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Subjects

Here at Cardiff Sixth Form College we study the WJEC examinations board at A Level.

To see the whole course specification for each subject please go to wjec.co.uk.

ART

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Qualification number: AS: 601/5347/7 A2: 601/5290/4
Staff: Liz Ryan

AS Level: Unit 1 Personal Creative Enquiry. This unit consists of an extended, exploratory project/portfolio and outcome/s based on themes and subject matter which are personal and meaningful to the learner. The enquiry must integrate critical, practical and theoretical work. Students explore and develop skills in a range of media, techniques and processes in response to the set theme. Drawing forms an important element of the course as a way of recording from both direct observation and to generate and communicate ideas effectively. The critical and contextual component of the course incorporates study skills alongside research and analysis skills which underpin the practical element of the course meaning that there is also a written element to the course.

AS Level: Non-exam assessment 40% of A level qualification (100% of AS qualification)

A2 Level: Unit 2 Personal Investigation. This unit consists of a major, in-depth, personal, practical, critical and theoretical investigative project or theme-based portfolio and outcome/s with integrated extended written critical and contextual analysis. This unit should enable learners to effectively consolidate and extend their foundation of core skills built during the AS course and encourage in-depth, specialist-related learning, knowledge, contextualisation skills and critical thinking.

A2 Level: Non-exam assessment 36% of qualification

A2 Level: Unit 3 Externally Set Assignment. In this unit learners are required to develop independently a personal response to one of a varied range of stimuli within specified time constraints. Learners must therefore bring together the best of their understanding, knowledge and skills built up over their course of study and demonstrate their highest achievement through this externally set assignment. It could be either a personal response, an issue to be addressed or a response to a specific design brief.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Art & Design in the Sixth Form?

Students may have studied an Art or Design related GCSE or equivalent, however this is not compulsory. An interest in Art and Design is essential with an ability to be able to draw. Due to the written element a B grade (or equivalent) in English Language GCSE is necessary.

What will I learn?

The WJEC AS and A level in Art & Design encourages learners to:

  • Develop their intellectual, imaginative, creative and expressive skills
  • Develop a range of practical skills in a variety of media
  • Encourage aesthetic understanding and critical judgement
  • Promote independent thinking and interpretation of ideas
  • Increase awareness of historical and contemporary art & design context
  • Extend knowledge of different cultural & political influences on art, design and society

What kind of student is the course suitable for?

  • Students who are interested in how artists and designers have impacted society both historically and in contemporary society & how they have produced art in response to events happening in society
  • Students who have an interest in careers within Art or Design for example architecture or design related careers ranging from art history and curation to working in museums or galleries to other practical art or design related careers

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

Either a one year AS course or a two-year full A level in Art & Design will equip students with both the theoretical and design theory skills to apply successfully to an Architecture degree whilst also providing the practical work needed for the compulsory coursework portfolio required by the UCAS application system.

Further information on specification: www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/art-and-design/

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BIOLOGY

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Steven Mansfield (Head of Biology)
Summary: A two year A Level course, examined at the end of Year 12 and Year 13

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Biology?

You will need to get at least an A in both: Biology GCSE/ IGCSE and Chemistry GCSE/ IGCSE. Students will be expected to interpret and process results which will involve plotting graphs and the use of statistical analysis and therefore it is desirable for students to have achieved a grade A or above in Mathematics GCSE/ IGCSE.

What will I learn?

Students will be able to:

  • Acquire an in-depth knowledge of the Biological world and gain an appreciation of its significance
  • Develop a respect for all living things and an understanding of their interaction and functions
  • Develop experimental skills including use of the microscope and slide preparation, dissection, chromatography and many biochemical procedures
  • Develop an understanding of scientific method including controlling variables, statistical analysis and evaluation of results

WJEC Specification content:

  • Unit 1 – Basic Biochemistry and Cell Organisation (including Nucleic acids and introductory Genetics)
  • Unit 2 – Biodiversity and Physiology of Body Systems (including gas exchange and circulatory systems)
  • Unit 3 – Energy, Homeostasis and the Environment (including the Nervous System and Kidney function)
  • Unit 4 – Variation, Inheritance and Immunology (including application of reproduction and genetics)
  • Unit 5 – Practical Examination (including investigation, analysis and evaluation of experimental data)

What examinations will I have to take?

There are two theory examination papers at the end of the first AS year (Units 1 and Units 2) and two theory examination papers at the end of second A2 year (Units 3 and Units 4). These may involve structured questions, problem solving, application of knowledge, calculations and extended writing questions.

  • Unit 1 – First AS year – 80 marks -1 hours 30 minutes – 20% of qualification
  • Unit 2 – First AS year – 80 marks -1 hours 30 minutes – 20% of qualification
  • Unit 3 -Second A2 year – 90 marks -2 hours – 25% of qualification
  • Unit 4 -Second A2 year – 90 marks -2 hours – 25% of qualification
  • Unit 5 – Practical Exam – Second A2 year – 50 marks (Experimental Task 20 marks; Practical analysis Task 30 marks) -10% of qualification

Unit 5 Practical exams are assessed externally where a student will be assessed on their practical skills in an experimental task and also their written skills within an exam paper which can include such things as graphs, statistical analysis of data and evaluation of various techniques.

