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Into the Sixth 2013 Information for pupils wishing to join the RGS Sixth Form in September 2013


I am very pleased to introduce the 2013 edition of ‘Into the Sixth’ for students at RGS and for those joining us from other schools. The transition from GCSE courses to Sixth Form studies represents a major hurdle, but it is a challenge which has been accepted confidently by RGS Worcester students in the past. Good results at GCSE have been accompanied by impressively strong AS and A Level grades in recent years. The very considerable ability of our students and the high quality of the advice which they receive from January to September and beyond will contribute hugely to the impact they can make in the Sixth Form. This booklet represents a significant part of this advice and I recommend that you study it in detail over the coming weeks. I am confident that their years in the Sixth Form will represent the culmination of their school careers for all our students, and give them an excellent platform for higher education and their future careers. The high achievements of A Level students from RGS Worcester are a source of considerable pride as they leave to take up their places in the country’s leading universities. At the same time, they are enjoying the wide diversity of activities and interests that the school encourages, as well as the opportunity to take on leadership roles. I am sure that next year’s Lower Sixth will have appropriately high aspirations as they look forward to the opportunities offered to them over the next two years.


Contents Into The Sixth

Introduction How can I get into The Sixth Form? AS and A Levels? How do I select my AS Levels? Which combinations of subjects are possible? Advice for Potential Oxbridge Applicants What will my timetable look like? How will I know how I’m doing? Who is there to help me? What happens if things start to go wrong? How do I get into the U6? How do I apply to universities? What is a GAP year? What about my career? Do I have to do games? What else should I do outside the classroom? What do I wear? Subjects offered Art and Design Biology Business Studies Chemistry Classics – Latin and Classical Civilisation Design & Technology - Product Design Design & Technology - Textiles Drama & Theatre Studies Economics English Literature Geography History ICT Mathematics & Further Mathematics Modern Languages - French, German & Spanish Music Physical Education Physics Politics Religious Studies Glossary Appendix 1 RGS guide to Examinations & University Entry

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RGS Sixth Form Introduction The Sixth Form here is very successful. This is because we expect everyone, students and staff alike, to aim for their best, whether in the classroom, theatre, workshop or games field. We also recognise that both staff and students develop enjoyment and achievement when there is full commitment all round. •

The Sixth Form is a learning environment where the staff and students co-operate.

The Sixth Form has an exceptional and challenging transitional role. We help you to prepare for independence from the rules and direction of formal schooling in readiness for the world of higher education and/or careers.

This gives Sixth Form teachers what may sometimes seem to be contradictory goals. They must provide you with a structured environment for your learning while allowing you the independence to grow, to learn from your inevitable mistakes, and to learn better judgement while there is still experienced and expert guidance available.

We aim to provide you with an environment that is supportive, a place of refuge in times of stress and a base from which you can operate successfully within the school.

We aim to provide you with role models rather than to pre-judge you; we will treat you with the respect we expect from you. What should I do in return?

Learn to make a positive contribution to lessons.

To succeed in the Sixth Form you will need self-motivation and self-discipline.

You should value effort and commitment.

You should recognise that disappointments provide opportunities for improvement.

You will need to make many independent decisions and take on more personal responsibilities. This is the time to replace some of your undoubted ability to follow with some evidence of leadership. In an academic context this means less teaching, more learning.

You should be actively involved in the broader life of the school, so using the individual talents that we all possess.

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How can I get into The Sixth Form? We would expect you to fulfil the following criteria: •

To achieve six Bs or better at GCSE and no less than B in any subjects (except Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages which require an A grade) that you wish to continue. New subjects, such as Economics, Politics or PE will look at your results in GCSE subjects which contain similar content or require similar skills; for instance, Economics will look at Mathematics, Politics at English Literature, Religious Studies or History.

Have a good report from Year Eleven.

If you are joining from another school, you will be asked to take a verbal reasoning test and a short interview before being offered a place. We will ask for a reference from your present school. You will also need GCSE passes in English and Mathematics.

If you are already at RGS and do not achieve a grade C, or better, in GCSE Mathematics and English Language you will be expected to resit these subjects while in the Sixth Form.

What if I do not get six Bs? You may apply to the Headmaster for a place. We will retain a major say in the number and nature of the subjects you study if we decide to offer you a place. We will also monitor your progress closely to ensure you are adjusting successfully to the demands of sixth form study.

AS and A Levels? Sixth Form courses are almost all divided into two sections: AS Level taken in the L6. You can then either stop a subject at this point or take it on to A2 taken in the U6. An A Level is the total of your AS and A2 modules. AS Levels are not as difficult as A2; they fall somewhere between A2 and GCSE. All AS and A2 courses are modular. We will expect the majority of you to take four AS Levels in the L6 and most to carry on with three A2s in the U6. Those seeking Oxbridge entrance should normally continue with four A2s in the U6. Of course, variations are possible. We will work with you to ensure that your overall academic package meets your needs.

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How do I select my AS Levels? Before making your final choice of subjects, you might like to consider the following: •

Reflect on the information and advice given by careers staff and through the presentations at Parents’ Evenings.

Read the course descriptions in this Handbook.

Be sure you have the ability to cope with your choices and the combination of subjects. AS Levels are more demanding than GCSE and A2 is more demanding again. Make sure that you are qualified for your choices.

Consider the subjects you enjoy first! If you don’t enjoy them you will find it very difficult to motivate yourself in the Sixth Form.

Choose a sensible combination of subjects. It may help to consider the following points: Which combination is most likely to produce the best results? Consider transferable skills and supporting subjects.

Which combination of subjects is likely to be favoured by universities?

