Exam Board

  • OCR Biology A

Biology A Level is a two year course, with all assessment at the end of the course.

A Level Biology is a challenging and interesting course which requires precision and analytical skills in addition to developing an understanding of living organisms and their interactions with the environment. Biology sits well alongside other science A Levels or geography, PE or maths.

Throughout the course students will conduct practical activities pertaining to Module 1 which contributes to the practical endorsement. The theory lessons also include research opportunities, project and group work taught by Biology specialists.

Course Content

Module 1- Development of practical skills in biology 1.1 Practical skills assessed in a written examination, 1.2 Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement

Module 2 – Foundations in biology 2.1.1 Cell structure, 2.1.2 Biological molecules, 2.1.3 Nucleotides and nucleic acids, 2.1.4 Enzymes, 2.1.5 Biological membranes, 2.1.6 Cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation

Module 3 – Exchange and transport 3.1.1 Exchange surfaces, 3.1.2 Transport in animals, 3.1.3 Transport in plants

Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease 4.1.1 Communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system, 4.2.1 Biodiversity, 4.2.2 Classification and evolution

Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy 5.1.1 Communication and homeostasis, 5.1.2 Excretion as an example of homeostatic control, 5.1.3 Neuronal communication, 5.1.4 Hormonal communication, 5.1.5 Plant and animal responses, 5.2.1 Photosynthesis, 5.2.2 Respiration

Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems 6.1.1 Cellular control, 6.1.2 Patterns of inheritance, 6.1.3 Manipulating genomes, 6.2.1 Cloning and biotechnology, 6.3.1 Ecosystems, 6.3.2 Populations and sustainability.


A Level course: 3 written papers at the end of the A Level course.

Title Modules assessed Duration of exam no. of marks available % of A-Level
Biological processes 1,2,3,5 2 hour 15 minutes written paper 100 37%
Biological diversity 1,2,4,6 2 hour 15 minutes written paper 100 37%
Unified Biology 1,2,3,4,5,6 1 hour 30 minutes written paper 70 26%
Practical endorsement Non exam assessment

The practical component is assessed during the examinations and also provides a certificate of practical endorsement but this does not count toward the exam grade.

Minimum Entry Requirements

To gain entry to the course it is expected that students have achieved a 7 grade at GCSE Science (additional or separates) and grade 6 at GCSE mathematics. This is to ensure that they are able to access the increased mathematical content (10% of the marks).


Visits to lectures at local Universities, field trips to study seashore ecology. Other possible visits include trips to the Natural History Museum and Bodies Alive.

Progression Routes and Careers

Students who study biology have access to a wide variety of choices of university courses including medicine, veterinary sciences. Alternatively biology students can move into career pathways in analytical or medical laboratory sciences or clinical biochemistry. Biologists have access to a wide range of career choices depending on their area of interest involving genetics, medicine, microbiology, land-based and environmental sciences or marine biology.