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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 January 2004
I bought this book when i chanced upon it at my local Waterstones. It has lots of illustrations, colour photographs, and simple diagrams - but in terms of the detail and depth of information contained in the text it's quite lacking. I would recommend this book to those who struggle with new concepts, or horrible complex areas of the syllabus, such as respiration and photosynthesis; the book explains these areas in a simple straightforward manner, without too much biological jargon or useless information. The page layout is very clear and easy-to-follow, with blocks of text sectioned off under brightly coloured headers. On the other hand, this book just doesn't go into enough scientific detail for my liking. Many of the units and concepts covered lack the fine detail that would be needed to get an A grade. I have even spotted a mistake in the text (of the 2nd, and latest, Edition) - in the unit covering meiosis it says that during Early Prophase I the /centromeres/ move to opposite poles, when it should say that the micro-tubule organising centres (aka centrioles) move to opposite poles. Another annoying thing is that although they've wrongly mentioned the centromeres in their description of meiosis I, they also fail to mention the behaviour or function of the centromeres at all anywhere else in the unit - eg. under 'Metaphase I' they fail to mention that the centromeres do not replicate, for which reason the sister chromatids remain as a single unit and aren’t separated in the proceeding Anaphase. Furthermore, under 'Metaphase II' they don't mention at all that the centromeres divide, thus allowing each sister chromatid to form a daughter chromosome in the each of the gametes made - they simply say that each chromatid migrates to opposite poles, without saying how or why. The most annoying thing however, is that they do not provide answers to the past examination questions that are at the end of each chapter - and the CD-Rom which supposedly has those answers is apparently supplied by neither any of the major book retailers nor Collins themselves! If you want an in-depth A-grade book then i'd recommend 'Advanced Biology' by Oxford University Press - it's more detailed, has better exam questions (to which answers are provided in the back of the book!), and it also costs less!
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on 15 November 2009
I am currently studying The Access to HE Diploma and one of my modules is Biology. I bought this book a short while ago, and I can not put into words how helpful it has been with my studies. It follows a wide variety of topics that is so well written, I haven't once gotten a headache from reading about the information inside. It's complete with images, revision questions and even things that can set your mind away wondering why certain things occur within the human body. It also has exclusive web downloads.

This site was also the least expensive for this book, as other places are charging a lot more for it.
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on 22 November 2012
I've recently started an access course at my local college and this book was recommended by the tutors, I did think it was a bit expensive at first but decided to take the risk and I'm very glad I did. I had to hand in an assignment recently in biology and used many books for research, this book out of the 4 I was using was the only one with all the answers in that I needed with fabulous diagrams and explanations in simple terms which is perfect.
I would recommend this book to all.
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on 15 October 2002
This Book is the bible for students taking advanced biology.
It covers everything you need and more. Its brim full of factual content and funky easy to read diagrams and pictures.
its easy to read as it is set for students, theres not to much waffle and jargon you usually find in biological textbooks. As I said a true life saver. The new edition is a lot better than the previous one and the mistakes have been corrected.
I was on a grade D at A-level until i purchased this book and with its aid and a little grit and determination i acheived a grade B. More proof of its effectiveness.
Cheers Mikey B!
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on 22 September 2015
Not much I can write about this publication but it's got a lot of thumbing to get through over the next year
It looks well put together and delivery was free and received two days before forecast
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on 21 May 2014
I purchased this for an Access to Medicine course I am on and it is really good. Explains things simply and clearly. Has good diagrams and also related studies of interest which help give some real life to the theory. Gives good examples and the test questions throughout each chapter really help confirm yo have understood the concepts. Highly recommended for anyone studying at AS/A2/Level 3 level.
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on 31 July 2015
Incredible book, really useful for A2 Biology (particularly AQA where you have to write an essay) as it provides a whole range of biology and really supports what i've learned so far in classes. Lots of things beyond A-Level specification which help to back up knowledge and ideas. Also a really good read.
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on 11 November 2013
I recently went into Oxford University main book shop, and chatted to an amazing member of staff.
I asked her for any A level general biology books, with excellent layouts, very clear to read, easily digestible, clear diagrams and without tiny writing all squashed in together.
She kindly brought me a very large selection which took me 2 hours to sift through!

This book was her number 1. choice out of the whole library section to buy from, and I certainly agreed with her.

When you are choosing an important book you are planning on spending many many hours studying with, its so important to find a book which you will enjoy using due to its amazing presentation from start to finish, even the out side edge is colour coded, so you can instantly find the section you are working for. Its all the added extras which they didn't have to do, non of the other books did this, but it adds to its user friendly approach.

This whole book is USER FRIENDLY, in every respect and more.

If you can make complex information look and read as though its easy to learn, then learning becomes far more achievable, productive and hopefully successful.

The contents page is very easy to read, and colour coded with the pages of that subject and the external pages of the book.
The subject headings are very clear and enlarged, important words or information are also in larger print than the rest of the text. Different easy to read fonts are used, which relaxes the eyes, and helps you to focus on the different information, ie, information of microscopic pictures, information regarding diagrams. It also has sections within the chapters, displayed in very clear font, called "REMEMBER THIS" with a big tick in front of it, highlighting information you need to take away with that page. Different coloured back grounds in gently shaded colour also helps you to take in the information and remember the diagrams too. Its all these little elements which make this book so different. Nothing is over complicated in any way.

I read books and I use a kindle, and I must say, this book is far far better as a book than using it in kindle format. I have many technical books on kindle, and I cannot imagine this book being so effective in Kindle format. I like the fact that the information is spread out and not crunched together. I personally feel this book would loose all its amazing qualities being read on a small screen. If I did have it on kindle/tablet form, I would like the book to use at home to study from.

This book has 684 pages, and is a heavy book to carry about.


Section 1. The cell: basic unit of life
what is a cell
tissue and organs
the chemicals of life
movement in and out of cells
enzymes and metabolism

Section 2. Energetics
energy and life
cell respiration

Section 3. Supply and demand
gas exchange
animal circulatory systems

Section 4. Getting the right balance
temperature regulation
excretion and water balance
health and disease
defence against disease
exercise physiology

Section 5. Control systems
nerves and impulses
nervous system
support and movement
senses and behaviour

Section 6. Reproduction and genetics
genetics: the basics
cell division
DNA, genes and chromosomes
how genes are inherited
DNA technology

Section 7. All about plants
how plants work
how plants grow and respond
reproduction in flowering plants

Section 8. The environment
Ecology:the basics
the biology of ecosystems
energy transfer and mineral cycling in ecosystems
human activity and the environment

Section 9.
answers to questions

I hope this review will help you choose a book suitable for you, and that you find the right book to make learning an enjoyable experience.
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on 29 February 2012
I don't have an A-Level in biology, and am going to be applying to medical school as a graduate. As many of you know, for the GAMSAT, applicants need to beef up on their knowledge of the sciences. I was a little intimidated with the fact this book has 600+ pages, but having spent some time using it I can't recommend it highly enough. For someone without a background in biology, it is the perfect resource as the authors explain topics in a clear and detailed fashion. The diagrams are brilliant and I thoroughly enjoy reading this, despite it being a text book! I already feel a lot more confident in my knowledge of biology, and I think this is the perfect book for non-science graduates looking to sit the GAMSAT.
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on 20 November 2015
Super fast deliver and perfect for both completing my access to nursing course and starting my adult nursing qualification. Easy to read, with colours, images and detailed descriptions and text in appropriate sized chunks (I struggle to read reams of text at a time, but these are manageable chunks).
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