We follow the OCR specification

Course Aims:

Advanced GCE Biology provides a fascinating insight into the living world and deeper explanations for ideas studied in previous years. The aims of the course are to:

  • Stimulate enjoyment of, and interest in, Biology
  • Improve scientific knowledge, understanding and skills
  • Increase awareness of how Biology links with everyday life and other subjects
  • Increase understanding of the nature and limitations of scientific inquiry.
  • The ultimate aim of the course is to maximise student potential and empower them to
  • ‘learn how to learn’.

Entry requirements:

A minimum of grade B at GCSE in Biology is expected however a grade A is preferable.  Grade B or above in GCSE Chemistry is also preferable.

Key Features:

  • Practical skills acquisition is embedded throughout the course and culminates in the awarding of a practical endorsement at A2 Level.
  • Develops key biological topics while focusing on interesting modern applications.
  • Promotes an understanding of the nature of science.
  • 10% of examination assessment is mathematical skills at Level 2 or above.  This is a little higher than GCSE level.
  • Provides an opportunity to refine a vast array of cognitive skills within a wide spectrum of topics that contain aspects of Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Statistics, Psychology, Physical Education, Ethics and Sociology.

Course Content:

AS Biology

  • Foundations in Biology: Cell Structure, Biological Molecules, Nucleic Acid, Enzymes, Biological Membranes and Cell Diversity, Division & Organisation 
  • Exchange and Transport: Exchange Surfaces, Transport in Animals, Transport in Plants                                    
  • Biodiversity, Evolution and Disease: Disease and Immunity, Biodiversity, Classification & Evolution               

As part of the AS course students attend a four day residential field course at Nettlecombe Court, a Field Studies Council Centre in Taunton, Somerset.

A2 Biology

  • Communication, Homeostasis and Energy: Communication & Homeostasis, Excretion, Neuronal Communication, Hormonal Communication, Plant & Animal Responses, Photosynthesis, Cell Respiration                                   
  • Genetics, Evolution and Ecosystems: Cellular Control, Inheritance, Manipulating Genomes, Cloning and Biotechnology, Ecosystems, Populations & Sustainability               

The examination is in the form of theory papers with a practical endorsement if students complete the second year.

Next Steps:

Biology is a passport to many University courses – the skills gained can readily transfer to many other science and non-science degrees.  Biologists from St Edward’s have gone on to study, for example:

  • Biochemistry at Oxford
  • Medicine at Leeds
  • Veterinary Science at The Royal Veterinary College
  • Zoology at Cardiff
  • Neuroscience at Bristol
  • Nursing at Bristol UWE
  • Pharmacology at Cardiff, Exeter & Bristol
  • Biological Sciences at Cardiff and Oxford
  • Animal Science at Newcastle
  • Biomedical Science at Newcastle & Warwick
  • Sports Science at Liverpool John Moore’s & Bristol UWE
  • Anthropology at University College London
  • Agriculture at Harper Adams University College
  • Criminology & Neuroscience at Keele