Which subjects are required by universities for courses you are likely to select and which are preferred? Which subjects will help your preferred course at university even if they are not necessary for entrance?

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Which combinations of subjects are possible? We are designing the Sixth Form timetable to allow the widest possible choice of combinations. We will ask you to tell us which subjects you would like to study and then we will draw up option blocks based on those choices; we may not be able to arrange for all your choices (though we will try to do so) and some subjects may not run if demand is insufficient. When the choices have been processed, we will produce a blocking diagram like that one shown below so that the timetabler can start work. Any changes to your programme after this point will need to conform to the blocking. This recent example gives you some idea of what the final blocking might look like:

Block A

Block B

Block C

Block D

Block E

Art

Geography

Chemistry

Art

Biology

Class Civ

ICT

Economics

Biology

Business Studies

English

Physics

French

DT Drama

Mathematics

Politics

Religious Studies

English Further Maths

PE

Economics History Geography Physics History Latin

Religious Studies

Music

Spanish

Textiles

Subjects in italics appeared in more than one block. All blocks consist of 9 lessons per 2 week cycle

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Degree/Career Opportunities requiring specific A Level Combinations The normal A Level subject requirements for some common Honours degree courses are listed below. Other A Level subjects will often be useful also, and should be chosen to complement those specified.

Degree Course

Normally required

Degree Course

Normally required

Accountancy

Maths (quite often)

Geology

Maths + Physics (or 2 sciences)

Architecture

*Maths (some)

History

History

Biology

Biology+ Chemistry or Maths or Physics Maths (some)

Land Management Law

Maths (few), Gg preferred none

Chemistry

Chemistry + Maths or Physics

Maths + Physics + Chemistry

Classics

Latin (some) Classical Civilisations (some) none

Materials Science Mathematics Medicine

Chemistry + Biology (+ Physics or Maths)

Maths (some)

Music

Music

Drama

Chemistry + 2 of Maths/Biology/Physics English

Oriental Languages Pharmacy

1 Class. or Modern Foreign Language Chemistry + Biology + Physics or Maths

Economics

Maths (few)

Philosophy

Maths (few)

Engineering (Chem.) Engineering (others) English

Maths + Physics + Chemistry Maths + Physics + Further Maths+ English

Physics

Physics + Maths

Physics

Chemistry+ Biology

Politics

None

French Languages

French + Geography or Spanish

Psychology

Geography

Geography

Vet. Science

2 sciences (few). Maths is a distinct advantage Chemistry+ Biology + Physics or Maths

Bus. Stud.

Class. Civ. Comp. & Inf. Sci. Dentistry

+ Desirable * Most Universities also ask to see an Art portfolio

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Maths


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What will my timetable look like? Your L6 timetable is likely to be: Subjects

Number of lessons per two week cycle

AS subject 1 AS subject 2 AS subject 3 AS subject 4 Private Study/ subject 5 Enrichment PSHE Games

9 9 9 9 9 2 2 1

In the U6 most students follow only three A2 courses and therefore have an extra nine lessons of private study. It is often possible to take up a new AS Level subject in the U6.

How will I know how I am doing? The Sixth Form Review This is a continuous process that takes place throughout the Sixth Form where we explore ways for you to develop your confidence and maximise your achievement.

Aims: • • • •

To encourage you to aim as high as possible. To monitor your progress carefully. To review your working methods. To give some shape to your aims, we will work with you to set target grades in each of your subjects

Feedback Grades for attainment and our perception of your effort at regular intervals. Written reports in the L6 and in the U6. There will be opportunities for Parents to meet formally with staff to discuss progress; you will be invited to join those meetings.

Self evaluation Together with your Tutor, you will review your work methods and progress on a regular basis. If you do this openly and honestly you should be able to fine-tune your approach to achieve the highest possible standards. Typical topics for discussion might include your: • • • • • • •

organisation of deadlines and time study skills needs aspirations attitude and attainment overall programme of study extra-curricular involvement 6


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Who is there to help me? There are decisions to make in the Sixth Form that could affect your life well beyond school. These include: • • • •

Which university courses should I apply for? What about a ‘Gap Year’? How can I develop my interests that lie outside the classroom? Should I take a part-time job?

The key figure here is your Tutor. We hope you will develop a warm working relationship with your Tutor for he or she will offer guidance on issues that arise as you progress through the two years of the Sixth Form.

What happens if things start to go wrong despite all this? Do not panic! See the Assistant Head (Sixth Form) who may involve your parents and teachers in the search for solutions. The Deputy Head (Academic), Mrs C C Smee, and Assistant Heads (Academic), Mr M J Ridout and Miss S J Richards, are also there to advise on alternative courses of action. We may ask you to come and discuss your progress and seek solutions to problems via a monitoring process until these are resolved.

How do I get into the U6? This is a formality for the vast majority of students. However, to do so your AS results and Sixth Form Review should provide you with a suitable platform for success at A2. The Academic Team will meet with those whose L6 performance falls short of expectations. In order to carry a subject on to A2, an AS grade of at least C is required.

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Subjects Offered In the following pages are described the AS and A Levels on offer. The weighting of each module at AS is given so that the total of the modules is equal to 100%, since AS can be a qualification that stands on its own. The weighting for A2 modules will add up to 50%, as A2 consists of half an A Level (AL) when added to the 50% at AS.