Field Trip

As an integral part of the course, we take students out on a fieldtrip for up to four days at the beginning of their second A2 year. This is so students can learn critical ecological practical skills which they cannot be taught within the classroom and enable them to apply key statistical analysis whilst interacting and experiencing first-hand key ecological interactions.

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

– Follow a degree course in Biology, Biochemistry, Zoology, Microbiology, Marine Biology, Plant Science, Genetics, Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Agriculture and Forestry, Psychology, Pharmacy etc.
– Biology as a science discipline is a useful addition to the list of subjects read predominately by Arts or Humanities based students. It demonstrates the ability to think logically and to present or evaluate data

CHEMISTRY

Examination Board: Welsh Joint Examination Board (W.J.E.C.)
Staff: Martin Madden (Head of Chemistry)
Summary: A two-year Advanced Level course examined at the end of Year 12 and Year 13

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Chemistry?

The specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in the WJEC GCSE criteria/content for Science. Skills in Numeracy/Mathematics, Literacy/English and Information Communication Technology will provide a good basis for progression to this qualification. Students will be expected to be able to process and analyse the results of experimental work which will include graph plotting and numerical manipulation.

What will I learn?

– Acquire a body of chemical knowledge and an appreciation of its significance
– Use theories, models and ideas to develop scientific explanations
– Use knowledge and understanding to pose scientific questions, define scientific problems, present scientific arguments and scientific ideas
– Use appropriate methodology, to answer scientific questions and solve scientific problems
– Practical work is an intrinsic part of this specification. It is vitally important in developing a conceptual understanding of many topics and it enhances the experience and enjoyment of chemistry. The practical skills developed are also fundamentally important to learners going on to further study in Chemistry and related subjects, and are transferable to many careers.

Specification Content:

AS UNIT 1: The Language of Chemistry, Structure of Matter and Simple Reactions
AS UNIT 2: Energy, Kinetics and Carbon Chemistry
AS UNIT 3: Physical and Inorganic Chemistry
AS UNIT 4: Organic Chemistry and Analysis
AS UNIT 5: Practical Chemistry

What examinations will I Have to take to get my qualification?

The specification is divided into a total of 5 units: 2 AS units and 3 A2 units. Weightings noted below are expressed in terms of the full A level qualification.

AS (2 Units)

Unit 1 Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes (80 marks)
20% of qualification
Unit 2 Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes (80 marks)
20% of qualification

A2 (3 Units)

Unit 3 Written Examination: 1 hour 45 minutes (80 marks)
25% of qualification
Unit 4 Written Examination: 1 hour 45 minutes (80 marks)
25% of qualification
Unit 5 Practical Examination: 60 marks
10% of qualification

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

A Level Chemistry provides the required foundation for the study of Chemistry in Higher Education, including Chemistry at degree level and in related areas such as Medicine, Biochemistry, Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Material Science, Metallurgy, Dentistry and Chemical Engineering.

The course also allows students to develop knowledge and an array of transferable skills essential for direct entry into employment in many Chemistry related and other scientific and non-scientific fields.

ECONOMICS

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) Staff:
Staff: Philip Eedy (Head of Humanities)
Summary of Course: A modular two year course with 2 units examined at the end of Year 12 and 2 units examined at the end of Year 13

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Economics?

There is no requirement to have studied Economics before but students are expected to have at least an A grade in Mathematics GCSE and a B grade (or equivalent) in English Language GCSE. The examination papers are designed to test the interpretation and explanation of economic theories in the context of numeracy and written skills.

The WJEC AS and A level in Economics encourages learners to:

  • Appreciate the contribution of Economics to the understanding of the wider economic and social environment
  • Develop an understanding of a range of concepts and an ability to use those concepts in a variety of different contexts
  • Use an enquiring, critical and thoughtful approach to the study of economics and develop an ability to think as an economist
  • Develop analytical and quantitative skills, together with qualities and attitudes which will equip them for the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of adult and working life

Main Topic themes will include:

  • Markets – the concept of Demand and Supply
  • Market Failure
  • Macro-Economic Policy- Fiscal & Monetary Policy
  • International Trade and Exchange Rates
  • Market Structures
  • Macro-Economic Objectives – Employment, Inflation, Economic Growth
  • International Institutions, Globalisation and Development Economics

Specification Content:

The subject content for AS Economics will be assessed across two examination papers.

Unit 1: Introduction to Economic Principles
Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes
15% of A Level qualification (37.5% of AS qualification)
Unit 2: Economics in Action
Written examination: 2 hours
25% of A Level qualification (62.5% of AS qualification)
The full A Level comprises the AS and the A2 units. In assessing the full A level it will be assumed that
learners can draw upon their knowledge and understanding of the AS content.
Unit 3: Exploring Economic Behaviour
Written examination: 2 hours
30% of qualification
Unit 4: Evaluating Economic Models and Policies
Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes
30% of qualification

What kind of student is the course suitable for?

  • Students who have an interest in current affairs
  • Students who enjoy relating theory to real world situations
  • Students who are interested in how different economies function
  • Students who have an interest in careers within financial services and government based economic agencies
  • Students who want to use economics to support other qualifications such as maths, Sciences, Government and Politics, Geography, History and Psychology

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

A Level Economics is highly regarded amongst academic circles as well as in employment. The full A Level in Economics provides the basis for students who wish to proceed to Higher Education to study Law, Business Management, Marketing, Accountancy, Finance and Banking.

