A-Level Biology How Much Harder Is It Than GCSE

A-Level Biology: How Much Harder Is It Than GCSE?

Taking up A-level Biology and GCSE biology is quite tough. There is a difficult curriculum for both subjects and you must understand it properly to score higher, you need to know the difficulty level of both exams to decide which one you should choose. This article will help you to know either A-level biology or GCSE biology is hard.

Quick Takeaways

  • In A-level biology, you will be studying different courses like global warming, evolutions, microbes, etc.
  • When you think of taking A-level biology, you will need to take three things – a vast syllabus, a challenging lab exam, and challenging theory/MCQ questions, which make it very tough to study. 
  • The passing rate for A-Level Biology was 96.6% and for GCSE is 89.2%.

We will recommend you read till the end so that you do not miss any of the important facts for A-level biology and GCSE biology.

A-Level Biology: How Much Harder Is It Than GCSE?

What is A-level biology?

A-level biology is a diverse course that combines theoretical practices to help you to get a greater knowledge of how living things interact with one another just like A-level sociology. It primarily examines the concepts and theories related to ecosystems and living things, which is essential. A-level biology is a two years study of biology. You can expect to study and learn about a wide range of subjects, and by the end of the course, you’ll have mastered all the key concepts related to things like natural selection, global warming, evolution, microbes, etc.

Course content in A-Level biology

Following are the courses that you will be covering in your A-level biology-

  • Biological Molecules
  • Exchange and Transport
  • Microbiology and Pathogens
  • Cells, Viruses, and Reproduction of Living Things
  • Advanced Biochemistry
  • Advanced Physiology
  • General and Practical Principles in Biology
  • Classification and Biodiversity
  • Energy for Biological Processes
  • Modern Genetics
A-Level Biology: How Much Harder Is It Than GCSE?

How Hard is A-Level Biology when compared to GCSE?

Due to its vast syllabus, challenging lab exam, and challenging theory/MCQ questions, A-level Biology is one of the hardest subjects. It is less challenging than A-level Chemistry and Further Mathematics. You need an excellent memory to retain all the information. To pass the exam, you must memorize all the specific information. Most students have major difficulties with A-level biology.

The curriculum in A-level biology is substantially more difficult than in GCSE biology. Most students struggle with complex concepts and extensive syllabi. The topics are quite challenging to understand especially the first time. You need to go through them several times so that you get to understand them. You must also remember that it is different from college biology.

The passing rate of A-level Biology vs the passing rate of GCSE biology

As for 2018, the pass percentage for A-Level Biology was 96.6%. This appears to be fairly high, and it is. However, there is an underlying aspect that is not included. The pass rate does not take into account any students who withdraw from the course before the exam. As fewer people who are unfamiliar with the subject take the exam, the passing rate will obviously be higher. On the other hand, only 89.2% of GCSE Biology students pass the exam. Since they are unable to skip the course, students must just take the exam even if they have not prepared for the test.

Do not be misled by these past statistics; just because more people pass A-Level biology than GCSE biology. It does not imply that the course is simpler. In fact, A-level biology is tougher than GCSE biology. You may find A-level biology hard and thus do not sit in the exam and miss it. In this scenario, you will have to wait for a whole year to repeat it.

A-Level Biology: How Much Harder Is It Than GCSE?


Both A- level biology and GCSE biology are hard subjects. You will need to learn various concepts that will involve a lot of theory as well as practical concepts. A-level biology is quite tougher than GCSE biology. However, the passing rate of A-level biology is more when compared to GCSE biology. This is because A-level biology does not consider the students who have dropped out before the exam just because they consider it a scam. This means that fewer students do not have knowledge of the exam and are giving the exam. Whereas in GCSE biology you will need to give the exam despite you have prepared for it or not.


Is biology the easiest A-level?

A-level biology includes a wide range of topics, from plants and ecosystems to biological chemicals. Students frequently discover that while there are things they enjoy, there are other topics they dislike. You can’t ignore these subjects, though, the exam could include any subject.
To perform well in A-level Biology, you must be able to recall certain important facts. But memorization isn’t the only aspect of it. Questions that demand you to use your knowledge and address several issues at once are given greater weight in this exam. Thus biology is not the easiest A-level and in fact, according to various studies, it is one of the toughest A-levels.

Is GCSE biology hard?

GCSE biology is a tough subject to study. Two of the main causes of the difficulty level of this course are the quantity of content and the complexity of the concepts. Although the passing rate is quite high it is mostly because science is a subject that most schools place a lot of emphasis on. Your school will probably push you to get good scores in science because it is useful for both college and university.
The high pass rate is due to the fact that Biology is the easiest science at the GCSE Level. There are a lot of topics you need to understand and a few challenging concepts in GCSE Biology. There is also maths in it. However, the test will only examine 10% of your maths knowledge.

How to study for A-level and GCSE biology?

Start with the time when your teachers give you the first class. Studying from day one will help you to learn more easily and will give you a lot of time to revise for the exam. When you are studying make sure that there is no distraction around you. Focus on the topics that are hard.
Give the hard topics more time so that you can understand those topics easily. When you are studying or revising make sure to take breaks in between, as it will help you to refresh your mind. Try to solve past exams within the time duration. Studying past exams is one of the most important tricks to understand what type of paper and questions you can expect in the exam. 

William Christie
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