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Art & Design – Fine Art Entry Requirements: Most students find the course personally rewarding and the opportunity to develop a body of work that reflects their own interests. Students should have gained a Grade B at GCSE Art and Design but other applicants are welcome, by presenting a suitable portfolio of work for consideration by departmental staff prior to acceptance for the course. The department follow the Edexcel Art and Design Fine Art endorsement that allows the maximum freedom to explore individual ideas. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1 Coursework

(60% of AS)

Module 2 Externally Set Assignment

(40% of AS)

Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3 Coursework, including a Critical Study

(30% of AL)

Module 4 Externally Set Assignment

(20% of AL)

Assessment Procedures: The Coursework (Modules 1 and 3) The AS Practical Coursework unit is a foundation course designed to follow a structured approach based on a set starting point which originates with an early field research trip to locations of interest that recently have included museums in Oxford and Birmingham. Building on this is a wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary course encompassing drawing, photography, printmaking, painting and sculpture that develops confidence in technical skills and a keen understanding of contemporary art where work from primary source material is insisted upon. For the Practical course at A2, students build upon the foundation of AS and create an individual body of work within a framework developing their own ideas allowing choice to explore one of disciplines in depth such as fine art, textiles, sculpture, photography, film-making or digital media and installation art to name but a few. Each unit for AS and A2 is a large body of work demonstrating the students ability to investigate, record, analyse, experiment and develop their responses into creative and sophisticated final outcomes. Art Historical criticism and research is an important part of both AS and A2 courses and forms a separate study, the Personal Study, during the A2 year. Externally Set Assignments (Modules 2 and 4) Students produce another unit of work under timed conditions from a choice of starting points set by the Examinations Board. They work for a set period of time on preparatory studies developing the idea and produce and outcome during an eight hour Timed Test for AS and twelve hours for A2.

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Biology Introduction What makes you tick? Did you know males have fewer genes than females? How many kilograms of water do you think a tree could lift? From the details of processes in individual cells to the complex relationship between organisms in an ecosystem, Biology encompasses plenty to interest everyone. The OCR specification is followed at AS and A2. It is suitable for candidates who have used ANY of the GCSE boards. Biology at AS and A level greatly extends the work covered at GCSE and introduces new topics and ideas. The course builds up from the chemicals of life, through cells, tissues and organs into whole organisms. Investigations follow the scientific method, including physiological experiments, observations of animal and plant specimens and interpretation of microscopic material (both living and preserved). Students need to be prepared for a step up in the standard of work compared with GCSE and a further step up between AS and A2. The volume and pace of work are significantly greater, and much more emphasis is placed on students to organise their own work. A good memory and an interest in the subject are essential but are not the only requirements. The ability to analyse experiments, data and information critically is vital, as is the ability to evaluate the accuracy of results and theories. Students should be able to read in depth and consult the specialist materials that are available on the internet and in the library. Entry Requirements: If you wish to be successful with the sixth form Biology courses and perhaps to pursue a career related to Biology then we recommend that before you begin, you should have gained at least an A grade in Separate GCSE Biology or A grades in Science and Additional Science. Chemistry is NOT a requirement for this Biology course, but it is often required for entry into degree courses related to Biology. Those who are intending to go beyond A level in this subject should check university course requirements and see if Chemistry should be studied at A level. Outline of AS Specification: Module F211 Cells, Exchange and Transport: Module F212 Molecules, Biodiversity and Health: Module F213 Practical Skills 1:

(30% of AS) (50% of AS) (20% of AS)

Outline of A2 Specification: Module F214 Communication, Homeostasis and Energy: Module F215 Control, Genomes and Environment: Module F216 Practical Skills 2:

(15% of AL) (25% of AL) (10% of AL)

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Business Studies Introduction Have you ever wondered why Santa Claus wears a red and white suit or have you spent many sleepless nights trying to count Cash Cows or even wincing at the thought of an Acid Test Ratio? If you answered yes to any of the above questions then Business Studies could be the course for you! By the end of the Business Studies course, you should be fully equipped to analyse both UK and International business problems with a variety of modern Business concepts and theories in order to provide reasoned, sound recommendations and ideas for application in the real world. Business Studies in the Sixth Form is a challenging and varied subject that requires the student to integrate seemingly unrelated areas together to solve complex problems. Business Studies and the related subject areas have seen one of the largest growths in popularity at both sixth form and University level in the past 10 years. This is hardly surprising given many major employers’ positive views of the skills these courses provide students with and the general relevance of these skills to every day life. Whilst Business Studies is a very different subject from Economics ,the two courses should not be selected together as an option combination for students entering the Sixth Form. Entry Requirements: Grade B in English and Mathematics. The Department follows the AQA specification. AS Business Studies contains the following 2 modules: Module 1: Planning and Financing a Business : Starting a Business and Financial Planning Assessment: Written Paper (60 minutes) (40% of AS) Module 2: Managing a Business : People, Operations, Finance, Marketing and Competition Assessment: Written Paper (90 minutes) (60% of AS) A2 Business Studies contains the following two modules: Module 3: Strategies for Success: Financial Strategies and Accounts, Marketing Strategies, Operations Strategies and Human Resource Strategies Assessment: Written Paper (90 minutes) (25% of AL) Module 4: The Business Environment and Change: External Influences, Leadership, Corporate Culture, Ethics and Managing Change Assessment: Written Paper (90 minutes) (25% of AL) This course will provide you with many new skills and answers to many day-to-day issues. By the way, the answer to Santa Claus and the red and white suit? Coca-Cola used Santa in an advertising campaign in the early 1900s and decided to dress him in their colours (red and white) and it stuck. Hence when you see Santa today, you are actually looking at a can of Coca-Cola and the world’s most successful advertising campaign. Now who said Christmas had become too commercialised?

