Guide to Science Courses

Biology (A Level, OCR exam board) 

Why study Biology?
 
Biology is the most mysterious discipline left on the planet.  Scientists estimate that there are between five and 40 million species on the earth.  At the present time, scientists have identified between one and two million species, meaning that there are still as many as 38 million species to be identified.   For those who have a questioning mind, biology is the perfect fit.  Life is still more complicated than anything humans have ever built.  Many of our most significant inventions have come from reverse-engineering what we see in biological systems.  Flying is a prime example. Therefore, if you want to be an inventor, consider biology.  Lastly, by studying biology, you will in turn help yourself make more informed decisions about your own body and health.  You’re a living thing and biology is the study of all living things. 
 
What can it lead on to?
 
In most cases Biology is an essential subject for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and some biological sciences.  Other students go on to careers in law, computing, accounting or teaching.  So, whatever field you will eventually work in, you will find biology a very rewarding and challenging course which will develop many of the skills essential for a successful career.
 
What are the areas of study?
 
You will begin with the basics of Biology, focussing on the two key areas of cell structure and biological molecules, such as enzymes, proteins and DNA.  After these basics the course branches out to cover four more main modules focussed on the exchange and transport of materials in animals and plants; biodiversity, evolution and disease; communication, homeostasis and energy, and lastly genetics, evolution and ecosystems.  Throughout the course, practical science is a requirement, and as well as completing a core set of practical tasks, you will also study the scientific method and its role in tackling scientific problems. 
 
 

Chemistry (A Level, OCR exam board) 

Why study Chemistry?
 
Firstly, just pick up a can of soft drink and you’ll find chemistry everywhere, from the metal can you’re holding, to the paint used to cover it and the liquid inside.  Just breathe in and out and you’re performing a chemical reaction.  Studying Chemistry will help you gain a better understanding of the world around you, and is sometimes known as the “central science” because it helps to connect physical sciences, like maths and physics, with applied sciences, like biology, medicine and engineering. chemistry helps you to develop research, problem solving and analytical skills.   It helps to you challenge ideas and show how you worked things out through logic and step-by-step reasoning.  Lastly, chemistry often requires teamwork and communication skills too, which is great for whatever career you decide on.
 
What can it lead on to?
 
A chemistry qualification at A Level provides the necessary skills to follow any science-related degree course or profession.  In most cases, chemistry is an essential subject for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and some biological sciences.  It is also accepted for non-science careers such as accountancy and law.
 
What are the areas of study?
 
You will begin with the basics of chemistry, focussing on the two key areas of calculations involving the amounts of substances, and structure and bonding.  The course branches out to cover four more main modules focussed on the periodic table and energy; core organic chemistry; physical chemistry and transition elements and chemical analysis.  Throughout the course, practical science is a requirement, and as well as completing a core set of practical tasks, you will also study the scientific method and its role in tackling scientific problems. 
 
 

Physics (A Level, OCR exam board) 

Why study Physics?
 
Although physicists have made huge progress in answering many questions, there still plenty to find out.   Although only a lucky few get the chance to become an astronaut, studying physics can help you land a job in space.  Perhaps more importantly, you will develop skills that can be transferred to just about any other area of work, from setting up a business to saving the planet.  Even if you don’t go on to become a physicist, learning to think like one will help you get to the root of any problem and draw connections that aren’t obvious to others.  Physics won’t give you all the answers, but it will teach you how to ask the right questions. 
 
What can it lead on to?
 
A Physics qualification at A Level provides the necessary skills to follow any science-related degree course or profession.  In most cases, physics is an essential subject for engineering, medicine, science and some biological sciences (eg Biomechanics).  The individual without knowledge of the subject is at a disadvantage.  It is also accepted for non-science careers such as banking and law.
 
What are the areas of study?
 
You will begin with the basics of physics, focussing on the two key areas of quantities and units, and making measurements and analysing data.  The course branches out to cover four more main modules focussed on the forces and motion; electrons, waves and photons; Newtonian world and astrophysics; and lastly particles and medical physics.  Throughout the course, practical science is a requirement, and as well as completing a core set of practical tasks, you will also study the scientific method and its role in tackling scientific problems.