Biology

 

  • OCR
  • Entry requirements: GCSE Biology Grade 6 or above, strongly advised GCSE Maths Grade 6 or above. Students without this grade should take AS Core Maths.

A Level Biology is an intellectually demanding yet engaging course designed to develop a deep appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life and of the scientific method in this subject. Students will study the biochemistry of microscopic organisms right up to whole ecosystems and the impacts of humans on these. As with all science courses at A Level, Biology is particularly suitable for those going on to study STEM subjects at University, such as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Environmental Science. However, it is well recognised as a facilitating subject for all university courses due to its academic rigour, analytical nature and focus on problem-solving.

Module 1 - Practical Skills. Planning, analysis and evaluation skills are taught as part of the content throughout the course, and are assessed in the written papers. Students will also work towards a 'Practical Endorsement' awarded at the end of the course. In order to achieve this, students will have to complete a minimum of 12 practical investigations and associated write ups in lessons.

Module 2 - Foundations in Biology. Cell structure, Biological molecules, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, Enzymes, Biological membranes. Cell division and organisation.

Module 3 - Exchange and Transport. Exchange surfaces. Transport in animals, Transport in plants.

Module 4 - Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease. Communicable disease and the immune system, Biodiversity, Classification and evolution.

Module 5 - Communication, Homeostasis and Energy. Nervous and hormonal systems, Homeostasis, Excretion, Plant and animal responses, Photosynthesis, Respiration.

Module 6 - Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems. Cellular control, Patterns of inheritance, Manipulating genomes, Cloning and biotechnology, Ecosystems, Populations and sustainability.

ASSESSMENT - The full A Level is assessed at the end of the two years in three written papers: Biological Processes (37%) on units 1,2,3 and 5, Biological Diversity (37%) on units 1,2,4 and 6 and Unified Biology (26%) on units 1-6. Students will also be awarded a pass or fail for the Practical Endorsement.

 

Student quote: "A Level Biology is incredibly fascinating yet challenging. I have found it is a diverse subject that allows you to study a wide range of environmental and human biology. I have particularly enjoyed developing my knowledge of how the human body works and learning about it’s complicated mechanisms."