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Biology

You will study a wide range of exciting topics; from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from micro-organisms to mammals.
What is Biology?

A level Biology is the study of living things, and the processes which sustain them. Biologists try to understand every living organism we see around us, from the smallest bacterial cell to the largest mammal; from the tallest tree to microscopic algae. This is fascinating, complex subject and involves studying everything from the molecular structure of cell components to animal behaviour and the interactions of organisms with their environment and each other.

Meet the Head of our Faculty of Natural Sciences, Alexandra Whalley.

Why Study Biology

Whilst A level Biology is essential for admission to courses such as Medicine and Dentistry, it is also a fascinating subject to study in its own right, and can lead to many interesting and rewarding careers. Disciplines as varied as nursing, conservation, environmental sciences, zoo-keeping, botany, agriculture and forestry are all possible after studying Biology. Additionally, an understanding of Biology will allow future generations to overcome the challenges posed by climate change, and the need to provide food for a growing population. A level Biology will give you a firm grounding in all aspects of the subject and prepare you to pursue more advanced study at university and beyond.

What will I study?

All living organisms have similarities in cellular structure, biochemistry and function; the first taught module of the biology A level (and AS level) starts with an understanding that studying these similarities is fundamental to studying biology. The first year of A level, known as AS level, includes the study of:

  • Foundations in biology – including cell structure, biological molecules, nucleotides and nucleic acids, enzymes, biological membranes and cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation
  • Exchange and transport – including exchange surfaces, transport in animals, transport in plants
  • Biodiversity, evolution and disease – including communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system, biodiversity, classification and evolution

The second year goes into more depth and allows you to study how plants and animals respond to stimuli. It also includes:

  • Communication, homeostasis and energy – including communication and homeostasis, excretion as an example of homeostatic control, neuronal and hormonal communication, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis and respiration
  • Genetics, evolution and ecosystems – including cellular control, patterns of inheritance, manipulating genomes, cloning and biotechnology, ecosystems , populations and sustainability

Your lessons at Abbey Cambridge will not be confined to the laboratory; we attend talks by world renowned scientists at the Babraham Research Institute and attend events at the annual Cambridge University Science Festival. The highlight of our year is our residential field trip to remote and beautiful areas of the UK to study plants and animals in their natural habitat. Learning activities are varied, in some lessons you will be following practical procedures and gathering data; in others you will be researching a topic in small groups or working through problem solving activities.  In all lessons you will be challenged to think for yourself, apply your knowledge and above all develop into a confident and independent learner.

Learn more about our Biology residential field trip.

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