Exam Board: OCR

  • Biology is the study of Life.
  • It involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems.
  • What is stem cell research and why is it important?
  • How will knowledge of our genome affect future healthcare?


Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above including Maths and English Language, with at least a Grade 5 in Maths and either Grade 6 in Biology and two Grade 5s in Chemistry and Physics or two Grades 6s in Combined Science.


Is this course for me?

  • You may wish to consider studying maths or statistics alongside this subject to help you develop the necessary mathematical skills required to study Biology.
  • You are fascinated by the natural world.
  • You like combining investigation, collecting and analysing data, problem solving, practical skills and socially relevant content.
  • Biology at A Level could be essential if you want a career in health and clinical professions.
  • Biology provides a useful complement to other subjects including other Science subjects, Sports studies and Maths.


Where does it lead?

Students who study Biology A Level gain many transferable skills, including scientific method, problem solving, data analysis and practical skills.
There are many careers for which Biology is either essential or very useful. These include medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, health education, veterinary science, zoology, agriculture, pharmacy, pharmacology, bio-chemistry, PE, psychology, speech therapy, forestry, biotechnology, food science, microbiology, laboratory work, radiography and teaching.


What will I learn?

Year 1

Development of practical skills in biology

You will develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments in biology.

Foundations in Biology

You will study cells as the basic units of all living things: how they communicate, divide and become specialised to their function. You will also discover the key biological molecules and develop an understanding of their importance in living organisms.

Exchange and transport

You will develop an understanding of how the heart and lungs are adapted for their functions and how oxygen and nutrients are transported around the body. Similarly you will examine the transport systems found in plants.

Biodiversity and evolution

You will learn about diseases and their control by the immune system. You will also consider evolution and how it has generated such a wide variety of organisms.


Year 2

Development of practical skills in biology

You will continue to develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments in Biology.

Communication, homeostasis & energy

You will learn how organisms respond to changes in their environment and the importance of hormones and the nervous system in these responses. This will involve learning about the key features and functions of the liver, kidneys and pancreas. This unit also allows you to further develop your understanding of the fundamental processes of photosynthesis and respiration.

Genetics, evolution & ecosystems

You will discover how genes control the way in which cells function. You will develop this by studying how changes within genes lead to variation and how variation provides the raw material for evolution. You will also learn how ecosystems work and how to manage them for sustainability and conservation.


How will I be assessed?

  • The A Level in Biology is assessed in three written papers that assess content from all six modules that have been studied.
  • A practical endorsement in Biology is also awarded at A Level as a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ alongside the overall grade for the qualification.
  • 10% of the marks available within written examinations will be for assessment of mathematics in the context of Biology.


What activities can I get involved in?

There are opportunities for visits to interesting and relevant places and exhibitions which bring classroom learning to life. This has included a trip to the ‘Bodies’ exhibition – a unique fusion of anatomy, science and art – and also the Nowgen centre in Manchester where students learn first-hand about developments in biomedical science and have the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops.  Some of our students on the course have also had the opportunity to take part in a Villiers Park residential course which has helped to inspire and challenge them to consider studying biological sciences further.


We have made every effort to ensure that the information displayed is accurate. The College reserves the right to make changes and cannot accept liability arising out of, or in connection with any revision. 
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