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Chemistry Why study chemistry? Because it’s fun, exciting and it explains how the world works. From archaeology to other planet’s atmospheres, from the effect of drugs to the colour of precious stones, Chemistry enables us to make life better and more interesting: to grow food, prevent and cure disease, to develop new materials and explore space – Chemistry is all around us. Entry Requirements A-Level Chemistry enables a student to develop many skills that universities and employers find invaluable. The chemist is trained to problem-solve and to analyse data looking for patterns. He can build theoretical models to account for experiments and can communicate ideas in a logical fashion. These skills help make A-Level Chemistry not only vital for most scientific degree courses, including medicine, but also a useful second or third A-Level for many non-scientific degrees. It is an intellectually challenging course and you will find the going tough if you do not have at least a grade A in GCSE Chemistry or two As in Science and Additional Science as a starting point. An A grade in Mathematics is also required. Outline of AS Specification, examined in June of the Lower Sixth Year Module 1: Foundation Chemistry. This module builds upon the key principles at GCSE, but in much more depth and to a greater level of satisfaction. Gone are just the facts, and in come the why, the where and the how! This module is the building block on which the rest of the modules sit. (33.3% of AS) Module 2: Chemistry in Action. Here we take a greater look into carbon chemistry: we recap on alkanes, alkenes and alcohols, but we also investigate compounds containing halogen atoms and the effect this has on both their physical and chemical properties. (46.7% of AS) Module 3: Practical Skills in AS Chemistry. Internally assessed coursework, based upon a series of core experiments. (20.0% of AS) Outline of A2 Specification, examined in the June of the Upper Sixth Year: Module 4: Kinetics, Equilibria, Acids and Organic Chemistry: Here we learn about the quantitative effects of both rates of reaction and equilibria. We also learn about pH and the calculations behind acid-base reactions. We also investigate Organic Chemistry: we learn about compounds with different types of structure and what effect this has on their reactivity and properties. We investigate the relationship between intermolecular forces and anaesthetics, we synthesise aspirin and dyes, and we explore the reason why molecules react in the way they do. (20% of AL) Module 5: Energetics, Redox and Inorganic Chemistry. This module explores not only the relationship between elemental position in the Periodic Table and reactivity, but also the trends in chemical reactivity across periods and down groups. In addition, quantitative approaches to rates of reaction, equilibria and pH are covered. (20% of AL) Module 6: Practical Skills in A2 Chemistry. Internally assessed coursework, based upon a series of core experiments. (10% of AL)

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Classics – Latin and Classical Civilisation LATIN and CLASSICAL CIVILISATION are available as separate subjects that can be studied either singly or together with other subjects. They should certainly not be regarded as of interest only to those who have taken GCSE Latin, or to those who might be thinking of reading a Classical subject at University. In particular, anyone contemplating English, History or a modern language in the Sixth Form might choose Classics as a very relevant supporting study; a budding archaeologist might well take Classics alongside Geography, Physics or Chemistry; whilst students orientated mainly towards Science or Medicine will find Classics the kind of contrasting, mind-broadening, analytical discipline that university departments are delighted to see their applicants pursuing. Classics enjoys enormous prestige generally as a well-established intellectual discipline which encourages breadth of viewpoint, precision, analytical abilities and communication skills. As a survey into employment prospects for Classicists puts it: ‘Forget all thought of irrelevance: the rigorous study of the languages, literature and society of the ancient world provides exactly the kinds of transferable skills which employers need and value’.

Latin Entry Requirement: GCSE-equivalent Latin1, grade B or better (in both Language & Literature). Outline of AS Specification: Module 1: Language

(50% of AS)

Two passages of Latin prose to translate – one from a prescribed author – into English. There is a published vocabulary list of about 800 words to be known. Module 2:

Literature – verse and prose

(50% of AS)

Candidates study texts by two authors, one verse and one prose. The examination entails questions on the content and style of passages taken from each text, and a short essay. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3: Latin Verse (25% of AL) Section A: candidates study one verse author. In the examination they produce an analysis of a passage taken from the text they have studied and a short essay on the work as a whole. Section B: a mixture of translation and comprehension questions based on a short piece of unprepared verse. Module 4:

Latin Prose

(25% of AL)

Section A: candidates study one prose author. In the examination they produce an analysis of the content and style of two passages from the text they have studied. Section B: either translation and comprehension questions based on a passage of unprepared prose, or translation into Latin of a short piece of English.

1

From 2012, Y11 pupils studying Latin at RGS will be taking WJEC level 2 (GCSE-equivalent) certificates in Latin Language and Latin Literature; new sixth formers intending to take Latin may have studied for the OCR GCSE elsewhere, and either qualification is very much welcomed from students hoping to study AS / A2 Latin at RGS.

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Classical Civilisation Entry Requirements: GCSE passes should include English Literature and Language. GCSE Latin or History are helpful, but certainly not essential: genuine interest and enthusiasm are much more important. No study of languages is necessary as all ancient sources are studied in English, and absolutely no previous knowledge in this field is assumed. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1:

Greek Literature

(50% of AS)

Homer’s epic the 'Iliad' tells the story of Achilles, set against the background of the Trojan War. It is probably the earliest work of European literature, and has therefore had an enormous influence on all subsequent writers of 'epic' - and Orlando Bloom! The examination includes questions on the content and style of selected passages, and a short essay – focusing on literary features, human relationships, religious attitudes, and other themes relating both to Homer’s time and to ‘the heroic age’. Module 2:

Roman Political History

(50% of AS)

Our study focuses on Marcus Tullius Cicero, an eminent lawyer and politician, in one of the most turbulent periods of Roman history: 106-43 BC. At this time, the Republic was in turmoil. Various characters were vying for absolute power over Rome and the Senate was desperate to preserve its personal influence and hold over the people. The slaves were revolting – no change there – and aristocrats were jostling for fame and recognition with new men such as our hero Cicero. The final examination includes questions based on texts studied during the course as well as historical context questions, and a short essay. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3:

