A Level Biology (OCR A)
A wide range of topics are covered from finding out about how the human body works to understanding the natural environment. Biology is a challenging qualification which requires dedication. You will be expected to gain a sound knowledge of detailed mechanisms which support life within living cells and organisms. The course follows a content-led approach.
In Year 12 you will study cells, enzymes, exchange and transport and biodiversity. This incorporates learning the intricate detail of cell functioning, use of microscopes and how cells are specialised for their functions. You will also learn how animals and plants are adapted to have complex exchange and transport systems including the lungs, heart and blood. Later in the year you study biochemistry, enzymes, and ecology.
Throughout the course key knowledge and skills are built up, especially in Year 13 where many synoptic links are made between new content and that taught in the previous year. You will also develop ideas on communications, homeostasis and energy and study another module focusing on genetics, evolution and ecosystems.
The two year A Level course is assessed through three exams, all of which are taken at the end of the two years of study. These cover biological processes (37%), biological diversity (37%) and unified biology (26%). Question styles range from multiple choice and short answer to longer structured questions covering theory and practical skills. A separately reported practical endorsement certificate is given for candidates demonstrating sufficient skill in key areas.
Gaining an A Level in Biology is a passport to a diverse range of exciting careers including various research posts. There is a huge choice of subjects you can go on to study at university including ecological sciences, physiology, genetics and biochemistry. Biology is also necessary for a number of careers, for example physiotherapy, nursing, medicine, veterinary medicine/ science and dentistry.