Further information on specification and examination papers. http://www.wjec.co. uk/ qualifications/ econ omics/r-econ omics-gce-as-a/

ENGLISH LITERATURE

Staff: Rebecca Brookes (Head of English and Modern Foreign Languages)
This is a two year modular WJEC A Level course, with two units studied at AS Level and a further three units for the second year.

Prior Knowledge:

It is recommended that you have achieved at least a grade A or 6 in English Language GCSE / iGCSE and / or a level 7 in the writing component of IELTS (or equivalent), however all applicants will be viewed on an individual basis.

English Literature students are enquiring and open-minded individuals. You should enjoy reading a wide range of literary texts and forms, which will be developed into a comprehensive awareness of the English literary canon over your two years of study here.

English encourages the discussion and articulation of ideas, working in small seminar-style lessons you will develop excellent oral skills. Students enjoy debate and can justify their own readings of texts as well as being able to evaluate a wide range of critical responses.

The heart of your literary studies will involve the development of close analytical skills; attention to detail, evidencing your ideas and applying literary terms and concepts will become second nature to you.

English Literature also overlaps with many other curriculum subjects: our exploration of contextual influences invariably touches on aspects of History, Politics, Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology and Geography. We even find knowledge of mathematical patterns, chemical elements, planetary forces and ecology influencing writers and their texts. Studying literature will foster free-thinking and your ability to draw connections across diverse concepts.

Most importantly, the subject builds your competence as a writer. There is extensive teaching of essay style and form, ranging from short timed analytical pieces to extended coursework studies. Within lessons, there is also the opportunity to write creatively and our students participate in external essay, journalistic and creative writing competitions – often successfully!

We seek to enrich classroom studies through extra-curricular learning: our students have recently attended a lecture series with leading university personnel on Jane Eyre, watched Dr Faustus at the Wanamaker Theatre, visited The Globe Theatre exhibition and participated in a National Theatre sixth-form conference on the highly acclaimed 2019 production of Antony and Cleopatra. Future enrichment plans include creative writing retreats with the Arvon Foundation, Royal Shakespeare Theatre productions in StratfordUpon-Avon and the Hay Literature Festival.

How will English Literature benefit you?

English Literature is a highly regarded facilitating subject amongst the elite Russell Group universities, including Cambridge, which combines well with all subjects taught at Cardiff Sixth Form College. The skills you will develop through your Literature course are much sought after in a broad spectrum of careers from doctors to lawyers, consultants to academics, politicians to engineers.

Course Outline:

AS Level
Unit 1: Prose and Drama (closed-book) – Two hour examination
Section A: Prose fiction pre-1900
Extract and essay question based on the reading of
Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) (9780141441146)
Section B: Drama
One question from a choice of two based on the reading of
Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire (Penguin) (9780141190273) or Christopher Marlowe: Doctor
Faustus (Longman) ) (9780582254091)
Unit 2: Poetry Post-1900 (open-book, clean copy) – Two hour examination
Analysis of a prescribed poem in close detail and comparison of poems from both poets
Ted Hughes: Poems selected by Simon Armitage (Faber) (9780571222957)
(prescribed section: all poems up to and including page 68) &
Sylvia Plath: Poems selected by Ted Hughes (Faber) (9780571222971)

A2 (second year)
Unit 3: Poetry pre-1900 and Unseen Poetry – Two hour examination
Section A: Poetry pre-1900 (open-book, clean copy)
Analysis of an extract from the text and a short essay
John Milton: Paradise Lost Book IX (Oxford) (9780198326007)
Section B: Unseen Poetry
Comparative essay in response to previously unseen poems
Unit 4: Shakespeare (closed-book) – Two hour examination
Close analysis of extract from the play, in addition to a literary essay
William Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra
Unit 5: Non Examination Assessment
You will produce an extended comparative essay (2,500-3,500 words) in response to two prose texts of your choice, one written before 2000 and one after 2000.

EXTENDED PROJECT QUALIFICATION

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Rebecca Brookes (Head of English and Modern Foreign Languages)

What is the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification)?

It is a 5,000-word academic dissertation that you write over the year, focusing on an evaluative topic of your choice. It is accompanied by a series of forms which evidence your process of writing the EPQ, with a strong focus on self-reflection, achievements and how you have overcome challenges.

What skills am I developing by choosing an EPQ?

Independent thinking, critical evaluation, research, analysis, essay writing techniques, self-reflection, tracking your own progress, time management, presentation, developing an interest in a subject that goes beyond a syllabus or curriculum.

Can any student at Cardiff Sixth Form College do an EPQ?

If you are doing well in your main subjects, and are strong at English, then this course could be an excellent choice, enhancing and developing your skill set.

If I choose to do the EP Q am I committed?

Initially, you can give the EPQ a go, and try to complete as much of the research as you can by or around Christmas. You have until March to decide before you are enrolled.

How much work is involved in an EPQ?

Outside the teaching guided hours (actual classes) of around 45 in the year, you would be expected to commit to approximately 75 hours of independent research and writing in order to successfully complete the EPQ.

What does the EPQ look like on the timetable?

You will have a 45 minute lesson of input, and there will also be regular tutorials focussed on your own EPQ journey regarding research and development of your analysis and evaluation. The teacher acts as a facilitator, promoting your autonomy, respecting your choices, and guiding your ability to think for yourselves both creatively and critically.

What makes an effective EPQ dissertation?

