Electronics AS/A2 Level at Alton College
Electronics has revolutionised the way in which we lead our lives. Obvious examples are radio, television and computing, but electronics systems control virtually every aspect of our lives; in cars, washing machines, aircraft, telephones – the list is endless.
This new (from September 2017) A-level course aims to provide the student with the necessary knowledge and qualifications to go on to study Electrical or Electronic Engineering at University or be able to use that knowledge in a more advanced course, apprenticeship, or job.
At Alton our aim is to make the course interesting and enjoyable by mixing practical work with the theory.
Although the course assumes little previous knowledge of electronics, sound mathematical ability and problem-solving skills will be needed as well as practical skill. Lessons will be taught in the well-resourced Electronics Laboratory. A typical lesson will involve you in building and testing a circuit on either a specially designed teaching board or on a prototyping board. Some lessons may be more based on theory and problem-solving, whilst others will be devoted to practical work or student projects. Resources and exercises in Moodle (the college VLE) will also be used.
The first (AS) year is likely to include units covering basic electronic components and systems, analogue and digital circuits, logic gates and systems, together with essential understanding of d.c. circuits, sensors and switches, and electronic counting and timing.
The second year may include the use of microcontrollers, signal conversion, a.c. systems, analogue and digital communication systems, multiplexing and modulation, optical communication, and audio systems. Most lessons will have a very hands-on approach, and students will be required to undertake a number of development and testing tasks for assessment of their electronics skills.
Homework and private study should amount to between 4 and 5 hours per week including Directed Study time.
Students studying a 3 A level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and English. Students with a point score between 4.5 and 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and A levels.
To be successful in Electronics A-level, you should have minimum grades B & C in two separate sciences or a Combined Science profile, along with a B grade in Maths. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Students who have been successful with GCSE Design & Technology: Systems and Control may also be well-suited to this course.
A small number of students with high GCSE scores might choose to combine Electronics with, say, Physics, Maths and Further Maths (a four-subject profile) as a route to a top university course in one of these subjects.
In the past, one of the key strengths of electronics students has been their willingness to help one another out.
Final details have yet (June 2016) to be released and will be added as soon as possible, but are likely to include both internal assessment of Electronics Skills and also a series of (2 or 3) final examinations. It should be possible to take a “stand-alone” AS exam after the first year of the course.
All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, memory sticks and calculators (where appropriate). Costs are outlined below:
Essential: £40 (estimated) for a textbook, £10 minimum for a scientific calculator.
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.
Many students move on to study Electronics at university or go directly to a job or Apprenticeship. If you are thinking about electrical or electronic engineering courses at university it is important to bear in mind that most will require A Level Mathematics.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Alton College directly.