Exam Board             OCR A Gateway

Overview of course

Students will study GCSE Biology over 3 years. Building on knowledge from KS3 science where students have had a brief overview of topics covered at GCSE.

In each unit there are opportunities for students to develop investigative skills and gain a better understanding of “how science works”. We follow the new Gateway Biology A specification, within which there is a strong emphasis on Knowledge Recall (40%), Application of Knowledge (40%) and analysis/evaluation of experimental work (20%). The whole course is examined via 2 x 1hr 45 min exams at the end of Year 11.

The course requires an understanding of several core practicals which cover the key concepts in Biology.

Year 9 Programme of study

 Organisms 3:

B1.1 Cell structures

B1.2 What happens in cells (and what do cells need)?

B1.3 Respiration

B1.4 Photosynthesis

Organisms 4:

B2.1 Supplying the cell

B2.2 The challenges of size


Year 10 Programme of study

Topic B3: Organism level systems

B3.1 Coordination and control – the nervous system

B3.2 Coordination and control – the endocrine system

B3.3 Maintaining internal environments

Topic B4: Community level systems

B4.1 Ecosystems

Topic B5: Genes, inheritance and selection

B5.1 Inheritance

B5.2 Natural selection and evolution  

Year 11 Programme of study

Topic B6: Global challenges

B6.1 Monitoring and maintaining the environment

B6.2 Feeding the human race

B6.3 Monitoring and maintaining health


Revision of all Biology topics (B1; B2; B3; B4; B5; B6) and Required practicals.

Skills / Knowledge / Understanding


Students will be expected to develop their scientific, mathematical and investigative skills in all Biology during their course of studies. Learn the key facts and equations for each topic of study.


Methods of assessment / accreditation structure

These courses are linear, with all the examinations taking place at the end of Year 11. Students will sit 2 examinations consisting of 2 papers of 1 hour 45 minutes. There are two Biology papers P1-P3 and P4-P6.


End of topic assessments; Examination Style Question Homework’s; Cumulative Knowledge tests, Mock examinations


On-going support, focused feedback and targets for improvement will be provided by their class teacher on the examination style homework’s.

In School Contacts

Please speak to your child’s Science Teacher or Mrs E Laxton (Head of Science):

How Parents and Carers can help


  • Have a conversation with your child about their day include subject specific words from the topic glossary
  • Ensuring homework is fully completed on time to the best of their ability. Students should use  class notes, topic summary maps, and the revision guide can also be used to assist with homework, as well as the online text books (kerboodle)
  • Print past papers and mark schemes. Work on a mark a minute in exam conditions, and then use resources to fill in any gaps in another colour, and then use the mark scheme to mark and correct the work. Then encourage your child to talk to their class teacher about any areas which they struggled with or need further clarification.
  • Support the department by ensuring that your child attends any intervention sessions that they are invited to or which is being run for all students. These sessions can really make a difference to student success.

Resources, Software and Websites used

CPG Combined Science Revision Guide and Workbook

Exercise books; Topic Glossary and Topic on a page; Learning Grids



Seneca Learning

BBC Bitesize

TED Talks

OCR Gateway Biology A

Past Examination Questions and Mark schemes


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