We would recommend that you choose an evaluative, debatable topic that is directly linked to your university subject choice, and goes beyond your current syllabus. This clearly demonstrates your passion for your subject without needing to use cliched expressions like ‘passion’ on your personal statement. So, think super-curricular when it comes to creating an appropriate EPQ dissertation question. Topics that have come up this year have been exciting, diverse and at a high challenge level, which we would expect and hope for. Examples include themes around anti-corruption legislations, terrorism vs extremism, the possibility of cryonics, viable forms of jet engines, too-big-to-fail banks, organ donations, global warming, Alzheimers and end-of-life care, experimental cures, the economics of migration, funding scientific research.

How could an EPQ help me get a place at university?

This is what some universities say about the EPQ:

Oxford University: “Where applicants have undertaken the Extended Project (EP), the University will not make this a condition for an offer but recognises that the EP will provide an applicant with the opportunity to develop research and academic skills relevant for study at Oxford. Candidates are encouraged to draw upon their experience of undertaking the project when writing their personal statement, particularly if the topic is allied to their chosen degree course.”

UCL: “UCL welcomes the introduction of the Extended Project into the curriculum, recognising that it will develop many of the skills necessary for successful study at university.”

Cambridge: “We welcome the introduction of the Extended Project and would encourage you to undertake one as it will help you develop independent study and research skills and ease the transition from school/college to higher education.”

FRENCH

Exam board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Marie Nichols
Summary of course: A modular two year course with 2 units examined at the end of year 12 and 3 units examined at the end of year 13

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking French in the sixth form?

This specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established at GCSE.

What will I learn?

The WJEC AS and A level French encourages learners to:

  • enhance their linguistic skills and promote and develop their capacity for critical thinking on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of the language, culture and society of the countries or communities where the language is spoken
  • develop control of the language system to convey meaning, using spoken and written skills, including an extended range of vocabulary, for both practical and intellectual purposes as increasingly confident, accurate and independent users of the language
  • develop their ability to interact effectively with users of the language in speech and in writing, including through online media
  • develop language learning skills and strategies, including communication strategies to sustain communication and build fluency and confidence
  • engage critically with intellectually stimulating texts, films and other materials in the original language, developing an appreciation of sophisticated and creative uses of the language and understanding them within their cultural and social context
  • develop knowledge about matters central to the society and culture, past and present, of the countries or communities where the language is spoken
  • equip themselves with transferable skills such as autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, critical thinking, and linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility that will enable them to proceed to further study or to employment

Main topic themes will include

At AS

  • Family structures, traditional and modern values, friendships/relationships
  • Youth trends, issues and personal identities
  • Educational and employment opportunities
  • Regional culture and heritage in France, French-speaking countries and communities
  • Literature, film, art and music in the French-speaking world
  • Study of a film

At A2

  • Migration and integration
  • Cultural identity and marginalisation
  • Discrimination and diversity
  • France 1940- 1950 (life in occupied France, liberation, end of World War II, repercussions for modern day France)
  • Study of a literary text

Specification content:

The subject content for AS French will be assessed across two examinations:

Unit 1: Speaking
Arguing a point of view and discussion based on 2 stimulus cards: 15 minutes (plus 15 minutes
preparation time)
12% of A level qualification

Unit 2: Listening, reading, translation and critical response in writing (essay on film studied)
Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes
28% of A level qualification

The subject content for A level French will be assessed across 3 examinations:

Unit 3: Speaking
Presentation and discussion on independent research project: 11-12 minutes
18% of qualification

Unit 4: Listening, reading and translation
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
30% of qualification

Unit 5: Critical and analytical response in writing (essay on the literary work studied)
Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes
12% of qualification

What kind of students is the course suitable for?

  • Students who are interested in developing their linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding of France and other countries where French is spoken
  • Students who want to enhance their cultural appreciation and gain a greater awareness of intercultural differences
  • Students who want to build their communication, interpersonal, intercultural and public speaking skills
  • Students who are interested in a career involving translation or communication with people from French speaking countries. This can include careers in tourism, government, politics, media, publishing and journalism

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

The full A level in French is a subject that is favoured by top universities for a whole range of courses and provides the basis for students who wish to study towards a degree in French or who wish to study a combined degree and study French alongside Politics and International Relations, Business Studies, History, Sociology, Law, English or Philosophy.

For further information on specification and examination papers: https://www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/french-as-a-level/#tab_overview

GERMAN

Exam board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Ewelina Kowalska
Summary of course: A modular two year course with 2 units examined at the end of year 12 (AS level) and 3 units examined at the end of year 13 (A level)

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking German in the sixth form?

This specification builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills established at GCSE

What will I learn?

The AS and A level in German provides an engaging and exciting opportunity for learners to build on their previous study of German. Through social, intellectual and cultural themes learners will be able to develop their linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding of the countries or communities where the language is spoken.

A strong focus is placed on building learners’ confidence and fluency in spoken German using relevant and topical themes. The requirement to research an area of personal interest related to the country or countries where the language of study is spoken aims to enhance learners’ cultural appreciation to gain a greater awareness of intercultural differences.

