Skip to content ↓

Denmark Road High School

Discover Realise Honour Shape



A Level Biology

Without Biology, you would not be reading this!

Study Biology at A Level and you will learn how the eye sends an electrical impulse to the brain, which areas of the brain process the information, therefore allowing you to understand this otherwise meaningless collection of random shapes that we call letters and words.

The OCR Biology specification introduced in 2015 covers a wide range of exciting and interesting topics. If you have ever wondered how your heart keeps beating when you sleep, how plants grow towards the light or fundamental principles of how cells work, then this is the course for you. If you don’t know what the liver does or are intrigued by how red blood cells work, then this is the course for you. Learn how plants can literally create food from thin air and how forensic scientists can catch a criminal with even the smallest sample of DNA.

The course is demanding but rewarding and should be considered by all those wishing to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, pharmacology, biological sciences and forensic sciences. Students considering Biology as an option must be prepared to work independently to regularly consolidate their learning or review their understanding. Additionally, students will be expected to complete some preparatory tasks in advance of studying a topic in lessons.

In addition, a residential field trip has now become an integral part of the course. Students will get the opportunity to study ecology in action, bringing to life aspects of the course that would otherwise be difficult to visualise.

This course has terminal exams which will be completed at the end of Year 13. In addition, the experimental side of Biology is assessed through the Practical Endorsement, which is reported separately as Pass/Fail.


GCSE Biology

The current AQA Biology specification covers a broad range of interesting topics that build on prior attainment at KS3.

Have you ever wondered how you catch a ball, or why you are what you eat? Did you realise bacteria can be used to help treat illnesses such as diabetes? Are you concerned about how humans have affected the environment? Do you know why there are more rabbits than there are foxes? Are you interested in how plants can grow towards a light source? Did you ever wonder if washing your hands really did make them cleaner? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you will enjoy studying Biology at GCSE.

In order to leave sufficient revision and consolidation time, students begin studying the GCSE course in Year 9. At the start of Year 10 there is the option to study Biology as a separate GCSE or to study Combined Sciences, of which Biology is still a component.

For those of you considering separate sciences at GCSE, you will study some aspects of Biology in more detail, and also learn some additional topics. These topics include growing microorganisms, plant diseases, antibodies and some aspects of ecology. Although separate Biology is not a prerequisite to study A Level Biology, it is highly recommended. The broader selection of topics studied will better prepare you and make the transition to KS5 less difficult. Any student considering careers in medicine, veterinary science or dentistry is strongly encouraged to study separate Biology.