Biology is the study of life and living processes and it is never far from the headlines. Stem-cell research has the potential to revolutionise modern medicine, the use of genetically modified crops could help feed the planet and deforestation could dramatically alter the world’s ecosystems, but, to truly understand the implications these changes could have on our lives, Biology is key. Whether you are interested in the discoveries of the Human Genome Project, the implications of the obesity epidemic or even whether life exists elsewhere in the universe, Biology is the course for you. Biologists are concerned with all these issues and their skills are vital when investigating the living world around us.
To ensure you have the best possible chance of success in Biology, you are required to have obtained at least double grade 6 in GCSE Science, a grade 6 in GCSE Mathematics and 5 or better in GCSE English. If you have studied the three sciences separately you will need at least a grade 6 in Biology and one of the other sciences.
During your studies you will develop the skills to perform investigations in our state of the art laboratories, you will learn how to collect data and analyse it and you will discover new facts that will help you form opinions about our world. You will be required to apply your new-found knowledge to unfamiliar contexts and must be able to clearly communicate the reasoning behind your conclusions. Despite popular belief, Biology is quite numerical: a good level of mathematical understanding is vital and will give you the tools to interpret the results of your investigations with confidence. The strong logical, numerical, problem-solving skills that you develop will make you an attractive prospect for many different employers from a variety of different industries. Biologists are in demand in all types of health and clinical professions, but you could end up working in fields as diverse as law, computing, finance or teaching: the list is almost endless.
The linear A Level Biology course will be assessed by your performance in three exams at the end of the second year. These exams are synoptic and, between them, will cover all the elements from the entire two years of study. Each exam is 2 hours long and will contribute 33% to your final A Level grade. There is no longer any coursework that contributes to your final A Level grade and this will purely depend upon your examination performance. Practical work will still form an integral part of the course, but a separate ‘practical endorsement’ will provide evidence of your successful development of laboratory skills. PASS or FAIL will be added to the final certificate, next to your grade.
You will need a number of course booklets and practical equipment but everything you require will be provided: you contribute towards these as part of your course costs. Your teacher may recommend other books for study and revision but it is up to you whether you buy these or access them in the College Library.
With the pace of discovery and development ever increasing, the range of career opportunities for people with the skills that Science qualifications provide are unimaginably diverse and you will always be in demand. Studying Science in our state of the art labs and project spaces will enable you to develop the necessary technical ability and knowledge to play your part. Whatever your talent, at QMC you will find customised support to meet your aspirations and successfully pursue your particular interests and goals.
The Head of Department, Nick Everett will be happy to help.