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Biology

Exam Board - OCR

Course Content

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Biology

Learners develop and practise a wide range of practical skills throughout the course to enhance their understanding of the subject but also serve as a suitable preparation for the demands of studying Biology at a higher level.  The skills acquired are assessed in the written examinations and the Practical Endorsement.

Module 2 – Foundations in Biology

This module gives learners the opportunity to use microscopes to study cell structure.  Biologically important molecules such as carbohydrates, proteins, water and nucleic acids are studied with respect to their structure and function.  The structure and mode of action of enzymes in catalysing biochemical reactions is studied as well as membranes within, and at the surface of, cells, and the division and subsequent specialisation of cells.

Module 3 – Exchange and transport

Learners study the structure and function of gas exchange and transport systems in animals and plants. The significance of surface area to volume ratio in determining the need for ventilation, gas exchange and transport systems in multicellular organisms is emphasised.

Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease

In this module learners study the biodiversity of organisms; how they are classified and the ways in which biodiversity can be measured. It serves as an introduction to ecology, emphasising practical techniques and an appreciation of the need to maintain biodiversity. The learners also study pathogens and disease.

Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy

It is important that organisms are able to respond to stimuli. This is achieved by communication within the body, which may be chemical and/or electrical.  Both systems are covered in detail in this module. The formation and use of ATP and the biochemical pathways of photosynthesis and respiration are also considered.

Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems

This module covers the role of genes in regulating and controlling cell function and development. Heredity and the mechanisms of evolution and speciation are also covered.  Some of the practical techniques used to manipulate DNA are considered and their therapeutic medical use.  Learners gain an appreciation of the role of microorganisms in biotechnology and in recycling, maintaining balance within ecosystems, as well as the impacts of human activities on the natural environment and biodiversity.

Methods of Assessment

Content Overview
Assessment Overview
 
Content is split into six teaching modules:
  • Module 1 – Development of practical skills in biology
  • Module 2 – Foundations in biology
  • Module 3 – Exchange and transport
  • Module 4 – Biodiversity, evolution and disease
  • Module 5 – Communication, homeostasis and energy
  • Module 6 – Genetics, evolution and ecosystems
 
Component 01 assesses content from modules 1, 2, 3 and 5.
Component 02 assesses content from modules 1, 2, 4 and 6.
Component 03 assesses content from all modules (1 to 6).
Biological processes (01)
100 marks
2 hour 15 minutes written paper
37%
of total
A-level
Biological diversity (02)
100 marks
2 hour 15 minutes written paper
37%
of total
A-level
Unified biology (03)
70 marks
1 hour 30 minutes written paper
26%
of total
A- level
Practical endorsement in biology (04)
(non-exam assessment)
Reported separately
 

Other Information

There is a compulsory 3-day ecology trip at a Field Studies centre in the autumn term of Year 13.  During this residential trip a significant part of the course is taught by a specialist tutor and important practical field skills are developed.

Entry Requirements

6 (triple science Biology GCSE), 7-7 Combined Science. (7 in the Biology element)