Greek Tragedy

(25% of AL)

Four plays by two of the greatest Greek playwrights are studied in depth: Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Antigone, and Euripides’ Hippolytus and Medea. Candidates also investigate the invention of theatre as an art-form, approaches towards the writing of plays developed by Athenian dramatists, and the significance of drama in Athenian political and religious life. Module 4:

Roman Imperial History

(25% of AL)

A study based on the writings of the controversial historian Tacitus, examining the expansion of the Empire and the spread of Roman civilisation right across Europe in the years AD14-54 – against the background of the secret vices of Tiberius, the madness and eventual assassination of Caligula, and the alleged stupidity of Claudius! A famously turbulent period in History which raises intriguing questions about the use and abuse of power, the position of women, slaves and other social groups, and the Romans’ own moral values. Outings are organised to relevant exhibitions, museums, study-days, and performances of plays, and participation in archaeological digs can sometimes be arranged. There have also been several trips in recent years for RGS Classicists to various Mediterranean destinations: this year, sixth form Classicists and Latinists are heading for Sicily, to discover the art and architecture of the Greek colony and the venue for famous Roman orator Cicero's quaestorship. It is hoped that those entering the sixth form in 2013 will have a similar opportunity. 14


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Design and Technology: Product Design Introduction This specification seeks to develop students始 knowledge, understanding, skills and application for designing products. Product Design at A Level encompasses a wide range of design disciplines but is firmly rooted in the skills required to design and make high quality products. Products that are fit for purpose, satisfy wants and needs and enhance our day-today lives. This specification gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their design and technology capability. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1: Portfolio of Creative Skills (60% of AS) In this unit students are given the opportunity to develop their creative, technical and practical skills through a series of product investigation, design and manufacturing activities. Students will produce one portfolio with three distinct sections. Different products will be chosen as the focus for the three distinct sections. Assessment: Internally set and marked and externally moderated by Edexcel. Module 2: Design and Technology in Practice (40% 0f AS) In this unit students will develop a knowledge and understanding of a wide range of materials and processes used in the field of design and technology so that they can develop a greater understanding of how products can be designed and manufactured. Students will also learn about industrial and commercial practices. Assessment: 1 hour 30 minute examination set and marked by Edexcel. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3: Designing for the Future (40% of AL) In this unit students will develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of modern design and manufacturing practices and contemporary design issues. The consideration of contributions made by designers from the past, issues of sustainability and the place of ICT and systems and control technology in the design and manufacture of products feature in this unit. Assessment: 2 hour examination paper set and marked by Edexcel. Module 4: Commercial Design (60% of AL) In this unit students are given the opportunity to apply the skills they have acquired and developed throughout this course of study, to design and make a product of their choice. In order to reach high attainment levels, students must adopt a commercial design approach to their work. The design problem should provide opportunities for a client or user-group to have input into the decision making process. Assessment: Internally set and marked and externally moderated by Edexcel. This is an opportunity to work in a well-equipped and vibrant department. You should have gained a Grade B at GCSE in either Resistant Materials Technology, Product Design or Electronics and Control Systems or be able to present a portfolio of work demonstrating your skills in the subject. The coursework commitment is large, however, with good time management it is easy to achieve success. The D&T Department is well resourced with a wide range of manufacturing machinery and CAD/CAM equipment including a laser cutter. There is also a computer suite within the Little London Design Centre for the sole use of students studying DT. The results in the subject at AS and A2 level have been high and pupils have won a number of major competition.

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Design and Technology: Textiles Introduction This subject can be successfully studied by those who have flair in Art and Design and also by those who prefer the commercial, scientific or technological aspects of Textiles. The course is of a practical, problem-solving nature and encourages independent learning, creativity and innovation. Entry Requirements: It is helpful, but not necessary to have studied Textiles at GCSE. No prior knowledge of Design and Technology is necessary; although evidence of a good level of creativity will be requested. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1: Written Paper (50% of AS) Questions are concerned with the design and manufacture of fabrics, apparel, household and industrial textiles and focus on the development of fibres and fabrics for specific end uses. Students will learn about technical developments in fibre and fabric technology as well as ethical issues surrounding fashion and textile design and manufacture. The paper will also require students to analyse existing products to establish how they have been designed for target consumers. Module 2: Coursework (50% of AS) Approximately 50 hours of coursework which consists of a design folder and a practical piece. The coursework includes aspects of industrial and commercial practice, the history of design and designers, 3-dimensional modelling and evaluating skills. The coursework will allow students to gain experience in designing from a range of sources and influences as well as the opportunity to research aspects of marketing, branding and fashion business. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3: Written Paper (25% of AL) A two hour paper testing knowledge of all aspects of the Textiles specification, from fibre and fabric development through to garment production and industrial manufacturing systems. Students are asked to answer four out of six question that must include one from each section: materials & components, design & market influences and processes & manufacture. Module 4: Coursework (25% of AL) A single, integrated coursework project using any material or combination of materials is allowed for this aspect. Students are encouraged to explore the areas of fashion and textiles that are of most interest to them where experiences from the AS year can be developed. They have the opportunity to devise their own design brief in this module. Designing and making are equally weighted. The coursework consists of approximately 50 hours. There are a growing number of opportunities related to Textiles. There are good degree courses at many universities which cater for an increasing demand for textile technologists in industry. Such courses include Textile Design, Textile Management, as well as Marketing and Consumer related courses. Those with an artistic flair can go on to study Fashion Design, Fashion Promotion/Journalism and Interior Design.

