A Level Biology

A Level Chemistry

A Level Physics

A Level Applied Science


A Level Biology   [Back to Index]

Specification OCR AS and A2 Biology H021 H421     ASTextBook    ASRevisionGuide     PastPapers


Biology is the science of living organisms.  Many major world problems are those involving the Biological Sciences, ranging from the sub-cellular and molecular level to the level of interactions of populations, human and non-human.  To solve problems such as the treatment of sickness, provision of sufficient food, overpopulation and pollution involves specialist knowledge of biological principles and their application.  The conservation of wildlife, the provision and proper maintenance of National Parks and nature reserves, the general planning of housing and recreational areas must involve biologists with appropriate interests and training.


Biological knowledge is rapidly expanding; it is the science of the future.  Through the AS and A2 level courses we aim to guide you towards an understanding of the areas of Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Human Physiology and Health, Environmental Conservation and Management and Genetics and Evolution.  You will develop the skills to solve problems, both theoretical and practical, in all these areas.


The AS course is assessed through three units, one of which is the assessment of practical skills using coursework.


Unit 1: Cells, Exchange and Transport including microscopy, transport across membranes, mammalian circulation and transpiration

Unit 2: Molecules, Diversity and Human Interactions including biological molecules, enzymes, evolution, variation and adaptation

Unit 3: Practical Tasks in Biology 1 The skills are assessed by controlled internal assessment of three tasks. The tasks are quantitative, qualitative and evaluative tasks and are set by the exam board.


The A2 course is achieved by a study of a further three units which include a synoptic paper and further practical assessment. In the second year, for the full A level, you will cover the following units:-


Unit 4: Communication, Homeostasis and Excretion including respiration, photosynthesis, homeostasis and the kidney

Unit 5: Control, Genomes and Environment including variation, cellular control, biotechnology, ecosystems and sustainability

Unit 6: Practical Tasks in Biology 2 As in the AS this is assessed by completing three tasks set by the exam board under controlled conditions.



A Level Chemistry   [Back to Index]

Specification OCR AS and A2 Chemistry (Salters’) H035 H435     TextBook     ASRevisionGuide     Past Papers


Chemistry is a subject of global impact.  As a fundamental science it has a profound effect on our planet and is involved in nearly every facet of everyday life. A chemistry qualification isn’t just an end in itself, it’s a beginning.  The range of jobs available to someone with a chemistry qualification is greater than with most other qualifications.  The reasons are simple.  Chemistry underpins everything in our modern lifestyle and there are few things that we use which have not, at some stage, been made, processed or monitored by chemists.  The Salters Chemistry course aims to:


          emphasise the ways chemistry is applied and the work that chemists do

          broaden the appeal of chemistry by showing how it relates to people's lives

          emphasise frontier areas of chemistry

          include a broad range of teaching and learning activities

          provide a rigorous and stimulating treatment of chemistry


The course is organised into teaching units, each of which is freestanding and tells its own story about modern applications of chemistry.  While working through a storyline, you make 'excursions' to study the chemical principles or to carry out activities that are needed to understand the story. This means that the important ideas in chemistry are introduced gradually and are revisited and further developed in different contexts in later units.


In the AS course you will study five main topics of work. The Elements of Life is a study of the elements in the human body, the solar system and the universe. Developing Fuels is a study of fuels and the contribution that chemists make to the development of better fuels. Elements from the Sea is a study of the extraction and uses of two elements, bromine and copper. The Atmosphere is a study of two important chemical processes, the depletion of ozone in the upper atmosphere and the greenhouse effect in the lower atmosphere. The Polymer Revolution tells the story of the development of addition polymers, many of which were the result of 'accidental' discoveries.


In the A2 course you study a further eight topics. What's in a Medicine? The Materials Revolution, The Thread of Life, The Steel Story, Agriculture and Industry, Colour by Design, The Oceans and Medicines by Design.


AS chemistry consists of assessed units 1 to 3 and A2 chemistry of units 4 to 6.


Unit 1 - Chemistry for Life (30%: 75min exam).

Unit 2 - Chemistry of Natural Resources (50%: 105min exam)

Unit 3 - Chemistry in Practice (20%: internal assessment of practical skills)

Unit 4 - Chemistry of Materials (30%: 90 mins exam)

Unit 5 - Chemistry by Design (40%: 120 mins exam)

Unit 6 - Individual Investigation (30% : extended experimental project)



A Level Physics   [Back to Index]

Specification OCR AS and A2 Physics B - Advancing Physics H159 H559     ASTextBook     ASRevisionGuide     Past Papers


Physics is the most fundamental of all sciences.  It is an ideal option for those who are curious about the Universe and how it works.  Physics is central to the current technological revolution, repeatedly making the seemingly impossible possible. You will experience a mixture of theoretical and practical Physics, with an emphasis on how ideas can be applied creatively and used to explain real life situations.  It provides you with a grounding in classical Physics as well as an introduction to the newer, more-radical theories of recent times.


The Advancing Physics course provides a distinctive structure within which you learn both about fundamental physical concepts and about physics in everyday and technological settings. A primary aim of the course is to show how physics is practised and used today. Equally important, however, is to show the usefulness of the subject, and to illustrate the kind of impact which discoveries in physics have had on the way people live.



Physics in Action - 60min exam

• Communication 

• Designer materials


Understanding Processes & Experimentation and Data Handling - 105min exam

• Waves and quantum behaviour 

• Space, time and motion


Physics in Practice: Internal assessment of practical skills - coursework

• Quality of measurement • Physics in use


Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe - 75min exam

• Models and rules 

• Matters in extremes


Field and Particle Pictures - 120min exam

• Fields 

• Fundamental particles


Researching Physics: Internal assessment of practical skills - coursework

• Practical investigation 

• Research briefing



A Level Applied Science   [Back to Index]

Specification OCR AS and A2 Level Applied Science  H175/H575     TextBook    


OCR Synopsis about Applied Science AS/A2

OCR Documents are on this page


Applied Science is one of a new family of vocationally focused A levels. It incorporates a wide range of units covering study across the full spectrum of traditional science areas – Biology, Physics and Chemistry. The overall aim is to build a broad base of knowledge and understanding, with a particular emphasis on the applications of science in the world of work. You will have many opportunities to appreciate the vast impact of science on our society and the vital role it plays in industry and commerce.


What does the course involve?

AS Unit 1: Science at Work - Portfolio

This unit will give you the opportunity to investigate the importance of science and the people involved, in a wide range of organisations. You will have the opportunity to investigate the science really used, the type of work actually carried out and to carry out some standard procedures.


AS Unit 2: Analysis at Work - Portfolio

By studying this unit you will understand the principles of analytical techniques used in forensic, pathology and research laboratories, and also in the chemical and energy industries.


AS Unit 3: Monitoring the Activity of the Human Body - Examination

This unit will help to prepare you for vocational or higher education courses that include work on human biology, health or sport science. It could also prepare you for work in the health or leisure areas, or in sports.


A2 Unit 8: Investigating the Scientist’s Work - Portfolio

This unit provides an opportunity to work as a research scientist and to use the knowledge and skills that you have developed in previous work to complete an extended investigation into a topic which you can research and study in depth.


A2 Two further units chosen from: Synthesising organic chemicals, Materials for a purpose, Electrons in action, The mind and the brain, Ecology and managing the environment, Applications of biotechnology and Working waves.



[Back to Index]