A Level Biology

Course ID

Entry Requirements

Pupils will need to achieve a minimum of a B grade in GCSE Biology, Mathematics and English.


The WJEC A-level in Biology provides a wide breadth of knowledge which touches on many varied aspects of a range of topics. These include the internal workings of organisms in physiology and the interdependence of living things in ecology, to social issues including human influence on the environment and the ethical considerations of genetics.

The study of biology encourages an appreciation of these issues and their implications as well as providing an insight into the living world. The inclusion of optional topics allows learners to gain a deeper insight into a wider range of biological topics. It is intended that the use of a variety of approaches will stimulate interest, promote understanding and engender an overall appreciation and sense of wonder at the living world.

This specification promotes an understanding of scientific method as the means to increase scientific knowledge and develop an enquiring and critical approach. Learners will develop an awareness that different perceptions, predictions and interpretations may be applied according to context.

Practical work is an intrinsic part of biology, and is greatly valued by higher education. It is imperative that practical skills are developed throughout this course and that an investigative approach is promoted.

The WJEC A level in Biology aims to encourage learners to:

  • develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of biology and how they relate to each other
  • develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods used within biology
  • develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills
  • develop their interest in and enthusiasm for biology, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject
  • understand how society makes decisions about biological issues and how biology contributes to the success of the economy and society.


Course Content

The specification is divided into a total of 5 units, 2 AS units and 3 A-level units.

Weightings noted below are expressed in terms of the full A level qualification. Marks

are given as raw and uniform marks (UMS).


AS – Y12 (2 units)

Unit 1 – Basic Biochemistry and Cell Organisation.

1 hour 30 min Written Paper 80 marks (100UMS)

This accounts for 20% of your final qualification.


Unit 2 – Biodiversity and Physiology of Body Systems.

1 hour 30 min Written Paper 80 marks (100UMS)

This accounts for 20% of your final qualification.


A-Level (A2) Biology – Y13 (the above plus a further 3 units)

Unit 3 – Energy, Homeostasis and the Environment.

2 hour Written Paper 90 marks (125UMS)

This accounts for 25% of your final qualification.

Unit 4 – Variation, Inheritance and Immunology and Disease.

2 hour Written Paper 90 marks (125UMS)

This accounts for 25% of your final qualification.

Unit 5 – Practical Assessment

This unit will be sat in April of Y13 and will consist of two exams with a weighting of 50 marks (50UMS). This accounts for 10% of your final qualification.

  • Exam 1 – Experimental Task

2 hour Practical task 20 marks (20UMS)

  • Exam 2 – Practical Analysis Task

1hour 30 minutes Written Paper, 30 marks (30UMS)

At A level, Grade A* will be awarded to candidates who have achieved a Grade A (400 uniform marks) in the overall A level qualification and at least 90% of the total uniform marks for the A2 units (270 uniform marks).

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