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Drama & Theatre Studies Outline of AS Specification: There is no written examination at AS level. All writing is assessed through coursework but the whole spirit of this course lies in the practical work. Entry Requirements B or better at GCSE English will allow you to score well at Drama at AS level Module 1 (40% of AS) Students explore two contrasting texts, one in the Autumn Term and one in the Spring Term. Exploration takes place through a wide range of practical lessons and students are assessed on their contribution to these practical lessons. Further marks are earned by writing Exploration Notes on each of the two plays and the notes are amassed throughout each term. Students also have to attend a Live Performance and write a piece about it. Module 2 (60% of AS) This module is wholly practical. Students must offer a monologue or a duologue from a play to a visiting examiner and then explain the choices they made in the way they performed it. Students also must take part in an extract from a play or a full play (depending on the size of the group) which is also shown to the visiting examiner. Examination day will probably be in the second week of the Trinity Term. Outline of A2 Specification: There are two more modules at this level. In brief, Module 3 asks the students to develop a piece rather than performing a play. The piece must be heavily influenced by a practitioner such as Artaud. The students have to decide on a particular kind of audience, for example prisoners or young children, and create their piece targeted at that audience. Students also have to write some coursework explaining the choices they made when creating the piece. (20% of AL) Module 4 is a written examination. Students answer on two texts. Sections A and B are on a set text and students answer from the perspective of a director. Section C is on a text chosen from a set period which students will study and go to see performed. Their examination question will be based on the performance conditions of the text in its original era as compared to the modern production. (30% of AL) FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Is this an easy subject? It feels enjoyable if you like acting and have self-discipline, but it is as time consuming as all the other subjects with quite a lot of rehearsing outside lessons. By A2 level, you will need to show genuine depth of thought. What if I don’t like performing but like reading and writing about plays? Go and do English! What if I’ve not done Drama at GCSE? See the Head of Drama who will give you a small audition and an honest opinion! Can I be in other school productions? Yes, AS and A2 candidates are encouraged to be in as many productions as possible outside lesson time. What if I’m shy? Do another subject.

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Economics • • • •

‘What was the Credit Crunch?’ ‘What is a double-dip recession?’ ‘What is so important about Inflation?’ ‘Why are Petrol prices so high?’

There has possibly never been a more important time to understand Economic principles than now. Every day the news is dominated by Economics and its related issues. Economics deals with the real world and this is what makes the subject so rewarding! By the end of the course all students should be able to understand the different viewpoints on these and many more vital questions, know their significance and be able to provide reasoned and sound policy recommendations. Economics is considered to be a science and involves using theories to predict and explain the workings of the economy. Students will soon become aware of different and conflicting interpretations, which give rise to argument and discussion and the department strongly believes that such healthy debates are an invaluable part of the learning process. Whilst Economics is a very different course from Business Studies, the two courses should not be selected together as an option combination for students entering the Sixth Form. Entry Requirements: The Department follows the OCR specification – no prior knowledge of the subject is required but B grades in English, Mathematics and Science are pre-requisites. AS Economics - Two compulsory modules Module 1: Markets in Action - This is a micro-economics unit that ensures candidates gain an appreciation of the allocation of resources, the market model and selected aspects of what makes markets efficient or sees them fail. Exam: 90 minutes (50% of AS) Module 2: The National and International Economy - This unit sees candidates introduced to how levels of macro-economic activity are determined and also investigates key National and international economic indicators, policies and problems. Exam: 90 minutes (50% of AS) A2 Economics: Module 3: Economics of Work and Leisure - The principal focus here is on understanding and analysing the labour market concepts and issues. Leisure industries are considered in terms of models of market structure and the way leisure needs can impact on the supply of labour. Exam 2 hour (25% of AL) Module 5: The Global Economy - This unit provides the conceptual framework for the understanding, analysis, and evaluation of macro-economic performance in national, regional and global contexts. The key topics are comparative economic performance indicators and policies, trade and integration, development. Exam: 2 hour (25% of AL)

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English Literature Introduction English in the Sixth Form involves the study of literature. The syllabus offers the opportunity to read a wide and interesting range of texts, including drama, the novel and poetry, from different literary periods. Six texts are studied in detail in each year of the course, and assessment is by both examination and coursework. Titles of particular works vary from year to year, and the aim is to offer a balance between modern works and more established classics. Teaching methods are varied and flexible. Discussion in small groups creates broad perspectives on the texts. You should be willing to volunteer and share your ideas, and sometimes take the lead by presenting a short seminar paper to other members of the group. Rarely in English is there a right or wrong answer, but there is a strong emphasis on interpretation substantiated by close reading of set works. Texts are taught in their context, looking at how they reflect the time they were written in. You will also engage with literary criticism, exploring other readers’ views of the works you study. You should therefore be prepared to read around the subject and to work independently in the formulation of ideas. At the same time you will be encouraged to develop sound written and analytical skills for the use in essay writing. Activities outside the classroom form an integral part of the teaching. Entry Requirements A genuine interest in reading and a desire to discuss ideas in class are vital for success in this subject. B grades in GCSE English and English Literature usually suggest that you will manage the demands of the course at AS Level well, but even more important is your intellectual curiosity and motivation. Outline of AS Specification and Assessment Procedures Module 1:

Poetry and Prose 1800-1945: closed text examination (30% of A Level) One poetry text, one novel and anthology of literary criticism.

Module 2:

Literature post-1900: coursework (20% of A Level) A coursework folder of 3,000 words containing two tasks. One is a critical commentary on an extract from a text; the second task is an essay comparing two linked texts.

Outline of A2 Specification and Assessment Procedures Module 3:

Drama and Poetry pre-1800 : closed text examination One Shakespeare Text A further drama and poetry text published before 1800

Module 4:

Texts in their Time: coursework (20% of A Level) A study of three texts related by theme or genre Coursework consists of a 3000 word essay involving the comparison of the texts.

