Combined Science - Biology



Exam Board             OCR A Gateway

Overview of course

Students will study GCSE combined sciences 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 Science Combined Science 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 6 x 1hr 10 min exams at the end of Year 11. Different groups may proceed at a different pace.


Combined Biology is one part of the course which will provide students with two GCSE grades at the end of year 11 accounting for 33.4% of their Combined Science GCSE. The course requires an understanding of several core practical’s which cover the key concepts in Combined Biology.


Year 9 Programme of study


Organisms 3 (B1)

 B1.1 Cell structures; B1.2 What happens in cells (and what do cells need)?;  B1.3 Respiration; B1.4 Photosynthesis

Organisms 4 (B2)

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

B6.3 Monitoring and maintaining health


Revision of all Combined Biology topics (B1; B2; B3; B4; B5; B6) and Required practical’s.


Skills / Knowledge / Understanding



Students will be expected to develop their scientific, mathematical and investigative skills in all three subjects 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 6 examinations consisting of 6 papers of 1 hour 10 minutes; each exam is 16.7% of the course. There are two Biology papers B1-B3 and B4-B6.


End of topic assessments; Examination Style Question Homeworks; 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 homeworks.

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



Seneca Learning

BBC Bitesize

TED Talks

OCR Combined Science Specification

Past Examination Questions and Mark schemes


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