Shrewsbury School

Biology in the Sixth Form

The following information is taken from our document 'The Sixth Form and Beyond', which is updated each December. It can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Head of Faculty: Dr T.S. Morgan

 Follow Shrewsbury Biology on Twitter: @ShrewsburyBiol

Biology in the Sixth Form at Shrewsbury is aimed both at those for whom it is an essential step towards a university course and at those who have an interest in the living world and want to learn more than was possible at IGCSE level. Sixth Form biologists are welcome whatever other subjects they are studying, though chemistry supports the biochemical aspects of biology courses very well.

Students will follow the Cambridge Pre-U Biology course, which has been chosen as it puts practical work where it should be, at the heart of biology.

The Pre-U course gives Sixth Form pupils an opportunity to study both the foundations of biology and also areas of recent research that have revolutionised the subject in recent years. The six sections of the course are as follows:

  • Cell ultrastructure, replication, enzymes, gene expression and protein synthesis
  • Origins, evolution, biochemistry and classification of life
  • Physiology including transport, nutrition, co-ordination, immunity and reproduction
  • Plant biology, including transport, photosynthesis, reproduction and control
  • Comparative physiology and the measurement and conservation of biodiversity
  • Practical biology.

There are four exams in Pre-U Biology, all taken at the end of the Upper Sixth, including one practical exam. A four day visit to Dale Fort Field Studies Centre in Pembrokeshire during June of the Lower Sixth is planned. This offers an ideal opportunity to explore the coastal habitats and to study much of the ecology sections of the Pre-U course.

AS Biology is also offered, following the Eduqas (formerly WJEC) course. This course offers a chance to study some more advanced biology than in the IGCSE course for those who are interested in the subject but are studying three other main subjects. The Eduqas AS course is similar to Units 1 and 2 of the A level course that has been offered to Sixth Form biologists at Shrewsbury in recent years. The two components, each tested in a separate exam, are as follows:

  • Basic biochemistry and cell organisation including chemicals of life, cell structure, membranes, enzymes, DNA and inheritance
  • Biodiversity and physiology of body systems including classification, gas exchange, transport and nutrition.

Sixth Form biologists studying both Pre-U and AS will each have their own dedicated Meiji microscope and the facilities generally for practical work are outstanding.

Biology is strongly advised, and in some cases essential, for admission to university courses in Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacology. There is also a wide choice of biological courses at university, the most popular among recent leavers being Biological or Life Sciences, Marine Biology, Ecology, Environmental Biology and Psychology.

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