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(30% of A Level)


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Geography Introduction If you are interested in the world about you and in learning more about people, places and environments, together with contemporary local and global issues, then Geography at advanced level is for you. It will involve reading a variety of source material, making notes, completing weekly assignments, using modern information technology and getting out of the classroom for fieldwork. Enthusiasm and interest, matched with ability would make you an ideal candidate! There is the opportunity to continue in a more developed form some of the topics that you studied at GCSE as well as studying areas that will be new to you. Entry requirements At least a grade B in GCSE Geography is required, although each case will be considered on its own merits. Most important is a genuine interest and a good record in the subject. All AS Level candidates attend a 5 day residential field course in North Wales at the end of term two. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1: Managing Physical Environments (50% of AS) This unit will have as content River Environments, Coastal Environments and Cold Environments. 1.5 hour written paper answering 3 questions. Module 2: Managing Change in Human Environments (50% of AS) This unit will have as content Managing Urban Change, the Energy Issue and the Growth of Tourism. 1.5 hour written paper answering 3 questions. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3: Geographical Issues - A study of three topics from two sections. (30% of AL) Section A - Earth Hazards, Ecosystems and Environments under threat, Section B - Population and resources, Globalisation, Development and Inequalities 2.5 hour written paper answering 5 questions. Module 4: Geographical Skills (20% of AL) This module is designed to be synoptic. Candidates will use skills in geographical research and investigations/fieldwork acquired during AS and A2. Candidates need to have undertaken individual research on a geographical topic of their choice. This individual research/investigation should be based on any of the topics addressed in modules 1, 2 and 3. It is aimed to provide clear evidence of extension and synthesis of understanding and skills. The examination will utilise decision-making and problem solving skills as well as requiring candidates to draw upon knowledge previously acquired. You will need to demonstrate the ability to ‘think like a geographer!’ 1.5 hour written paper answering 3 questions partly related to candidates’ own research.

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History Introduction This course seeks to develop themes such as the limits of despotic power, religious and racial intolerance and the nature of dissent and political opposition. It also provides through the Historical Enquiry an opportunity to choose your own topic of study and to work one-toone with a teacher in a way that will prepare you for university life. The course will combine well with anything on the Arts and Social Sciences and can provide an opportunity for scientists/mathematicians to maintain their literacy skills. Entry Requirements: Good GCSEs in History and English, minimum grade B, will be required since this is predominantly an essay-writing subject. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1 Tsarist Russia 1855-1917 1 hour 15 minutes examination (50% of AS) Written paper. 2 questions to be answered from a choice of 3 two-part questions. Tests understanding of change over time. This module provides an overview of Russian history under the last three Tsars. Module 2 Anti-Semitism, Hitler and the German People, 1919–1945 1 hour 30 minutes examination (50% of AS) 1 compulsory two-part, source-based question + 1 structured two-part question from choice of 2. Tests understanding of a significant period of history in depth. This module provides an opportunity to investigate Hitler’s impact on German attitudes and policies towards the Jews. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3: The Triumph of Elizabeth: Britain 1547–1603 1 hour 30 minutes examination (30% of AL) Written paper chosen from HIS3A to HIS3N. Two essay questions to be answered from a choice of three. Tests understanding both in depth and breadth. This module promotes an understanding of change and continuity over a period of 60 years of British history, during which the power of the Tudor state was strengthened both at home and abroad. Module 4: Historical Enquiry : The Crusades 1095-1197 A piece of coursework of approximately 3500 words: (20% of AL) An analysis of an historical issue either chosen from the range of exemplars provided by AQA or from an equivalent course of study devised by the centre or an individual choice made by the candidate under the supervision of the teacher. The issue developed must show understanding of change over 100 years. Internally assessed by the centre. Moderated by AQA.

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Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Introduction Progress, developments and interest in the world of ICT have never been greater. The ICT A Level specification provides scope for students to experience a whole host of material. The course is demanding but with good time management it is easy to achieve success. The course aims to develop problem-solving skills through the practical application of ICT as well as to offer candidates the chance to analyse, appraise and make critical judgments about the use of ICT systems. It also aims to offer students the chance to understand the role of information, its structure, application and implementations. We hope that upon completion of the course candidates will also have an awareness of the role of ICT in management, as well as a broad and balanced view of its role within the workplace and the implications of its use. During the course there are plenty of opportunities to learn to use a variety of software ranging from Web development and Multimedia technologies through to Databases and Spreadsheets. Entry Requirements: A keen interest in ICT and access to a computer at home with a broadband connection. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1 - Information Systems (60% of AS) A written paper consisting of two sections, A and B, presented in a question and answer booklet. There are no optional questions. Candidates will be required to prepare a spreadsheet on a specific topic, defined by the Exam Board, in advance of the written paper. Hard copies of the spreadsheet are taken into the examination and used to answer questions in Section B. This spreadsheet is submitted with the completed examination paper. Topics include data, information and knowledge. The value and importance of information. The quality of information. Validation and verification. Capabilities and limitations of ICT. The uses of ICT in business, health, education and the home. Presenting Information. Networks. The human computer interface, social issues and concludes with database systems and data modelling. Module 2 Presenting ICT Tasks (40% of AS) Candidates learn how to use a variety of software applications and then undertake a series of DTP and Multimedia tasks during the year which are internally assessed, prior to external moderation. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3 Use and Impact of ICT (30% of AL) A written paper of two sections, A and B. Candidates answer all questions in Section A and one from two in Section B. This section is about the use and impact of Information and Communication Technology. Candidates get the opportunity to consider the use of contemporary hardware and software. Topics include choosing a network for a company, types of network topology and associated hardware. Software components. The impact that the Internet has had on Business. Moral, social and ethical issues associated with the internet. Security, legislation and codes of conduct. Management of change. Management Information Systems. Systems Life cycle development. Module 4 Coursework: Relational Database Project (20% of AL) Candidates analyse, design, implement, test and evaluate a solution to a problem of their choice requiring the use of a relational database. This is a substantial piece of work, undertaken over an extended period of time. It is internally assessed and then moderated by the Examination Board. 22


