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AS / A-Level

Exam Board

OCR A Specification

Course summary

We will learn how plants, animals and single-celled organisms survive, through a range of themed topics.  Many of the topics will start with ideas you have covered before and then extend them to a higher level of detail.  We will explore the links between the topics and investigate practically the themes in each unit.

What will students learn?

AS content

We will learn

  • How plants and animals gain the nutrients and gases they need for survival, and how these are transported around the organism.
  • About cells and the organelles they contain using microscopes, and test for biological molecules.
  • How and why organisms are classified and the importance of biodiversity
  • How organisms can spread diseases and how these diseases are fought.

A2 content

We will learn about

  • How organisms obtain energy from the environment via photosynthesis and respiration, and get rid of waste.
  • How organisms communicate internally via nerves and hormones.
  • How and why organisms vary, and how this information can be manipulated using new technologies.
  • How ecosystems can be managed sustainably for future generations, and the impacts of humans on the environment.

How will students be assessed?

At the end of year 1 there will be two 90 minute papers, each assessing all of the content covered.  Questions will be MC, structured and extended response.  10% of the marks will come from maths skill questions, and you will also answer questions on the practical’s you have done in the year.

At the end of the second year there will be 3 papers totalling 6 hours of questions covering all of the content from the two years. 

You will also keep a log book of all the practical work completed in the two years for the Practical Endorsement aspect of the qualification.


Each chapter has a Thinking Bigger section which links the content covered to the wider topic of biology, e.g. The application of fats in the diet to risks of coronary heart disease


OCR AS/A level Biology A

Student Book 1 (+ ActiveBook)
ISBN: 9781447990796

Student Book 2 (+ ActiveBook)
ISBN: 9781447990802