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Biology OCR AS and A Level at Harris Girls' Academy East Dulwich

Course description

In a change from previous years, to complete the full A Level in Biology students must complete all six m

The A Level is no longer formed of ‘AS’ plus ‘A2’.  

However, students can choose to study Biology for just one year (modules 1-4) and complete the relevant exams to attain an AS Level in Biology.

Year 12 Content

  • Students choosing to only study Biology to AS Level complete four modules and will need to sit two exams, each of an hour and a half.
  •  All four modules will be assessed on both papers, which is a significant change from previous courses.

Year 13 Content

  • Students who choose to study Biology to A level will complete two years of study and will be assessed on their learning across those two years at the end of Year 13.  
  • All content, right from the start of Year 12, will be assessed at this time – this is often referred to as a ‘linear’ course (rather than the previous ‘modular’ course).  
  • In addition to the four modules described above, students complete two further modules that stretch the content to higher levels.

Course content

Year 12 Content

  • Module 1 – Development of Practical Skills in Biology
  • Module 2 – Foundations in Biology
  • Module 3 – Exchange and Transport
  • Module 4 – Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease

Year 13 Content

  • Module 5 – Communications, Homeostasis and Energy
  • Module 6 – Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems

Entry requirements

  • Students need to have studied a minimum of two GCSEs in science, reaching grade B at least in both.  
  • They should attain an overall grade B in their Year 11 GCSE, including grade B on the Biology exam paper (thus they must have done the higher tier paper).  
  • Students also need grade B in English and grade B in mathematics. 


Assessment of AS Biology:

Students complete two written papers, both lasting 1 hour 30 minutes.  

  • They are entitled ‘Breadth in Biology’ and ‘Depth in Biology’, and are equally weighted.  
  • Both papers will assess content from all four AS modules, including the practical skills module 1.

Assessment of A Level Biology:

There are three written papers to assess A Level Biology.  

  • ‘Biological Processes’ and ‘Biological Diversity’ are each 2 hours 15 minutes, and each account for 37% of the A Level.  
  • The former assess modules 1, 2, 3 and 5.  
  • The latter assess content in modules 1, 2, 4 and 6.  
  • The third exam is called ‘Unified Biology’, and lasts for 1 hour 30 minutes.  This accounts for the remaining 26% of the A Level.  
  • The practical skills of students are assessed throughout the course, leading to a separate certificate called ‘Practical Endorsement in Biology’ – this is simply pass/fail depending on skills shown throughout the course.

Future opportunities

A Level Biology prepares students for a wide range of courses in Higher Education such as:

Agriculture, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Dentistry, Ecology, Food Technology, Forestry, Medicine, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Sports Science, Veterinary Science and many others.  

The practical skills, experience of data analysis and the ability to express oneself concisely and accurately are useful attributes and help to prepare a young person for a career in a wide variety of fields.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Harris Girls' Academy East Dulwich directly.

Last updated date: 20 December 2016
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    • We believe that Sixth Form courses should be a preparation for your higher education course or career. During your course discussion meeting for a place at Harris Sixth Form, you will be asked about your future plans to ensure the course you are starting will fit with these aspirations.

      During your course of study our careers consultant will advise you about applying for higher education, application forms, entry qualifications and career prospects. Sixth form tutors will assist in writing CVs.

      If you would rather start your career after Harris then the careers consultant will provide advice, mock interviews and help with completion of application forms and CVs.