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Biology A Level at The Ashcombe School

Course description

Reformed subject

Why study the subject?

Biology has application to virtually everything we do, from behaviour to population control, from diet to agriculture, from health to chemical and germ warfare. Whilst Biology is the most approachable Science it nonetheless provides enough academic challenge to stimulate the most enquiring mind. From GM foods to human cloning to stem cell research, Biology is talked about in the media every day. The OCR Biology A-level is rigorous and engaging, and aims to equip students with a contemporary grasp of key biological principles allowing you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Concepts are taught in the context of scientific research and development, with practical investigations forming a key part of the curriculum.

Apart from obvious career courses such as nursing, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacology, pathology, psychology, forensic science, biochemistry and biophysics, Biology may be taken with almost any combination of other subjects and may have application in marketing, management, law, journalism or town planning! It is important to realise that A-level Chemistry is highly recommended if you intend to study any Biological subject at degree level. However, you do not need Chemistry to study Biology at A-level.

Course content

AS Modules

• Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology

• Module 2 – Foundations in biology

• Module 3 – Exchange and transport

 • Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease.

A-level Modules (in addition to the AS Modules above)

• Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy

• Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems.

Practical work

The A-Level includes a practical endorsement which is a pass/fail component separate from the final grade. This is centre assessed and based on practical work completed throughout the 2-year course. A minimum of 10% of the final exam will be based on questions relating to practical techniques. 

Entry requirements

Grade Cs in Core and Additional Science and a commitment to work hard – including some dissections.


AS Level

Breadth in Biology (01) 70 marks 1hr 30min written paper 50% of total AS level

Depth in Biology (02) 70 marks 1hr 30min written paper 50% of total AS level.


Biological Processes (01) 100 marks  2hr 15min written paper  37% of total A-level

Biological Diversity (02) 100 marks  2hr 15min written paper  37% of total A-level

Unified Biology (03) 70 marks  1hr 30min written paper  26% of total A-level.


All papers will be synoptic (containing material from all areas of the course)

Further information

Field Course

In the first term of AS studies a field course is undertaken to give students the opportunity to study field techniques, ecology and environmental Biology. This course is essential for completing both taught and practical aspects of the course. More information is provided at 6th form enrolment day

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Ashcombe School directly.

Last updated date: 25 August 2016
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