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International A level Biology International A levels

Pearson Edexcel

IAL Biology image

Unlock the secrets of living things and how they interact with the world around them, when you study International A level Biology online.


Multi-buy A levels:

Purchasing more than one A level? Use voucher code ALMB10 to receive 10% off at checkout.

Enjoy discovering the key processes and systems that support life itself – from simple protozoa to the complexity of the human body or a vast ecosystem – with our online International A level Biology course.

As you explore topics such as cardiovascular disease, cystic fibrosis, the human genome, biodiversity and forensic biology, you’ll learn how to critically evaluate scientific information and evidence and gain a broader understanding of how biology shapes everyday life.

As part of studying International A level Biology online, you’ll apply theory to practice through 18 core practical experiments, many suitable for completion at home.

Why study International A level Biology?

Our International A level Biology online course explores complex ideas using high-quality distance learning materials organised into relevant, engaging topics.

You’ll have the flexibility to fit study around your lifestyle, learning at your own pace, with access to the support of a specialist personal tutor. Like many NEC students, perhaps you’ll go on to study a science-based subject at university, or use your qualification to support your next career move.

Our Biology International A level course is ideal if you:

  • are keen to build on the knowledge you’ve gained at GCSE level
  • enjoy working scientifically: making predictions, testing theories and evaluating and communicating your findings
  • would like to build your observational, investigative and problem-solving skills, to improve your employability
  • have career aspirations in health, STEM or conservation related fields
  • would like to discover how biology impacts everyday life.

Future opportunities

  • employers are crying out for candidates with science-based skills – such as enquiry, accuracy, initiative and inventiveness
  • studying biology or STEM subjects at university
  • a range of rewarding careers in medicine, physiotherapy, nursing, veterinary science, zoology, microbiology, marine biology, pharmacology, forensic science, ecology, conservation and teaching.

Course content

Section 1: Lifestyle, health and risk

  • What is cardiovascular disease?
  • Who is at risk of cardiovascular disease?
  • Risk factors of cardiovascular disease
  • Biochemistry involved in cardiovascular disease
  • Molecular structures
  • Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease

Section 2: Genes and health

  • The effects of cystic fibrosis on the lungs
  • Why is CF mucus so sticky?
  • The roles of proteins and enzymes
  • How is the CFTR protein made?
  • How is cystic fibrosis inherited?
  • Testing for CF
  • Structure and function of nucleic acids
  • Enzymes
  • Genetics

Section 3: Voice of the genome

  • Cells and their components
  • In the beginning
  • From one to many: the cell cycle
  • How development is controlled
  • Genes and the environment

Section 4: Biodiversity and natural resources

  • Why are there so many different species?
  • How did organisms become so well adapted?
  • Classification and speciation
  • Plant cells and tissues
  • Making use of biodiversity in plants
  • On the brink
  • Natural selection and evolution

Section 5: On the wild side

  • What is an ecosystem?
  • Ecosystems rely on energy transfer
  • Global climate change
  • Predicting and coping with future climate change
  • Adapt or die
  • Getting the balance right
  • Succession
  • Photosynthesis

Section 6: Infection, immunity and forensics

  • Forensic biology
  • Cause of death
  • The body’s response to infection
  • Could the infections have been prevented?
  • Are there treatments for AIDS and TB?
  • The immune response

Section 7: Run for your life

  • Getting moving
  • Energy for action
  • Peak performance
  • Breaking out in a sweat
  • Overdoing it
  • Improving on nature
  • Respiration and the Krebs cycle
  • Control of heart rate

Section 8: Grey matter

  • The nervous system and nerve impulses
  • Reception of stimuli
  • The brain
  • Visual development and making sense of what we see
  • Learning and memory
  • Problems with synapses
  • Genetic modification: risks and benefits

Study A level Biology with us and benefit from:

  • Flexible learning
  • Support from a personal tutor by email, phone or Skype
  • Any time enrolment
  • Our exam booking service
  • Assignments with tutor feedback
  • Ongoing support from Student Support
  • Forums to discuss your course with other students


Choose when and where you access your course, using learn@nec our 24/7 learning platform.

This easy-to-use learning platform includes interactive checkpoints, quizzes and activities to help you evaluate your progress.

Our course tutors

You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience in supporting online learners.

What you need to know

Exam board

  • Edexcel YBI11


  • Online learning with support from a personal tutor


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 250-300 hours* plus time for completing assignments

*The specification suggests that 300 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 300 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 5 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • 10 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade
  • 18 core practicals


Set textbooks – included as a free ebook with your course:

  • Fullick, A, Sochacki, F, (2020) Pearson Edexcel International AS Level Biology Student Book, Vital Source
  • Fullick, A, Sochacki, F, (2020) Pearson Edexcel International A level Biology Student Book, Vital Source

Set textbooks (not included with the course):

  • Penny J and Leftwich P, Maths Skills for A Level Biology, 2nd Edition, OUP 2018


  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are clear and transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • 24/7 access to learn@nec platform and resources
  • Expertly designed online course materials (including ebook versions of textbooks where specified) that you need to complete the course
  • Support from our Student Services team
  • Structured assignments carefully designed to prepare you for exams
  • Guidance from your tutor for up to 24 months from your date of enrolment
  • Extensive feedback to all assignments that will support your learning
  • NEA (coursework) marking and authentication
  • Marking of one examination paper (from a previous year)
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner template to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Any fees in relation to exam entries or assessments
  • Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) in the event of exam cancellation
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading or set texts
  • Equipment for core practicals

If you need more support, you can purchase:

  • Online tutorials – if you need help with a specific topic you can arrange a 30 minute or 1 hour tutorial
  • Additional past paper marking – to help with your exam preparation
  • Revision tutorial –  to plan your revision and explore revision techniques
  • Help with your UCAS application service

For further information on additional/optional support you can purchase, please visit our additional services page.

Exams and Assessment


Exams (six):

Unit 1, 2 and 3 (Paper 1, 2 and 3 below) are IAS Units. Units 4, 5 and 6 (Paper 4, 5 and 6 below) are IAL Units. Students must sit all six units to gain the A level qualification.

  • Paper 1: Molecules, diet, transport and health
  • Paper 2: Cells, development, biodiversity and conservation
  • Paper 3: Practical skills in Biology I
  • Paper 4: Energy, environment, microbiology and immunity
  • Paper 5: Respiration, Internal, Environment, Coordination and Gene Technology
  • Paper 6: Practical skills in Biology II

Additional support if you're under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience learning online works best when either a parent or guardian are involved. This is why NEC has developed our unique Progress Tracker to help you to support your child.

NEC’s Progress Tracker will allow you to easily track your child’s progress across their subjects and gain insight to how well they are doing through access to their assignment grades and tutor feedback.  

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.

Arrange a callback with a member of our Course Advice Team.

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!