Key Stage 5 Science
At A level we offer three different Science A levels:
- Biology (AQA)
- Chemistry (OCR)
- Physics (Edexcel)
These subjects build on the content and skills developed at GCSE. In each of the three disciplines our students are given opportunities to recap on the previous knowledge learnt in to develop this understanding so that they have a good grounding of the topics that form the foundations that further learning is built upon.
In each A level students are not only taught content but also develop the skills to be able to apply this to new and unfamiliar situations. They are encouraged to develop more independent learning techniques and skills to support transition into the workplace, apprenticeships or higher education.
In each subject there is a significant focus on developing practical science skills including; planning, research, following written instructions, and recording and evaluating results. As part of their qualification students will also gain a non-examined practical endorsement.
The subjects can be studied individually or in combination depending upon a students’ interest or future pathway into university courses including Medicine and Veterinary Science.
Further information about each course can be found by clicking on the links below.
Students who choose to study Biology at Key Stage 5 follow the AQA Biology A level course.
Biology at Marlborough is staffed by a range of passionate Biologists who are keen to share their love of this wonderful subject with their students. The Science Faculty is well resourced at Marlborough and there is a Head of Biology in post within the department who will personally oversee the delivery of the course. Specialists staffing the department currently include a Biochemist and a Sports Scientist who share the delivery of this varied and exciting course to ensure an excellent and highly specialised learning experience.
A Level Biology examines a range of areas, from respiration and photosynthesis, to cell structure and function, adaptation of the gaseous exchange systems in mammals, absorption in the gut, immunity and defence and the conduction of action potentials along neurones to name a few. Students will complete a number of mandatory practicals and experience A level examination training throughout the course. A level Biology requires focus, dedication, an excellent work ethic and an understanding that it is not the ‘easy’ Science.
- Students sit three 2 hour written examinations at the end of the two-year course:
- Paper 1 is worth 35% of the final grade and will cover the content from topics 1 – 4, including relevant practical skills
- Paper 2 is worth 35% of the final grade and will cover the content from topics 5 – 8, including relevant practical skills
- Paper 3 is worth 30% of the final grade and will cover content from the entire course, including relevant practical skills
Studying Biology gives you a well-rounded view of the way science affects society and the individual. A level Biology is particularly useful if you wish to progress further in medical or veterinary science, the pharmaceutical or agrochemical industry, biochemical or genetic research, biotechnology, the food industry, nursing, teaching or become a laboratory technician.
Students who choose to study Chemistry at Key Stage 5 follow the OCR Chemistry A level course.
The course is taught by chemistry specialist teachers in dedicated laboratories to facilitate the practical aspects of the course. A range of teaching methods are employed to support and meet all learners’ needs. Students will have the opportunity to extend their science skill set outside of the classroom within the school.
The course is split into 6 teaching modules:
- Development of practical skills in chemistry
- Foundations in chemistry (atomic structure, moles and bonding etc.)
- Periodic table and energy
- Core organic chemistry
- Physical chemistry and transition elements
- Organic chemistry and analysis
Students sit three written examinations at the end of the course and complete a practical non-examination assessment that is reported separately to the examination grade:
- Paper 1 – Periodic table, Elements and Physical Chemistry is worth 37% of the final grade and covers content from modules 1, 2, 3 and 5
- Paper 2 – Synthesis and Analytical Techniques is worth 37% of the final grade and covers content from modules 1, 2, 4 and 6
- Paper 3 – Unified Chemistry is worth 26% of the final grade and covers content from the entire course
Chemistry A level is a qualification that is respected by all employers and is directly relevant to many jobs in industry and medicine. It provides useful background knowledge for all science degrees but is essential if you wish to study chemistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, chemical engineering, biochemistry and other similar courses. It is also a highly prized skill set if students are considering to study economics at university.
Students who choose to study Physics at Key Stage 5 follow the Edexcel Physics A level course.
“There is a reason for everything” and that reason is usually Physics. Physics at Marlborough is delivered by Physics A level specialists, with a wealth of experience. We are a well-resourced Science Faculty with a passionate staff who strive to make Physics come alive!
Many of the areas of study extend from the Physics component of the GCSE science course and include:
- Practical investigations
Assessment is by three examinations at the end of the two-year course and a practical endorsement which, if awarded, will be reported as a ‘Pass’ on A level certificates:
Paper 1 – Advanced Physics I, a 1 hour 45 minute examination worth 30% of the final grade covering questions on the following topics:
- Concept Approach: Working as a Physicist, Mechanics, Electric Circuits, Further Mechanics, Electric and Mangnetic Fields, Nuclear and Particle Physics.
- Salters Horners approach: Working as a Physicist, Higher, Faster, Stronger (HFS), Technology in Space (SPC) (except items 70 and 92-95), Digging up the Past (DIG) (except items 83–87), Transport on Track (TRA), The Medium is the Message (MDM), Probing the Heart of Matter (PRO).
Paper 2 – Advanced Physics II, a 1 hour 45 minute examination worth 30% of the final grade covering questions on the following topics:
- Concept Approach: Working as a Physicist, Materials, Waves and Particle Nature of Light, Thermodynamics, Space, Nuclear Radiation, Gravitational Fields, Oscillations.
- Salters Horners Approach: Working as a Physicist, The Sound of Music (MUS), Good Enough to Eat (EAT), Technology in Space (SPC) (only items 70 and 92–95), Digging up the Past (DIG) (only items 83-87), Spare-Part Surgery (SUR), Build or Bust? (BLD), Reach for the Stars (STA).
Paper 3 – General and Practical Principles in Physics, a 2 hour 30 minute examination worth 40% of the final grade covering questions drawing on any of the topics from the course.
- Students’ skills and technical competency when completing practical work will be assessed by teachers and this will form the basis for the award of a Practical Endorsement at A level. This is separate to the A level grade and, if awarded, will be reported as a ‘Pass’ on A level certificates for students who achieve it.
The problem-solving nature of Physics and the application of theory make this course an extremely useful foundation for further study and careers in the following areas: Aeronautics, Architecture, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Medicine, Forensic Science and many others.
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