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Applied Science AS/A Level at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College

Course description

This broad-based qualification involves Biology, Chemistry and Physics. It asks you to study how we use science in everyday life and in industry. It is an extremely practical subject and you will use investigations to explore how Science is used in manufacturing, health and in understanding our impact on the environment.

It is the natural progression route for those who have studied GCSE Science (Applied) or for those wanting to study all sciences and how they relate to employment. This course will give you the skills to analyse data, evaluate methods and assess risk to the standard required in the work place. Given that all topics have a practical context, this course complements many vocational courses and will offer breadth to AS and A level programmes of study.


Course content

During the first year, you will complete the AS Level and during the second year, you will complete the A Level. Please note that two of the three modules in each year are assessed by coursework.

AS Level consists of the following units:

Unit 1: Science at Work – Assessed by Portfolio Work

Five science-based organisations are surveyed and one is researched in depth, including understanding the impact on society of your chosen organisation. Two practical investigations, chosen from a series relating to industrial processes, must be safely completed to record, process and evaluate the results.

Unit 2: Analysis at Work – Assessed by Portfolio Work

The environmental impact of an organisation is researched and documented. After studying the variety of ways electricity can be generated, one method is chosen for further research, which will include calculations on scale. Four practical analyses must also be safely completed, which include two physical and two chemical investigations. 

Unit 3: Monitoring the Activity of the Human Body – Assessed by a Written Examination

This will include respiration in energy terms; structure and function of the circulatory and respiratory systems; use of physiological measurements; methods of taking physiological measurements; imaging methods; regulations covering specific procedures and data management; ethical issues related to monitoring, diagnosis and treatment.

Unit 4: Investigating the Scientists Work - Assessed by Portfolio Work

You will complete an in-depth investigation into how the discovery of penicillin has shaped our world. What would have happened if they had not discovered it? What might our future world be like if bacteria become resistant to penicillin?

Unit 5: Ecology and Managing the Environment - Assessed by Portfolio Work

For these assignments, you will be asked to investigate how ecosystems are managed and how you can measure species diversity. You will undertake a full project on one ecosystem and learn a number of different techniques that you will use in the field.

Unit 6: Working Waves - Assessed by a Written Examination

This will include what waves are, their features and the different uses of them. You will investigate the uses of optical fibres and waves within communication, and explore how analogue waves are converted to digital transmission. The dangers of radiation will also be explored

Entry requirements


  •   At least five GCSEs at grade C or above (to include English Language, Maths and Science)
  • An enthusiasm for science
    • You will have to perform calculations throughout the course
    • You will need to have good comprehension skills and be able to write fluently in the examination and to complete the assignments for the portfolio
    • You will need to be able to follow scientific methods and conclude data using scientific concepts

Financial information

There is a nominal charge of £25 per year to cover the cost of materials, equipment and trips.

Future opportunities

The course is of particular value for those wishing to keep science within their programme of study to support career aspirations and interests. All local universities accept this qualification for most health care courses.

Further information

Four of the units are assessed by portfolio, so good research and ICT skills will be an advantage. We will make frequent use of the laptops in the lab to record and analyse experimental results, but access to the college’s computer network or a computer at home will be needed.

Subjects that combine well with this course include Sports Studies, Geography, Mathematics, Psychology, Health and Social Care, Business Studies and a range of vocational courses.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Richard Taunton Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 31 October 2016

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