OCR AS Biology Watch

JayJay-C19
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I'm studying Biology at A-level and I would like advice and details from you guys.

What does the course entail?
What are the practicals like and how are they assessed? What's the procedure you normally take when doing the coursework practical(s)?
How, in your personal opinion, easy is it to get an A in overall at AS?

What ever else you'd like to chip in, please do. I'd like advice and guidance. I'm looking forward to it but I am a humanities guy and not really maths and science but I do have the potential for an A and even an A* if I do it to A2 but yeah, the initial point remains.
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MarkProbio
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(Original post by JayJay-C19)
I'm studying Biology at A-level and I would like advice and details from you guys.

What does the course entail?
What are the practicals like and how are they assessed? What's the procedure you normally take when doing the coursework practical(s)?
How, in your personal opinion, easy is it to get an A in overall at AS?

What ever else you'd like to chip in, please do. I'd like advice and guidance. I'm looking forward to it but I am a humanities guy and not really maths and science but I do have the potential for an A and even an A* if I do it to A2 but yeah, the initial point remains.
What does the course entail?
Cells, Exchange and Transport: This first exam introduces you to the basics of diffusion, active transport and other variations of these and how they work in cells. It focuses on the function of the organelles as well as the workings of the heart and the lungs. It also focuses on how transport of solutes is assisted by specialised tissues such as the xylem and the phloem. It's worth 30% of AS.

Molecules, Biodiversity, Food and Health: The second AS exam focuses on the basics of biological molecules (proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids) and so introduces you to the basic units of biochemistry. It introduces you to ecology and conservation, so if you are interested in how certain endangered species are protected and assessed, this will be quite interesting. Finally, you learn about the immune system, various diseases and how factors such as diet can affect human health. This is worth 50% of AS.

Communication, Homeostasis and Energy: This is the first A2 exam. It begins by exploring nervous and hormonal communication and how these work to maintain homeostasis - maintenance of body temperature, water potential of the blood, blood glucose concentration, heart and ventilation rate. Organs such as the kidney, the pancreas and the liver are included. The final two modules are on respiration and photosynthesis and are probably the hardest concepts to learn in A Level biology as they have a fair bit of chemistry and even physics in at times, but nothing you won't be able to handle. It's worth 30% of A2.

Control, Genomes and Environment: The final exam has a large emphasis on genetics; it includes both molecular genetics - focuses on the structure of DNA and how it codes for proteins - and genetic crosses/population genetics which focuses on the mathematical side of things. Evolutionary principles are expanded on from AS, some things crop up again but just in a little more detail. The final modules focus on ecosystems and how the organisms within those ecosystems respond to their environment (for example by releasing plant hormones or by contracting their muscles). It's worth 50% of A2.

What are the practicals like and how are they assessed? What's the procedure you normally take when doing the coursework practical(s)?
My college did very few practicals outside of coursework, so I am not in a great position to comment on this question. In coursework, you generally get shown the question papers the lesson before you do them so you can do a bit of research around the subject: the coursework is split into qualitative, quantitative and evaluative. Quantitative involves collecting the data, qualitative involves analysing the data with graphs and charts, evaluative analyses some of the theory behind what you do. Coursework is worth 20% of the overall A Level.

How, in your personal opinion, easy is it to get an A in overall at AS?
I am hoping to start a biology degree in September - so personally I found both AS and A2 quite enjoyable to study. I would say the hardest thing is not only memorising the huge amount of content but converting your knowledge into good exam answers as the mark schemes are VERY tight. Questions are becoming more applied, with less marks for pure recall, so you really need to know your stuff. But work hard to memorise (and understand) the content and you should find it doable.

Best of luck! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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JayJay-C19
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(Original post by markprobio)
what does the course entail?
cells, exchange and transport: this first exam introduces you to the basics of diffusion, active transport and other variations of these and how they work in cells. It focuses on the function of the organelles as well as the workings of the heart and the lungs. It also focuses on how transport of solutes is assisted by specialised tissues such as the xylem and the phloem. It's worth 30% of as.

molecules, biodiversity, food and health: the second as exam focuses on the basics of biological molecules (proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids) and so introduces you to the basic units of biochemistry. It introduces you to ecology and conservation, so if you are interested in how certain endangered species are protected and assessed, this will be quite interesting. Finally, you learn about the immune system, various diseases and how factors such as diet can affect human health. This is worth 50% of as.

communication, homeostasis and energy: this is the first a2 exam. It begins by exploring nervous and hormonal communication and how these work to maintain homeostasis - maintenance of body temperature, water potential of the blood, blood glucose concentration, heart and ventilation rate. Organs such as the kidney, the pancreas and the liver are included. The final two modules are on respiration and photosynthesis and are probably the hardest concepts to learn in a level biology as they have a fair bit of chemistry and even physics in at times, but nothing you won't be able to handle. It's worth 30% of a2.

control, genomes and environment: the final exam has a large emphasis on genetics; it includes both molecular genetics - focuses on the structure of dna and how it codes for proteins - and genetic crosses/population genetics which focuses on the mathematical side of things. Evolutionary principles are expanded on from as, some things crop up again but just in a little more detail. The final modules focus on ecosystems and how the organisms within those ecosystems respond to their environment (for example by releasing plant hormones or by contracting their muscles). It's worth 50% of a2.

what are the practicals like and how are they assessed? What's the procedure you normally take when doing the coursework practical(s)?
my college did very few practicals outside of coursework, so i am not in a great position to comment on this question. In coursework, you generally get shown the question papers the lesson before you do them so you can do a bit of research around the subject: The coursework is split into qualitative, quantitative and evaluative. Quantitative involves collecting the data, qualitative involves analysing the data with graphs and charts, evaluative analyses some of the theory behind what you do. Coursework is worth 20% of the overall a level.

how, in your personal opinion, easy is it to get an a in overall at as?
i am hoping to start a biology degree in september - so personally i found both as and a2 quite enjoyable to study. I would say the hardest thing is not only memorising the huge amount of content but converting your knowledge into good exam answers as the mark schemes are very tight. Questions are becoming more applied, with less marks for pure recall, so you really need to know your stuff. But work hard to memorise (and understand) the content and you should find it doable.

Best of luck! I hope you enjoy it as much as i did.

thank you so much!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
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