The AS and A level in German encourages learners to:

  • enhance their linguistic skills and promote and develop their capacity for critical thinking on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of the language, culture and society of the countries or communities where the language is spoken
  • develop control of the language system to convey meaning, using spoken and written skills, including an extended range of vocabulary, for both practical and intellectual purposes as increasingly confident, accurate and independent users of the language
  • develop their ability to interact effectively with users of the language in speech and in writing, including through online media
  • develop language learning skills and strategies, including communication strategies to sustain communication and build fluency and confidence
  • engage critically with intellectually stimulating texts, films and other materials in the original language, developing an appreciation of sophisticated and creative uses of the language and understanding them within their cultural and social context
  • develop knowledge about matters central to the society and culture, past and present, of the countries or communities where the language is spoken
  • equip themselves with transferable skills such as autonomy, resourcefulness, creativity, critical thinking, and linguistic, cultural and cognitive flexibility that will enable them to proceed to further study or to employment

Main topic themes will include (AS level):

social issues and trends
political, intellectual and artistic culture.
Being a young person in German-speaking society
Family structures, traditional and modern values, friendships / relationships
Youth trends, issues and personal identity
Educational and employment opportunities
Understanding the German-speaking world
Regional culture and heritage in Germany
German-speaking countries and communities
Literature, art, film and music in the German- speaking world
Study of a film

(A level)

Diversity and difference
Migration and integration
Cultural identity and marginalisation
Cultural enrichment and celebrating difference
Discrimination and diversity
The Making of Modern Germany: 1989 onwards
Initial and subsequent process of reunification
Social cohesion in present-day Germany
Artistic and political movements
Economic impact of a united Germany
Study of a literary work

Specification content:

The subject content for AS German will be assessed across two examinations:

Unit 1: Speaking
Arguing a point of view and discussion based on 2 stimulus cards: 15 minutes (plus 15 minutes
preparation time)
12% of A level qualification
Unit 2: Listening, reading, translation and critical response in writing (essay on film studied)
Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes
28% of A level qualification
The subject content for A level German will be assessed across 3 examinations:
Unit 3: Speaking
Presentation and discussion on independent research project: 11-12 minutes
18% of qualification
Unit 4: Listening, reading and translation
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
30% of qualification
Unit 5: Critical and analytical response in writing (essay on the literary work studied)
Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes
12% of qualification

What kind of students is the course suitable for?

  • Students who are interested in developing their linguistic knowledge and cultural understanding of Germany and other countries where German is spoken
  • students who want to enhance their cultural appreciation and gain a greater awareness of intercultural differences
  • Students who want to build their communication, interpersonal, intercultural and public speaking skills
  • Students who are interested in a career involving translation or communication with people from German speaking countries. This can include careers in tourism, government, politics, media, publishing and journalism.

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

The full A level in German is a subject that is favoured by top universities for a whole range of courses and provides the basis for students who wish to study towards a degree in German or who wish to study a combined degree and study German alongside Politics and International Relations, Business Studies, History, Sociology, Law, English or Philosophy.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Kevin Morgan (Deputy Head of Humanities) and Alex Hughes
Summary of course: A modular course (two years) with two units examined at the end of Year 12 and two units examined at the end of Year 13.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Government and Politics? There is no requirement to have studied the subject before but students are expected to have at least an A grade or equivalent in English Language GCSE. The examination papers are designed to test knowledge and understanding of relevant institutions, processes, political concepts, theories and issues. In addition, they will require you to interpret and apply evidence to identify and explain relevant similarities. Essay questions test your analysis and evaluative skills; principally, your ability to construct arguments, make substantiated judgements and draw conclusions.

The WJEC AS and A level in Government and Politics encourages learners to develop:

  • Knowledge and understanding of contemporary political structures and issues within Wales and United Kingdom (UK).
  • Knowledge and understanding of broader global political structures and issues.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the influences and interests which have an impact on decisions in government and politics.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups.
  • An awareness of the changing nature of politics and the relationships between political ideas, institutions and processes.
  • The ability to critically analyse, interpret and evaluate political information to form arguments and make judgments.
  • An interest in, and engagement with, contemporary politics.

Assessment

AS Level Unit 1 – ‘Government in Wales and the United Kingdom’ (20%) 1 hour 30-minute examination. This unit serves as an introduction to how Wales and the UK is governed today. Through the study of the constitution; Welsh and UK Government; The Supreme Court and the EU, learners will be able to discuss, analyse and evaluate the key themes, issues and debates surrounding governance in Wales and the UK.

AS Level Unit 2 – ‘Living and participating in a democracy’ (20%) – 1 hour 30 minute examination. Unit 2 is an introduction to the concept of active citizenship; the rights and responsibilities of citizens, some of the ways in which citizens can participate in a democracy and the importance of citizen engagement.

A2 Level Unit 3 – ‘Political concepts and theories’ (30%) – 2 hour 30 minute examination. This module involves the study of political theories and their application. Learners will develop a critical knowledge and understanding of a range of ideological traditions: liberalism, conservatism, socialism, communism and nationalism, and their contemporary relevance.

A2 Level Unit 4 – ‘The government and politics of the USA’ (30%) – 2 hour 30 minute examination. Learners are introduced to the government and politics of the USA through an examination of three related themes: democracy in America, governance and participation.

What could I do at the end of my course?

Many students who have studied A Level Government and Politics go on to study the subject at university. From there you might become a researcher; join local or national government or even start the journey to becoming Prime Minister! There are other job options too. The course would be useful for students who wish to pursue a career in journalism or the media. Many graduates of government and politics also become teachers or work in the legal profession.

