Biology A level

Biology is the science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical and chemical structure, function, development and evolution.

We study biology from the smallest to the largest scales; from the structures and functions of biological molecules, through to cells, tissues and organisms and to the entire global ecosystem.

At A-level, we are able to develop many of the basic foundations covered at GCSE, and take them a step further – increasing the breadth and depth of understanding in this hugely wide-ranging field.

Curriculum info

We follow the OCR Biology A specification for our A level Biology course.

In the first year, you will study modules in:

  • Foundations in biology (which builds on the GCSE course)
  • Exchange and transport
  • Biodiversity, evolution and disease

In the second year you will study modules in:

  • Communication, homeostasis and energy – including nerves, hormones, photosynthesis and respiration
  • Genetics and ecosystems – including inheritance, biotechnology, ecosystems and sustainability


Paper 1 – Biological processes (2 hours, 15 minutes)

Paper 2 – Biological diversity (2 hours, 15 minutes)

Paper 3 – Unified Biology (1 hour, 30 minutes)

You will also carry out a number of practical investigations over the two years called PAGs and the knowledge and skill covered in these will underpin some of the questions on the papers.
“A level biology is an interesting subject covering a wide range of topics that help us understand more about the world”
Year 12 student

Potential career paths and further study

Biology is a key subject for lots of STEM careers, particularly in healthcare, medicine and jobs involving plants or animals. The list also includes: nursing, dentistry, forensic science, psychology, physiotherapy, botany, environmental science, zoology, geology, oceanography, pharmaceuticals, energy, teaching, science writing, genetics and research.

Biology is usually required or recommended for degrees in: biochemistry, chemical engineering, chemistry, geology, environmental science, materials science, nursing and midwifery, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, sports science, psychology and speech therapy.

It is also useful for: anthropology, psychology, civil engineering, geography, and teaching.

Chemistry at Teesdale Sixth Form
“A level biology clarifies and expands on GCSE biology in an interesting way and it is rewarding to learn what you learned prior to A-levels in greater depth”
Year 12 student