The OCR Biology A course offers students the opportunity to study a wide range of fascinating topics, starting with the intricate details of cell structure and biochemistry and moving onto entire ecosystems. The course allows students to develop relevant practical skills alongside essential knowledge and understanding of a range of biological concepts and scientific methods. The course covers animals, plants and micro-organisms in terms of the workings of their cells, evolution, genetics, behaviour and how they can be used to benefit humankind through biotechnology. Current concerns about human impact on the Earth are examined along with the challenges of maintaining bio-diversity and sustainably managing the environment.
Lead teachers: Mr A. Sweet and Mrs F. Sullivan
Course Content and Assessment
Module 1: Development in practical skills in Biology
Module 2: Foundations in Biology
Module 3: Exchange and transport
Module 4: Biodiversity, evolution and disease
Module 5: Communication, homeostasis, and energy
Module 6: Genetics, evolution, and ecosystems
The A Level is assessed by three written examinations:
- Paper 1 (Biological processes) assesses content from modules 1, 2, 3, and 5 in a 2 hour 15 minute exam, worth 37% of the final mark.
- Paper 2 (Biological diversity) assesses content from modules 1, 2, 4, and 6 in a 2 hour 15 minute exam, worth 37% of the final mark.
- Paper 3 (Unified biology) assesses all content from modules 1 to 6 in a 1 hour 30 minute exam, worth 26% of the final mark.
Overall, a minimum of 10% of the marks across the three papers will be awarded for Mathematics at level 2 or above.
Science Practical Endorsement is internally assessed and externally moderated through 12 practical activities (PAGs) over the two years. This is reported separately on students’ certificates alongside their overall grade for the A Level qualification.
Extending Your Experience
Every year you will have the opportunity to participate in field trips and attend lectures that allow you to experience the Biology discussed in class, outside of the classroom. These trips include visits to the zoo, field study centres and universities