Biology (OCR)

All biology lessons are taught in four spacious laboratories in the Science Centre that are fully equipped for Sixth Form teaching. Our excellent resources and highly qualified full-time biology technician enable you to carry out complex experiments, such as the genetic modification of bacteria.

You will be taught in groups of 14–16 with two dedicated teachers per group. Lessons combine whole class discussions and explanations with tasks completed individually, in pairs or in small groups. You will undertake plenty of practical work to develop your understanding of concepts and to develop your practical skills. Key areas of practical study include microscopy, dissection, qualitative testing, microbiology and fieldwork.

Topics studied

The OCR biology course contains a wide range of topics, starting with more foundational subject matter such as cell structure and biochemistry before moving on to human anatomy and physiology (eg the circulatory, respiratory, excretory and nervous systems), ecology (including biodiversity and conservation), more detailed biochemistry (eg of respiration and photosynthesis), genetics and genetic technology.

The A level qualification is examined via three theory papers at the end of the two-year course. Practical skills are assessed separately through practical work in lessons over the two-year course. The theory papers include questions based on a clear understanding of practical techniques and practicals are incorporated into lessons whenever possible.


A* in A level Biology in 2023


A*–A in A level Biology in 2023


A*–B in A level Biology in 2023

"A level Biology is fantastic. It takes everything you have already learnt, pieces it together and puts it into a real perspective. Not one topic has failed to interest me."
"We have lively discussions in where everyone gets involved which are really interesting and fun."

Academic enrichment

There are a number of opportunities for your knowledge to be extended beyond the A level curriculum. You will have the chance to be entered into the British Biology Olympiad and Intermediate Biology Olympiad — online competitions run by the Society of Biology — and will be invited to regular lectures in the local area by distinguished biologists. Lower Sixth biologists attend a trip to a local arboretum where they gain experience in fieldwork techniques and hear about methods of conservation and ecosystem management.

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