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A-Level Biology Practical Endorsement – Enhanced course

Designed for students studying A-Level Biology with OCR, AQA or Pearson Edexcel

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Welcome to the Immersive Practical A-Level Biology courses at BioGrad. These have been designed by working scientists and A-Level assessors with input from the A-level exam boards to provide the best possible opportunity for students wishing to obtain their practical endorsement.

The courses are held in the working research laboratories within Liverpool Science Park and offer real world laboratory experience that exceeds all requirements for the endorsed practical assessments.

  • “The environment is stimulating – lots of choice of professional lab apparatus to hand – and the atmosphere calm and highly conducive to the development of strong practical and investigative skills.”
    BioGrad Examination Centre Monitoring Visit – 2019
  • “The group size of students is restricted on courses to ensure that each student has access to their own apparatus and bench space to work. This also had the added advantage of allowing a great working relationship between Kathryn and her students so that they knew they could ask her for help when they did need it.”
    BioGrad Examination Centre Monitoring Visit – 2019
  • “Students come from a range of different backgrounds to experience the required practical work offered at BioGrad. It is clear from conversation with them that they are very much enjoying the course, they can see how the methods they are provided with become less descriptive over time which demands more from them as individuals.”
    BioGrad Examination Centre Monitoring Visit – 2019
  • “One student mentioned that the experience had made her want to follow a career path in STEM, she said that she would love to live her life in the lab! Another said that she would miss this experience when going home. When I asked how the course could be improved they found it hard to suggest anything. Their confidence levels and engagement with practical sciences were sound.”
    BioGrad Examination Centre Monitoring Visit – 2019
  • “Their [BioGrad Staff] enthusiasm for this work is impressive, the practical courses not only providing the minimum experience for students but, with independent investigation opportunities and an insight into potential career pathways for students. I am really pleased to see such outstanding provision available for students who are not in a routine school or college environment. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to supporting them to develop their practical skills in such a stimulating environment.”
    BioGrad Examination Centre Monitoring Visit – 2019

BioGrad is able to partner with any registered examination centre to provide the practical endorsement, as long as the centre agrees to a working partnership with BioGrad.

Over the last 12 months BioGrad has provided training for students from the below 489 Schools, Colleges and Universities:

The Enhanced Biology Practical Endorsement programme includes:

Week 1

Day 1

Welcome talk, tour of laboratories within Liverpool Science Park and an introduction to laboratory health and safety.

After the laboratory induction, students learn about COSHH and risk assessments before starting their wet work. The first day provides the opportunity for students to learn their way around our laboratories. Students start by preparing and diluting their own molar solutions, develop their pipetting skills then prepare their own microbial growth medias and use the industrial autoclave for overnight sterilisation.

Day 2

The day begins with an investigation into the effects of pH and temperature on trypsin, then students are allocated time to complete their laboratory notebooks before starting on exam practice for questions 1 and 2 on the practical exam papers. It is important that students not only pass their assessed practical but that they can also apply their skills in the A-Level examinations.

The afternoon is spent preparing onion root meristems for the investigation of mitosis using dyes and microscopy.

Day 3

Students have the opportunity to further develop their microbiology skills by performing their own investigation into the effect of antimicrobials. The afternoon is spend on the dissection of a mammalian heart and exploration into the effect of surface area on the rate of diffusion.

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Day 4

Serial dilution of glucose to determine the water potential of potato tissue. Complete laboratory notebooks and exam questions. Investigation into the effect of beetroot membrane permeability.

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Day 5

Students spend the morning demonstrating their new laboratory skills by performing their independent investigations, then the afternoon is spent consolidating knowledge during the student presentation session.

Week 2

Day 1

Students are re-introduced to the laboratories and use colorimetry to determine glucose concentration of urine, completion of laboratory notebooks and answer exam questions 1 to 2.

Day 2

Investigation into effect of light and humidity on movement of maggots in a choice chamber. Investigation into the rate of respiration of yeast.

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Day 3

Students visit Crosby beach to investigate the distribution of plants at using transects. Students perform data and sample collection for further evaluation back in the laboratories.

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Day 4

Students perform paper chromatography of photosynthetic pigments in plant samples from Crosby beach in the morning and their own investigation into dehydrogenase activity in chloroplasts in the afternoon.

Day 5

The final day is allocated to the analysis of molecular biology results, completion of laboratory notebooks, preparation of evidence packs and scientific posters.

How to book:

Places are strictly limited to a maximum of 15 students per week. We can only accept bookings from students from exam centres that have working agreement in place with BioGrad. Students can check the current list of partner exam centres below:

Click here to view BioGrad Partner Exam Centres

0 - Intuition Exam Centre - Cheshire, United Kingdom
10488 - Excel Tutors - Greater London, United Kingdom
10693 - Excel Centre Dalston - London, England
10776 - Catford After School Club - London, England
10777 - Excel Centre New Cross - London, England
10780 - Walworth After School Club - London, England
10780 - Sydenham After School Club - London, England
13261 - Excel Centre Stratford - London, England
13280 - AEC Tutors - London, UK
13289 - Merit Tutors - London, United Kingdom
14123 - WinA Tutorial College - London, UK
25320 - Alpha Tutorials - Leicestershire
29025 - Bridgenorth Endowed - Shropshire, England
29365 - Thomas Adams School
33507 - Ashton Sixth Form College Centre
37601 - Woodhouse Grove School - West Yorkshire, England
54321 - Teign School - Devon
56320 - Beacon Academy - East Sussex, United Kingdom
58116 - Faregos Home Education Group - Hampshire, England
62311 - Cherwell College Oxford - Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
69744 - Basil Paterson College - East Lothian, Scotland
69808 - Merchiston Castle School - East Lothian, Scotland
69854 - Wallace College - East Lothian, Scotland
74694 - TutorASAP International Study Centre, Spain

If your centre of choice is not currently on this list, simply ask them to complete the below form and send it to exams@biograd.co.uk or call 0151 482 9695 for further information.

