Biology A Level

Board: OCR
Specification A: A Level (H420)

About this subject

The A level Biology course is extremely broad and covers all aspects of Biology. It builds on prior knowledge from GCSE Biology. Core units address aspects of Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Ecology, Genetics and Physiology. This allows students to determine which aspects of Biology they enjoy most. The practical elements of Biology are incorporated into each unit along with the mathematical skills. Studying Biology therefore enables students to become well versed, not only in biological theories, but also in Scientific methods


Learning styles

Students are expected to have a genuine interest in social, ethical, and economic implications of modern biological advances as well as a desire to learn more about the organisms around them.

A mixture of learning techniques will be employed, including class discussion, the use of study guides, structured homework, videos, PowerPoint presentations, practical experimentation, independent research, IT resources, classroom teaching, and field trips.

Students will be required to pay £38 for course resources including a textbook.

Subject Combinations and Progression

The A level in Biology would combine well with other science subjects to form a basis for the study of any scientific discipline at university.  Students interested in Veterinary Science, Medicine, or most Biological Science based degrees at university should combine A level Biology with A Level Chemistry. Biology could add breadth to an Arts-based study programme if a student did not intend to study Biology beyond A level.

Subject Modules and Assessment

The A level course has three papers assessed at the end of year 2 and a separate practical endorsement, consisting of 12 compulsory PAG tasks.  There are no compulsory animal dissections.

Biological processes (37%)
Biological diversity (37%)
Unified biology (26%)
Practical endorsement (pass/fail)


Minimum Subject Entry Requirements

Two grade 6’s from three Single Award GCSE Sciences with a 6 in Biology / 6,6 for Double Award GCSE Science and a 6 for GCSE Maths.
Students are required to structure and articulate longer answer questions, so a good grasp of English language is beneficial