Home » Year 12 & 13 Curriculum » GCE Biology

GCE Biology

Awarding Body : OCR

Overview of Course

September 2015 will see the second year of teaching the reformed A level specifications. All students will take the AS examination at the end of Year 12. Students can then decide whether to continue to A Level. A Level examinations at the end of the Year 13 cover the both content of Year 12 and Year 13.

Course Entry Requirements

At least a grade B at Biology GCSE or grade B for Additional science GCSE. At least grade C passes in Mathematics and English are recommended.

Practical Content

There is no longer an assessed practical, or ISA, which counts towards the qualification. Instead, at least six practical investigations are undertaken in both Year 12 and Year 13. Your teacher will assess your performance in these. The skills and knowledge acquired in the investigations will be tested in the written paper. For AS, no further examination takes places. For A level, in addition to an overall grade for the written papers, there is a separate ‘pass’ endorsement on the certificate for candidates who have been successful in all aspects of the 12 practical investigations.

Course Structure AS Examinations

  • Module1–Developmentofpracticalskillsin biology
  • Module 2 – Foundations in biology
  • Module3–Exchange and transport
  • Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease

Paper 1: Breadth in Biology

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 50% of AS level
  • 20 marks multiple choice and 50 marks short answers on modules 1-4

Paper 2: Depth in Biology

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 50% of AS level
  • 70 marks short answers and extended response on module 1-4

A-level Examinations AS Module Plus

  • Module5–Communication,homeostasisand energy
  • Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

Paper 1: Biological Processes

  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • 37% of A -level
  • 100 marks: 15 marks multiple choice, 85 marks on short answers and extended response

Paper 2: Biological Diversity

  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • 37% of A -level
  • 100 marks: 15 marks multiple choice, 85 marks on short answers and extended response

Paper 3: Unified Biology

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • 26%ofA-level
  • 70 marks on short answers and extended response

Career Links

There are several areas where biology overlaps with or compliments engineering. A biology qualification would be useful in engineering fields such as bioinstrumentation (designing devices for healthcare or research), biomechanics (e.g. prosthetics), biomaterials (e.g. implants), or systems physiology (computer modelling of biological systems). There are also many degree courses and careers where biology is required or useful such as psychology, sports science, medicine, pharmacology, physiology, clinical genetics, nature conservation, soil scientist or even a teacher.