- 19 August 2016
Hundreds of thousands of teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their A and AS level results on Thursday.
Biology was the third most popular subject accounting for 7.5% of UK A level entries, which is an increase of 0.1% on last year. We again saw maths (11%) and English (10.1%) being the top choices for A levels. Chemistry and physics also remain popular with 6.2% and 4.2% of the entries. Of those who took biology, 72.3% achieved A* - C grades which is marginally up from 71.9% last year. Of biology candidates, 61% were female (55% of all A level entrants were female), which is a small increase on last year.
Rachel Lambert-Forsyth, director of education and training at the Royal Society of Biology said:
"We are very pleased once again to see that biology is one of the most popular subjects at A level and we congratulate everyone getting their results today. Life sciences can lead to a whole range of exciting careers and the UK is a world leader in the field. We wish every student going on study biosciences at university or pursuing a career in the field the very best of luck and look forward to supporting them throughout.
"Next year we will be interested to see the outcomes of the reformed A levels and the impact of the new 'practical endorsement' section where teachers directly assess their students' practical skills across a range of competencies. We want to see universities asking for a pass in the endorsement encouraging students to take part in practical work and recognise how important it is for bioscientists to build up practical skills."
This year was the first year of teaching the newly reformed science A level qualifications, and the first AS level exams took place. As part of the reform process the AS and A level qualifications have been decoupled, meaning that the AS grade no longer counts towards the overall A level grade, they are two separate qualifications. As a result of the decoupling, fewer schools and colleges are offering AS level qualifications and there has been a substantial decrease in the number of AS level entries overall, going down by 13.1%. Of the AS level entries, 7.2% were for biology (again the third most popular subject) and so it will be interesting to see how this will translate into the numbers taking biology A level next year.