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Biology Advanced Level at Budehaven Community School

Course description

Course aims:

  • to explore the complex biological processes that occur in the natural world
  • preparation for biological courses at university and Institutes of Higher Education
  • to stimulate interest in and respect for the natural world.

Biology is taught with a functional approach and there is a practical element to complement a large body of factual information. Biiology is extremely demanding and rigerous at A level, with a huge variety of complex biological terms.


Course content

The newly accredited OCR A-level Biology specification uses modern and traditional biological ideas to engage learners and provides the opportunity to explore biology both in breadth and depth. Topics cover basic biochemical pathways, cellular processes and the study of organs and organisms, right through to modern population genetics and ecology.

A Level Biology

Paper 1 – Biological Processes – 100 Marks 2 hr 15 mins

Section A - 15 Marks - Multiple choice

Section B – 85 Marks - Structured questions and extended response covering theory and essential practical skills

Paper 2 – Biological Diversity – 100 Marks 2 hr 15 mins

Section A - 15 Marks - Multiple choice

Section B – 85 Marks - Structured questions and extended response covering theory and essential practical skills

Paper 3 – Unified Biology – 70 Marks 1 hr 30 mins 85 Marks - Structured questions and extended response covering theory and essential practical skills

Practical Endorsement Certificate – Pass/Fail

In addition to the practical skills questions which appear on the examination papers, students will be required to perform a minimum of 12 essential practical activities, on which the teacher will assess practical competency. This assessment will not contribute any marks to the overall A level but instead will contribute towards a PASS or FAIL grading on their Practical Endorsement Certificate which will be reported alongside the examination results.

Module Breakdown:

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 3Exchange and transport

3.1.1 Exchange surfaces 3.1.2 Transport in animals 3.1.3 Transport in plants

Module 4Biodiversity, 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 5Communication, 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

A minimum of 10% of the marks in AS and A-Level examinations will be allocated to mathematical skills equivalent to a Grade C at GCSE

Normal Sixth Form requirements. A Minimum of B B is required from GCSE Core Science, Additional Science and Further Additional Science + Grade B GCSE English


Assessment is a blend of multiple choice, short structured questions and extended response style questions. Practical skills are no longer assessed through coursework, instead a proportion of the terminal exams will be based on essential practical investigations and techniques. Practical skills competency will be assessed separately in the Practical Endorsement Certificate.

Future opportunities

The course prepares students for both study in biological courses at University and Institutes of Higher Education ranging from Medicine to Biochemistry and Pure Biology.

Further information

Strong literacy skills are advantageous. Students are invited to undertake a three day residential field study as part of the second year to further their understanding of their consevation, sampling and management of eco systems for Module M6

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 28 October 2016

Key information