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 Post subject: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 10:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:15 am
Posts: 19
Hello everyone,

I'm just after a little advice. What are people's thoughts on A level Biology? DS is considering it, enjoys biology but it doesn't necessarily come easy to him. Certain areas do, others don't. He's hoping on a 7 at GCSE level. Unfortunately none of the schools where we live do human biology, i think if they did, that would be his first choice.

My main concern is the level of difficulty ... DS is not a natural academic, but does try hard. Looking at A level results for his current school and the 6th forms we've applied for (all grammar) it seems that biology results are the lowest in all the schools out of the 3 sciences.

I know all A levels are going to be hard, but is biology especially hard? I've done some research on the internet and read some forum posts and it seems that it is a hard option but mainly due to the amount of work and the amount of work that needs to be memorised (as opposed to say physics which is more applying etc.).

So I just wondered if anyone on here has a DC who's done or is doing Biology A level and how they're finding the jump from GCSE to A level? It is what they expected? Are they enjoying it or finding it a chore?

I really appreciated any feedback you can give.

Many thanks


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:12 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
Posts: 7297
It is hard, and I think made harder if they don't do chemistry (& maybe maths?). I think the leap from GCSE chemistry to A level is worse (at least in DS's opinion!). DS1 was the first year of the new A levels which made it worse in some ways.


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:59 pm
Posts: 6718
DS1 did Biology A level plus Maths and Chemistry - all from A* at GCSE. He found Biology the hardest as there is so much content but did come out with an A* at A level. DS2s best friend is doing Biology A level now (from a 9) and is finding it very hard.


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:21 am
Posts: 467
It is always difficult to say which science subject is more difficult than the other.

What degree course and future career your DS is considering?

What GCSEs he is currently doing and what subjects he is strong in?


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:15 am
Posts: 19
Thanks everyone, really helpful. Biology is definitely one of his stronger subjects, but DS isn't a grade 8 or 9 child. He'll be taking it with PE and psychology, so the subjects do complement each other and there will be overlap which will help. He doesn't know hands down what he wants to do but is considering physio (1st choice, assuming he can get the grades for uni), sport psychology that sort of thing.

If he chose not to do it, he would be swapping it for a geog or history. He's not the most confident of children (although that might change) and I just worry that he'll find himself out of his depth.


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:15 am
Posts: 19
Oh should've said, he's doing triple science at GSCE, finds biology the easiest and physics the hardest. Chemistry sits somewhere in between.


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
Posts: 10166
Location: Essex
Presumably he's had a look here?
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/allied-health-professionals/roles-allied-health-professions/physiotherapist/entry-requirements-and-training-physiotherapist

To get onto a physiotherapy degree course you usually need two or three A levels, including a biological science and/or PE, along with five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and at least one science.

Searching for courses on the UCAS site and filtering on 120 points (BBB), there are quite a few universities at that level, but quite a few also at 128 (ABB) and some above. I didn't look at any institution's specific subject requirements, though. But going on the statement above and, as you say, there is overlap between PE and Biology, so if 'straight' Biology feels like too much of a push, he should be able to substitute something else there.

_________________
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 9:26 pm
Posts: 575
My DS did Biology A level together with Maths, Physics and Further Maths. He always described Biology as his "fat subject' due to the sheer amount of information that he had to absorb and learn / memorise. It was the subject for which he had the most notes and the one that he had to do the most revision for - not because he found it hard but because of the quantity of information. He really liked it and he is doing a biology related degree now. The only other thing I would add is that a friend's daughter found Biology A Level hard because she was dyslexic - there are lots of long complicated words to read and spell which she found a real challenge.


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:02 pm
Posts: 510
Location: S E London
DD - who is dyslexic - gave up on Biology A level after a few weeks - too many long words to learn. She much prefers chemistry as there is less memorisation and more understanding and calculating.


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 Post subject: Re: A Level Biology
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:27 pm
Posts: 651
Good afternoon. Just had a chat with my daughter who is in Year 13 and is preparing for her A' Level Biology this summer. This is what she's said about A' Level Biology (AQA):

1. The jump from GCSE to A' Level was an easy transition. (Attained Level 9 @ GCSE).

2. Some topics are harder than others e.g genetics, but generally topics are not difficult to learn.

3. My daughter does Chemistry and Geography A' Level too. She feels she is NOT at a disadvantage for not doing A' Level Maths.

4. Lot of content in the syllabus, but she feels it's no different than her other A' Level subjects.

5. To get good marks you must include KEY words in answers ... so important to know these.

My daughter really enjoys the subject and is going on to do a degree in Biology in the autumn.

I personally think that if you really enjoy a subject then you will flourish.


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