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Exam Board: OCR Specification A

About

The core value of Biology is to ensure that learning is enjoyable and enhances a student's enthusiasm for Biology. The course follows on from the year 11 Additional Science Specifications and many of the topics will be very familiar. Consequently, the course is suitable for both science dual award and single science GCSE students. Biology is a continually evolving subject and it is a good introduction to some of the practical and theoretical skills needed in a range of careers, such as medicine and forensic science areas. There are 12 compulsory practical's students must carry out which they will be examined on in their terminal examinations.  

The aims of A level Biology are to:

1. Develop interest and enthusiasm for biology, including developing an interest in further study and careers in human biology.

2. Appreciate how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

3. Develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of How Science Works.

4. Develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of biology, both animal and plant,  and how they relate to each other.

The areas studied overlap with many other A level courses such as Chemistry, Psychology and Health and Social care. Studying Biology at AS and A2 level needs a disciplined, logical and flexible mind. It is academically challenging and consequentially requires a highly committed attitude to studies .The hard work needed rewards a student with a selection of highly desirable degrees and well paid careers.

Assessment

At A.S. Level students are assessed by means of two exams at the end of the year. The first module, Breadth in Biology is a 1 hour and 30 minutes exam and is worth 50% of a student's A.S. grade. The second module, Depth in Biology is worth 50% of a student's A.S. grade. Students sit this 1 hour 30 minute written exam in the summer. This enables students to have a standalone A.S. Level Biology qualification.  Students studying for the A Level will then have 3 exams at the end of the year. The first, Biological Processes is a 2 hour 15 minute written exam which is worth 37% of a student's total A Level. The second written exam is on Biological Diversity, and also worth 37% of the student's total A Level. The final exam, Unified Biology is a 1 hour and 30 minute exam, equating to 26% of the total A Level. There is also an internal Practical Endorsement in biology, which will form part of the full A Level qualification.

AS Teaching Units, Assessment Method and Weighting

AS Unit and Content Assessment Method Weighting

Breadth in biology

Examination in June

Section A: Multiple Choice Section B: Structured questions covering theory and practical skills

1 hr 30 minutes 70 marks

50% of the total AS GCE marks

Depth in biology

Examination in June

Structured questions and extended response questions, covering theory and practical skills

I hr 30 minutes 70 marks

50% of the total AS GCE marks

 

A2 Teaching Units, Assessment Method and Weighting

 

A2 Unit and Content Assessment Method Weighting

Biological processes

Examination in June

Section A: Multiple Choice

Section B: Structured questions and extended response questions covering theory and practical skills

2 hr 25 minutes 100 marks

37% of the total A Level GCE marks

Biological diversity

Examination in June

Section A: Multiple Choice

Section B: Structured questions and extended response questions covering theory and practical skills

2 hr 25 minutes 100 marks

37% of the total A Level GCE marks

Unified biology 

Examination in June

Structured questions and extended response questions covering theory and practical skills

1 hr 30 minutes 70 marks

26% of the total A Level GCE marks 

Complementary Subjects to study at AS

Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Psychology, and Health and Social care

Student Views

'I would definitely recommend A-Level Biology because although it requires A LOT of hard work, it is an overall enjoyable and very interesting subject.' – Fouzia (2013)

'Human biology is very interesting to learn about and opens up a variety of different career choices. However it is a lot of hard work so you have to be committed, also the teachers are very supportive what makes it a lot easier. So overall I would recommend it to anyone thinking about pick it' – Henna Zafar (2013)

'I would recommend A-Level Biology for people who are passionate about the subject and are willing to work hard in the subject, as it is challenging. If you desire a career in medicine or any aspect of health or science, A-Level Biology is for you because it is an interesting subject and you learn a lot about your body.' – Dhanesh Mahmood (2013)

'I would recommend A Level Biology as it is interesting, but is also quite challenging' – Leigh (2013)

Career Pathways

Degree in Biology, Human Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Zoology, Biochemistry

Careers and Degrees in Medicine, Veterinary Sciences, Dentistry, Forensic Science, Environmental Science and many others.

Further Information

If you require further information on any aspect of the course you should contact any of the following: Miss N Aktar (room 307), Mrs A Flood (room 314), Mrs J Garvey (room 30) or Mrs J Bashford (room 314)


 
 
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