St Columb's College


Biology is the study of living organisms. This includes their structure, how they function, their origin and evolution, classification, interrelationships and distribution.

Biology in KS4 is studied as a component of GCSE Double Award Science

The Biology component is divided into three units: 
Unit 1 - Living Processes and Biodiversity (examined in year 11)
Unit 2 - Body Systems, Genetics, Microorganisms and Health (examined in year 12)
Unit 3 - Practical Skills (practical examination and practical theory paper examined in Year 12)
The majority of our Key Stage 4 pupils study Double Award Science.

Biology A Level 

The A Level specification offers students an opportunity to gain a sound understanding of Biology and to explore modern applications of Biology – e.g. antibiotic resistance, epigenetics and gene technology. It allows students to develop skills such as analysis, evaluation, problem solving, research and an ability to understand complex processes, along with practical skills such as using a microscope, fieldwork and handling apparatus. It will provide an appropriate foundation for the study of Biology or related subjects in higher education and provide a worthwhile course in terms of general education and lifelong learning.

Method of Assessment Students study the CCEA specification.

Assessment of AS: External written examinations (1hour and 30 minutes) for both Units 1 and 2. Each exam consists of 6-8 structured questions and an essay and is worth 37.5% of the final AS. Unit 3 is an external written examination (1 hour) assessing practical skills and an internal practical assessment (marked by teachers and moderated by the examination board) Unit 3 is worth 25% of the final AS award. AS will contribute to 40% of the overall A level Award (AS1 – 15%, AS2 – 15% and AS3 10%)
Assessment of A2: External written examinations for Units 1 and 2 (2 hours and 15 minutes each), both consists of 6-9 structured questions and an essay. Unit 1 and 2 are worth 24% each. Unit 3 is an external written examination (1 hour and 15 minutes) assessing practical skills and an internal practical assessment (marked by teachers and moderated by the examination board) Unit 3 is worth 12% of the final A Level award.


Biology will provide opportunities for careers such as:
Agriculture, Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Biotechnology, Dentistry, Dietetics, Food Science, Food Technology, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Psychology and Veterinary Science.
'A' level Biology is very helpful when applying to university for many different courses, as universities recognise the wide range of skills that biology candidates develop. 


  • Mrs U Grimley (co-ordinator)
  • Miss E Bowerman
  • Mr V Doherty
  • Mr C Doran
  • Miss B Duddy
  • Miss E Kerr
  • Mr G Millar
  • Miss A Moohan
  • Mr G McCay
  • Mr N O'Donnell
  • Mrs A O'Kane
  • Mr D Smyth

Courses Offered

GCSE Double Award Science (Biology component)
AS level Biology
A2 (A level) Biology