Exam Centre Application Form

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

BioGrad Biology Assessed Practical Duke of Edinburgh

BioGrad is an Approved Activity Provide for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This course may be used as your Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential Award, which can be signed off by the course leader on the final day. Please provide your Duke of Edinburgh Award number on your registration form at the time of booking your course. Students using this course for their GOLD residential must stay for at least 4 nights in dormitory accommodation.

UCAS References

Students who wish to use this course as work experience to support university applications may request a reference to be sent directly to their school or college. These references are signed off by the course leader after obtaining feedback from staff teaching during the course. These references help your teachers to create your UCAS reference. Students will also receive a PDF copy of this reference which they may use to support university and job applications.

Photographs

We will happily take photographs of students working in the laboratory which often serve as excellent profile pictures for work related social networking (such as LinkedIn).

Students are asked not to take photographs of other attendees or staff without consent. Students under the age of 18 years old must provide the completed photo/video consent form on the first day of the course (sent to all students in their course registration confirmation) if they wish to have photographs taken for use on professional sites or social media.

Clothing and Equipment

Students are advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes (ensuring legs and feet are covered when in the laboratory). We advise layered clothing as it can become warm when wearing a lab coat and gloves all day. All personal protective equipment is provided during the course including a AQA approved laboratory note book for recording results. Students should bring their own stationary and may find a laptop/tablet useful for recording results/data analysis and personal research.

Groups

Schools, colleges, universities, distance learning providers and DofE centres can book a bespoke course for groups of 10-15 students per week. Full board options are available including evening activities. Please contact info@biograd.co.uk for availability.

International groups may take advantage of our collaboration with Liverpool School of English, booking a 2 week course with English tuition, full board home stay, transfers and insurance. Please contact exams@biograd.co.uk for availability.

Food

Students have an hour for lunch each day. There are many places to purchase food and drink within walking distance of the Science Park, including the City of Liverpool College, Subway, Tesco’s, Costa, The EveryMan theatre and many sandwich/coffee shops. Students wishing to bring their own food have access to a fridge and microwave during the course, plus a break room containing vending machines, a pool table and sky TV on-site.

Students who are attending as a residential course can make the most of their evenings by exploring the huge range of restaurants within walking distance of the Art House Hotel.

Luggage

The BioGrad facilities and The Art House Hotel both have secure facilities for storing luggage on the days of arrival and departure. During the rest of the week students will be asked to store their belongings in locked cupboards opposite BioGrad Student Services (Outside of the laboratories and clinical training rooms) during the training sessions.

Further Information

Accommodation - BioGrad
Accommodation
Evening Activities - BioGrad
Evening Activities
Facilities - BioGrad
BioGrad Facilities
The Team - BioGrad
Meet the Team

For further information please contact us using this form or email us at info@biograd.co.uk.

Course Fees

All payments are taken securely with PayPal. All major debit and credit cards are accepted so you don’t need a PayPal account.

The Enhanced 2 x 5 day package costs £999 per subject. You can reserve your place on this course with a deposit of just £249.75 if you are booking more than 28 days in advance. The remaining balance is due four weeks prior to the course start date.

You can also choose to pay for this course in 6 instalments if you are booking more than 26 weeks in advance, or 12 instalments if you are booking more than 54 weeks in advance.

Course Availability

Enhanced Course:

Please select a date for attending your 'week 1' course and a date for attending your 'week 2' course below. Both courses must be attended for the practical endorsement.

WEEK 1

Please select the date for your 'week 1' course

WEEK 2

Please select the date for your 'week 2' course

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WHAT DO OUR STUDENTS SAY?

  • “My lab tutor was a skilful and talented teacher. He was able to simplify complex topics so all of the students could understand and then followed up to ensure we all fully grasped the techniques being taught. He made sure that any errors were rectified immediately so that we were always learning the correct techniques"
    Lucy - Introduction to Genetics
  • "I attended the course because I wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry but didn't have enough lab based experience. After the course I had experience in some of the most up to date techniques, taught by researchers working in the pharmaceutical industry. During the lunch time I was able to chat with all of the tutors and seek their advice for securing the job I wanted. Through the experience and advice I received I managed to secure a graduate level job in a small pharmaceutical company. I cannot recommend this course enough!"
    Josep (Graduate researcher) - Practical skills in drug discovery
  • "I received excellent tuition from a patient teacher who had an incredible enthusiasm for laboratory research. Under her tutelage and supervision, I acquired many laboratory skills in the area of cell culture techniques and high throughput screening for pre-clinical drug discovery."
    Akang (Research Scientist) - Introduction to mammalian cell culture and Practical drug discovery
  • "This was the first time I had the chance to perform practical laboratory techniques which I had only seen in lectures before this point. The tutors let us try a number of different ways to quantify cells and gave us the time and guidance to perfect our own techniques."
    Mark - Introduction to mammalian cell culture
  • "I was taught by an experienced researcher who gave us the opportunity to work with many different cell types. I was able to see the differences between the morphology and growth rates of different cells for myself. I also had the opportunity to try a number of different techniques which gave me confidence to apply for PhD's requiring cell culture experience."
    Gail (PhD researcher) - Introduction to mammalian cell culture
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