• Sixth Form Biology

Biology

Course: A Level GCE Biology A | AS Level GCE Biology A 

Why study Biology at A level?
Biology is a subject which is never out of the news. Just think of gene technology, global warming, endangered species, GM foods, transplants, cloning- the list is endless and is growing every day!

Biology at A Level provides an excellent basis for higher education courses from Medicine to Marine Biology, Physiotherapy to Psychology as well as providing you with a wide range of useful skills which are transferable to any subject or field of work. Biology can ‘standalone’ as a Science subject amongst more ‘Art’ orientated subjects and is complementary to Geography, Psychology, Sociology and Sports Science in addition to Chemistry, Physics and Maths.

What will I gain?
The aims of these specifications are to encourage you to:

  • develop an interest in and enthusiasm for Biology, including developing an interest in further study and careers in Biology
  • appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society for example, economic issues relevant to discussions on the need to maintain and preserve biodiversity
  •  understand the moral, ethical, social and cultural implications of some of the applications of Biology and technology (such as legal issues relating to genetic engineering) 
  •  develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of How Science Works and develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of Biology and how they relate to each other.

At the Urswick School we follow the OCR Biology A specification.  All A Levels are now made up of either an AS course or a full A Level course.  Each one has examinable units covering the different aspects of Biology. In the full A Level course, there is an additional standalone practical unit which will assess your ability to carry out procedures, observations and process results.

You will be tested regularly throughout the course and your parents/carers will be kept informed about your progress.


What will I study on the course?

For AS and A Level

Module 1: Development of practical skills in Biology
Includes skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation.

Module 2: Foundations in Biology
Includes cell structure, biological molecules, nucleotides and nucleic acid, enzymes, biological membranes, cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation.

Module 3: Exchange and transport
Includes exchange surfaces, transport in animals and transport in plants.

Module 4: Biodiversity, evolution and disease
Includes communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system, biodiversity, classification and evolution.

For the full A Level course only

Module 5: Communication, homeostasis and energy
Includes communication and homeostasis, excretion, neuronal and hormonal communication, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis and respiration.

Module 6: Genetics, evolution and ecosystems
Includes cellular control, patterns of inheritance, manipulating genomes, cloning and biotechnology,  ecosystems, populations and sustainability.


When are the exams?

AS Level: You will sit two papers which will both assess any of the content from modules 1-4. They will be sat at the end of year 12.

  • Paper 1: 50% of final grade, 1 hr 30 mins.  Some of the marks for this paper are multiple choice, the rest are structured or long answer questions. 
  • Paper 2: 50% of final grade, 1 hr 30 mins.  All of the marks on this paper are structured or long answer questions.


A Level: You will sit three papers, all at the end of year 13.

  • Paper 1: 37% of final grade, 2 hr 15 mins.  Some of the marks for this paper are multiple choice, the rest are structured or long answer questions. It covers any content from modules 1, 2, 3 and 5.
  • Paper 2: 37% of final grade, 2 hr 15 mins.  Some of the marks for this paper are multiple choice, the rest are structured or long answer questions. It covers any content from modules 1, 2, 4 and 6.
  • Paper 3: 26% of final grade, 1 hr 30 mins.  All of the marks on this paper are structured or long answer questions.  It covers any content from all 6 modules.

As part of the full A Level course you will also receive a grade for your practical competence.  This will be assessed using 12 practical activities throughout the two years of the course. This is reported as a separate grade and does not count towards your overall A Level grade.