HISTORY

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Kevin Morgan (Deputy Head of Humanities); Alex Hughes; Kyle Smith
Summary: A modular two year course with two units examined at the end of Year 12 and three units examined at the end of Year 13.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking History?

There is no requirement to have studied history before but students are expected to have at least an A grade or equivalent in English Language GCSE. The examination papers are designed to test knowledge and understanding; analytical and evaluative skills; essay writing skills and the ability to research and undertake a piece of extended writing.

The WJEC AS and A level in History encourages learners to:

  • Develop their interest in and enthusiasm for history and an understanding of its intrinsic value and significance.
  • Acquire an understanding of different identities within society and an appreciation of aspects such as social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity, as appropriate.
  • Build on their understanding of the past through experiencing a broad and balanced course of study.
  • Improve as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with curious and enquiring minds.
  • Develop the ability to ask relevant and significant questions about the past and to research them.
  • Acquire an understanding of the nature of historical study, for example, that history is concerned with judgements based on available evidence and that historical judgements are provisional.
  • Develop their use and understanding of historical terms, concepts and skills make links and draw comparisons within and/or across different periods and aspects of the past.
  • Organise and communicate their historical knowledge and understanding in different ways, arguing a case and reaching substantiated judgements.

Assessment

AS Unit 1 (Period Study) – ‘Politics, Protest and Reform in Wales and England, c.1780-1880’
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
20% of qualification (50% at AS)

AS Unit 2 (Depth Study Part 1) – ‘Weimar and its Challenges, c.1918-1933’
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
20% of qualification (50% at AS)

A2 Unit 3 (Breadth Study) – ‘The American Century, c.1890-1990’
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
20% of qualification

A2 Unit 4 (Depth Study Part 2) – ‘Nazi Germany, c.1933-1945’
Written examination: 1 hour 45 minutes
20% of qualification

A2 Unit 5 (NEA)-Unit 5 is a non-examination assessment (NEA). Learners investigate an issue of historical debate through a study of different historical interpretations. This unit encourages learners to use a range of sources, both primary and contemporary to explain how and why different historical interpretations are formed. The issue chosen will allow learners to extend and enhance their understanding of aspects of the history studied in the broader parts of the specification or it can come from an area of history not studied elsewhere in the specification. However, the issue chosen must not duplicate the content of the depth studies chosen in Units 2 and 4.
20% of qualification

What could I do at the end of my course?

History can not only lead to a career in teaching but also in law, politics, journalism, the civil service, television or banking. As ‘The History Benchmarking Draft Report’ states, “Important abilities and qualities of mind are acquired through the study of history. They are particularly valuable for the graduate as they are readily transferable to many occupations and careers”.

FURTHER MATHEMATICS

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Mike Marnell (Head of Mathematics)
All teaching staff are qualified Mathematics teachers with many years of experience, including work as Heads of Department and examiners.
Summary: A two year A Level course, examined at the end of Year 13

What do I need to know before taking Further Maths at A Level?

You will need to get at least an A (preferably an A*) in Mathematics GCSE (or equivalent). Having strong basic algebraic and numerical manipulation skills (factorising, dealing with fractions, solving equations) is ESSENTIAL. Effective communication in English will also be required. You will require a Casio FX991EX Classwiz Advanced Scientific Calculator for this course.

What will I learn?

Further Maths is a highly valued, prestigious and demanding qualification. There is an emphasis in the specification on not just learning the abstract concepts in Mathematics, but their application in real life situations too.

Students will be able to:

  • Develop the ability to reason logically
  • Extend their range of mathematical skills and techniques and use them in more difficult, unstructured problems
  • Recognise how a situation may be represented mathematically and understand the relationship between ‘real world’ problems and standard and other mathematical models

What kind of student is the course suitable for?

-Students who have a sound approach to individual learning, are motivated and are willing to work hard, as the course is fast paced and challenging
– Students who are planning to study a university course where Further Mathematics is required
– Please be aware that students who wish to study Medicine at university will be advised not to study Further Mathematics

Specification content:

Year 1:

  • Mathematics Unit 1- Pure A (algebra, coordinate geometry, vectors, calculus, trigonometry, logarithms)
  • Mathematics Unit 2- Applied Mathematics A Statistics: discrete distributions, statistical sampling and data presentation, probability. Mechanics: kinematics, forces, and Newton’s Laws.
  • Mathematics Unit 3- Pure B (calculus, trigonometry, algebra, numerical methods, functions, sequences and series)
  • FM Unit 1 – Pure A (Proof; Complex Numbers; Matrices; Further Algebra and Functions and Further
    Vectors)

Year 2:

  • Mathematics Unit 4*- Applied Maths B. Statistics: hypothesis testing, continuous and discrete distributions. Mechanics: kinematics, non-perpendicular forces, differential equations.
  • FM Unit 2- Further Statistics A (Random Variables and the Poisson Process and exploring relationships between variables and goodness of fit of a model)
  • FM Unit 3: Further Mechanics A (Momentum and Impulse; Hooke’s Law, Work, Energy and Power; Circular Motion and Differentiation and Integration of Vectors)
  • FM Unit 4: Pure B (Complex Numbers; Further Trigonometry; Matrices; Further Algebra and Functions; Further Calculus; Polar Coordinates; Hyperbolic functions and Differential equations)
    EITHER
  • FM Unit 5: Further Statistics B (Samples and Populations; Statistical Distributions; Hypothesis Testing and Estimation) OR
  • FM Unit 6: Further Mechanics B (Rectilinear motion; Momentum and Impulse; Moments and Centre of Mass; Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies and Differential Equations)

BMAT and entrance test preparation

For those undertaking BMAT or other entrance tests, support and preparation classes are provided once a week during the Autumn term for the Maths and logic parts of these exams.

