Physiology of Organisms

I’m Zoe, a second year natsci. Last year I did Physiology, E&B, Physics and Maths A, this year I’m continuing with physiology.

Physiology is probably the most similar biology module to Biology A level in terms of topics, but you go into a lot more detail and I think it’s a lot more interesting. Most of the course is about animals but you do spend about six weeks on plants and microbes. If you’re not looking forward to the plants section don’t let that put you off – almost everyone finds it much more interesting and enjoyable than it was at A-level and lots of people even continue with plants to second year. Physiology practicals aren’t assessed which makes them a lot more relaxed. You do have to learn about them for an exam at the end of the year, though.

In terms of books, I found Eckert Animal Physiology, Schmidt-Nielsen’s Animal Physiology, and Taiz and Zeiger’s Plant Physiology particularly helpful for understanding concepts and finding extra examples. The course website ( and moodle page are also very useful.

If you haven’t done biology A level, it is still possible to do Physiology but I think it would require a lot of extra work. If you haven’t done physics A level (like most of the people on the course), just do the recommended pages on moodle to help with a few small concepts and you will be absolutely fine.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me (