Teaching A-Level Biology OCR A for the First Time

Course Code:


This course offers an introduction and overview to teaching the A-level Biology OCR A programme of study for anyone in their first 3 years of teaching the course, or for anyone lacking confidence in delivering the course effectively. While assessment materials will be drawn from the OCR course, many of the ideas will be applicable to other specifications.


  • A focus on the specification to be able to incorporate the learning outcomes and assessment objectives into your teaching
  • Explore how the maths and practical skills are assessed and can be embedded throughout the course
  • Discuss how to deliver the course effectively to all ability ranges
  • Obtain quality understanding of the key challenge areas and how to teach them
  • Gain insight into the exam structure and the how exams are marked, to be able to guide students in exam technique for the different types of questions
  • Understand how to construct an answer for the level of response questions using scaffold and stretch strategies


Overview of the A-level Biology OCR A Course Specification

10.00 – 10.30am
  • Introduction to the learning outcomes and why they are so important for exams
  • How to develop your teaching style to reflect the assessment objective weightings and the areas which require more intense teaching
  • Overview of all three OCR papers

Embedding Maths and Practical Skills into your Teaching

10.30 – 11.10pm
  • Understand how Maths is assessed and can be integrated into the general course teaching
  • Discuss how practical skills are assessed and are vital to all abilities reaching their potential grade
  • An introduction into the language of measurement

Morning Break

11.10 – 11.25am

Independent Assessment of Practical Skills in Exam Questions

11.25 – 12.25pm
  •  How to integrate practical skills and theoretical content to help students write about their practical work confidently
  • Exemplar material focusing on practical skills questions


12.25– 1.10pm

Course Delivery and Key Challenges

1.10 – 2.10pm
  • Discussion of the options for delivering the course
  • How to incorporate independent learning to be able to cover the large course content
  • The importance of synoptic teaching and learning
  • Teaching for success; how to support students to remember key concepts and begin to apply them – interleaving and retrieval strategies

Afternoon Break

2.10 – 2.20pm

The Most Important Topics and the Most Challenging Topics

2.20 – 2.50pm
  • Discussion of the topic areas that create the foundation for success
  • Recognising which topic areas will be most challenging and ideas to make them more accessible
  • The importance of Y12 AS knowledge and understanding for Y13 topics
  • Teaching across the ability range; how to ensure top students are challenged, while not leaving lower ability students behind

Exam Structure, Different Types of Exam Questions and Exam Technique

2.50 – 3.30pm
  •  An analysis of the different types of exam question and strategies for success
  • A specific focus on how to attempt the level of response questions (LoR)
  • Teaching towards the ’endgame’, what language to use, misconceptions to avoid and general tips for success
  •  Time management –the use of peer assessment and self-assessment
  • Support available from the exam boards – where to find it and how to use it


London | Friday 01 December 2023
London | Friday 01 March 2024

Please select your preferred date

London | Friday 01 December 2023
London | Friday 01 March 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Ellena is a former Head of Biology at a top grammar school with over 25 years of outstanding teaching experience. She has extensive experience as an A-Level Biology examiner for over 20 years and holds senior positions for two major examination boards. She is closely involved in the production of AS Biology assessment material and sets exam questions for A-Level papers. She also authors A-Level and GCSE resources for several publishers and runs her own tutoring business, improving the exam outcomes for A-Level Biology students. She is an established trainer having delivered many courses for A Level biology; workshops for teachers and revision webinars for students.


  • ECTs in Biology
  • Those teaching A-Level Biology for the first time
  • Teachers lacking in confidence in the qualification
  • Heads of Biology
  • Heads of Science


  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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