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Exam Board and Specification Codes: OCR (H420) 

The A-Level Biology course allows you to explore how the body works and discover the secrets which enable humans to survive.

It also explores other organisms such as fish, bacteria and insects in detail. You will discover the clever and intricate functions the body undertakes for key processes such as DNA replication, the cardiac cycle and respiration. You will learn about the latest biological research and technology such as RNA interference and DNA sequencing. There are also plenty of exciting practical activities such as heart dissections, modifying bacteria to make them glow in the dark and amplifying DNA to resolve evolutionary relationships between species.


What is covered by the course? 

Year 1 

Module 1 - Development of Practical Skills in Biology (in both years) 
Module 2 - Foundations in Biology 
Module 3 - Exchange and Transport 

Year 2 

Module 4 - Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease 
Module 5 - Communication, Homeostasis and Energy 
Module 6 - Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems 


How is it examined? 

Paper 1 - Biological Processes (2 hours 15 minutes) 

  • Assesses module 1, 2, 3 & 5 
  • 37% of the A-Level 

Paper 2 - Biological Diversity (2 hours 15 minutes) 

  • Assesses module 1, 2, 4 & 6 
  • 37% of the A-Level 

Paper 3 - Unified Biology (1 hour 30 minutes) 

  • Assesses all modules in a synoptic way 
  • 26% of the A-Level 

Related university courses & careers? 

Courses that might be considered after studying A level Biology include Physiology, Neuroscience, Immunology, Cancer Sciences, Genetics, Radiotherapy, Molecular Biology, Medicine, Biology, Bioinformatics, Biomedical Sciences, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Biological Engineering, Biotechnology, Dentistry, Pharmacology, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Science Communication, Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Sciences, Plant sciences, Natural Sciences, Ecology and Conservation, Environmental Science and Veterinary Sciences. 

These could lead to vocational careers such as being a sports coach, medical doctor, radiotherapist, NHS clinical scientist, forensic scientist, psychologist, physiotherapist, vet, nutritionist, dentist and pharmacist. Alternatively, a career in scientific research in academia or industry, e.g. big data, drug discovery, cosmetics or food technology may be possible. If not, an exciting life travelling to far flung places working in conservation or science journalism may ensue. 

Suggested literature & resources 

‘A-Level Biology for OCR A’ (Oxford Publishers) by Fullick, Locke and Bircher
‘OCR A Level Biology A’ (2nd Edition, Pearson) by Hocking, Sochacki and Winterbottom 


Lower School

Kensington Park School (Years 7-11),
40-44 Bark Place,
London,
W2 4AT

Tel: +44 (0)20 7616 4400


Sixth Form

Kensington Park School Sixth Form,
59 Queen's Gate,
South Kensington, London,
SW7 5JP, UK

Tel: +44 (0)20 7225 0577


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