The Biology A Level Course embraces the fascinating study of life and all living organisms. This specification will cover the molecular basis, origins and the ecosystems inhabited by such organisms. The course will also deal with the more worrying aspects of Biology such as disease, habitat destruction and genetic engineering.

This home study course follows the new linear A-Level syllabus. If students want to complete the new linear AS Level course then this can be purchased from the AS Level section of our website.

Each lesson begins with a set of clearly stated objectives and an explanation of its place in the overall programme of study. Effective learning is encouraged through frequent activities and self- assessment questions. There are 21 Tutor-Marked Assignments (TMAs) including 3 mock exam assignments.

The Syllabus:

This course prepares students for the Edexcel Biology A Level 9BIO syllabus specification B for exams in May/June 2020 or later years.


The full A level course is assessed by three written papers:

Paper 1: Advanced Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genetics (1 hour 45 minutes) is 90 Marks in total (30% of the total A Level).

This paper will examine the following topics: Biological Molecules; Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things; Classification and Biodiversity; Exchange and Transport; Energy for Biological Processes; Microbiology and Pathogens; and Modern Genetics.

Paper 2: Advanced Physiology, Evolution and Ecology (1 hour 45 minutes) is 90 Marks in total (30% of the total A Level).

This paper will examine the following topics: Biological Molecules; Cells, Viruses and Reproduction of Living Things; Classification and Biodiversity; Exchange and Transport; Origins of Genetic Variation; Control Systems; and Ecosystems

Paper 3: General and Practical Principles in Biology (2 hour 30 minutes) is 120 Marks in total (40% of the total A Level).

Students are expected to carry out the 16 core practical experiments that are identified in the course content. Full guidance on this is given in the course materials.

Science Practical Endorsement:

The Biology A level Specification lists a number of practical skills to be internally assessed by teachers. This assessment leads to a statement of "practical competency” which would be reported alongside the grade on the final A level certificate. This grade is listed as "Pass”.

Please Note: It will not be possible for distance learning students to be tested for practical competency. However, it is not necessary to obtain a statement of practical competency to successfully gain an A level grade and certificate, If students are completing this qualification as part of a further education application then we advise checking with the organisation that you will be studying with to make sure the statement of practical competency is not part of their requirements.

The course is divided into the following units:

  • Unit 1: Molecules, Cells and Reproduction

The lesson includes the following subjects: Life on Planet Earth; Carbohydrates; Lipids; Proteins & Ions; Two Types of Cell; Microscopy; DNA; Protein Synthesis; Mutations and Viruses; Enzymes A; Enzymes B; Cell Division; and Sexual Reproduction.

  • Unit 2: Exchange, Transport and Diversity

The lesson includes the following subjects: Surface Area, Volume and Exchange; Osmosis; Gas Exchange; Circulation; Blood and Transport; Blood and Defence; Plant Transport; Classification; Natural Selection; and Biodiversity.

  • Unit 3: Energy, Pathogens and Genetics

The lesson includes the following subjects: Aerobic respiration; Anaerobic respiration; Photosynthesis; Photosynthetic pigments; Microbial Techniques; Pathogens, Antibiotics and Endemic Diseases; Response to infection; Factors Affecting Gene Expression; Gene Sequencing and Gene Technology; and Stem Cells.

  • Unit 4: Variation, Control and Ecosystems

The lesson includes the following subjects: Origins of Variation and Gene Pools; Transfer of Genetic Information; Homeostasis and Animal Hormones; Plant Hormones; Mammalian nervous system 1; Mammalian nervous system 2; Osmoregulation and temperature regulation; Analysing ecosystems; and Changes to ecosystems and human influence.


We will admit Candidates for A Level Courses who have a minimum of 4 GCSE’s at grade C and above. For Biology this should ideally include a grade C or above in Maths and English. It is also assumed that students have obtained a grade C or above at (I)GCSE Biology or Double Award Science. However, it is possible to study the course without this background by doing some additional work. Guidance is given in the course.

Please Note: We cannot accept students who are under 18 years old on this course. We do have an alternative course option for students who are under 18. Please email us if you require additional information about this alternative course. 

Additional Reading:

The following books are required to work alongside your course materials:

  • Edexcel A Level Biology Student Book 1 Paperback by Ed Lees, Martin Rowland, C. J. Clegg. (ISBN: 978-1471807343)
  • Edexcel A Level Biology Student Book 2 Paperback by Ed Lees, Martin Rowland, C. J. Clegg. (ISBN: 978-1471807374)

Additional non-essential recommended reading is detailed in the course materials for students who would like further resources whilst completing their studies. We recommend purchasing any books after receiving your course materials to make sure there have been no revisions.

Student Support:

Every student receives a personal tutor with whom they should keep in regular contact. All tutors are fully qualified experienced teachers holding either a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or a degree in education. Most work from home and are able to offer flexible contact times. The tutor will contact students with an introductory letter and a telephone call to help decide on a study plan. They will also let the student know the best ways and times for contact.

There is no limit on how often you can contact your tutor. The advice and encouragement our tutors provide are an important part of your learning experience. You can contact your tutor by Phone, Post or Email. There are tutor-marked assignments (TMA's) in every course. These help the student to consolidate their learning and prepare for examinations.

All tutors have a Freephone 0800 telephone number and most will have Skype capabilities. Whilst you are still actively submitting assignments, you should expect to be in contact with your tutor regularly. Remember, to get the most out of your tutor, you will need to tell them when you need assistance.

Examination Centres & Examination Fees:

All distance learning students will sit their exams as a private candidate in a registered school or college. The finding of an examination centre and the booking of exams is the responsibility of the student. In December/January students are contacted and advised to start arranging their examinations.

The new Linear format examinations all need to be sat in a single examination window on completion of your studies. Examination fees need to be paid direct to your chosen exam centre. Prices for exams will vary depending on the exam centre’s administration costs so it is worth contacting a few centres to compare prices.

As a registered student you can speak to an exams officer and get a list of centres used by previous students. If you would like to research exam centres prior to enrolment then we would advise contacting Edexcel for a list of Edexcel registered centres in your area. Edexcel exam centres are able to submit entries for any qualification that they are approved to offer.

Nearest Examination Dates:

Please review the A Level Overview page for detailed information on possible examination dates and procedures.

Studying from Abroad:

It is possible to study A Level Courses from anywhere in the world. However some courses are easier to study from abroad than others and some restrictions to the type of tuition available apply. Edexcel do allow their A Level examinations to be sat outside of the UK at suitable centres (e.g. British consulates and registered International Schools) but students would need to contact Edexcel to find out if this is possible in their area.

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