OCR Advanced Biology – Biology A

Course codes – Year I Biology H020 (AS) , Year 2 Biology H420 (Alevel)


A 2 year course with terminal examinations for the full  A- level. The specification provides a flexible, content – led approach and is divided up into topics covering different key concepts in biology. The teaching of practical skills is integrated into the course and the content and skills covered will be examined as part of the terminal examination papers.

The AS and Full A-level courses are co-teachable and as such, external AS exams can be taken at the end of year 12. These can lead to the award of an AS level if candidates choose not to continue or are unable to do so. If students continue then their result, in line, with all A levels, cannot  be carried forward.  All candidates will be re-examined on the work from across the two years of the course in the June of the following year. (terminal examination regulations common to all new AS and A levels)

There is no separate coursework mark. For the full  A – level only, the Practical Endorsement (a portfolio produced by candidates on the practical activities they undertake ) also supports the development of practical skills. Candidates are required to undertake at least 12 set practicals over the 2 years of the course . Work starts on the portfolio during year 12 and will be produced by all candidates regardless of them intending to continue on to complete the full A – level.

Course structure

Module 1 (Year 1 and 2  Biology) – Runs throughout the course and develops the practical skills of planning, implementing and the analysis and evaluation of evidence and procedures.

Module 2 (Year 1 Biology) Foundations in biology – Covers the core ideas and understanding students will build upon over the duration of the course. It includes: Cell structure; biologically important molecules; Biological membranes; cell division; cell diversity and cellular organisation.

Module3 (Year 1 Biology) Exchange and transport – How  materials are exchanged between organisms and or cells and their environment.

Module 4 (Year 1  Biology)  – Biodiversity, evolution and disease-  Types of disease and disease prevention together with the structure and function of the immune system.

Module 5 (Year 2  Biology)  –  Communication, Homeostasis and energy – Homeostasis, nervous and hormonal communication and plant and animal responses to stimuli.

Module 6 (Year 2  Biology)  –  Genetics evolution and ecosystems – The mechanisms by which cells are controlled and patterns of inheritance. Genetic engineering, cloning and biotechnology. Ecosystems, populations and sustainability.


2 x 1hour 30 minute papers  – AS (End of  year 1)

2 x 2 hour 15 minute papers, 1x 1hour 30 minute paper. – Full A level ( June  of year 2 (terminal rules)