement.

CONTENT (2016 syllabus)

The ‘AS’ modules, contain and assess the skills, knowledge and   understanding typically developed during the first year of a two-year ‘A’ level course.

The ‘A’ level examination is in two parts:

  • Advanced Subsidiary (‘AS’) - 40% of the total award
  • A second examination called A2 - 60% of the total   award.

The ‘AS’ and ‘A’ courses will be modular. The ‘AS’ will comprise TWO teaching and learning modules (1, 2) as well as centre-assessed coursework and written paper.


This specification is designed to encourage candidates to develop:

an enthusiasm for biology

practical skills alongside understanding of concepts and principles

an appropriate and relevant foundation of knowledge and skills for the study of biology in Higher Education.


AS outline

At AS, this specification emphasises the way in which biologists work and the contributions of biology to society in a way that underpins the specification but is not intrusive:

  • AS1: Molecules and Cells

  • AS2: Organisms and Biodiversity 

  • AS3: Practical and Investigative Skills.


A2 outline

At A2, this specification continues the approach taken at AS. The specification is clearly presented with a summary and content for each unit. There are additional sections summarising biological principles and establishing contexts for how science works:

  • A2 1: Physiology, Coordination and Control and Ecosystems 
  • A2 2: Biochemistry, Genetics and Evolutionary Trends 

  • A2 3: Practical and Investigative Skills.


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