GEOGRAPHY

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Neil Davies (Head of GCSE and Geography)
Summary: A modular two-year course with 2 units examined at the end of Year 12 and 2 units examined at the end of Year 13. Students will also complete a coursework project as part of their Year 13 studies.

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Geography?

You are not required to have studied Geography previously, but students are expected to have at least a B grade (or equivalent) in GCSE Mathematics and an A grade (or equivalent) in GCSE English Language.

What will I learn?

The WJEC AS and A Level in Geography encourages learners to:

  • Study many issues, which are of contemporary, national and global importance
  • Extend and develop their knowledge of a range of physical and human environments, at a variety of scales and levels of development
  • Examine a range of engaging and diverse topics, such as plate tectonics, ocean systems, population and settlement change, contemporary geographical themes, research techniques and sustainable development
  • Develop a wide range of transferable key skills. These include; Application of Number, Information Technology, Communication, Problem Solving, Working with Others and Improving Own Learning and Performance
  • Appreciate different viewpoints and formulate reasoned opinions

Main themes will include:

  • Coastal Landscapes
  • Tectonic Hazards
  • Population and Settlement
  • Fieldwork skills (Students will participate in a residential fieldtrip)
  • Water and Carbon Cycles
  • Migration
  • Globalisation
  • Governance of Oceans
  • 21st Century Challenges
  • Energy
  • Economic growth and challenge in India

Specification Content

The subject content for AS Geography will be assessed across two examination papers:

Unit 1: Changing Landscapes
Written examination: 2 hours
24% of A Level qualification
Section A= Coastal Landscapes Section B = Tectonic Hazards
Unit 2: Changing Places
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
16% of A Level qualification
Section A= Population and Settlement Section B = Fieldwork Investigation
Unit 3: Global Systems and Global Governance
Written examination: 2 hours
24% of A Level qualification
Section A= Global Systems (Water and Carbon Cycles) Section B = Global Governance (Migration,
Globalisation and Governance of Oceans) Section C = 21st Century Challenges
Unit 4: Contemporary Themes in Geography
Written examination: 2 hours
16% of A Level qualification
Section A= Tectonic hazards Section B = Four optional themes: TWO must be studied: Ecosystems,
Economic Growth and Challenge: India or China or Sub-Saharan Africa, Energy Challenges and Dilemmas, Weather and Climate
Unit 5: Independent Investigation
Non-examination assessment – 3000 to 4000 words
One investigation based on fieldwork and secondary data
20% of A Level qualification
Geography leads to an excellent range of careers from planning sustainable cities to medicine. Students will develop a range of transferable skills (decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, working with others, handling data and report writing), which allow them to explore a wide range of employment opportunities.

MATHS

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Mike Marnell (Head of Mathematics)
Summary: A two year A Level course, examined at the end of Year 13

What do I need to know before taking Further Maths at A Level?

You will need to get at least an A in Mathematics GCSE (or equivalent). Effective communication in English will also be required. You will require a Casio FX991EX Classwiz Advanced Scientific Calculator for this course.

What will I learn?

There is an emphasis in the specification on not just learning the abstract concepts in Mathematics, but including their application in real life situations.

Students will be able to:

  • Develop the ability to reason logically
  • Extend their range of mathematical skills and techniques and use them in more difficult, unstructured problems
  • Recognise how a situation may be represented mathematically and understand the relationship between ‘real world’ problems and standard and other mathematical models

What kind of student is the course suitable for?

– Students who enjoy solving mathematical problems
– Students who are planning a career in any subject that requires logical thinking and problem solving skills

Specification content:

Year 1:

Unit 1- Pure A (algebra, coordinate geometry, vectors, calculus, trigonometry, logarithms)

Unit 2– Applied Maths A

Statistics: discrete distributions, statistical sampling and data presentation, probability. Mechanics: kinematics, forces, and Newton’s Laws

Year 2:

Unit 3– Pure B (calculus, trigonometry, algebra, numerical methods, functions, sequences and series)

Unit 4– Applied Maths B

Statistics: hypothesis testing, continuous and discrete distributions Mechanics: kinematics, nonperpendicular forces, differential equations

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

Mathematics provides students with the ability to think logically and solve problems, which are highly valued skills in the work place. Those who study Mathematics can go on to study a variety of university courses, including: Economics; Accountancy; Computer Science; Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy; Physics; Natural Sciences and Law.

BMA T and entrance test preparation

For those undertaking BMAT or other entrance tests, support and preparation classes are provided once a week during the Autumn term for the Maths and logic parts of these exams.

UKMT and Team Challenge

All students will have the opportunity to sit the Senior Maths Challenge. Those who do well will be invited to sit the Senior Kangaroo or the British Olympiad paper. These challenging and stimulating papers allow students to delve further into mathematics and logical thinking, as well as getting a chance to gain certificates and awards if they do well.

PHYSICS

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Summary: A two year A Level course, examined at the end of Year 12 and Year 13
Staff: Michael Grimes (Head of Physics)

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Physics?

