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Biology OCR Advanced GCE

Biology is a vast and increasingly important subject in today’s world, encompassing many topics at the frontiers of modern science. It is relevant to everyone’s life - consider the role of health and fitness, medical science, food and drink production and our interactions with the natural world. It helps you understand some of the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of life on our planet - from the exciting advances recently made in genetics to the importance of conserving species which have existed through long periods of time; from how our bodies work to what the inside of a cell actually looks like.

There is no AS examination; all pupils will follow the full two year A Level course. This is made up of six modules which are examined in three papers at the end of the two year course

MODULE 1 - Development of Practical Skills in Biology

Module 1 develops the skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation. It is not taught or examined separately, but is built in to the other modules throughout the course and examined across all of the papers.

MODULE 2 - Foundations in Biology

Module 2 covers the fundamental principles of Biology which underpin many of the other topics throughout the course. It includes the topics of Cell Structure, Biological Molecules, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, Enzymes, Biological Membranes, Cell Division, Cell Diversity and Cellular Organisation.

MODULE 3 - Exchange and Transport

Module 3 focuses on how organisms interact, physiologically, with their environments, exchanging the materials needed for survival. It incorporates Exchange Surfaces, Transport in Animals and Transport in Plants

MODULE 4 - Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease

Module 4 focuses on two main topic areas; the first is Communicable diseases, Disease prevention and how the Immune System functions to protect animals. The second looks at the Biodiversity and Classification of living organisms and the processes of Evolution.

MODULE 5 - Communication, Homeostasis and Energy

Module 5 covers a wide range of important biological processes which allow organisms to function as a coherent whole, responding to internal and external changes and providing the energy needed for these processes to occur. It includes internal Communication mechanisms and Homeostasis, Excretion of waste products, Neuronal and Hormonal Communication, Plant and Animal Responses and the metabolic processes of Photosynthesis and Respiration.

MODULE 6 - Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems

Module 6 delves into the mechanisms that control how an organism develops and evolves. It combines the mechanisms of Cellular Control and Patterns of Inheritance with the ways that humans can Manipulate Genomes, it explores Cloning and Biotechnology and identifies the importance of different Ecosystems, Populations and Sustainability in a changing environment.

Assessment Overview

A Level Paper 1 - Biological Processes assesses content from Modules 1, 2, 3 and 5. This paper is 2 ¼ hours long, contains 100 marks and is worth 37%.

A Level Paper 2 - Biological Diversity assesses content from Modules 1, 2, 4 and 6. This paper is 2 ¼ hours long, contains 100 marks and is worth 37%.

A Level Paper 3 - Unified Biology assesses the content from Modules 1 – 6. This paper is 1 ½ hours long, contains 70 marks and is worth 26%.

Non-Exam Assessment – 12 Core Practical Activities which are assessed internally and are recorded as either a Pass or a Fail which are reported separately on the exam certificate.

What happens when you have finished?

You could take this course to complement other advanced level courses that may overlap with Biology such as Chemistry, Physics, Geography or Psychology or other more general subjects that may not relate to the sciences. You could also take it to prepare for higher education, which could lead onto other science related subjects or more general higher education courses.

With further training, you could go into a job related to Biology such as Medicine, Nursing, Veterinary Science, Biotechnology, Forensics, Education, Science Technology, Sports Science, Business Science, Marine Biology to name but a few.

You could also go straight into a job as the A Level GCE is a recognised qualification that will help you to develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.

Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus