Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics; from molecular biology to the study of ecosystems and from micro-organisms to mammals.


A level Biology is available as a one or two year course, depending on prior learning. The programme is taught by a combination of theoretical seminars and practical laboratory work.

Board: OCR A

Our teachers use interactive materials to engage students with current theory and research, covering a wide range of exciting topics.

Course Structure

Teaching begins in September (January for 18 month courses).. In the first year you will cover the following topics:

  • Development of Practical Skills in Biology
  • Foundations in Biology
  • Exchange and Transport
  • Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease

Students may take the AS exam at the end of the first year of the programme. The second year then builds on this foundation for the completion of the full A level. In the second year you will focus on the following topics:

  • Communication, Homeostasis and Energy
  • Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems

Exam Structure

AS Exam Format

Paper 1 Paper 2
Breadth in Biology
1 hour and 30 minutes
Depth in Biology
1 hour and 30 minutes

A2 Exam Format

Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3
Biological Processes
2 hours and 15 minutes
Biological Diversity
2 hours and 15 minutes
Unified Biology
1 hour and 30 minutes

In addition, students must complete a minimum of 12 practical activities to demonstrate practical competence, which are separately assessed.

Biology One-Year A level

The board, format and content are the same as the two-year programme, but the course is covered in the space of one year. The stand-alone AS papers would not be sat.


Programme Requirements

Students need at least grade C at GCSE Biology or Dual Award Science, or equivalent.

Related Further Study and Careers

While biology is often chosen alongside at least one other science subject or mathematics, it can accompany a wide range of other disciplines. If it is chosen alongside other sciences, it prepares students for degrees courses such as Biological Sciences, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Ophthalmology and sciences in general. It is seen as a facilitating subject and biology graduates can progress on to many fields other than the sciences.

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