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Biology A Level at West Lakes Academy

Course description

AS and A Level Biology is an excellent academic qualification that complements many subject combinations. It is a challenging course and is classed as a facilitating subject by Russell Group universities and is included in the English Baccalaureate award.

The OCR specification explores many different branches of biology and allows students to develop an essential knowledge and understanding of these different areas and how they link together.


Course content

AS and first year of A Level

Module 1: Development of Practical Skills in Biology including planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation.

Module 2: Foundations in Biology, which includes cell structure and division, biological molecules, DNA structure, enzymes, biological membranes.

Module 3: Exchange and Transport, which includes exchange surfaces, and transport in animals and plants.

Module 4: Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease

Second year of A Level

Module 5: Communication, Homeostasis and Energy, which includes neuronal and hormonal communication, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis and respiration.

Module 6: Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems, which includes patterns of inheritance cellular control, manipulating genomes, cloning, biotechnology, populations and sustainability.

Entry requirements

For you to be successful in AS/A Level Biology you need to have achieved: 5 A* to C at GCSE (or grades 5-9), including B in GCSE Biology or additional science, B in another science GCSE and grade 5 in mathematics


The AS Level course is assessed by two written exams; these are 1 hour 30 minutes long, each is worth 70 marks and both contribute equally to the final AS grade.

The papers consist of a mixture of multiple choice, short and long answer questions.

  • Breadth in Biology (01) and Depth in Biology (02) assess content from all four AS modules

The A Level course is assessed by three written exams that are all 2 hours long and will include multiple choice questions, short answer question styles and extended response questions.

  • Biological Processes (01) and Biological Diversity (02) are 2 hour 15 minute exam papers worth 100 marks each. Both papers contribute towards 37% of the final A Level grade.
  • Unified Biology (03) is a 1 hour 30 minutes paper worth 70 marks. This paper contributes 26% of the final A Level and will contain elements from all six modules studied over the two years.
  • Practical Endorsement in Biology (04) is reported separately to the final A Level grade and measures student performance in the practical aspects of the A Level.

Future opportunities

Biology is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in health and clinical professions, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, pharmacy, optometry, nursing, zoology, marine biology or forensic science.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact West Lakes Academy directly.

Last updated date: 31 March 2017
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