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A Level Biology

What is it about at sixth-form level?

Biology involves the study of a wide range of exciting topics, ranging from molecular Biology to the study of ecosystems and from microorganisms to mammoths. Biology is never far from the headlines either…

The human genome has been sequenced and we know the complete arrangement of the three thousand million bases that make up human DNA. In Kenya 350 people die every day from AIDS and in South East Asia the skies are dark with smoke as the last Bornean rainforests are burned to grow oil palms. Biologists are concerned with all these issues. They work in the fields of cell Biology, medicine, food production and ecology.

Biology is one of the most popular A level subjects in the country, attracting students studying a wide range of other subjects. Many of these students enjoy the subject so much they eventually choose a Biology-related degree course. Others go on to careers in law, computing, accounting or teaching. So, whatever field you will eventually work in, you will find Biology a very rewarding and challenging course.

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Lower sixth
Upper sixth

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Biology A level students will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other; develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods; develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills; develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject; understand how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You will need to have obtained 5 GCSEs at 9-4 including a 4 grade in English. You will need to have gained a grade 6 or above in GCSE Biology and GCSE Chemistry, GCSE Double Science or their equivalent. Students should also have gained grade 6 or better at GCSE Maths.

How is the course assessed?

A level

Biological processes (Component 01) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 3 and 5. Biological diversity (Component 02) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 4 and 6. Both include multiple choice, short answer (structured questions, problem solving, calculations, practical) and extended response questions. Unified Biology (Component 03) assesses content from across all teaching modules 1 to 6. Question styles include short answer and extended response questions. Practical endorsement in Biology (Component 04) is a separately reported non-exam assessment component which rewards the development of practical skills. Students may work in groups but must be able to demonstrate and let teachers record independent evidence of their competency. The activities will take place throughout the lower sixth and upper sixth.


To be confirmed at the start of the course

A Level Biology A for OCR Student Book
By A. Fullick, J. Locke, P. Bircher
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835192-4

A Level Biology A for OCR Year 1 and AS Student Book
By A. Fullick, J. Locke, P. Bircher
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835191-7

A Level Biology for OCR Year 2 Student Book
By A. Fullick, J. Locke, P. Bircher
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835764-3

Exam Board and Specification Codes

A level: OCR-A H420

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Grades achieved at MPW: A*AA Progressed to: Exeter University (International Relations)

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Grades achieved at MPW: AAB Progressed to: Southampton University (Business Innovation)

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Grades achieved at MPW: AAA Progressed to: Warwick University (Chemistry)

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Grades achieved at MPW: AAA Progressed to: Nottingham University (Philosophy)

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Grades achieved at MPW: A*AA Progressed to: University of York (Law)

"Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one."


Grades achieved at MPW: A*A*A* Progressed to: University College London (Economics)

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Grades achieved at MPW: A*A*A* Progressed to: University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

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Grades achieved at MPW: A*AABB Progressed to: King's College London (International Relations)

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