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Biology A Level at Norwich School

Course description

The OCR Biology A H420 specification for first examination in 2017 is followed. There are 6 units which pupils study:

In the Lower 6 pupils study modules 2, 3 and 4 with practical work contributing to module 1.

In the Upper 6 pupils study modules 5 and 6 with practical work contributing to module 1.

Assessment is carried out in the form of the practical lab book the pupils need to compile throughout the two-year course and in three external exams at the end of the Upper 6 year. 

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


This module requires the pupils to complete a record of practical work carried out through the 2 year course in a unique lab book. Assessment takes the form of a pass or unclassified rating at the end of the 2 year A level course. The lab books are moderated by external moderators during the second year of the course. Content of the practical work undertaken during the two-year course will be assessed as part of the written examinations.

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

Entry requirements

The course requires curiosity, numerical skills, observation, a logical systematic approach, manipulative dexterity, analytical skills, and above all, a determination to master detail. You will be required to communicate effectively both in oral presentations and on paper. The lab book assesses practical skills and requires good laboratory practice, an understanding of basic statistics and an ability to critically evaluate procedure and data. These are all valuable life skills!

Further information

All pupils will be expected to attend a day of field studies in the sand dunes of North Norfolk at the end of the Lower 6 course in June in order to carry out coursework which will form part of their lab books and give first-hand knowledge of a range of ecosystems. 

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 27 February 2017

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