You will need to get at least an A in Physics GCSE and at least an A in Mathematics GCSE. During the course students will need to have the ability to communicate effectively and a grade B or above is needed in English Language.

What will I learn?

Students will be able to:

  • Acquire a body of physical knowledge and an appreciation of its significance
  • Develop experimental skills including electrical meters, Geiger counters and oscilloscopes
  • Develop an understanding of scientific method including controlling variables, statistical analysis and evaluation of results
  • Gain an appreciation of the role of physics in a modern technological society and follow the latest developments in physical science

What kind of student is the course suitable for?

  •  Students who have an interest in the physical universe and mathematics
  • Students who have an enquiring and critical nature
  • Students who enjoy problem solving
  • Students who are planning careers as engineers, pure scientists, pilots, financial analysts

Specification content:

Unit 1 – Motion energy and matter (Kinematics, energy concepts, radiation and stars, particle physics)
Unit 2 -Electricity and light (DC circuits, waves and light, refraction, laser physics)
Unit 3 -Oscillations and nuclei (circular motion, simple harmonic motion, thermal physics and kinetic theory, nuclear decay and energy)
Unit 4– Fields and options (capacitance, electric, gravitational and magnetic fields, orbits, electromagnetic induction. Plus ONE from: AC theory, Medical physics, Sports physics, energy and the environment)
Unit 5 -Development of Practical Skills in Physics

What examinations will I have to take to get my qualification?

  • Unit 1 Motion, energy and matter. 80 marks -1 hours 30 minutes 20% of full A Level
  • Unit 2 Electricity and Light. 80 marks -1 hours 30 minutes 20% of full A Level

The full A Level qualification requires the above plus 3 further units which include extended answers and a comprehension.

  •  Unit 3 Oscillations and nuclei. 100 marks -2 hours 15 minutes 25% of full A Level
  • Unit 4 Fields and options. 100 marks -2 hours 25% of full A Level
  • Unit 5 Practical examination, which comprises an experimental task and a practical analysis 50 marks in total -10% of full A Level

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

  • Civil, mechanical, electrical, mining, chemical, biomedical, and many other Engineering degree courses. Also robotics, cybernetics, finance, computing and medical courses. Plus many others
  • Physics is highly regarded by all the top universities and is a desirable subject to have studied in any numerate career

Departmental Trip

An optional annual trip is taken to the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility in Geneva Switzerland. An additional charge will be incurred for students wishing to participate.

PSYCHOLOGY

Exam Board: Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC)
Staff: Hannah Irvine-Jones
Summary of Course: A modular two year course with 2 units examined at the end of Year 12 and 2 units examined at the end of Year 13

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking Psychology?

There is no requirement to have studied Psychology before but students are expected to have at least an A grade in English Language GCSE (Or equivalent). The examination papers are designed to test the interpretation and explanation of psychological theories, therefore a high level of English language skills is required.

What will I learn?

Learners will be introduced to historical and current psychological approaches and classic and contemporary research. In addition there are opportunities to explore psychological controversies and debates. Learners will also study a variety of methods used by psychologists and will carry out their own investigations. Consideration of the ethical issues and implications of psychological endeavours will be emphasised in all aspects of the specification.

During the course the following units will be covered:

Unit 1 – Psychology: Past to Present
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes. 20% of qualification.
The purpose of this unit is to give a solid grounding in some of the basic core elements of Psychology. The intention therefore is to allow the learner, through the study of classic research, to gain an appreciation that Psychology continues to develop and evolve. Learners will be asked to gain knowledge and understanding of the five approaches (biological, psychodynamic, behaviourist, cognitive and positive).

Unit 2 – Psychology: Investigating Behaviour
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes. 20% of qualification.
The central aspect for this section is that of psychological research, from the initial planning stages through to the final stage of analysis and evaluation. It is designed to introduce learners to the methodologies used by psychologists in working scientifically and to gain an appreciation of the impact of choices made on the outcomes of the work and consequently the possible applications.

A2 Psychology covers two modules: Implications in the Real World and Applied Research Methods.

Unit 3 – Psychology: Implications in the Real World
Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes
40% of A-Level qualification
Having learnt about the various psychological approaches in Unit 1, learners are expected to apply this knowledge and understanding to human and animal behaviours. Learners should be able to explain and draw conclusions about the possible causes of these behaviours and understand that Psychology has the potential to impact on society as a whole by developing methods of modifying behaviour. In addition, learners should explore five controversies that continue to pose challenges for Psychology. These controversies can be considered syn optically and draw on the content from the whole of the specification.

Unit 4 – Psychology: Applied Research Methods
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes
20% of A-Level qualification
It is necessary for learners to know and understand the methodologies used in Psychology and be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these. To ensure true appreciation of these methodologies the learners are expected to gain first-hand experience of two research methods. Learners will be required to respond to questions concerning these investigations in the assessment. The second aspect of this component is for learners to apply their knowledge and understanding of research methods to novel research scenarios, making judgements on the details of psychological research.

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

A Level Psychology is highly regarded amongst academic circles as well as in employment. The full A Level in Psychology provides the basis for students who wish to proceed to Higher Education to study Psychology, Criminology, Politics, Law, Business Management, Marketing, Journalism and HR.

Further information on specification and examination papers: http://www.wjec.co.uk/qualifications/psychology/

Cardiff 6th Form College 12th Sept 2017