Biology A Level

Departmental contact

Mrs Stephenson – stephenson.l@myton.co.uk

Examining board & Qualification

OCR (Specification A) – A LEVEL

Entry requirements

At least a grade 6 in GCSE Biology or 6-6 in GCSE Combined Sciences and a 5 in Maths

Students say

“I feel I have progressed well in Biology because my teachers have supported and encouraged me.”

WHY STUDY THIS SUBJECT?

“We are all part of the natural world and should learn how to look after it. But if you are cut off or divorced from the natural world, you don’t have a chance to understand how to do that.” – David Attenborough

A Level Biology will give you an exciting insight into the contemporary world of biology. It covers the key concepts of biology, with practical skills integrated throughout the course. This combination of academic challenge and practical focus makes the prospect of studying A Level Biology highly appealing. You will learn about the core concepts of biology and about the impact of biological research and how it links to everyday life. You will learn to apply your knowledge, investigate and solve problems in a range of contexts.

WHAT SKILLS WILL I DEVELOP?

The module – development of practical skills in biology – underpins the whole of the specification, and covers the practical skills that students should develop throughout the course. The practical skills can be assessed within written examinations and within the Practical Endorsement. The skills include:

  • Use appropriate apparatus to record a range of quantitative measurements (to include mass, time, volume, temperature, length and pH).
  • Use appropriate instrumentation to record quantitative measurements, such as a colorimeter or potometer.
  • Use laboratory glassware apparatus for a variety of experimental techniques to include serial dilutions.
  • Use a light microscope at high and low power, including use of a graticule.
  • Produce scientific drawing from observation with annotations.
  • Use qualitative reagents to identify biological molecules.
  • Separate biological compounds using thin-layer/paper chromatography or electrophoresis.
  • Safely and ethically use organisms to measure plant or animal responses and physiological functions.
  • Use microbiological aseptic techniques, including the use of agar plates and broth.
  • Safely use instruments for dissection of an animal or plant organ.
  • Use sampling techniques in fieldwork.
  • Use ICT such as computer modelling, or data logger to collect data, or use software to process data.

WHAT WILL I STUDY?

Module 1 – Development of Practical Skills in Biology – the skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation.
Module 2 – Foundations in Biology – includes cell structure; biological molecules; nucleotides and nucleic acids; enzymes; biological membranes; cell division, cell diversity and cellular organisation.
Module 3 – Exchange and Transport – includes exchange surfaces, transport in animals and plants.
Module 4 – Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease – includes communicable diseases, disease prevention and the immune system, biodiversity, classification and evolution.
Module 5 – Communication, Homeostasis and Energy – includes communication and homeostasis, excretion as an example of homeostatic control, neuronal communication, hormonal communication, plant and animal responses, photosynthesis, respiration.
Module 6 – Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems – includes cellular control, patterns of inheritance, manipulating genomes, cloning and biotechnology, ecosystems, populations and sustainability.

HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?

100% exams.
A pass/fail practical endorsement will be reported alongside your grade. This is assessed through the year by your teacher.

WHAT ARE MY POST-18 OPTIONS?

A Level Biology is an excellent base for a university degree in healthcare, such as Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry, as well as the biological sciences, such as Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or Forensic Science. Biology can also complement Sports Science, Psychology, Sociology and many more.
A Level Biology can open up a range of career opportunities including: biological research, medical, environmental, forensics, sports and science communication. The transferable skills you will learn, such as problem solving, are also useful for many other areas, for example law.

WHAT EXTRA-CURRICULAR OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE?

The Science Department has close links with the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham as well as with Warwick School. There are regular Science lectures and opportunities for visits to science departments and conferences.

Myton’s Science Department is also developing its links with local Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) companies.

Our Subject Ambassadors are students who have a role in promoting Biology across the school, including to current and prospective students and their families and support and assist in the development of science skills across the school.

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