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Mathematics and Further Mathematics Introduction Mathematics at A Level is very different from (and much more difficult than) GCSE in content, in style of examination and in the workload it places on students. In particular, you should be aware that every question will require Algebra on some level. However, many students find the subject both stimulating and rewarding: it is more interesting at A Level than it is at GCSE. Many courses and jobs require or prefer Mathematics A Level. Even where it is not a requirement, it is a highly respected qualification, and research shows it increases your earning power in the real world. Entry Requirements: Normally, at least a grade A at GCSE will be needed to cope successfully with A Level, A*for Further Mathematics. Structure: An AS Level consists of three modules and an A Level of six. All Mathematics modules are examined by a 90 minute examination. A description of the modules follows the section on structure. Each AS module is worth 33.3% of AS (and then 16.7% of AL); each A2 module 16.7% of AL. Students not considering Further Mathematics: • You should expect to spend a great deal of time on Mathematics outside class as well. • If also studying Physics or Design, you should opt for Mathematics with Mechanics (M1) ; otherwise, normally, Mathematics with Statistics (S1) • You will sit C1 and C2 and one of M1 or S1 in June of the Lower Sixth. • You will sit C3 and C4 in June of the Upper Sixth, plus one applied module. •

Students considering Further Mathematics: Lower Sixth: • An accelerated Mathematics Course, covering C1, C2 and FP1, plus at least three applied modules. • You will ‘cash in’ for an AS Level in Mathematics, keeping the other modules for your Further Mathematics A Level. Upper Sixth: The key to this stage is flexibility. You may re-sit some modules to gain a better A Level, but go no further; you may study sufficient new material to gain an AS Level in Further Mathematics; you may sit a full A Level in Further Mathematics. The options for Further Mathematics are: AS: Further Mathematics: FP1 and two other additional modules. A level: FP1 and five other additional modules, one of which must be an FP module.

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Outline of Modular Specification: An A Level consists of six, an AS of three, modules, taken from the following list. You will need to consult the Head of Mathematics about possible combinations. Pure Mathematics Modules: C1: Indices and surds, polynomials, coordinate geometry and graphs (including circles), differentiation C2: Trigonometry (including radians), sequences and series, factor and remainder theorems, Laws of Indices, logarithms, integration C3: Functions (including domain, range, 1-1, inverse, modulus), inverse trig functions, trig identities, differentials of lnx and ex, chain rule, product and quotient rules, integrals of lnx and 1/x, volume of revolution, numerical methods C4: Rational functions, binomial expansion (including for non-integer n), parametric equations, differentials of trig functions, implicit and parametric differentiation, integration with partial fractions, by substitution and by parts, first order differential equations (separable variable), vector algebra (up to lines in 3-D and dot product) FP1: Summation of series, proof by induction, roots of polynomials using symmetric functions, complex numbers, matrices FP2: Graphs of rational functions, polar coordinates (including integration in polar form), hyperbolic functions (including inverses), differentiation of inverse trig, hyperbolic functions (and integration of results), McClaurin’s series, reduction formulae, bounding integrals by summing series and vice-versa, iteration (cobweb diagrams), Newton-Raphson, error values for iterations FP3: First and second order differential equations, vector (up to equation of plane, including cross product), complex numbers in polar form, de Moivre’s Theorem, nth roots of unity, group theory. Mechanics Modules: M1: Forces as vectors, equilibrium of a particle, kinematics, Newton’s Laws, momentum M2: Centres of gravity, equilibrium of rigid bodies, projectiles, circular motion, impulse and restitution, energy, work and power M3: Objects in contact, elastic strings, impulse and momentum in 2D, motion in a vertical circle, variable forces, simple harmonic motion M4: Relative motion, centres of gravity, moments of inertia, rotational dynamics, stability and oscillation. Statistics Modules: S1: Representation of data, probability, permutations and combinations, discrete random variables, bivariate data S2: Continuous random variables, normal distribution, Poisson distribution, sampling, hypothesis testing S3: Combinations of random variables, confidence intervals, T-distribution, difference of population means and proportions, chi-squared test. S4: Probability, non-parametric tests, probability generating functions, moment generating functions, estimators, discrete bivariate distributions. Decision Mathematics Modules: D1: Algorithms, graph theory, networks, linear programming, the Simplex Algorithm D2: Game theory, flows in a network, matching and allocation, critical path analysis, dynamic programming.

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Modern Languages - French, German & Spanish Introduction Learning a Modern Language or two opens many doors and as there is a national shortage of professionals with a foreign language, there has never been a better time to continue the study of Modern Languages to A Level. Using a variety of media, including the Language Laboratory, students conduct a detailed study of the language and culture of other countries. The course prepares students for the world of work and travel, both linguistically and by providing them with the many skills inherent in any ‘Arts’ A Level, such as essay and report writing. There are opportunities to go abroad during the two year courses and every student has a conversation lesson once a week with a native speaker. Universities and employers welcome a language qualification combined with anything from Accountancy and Law to Mathematics or the Sciences as Modern Languages are seen as a “facilitating” subject. A language degree course will usually lead to students spending a year of their degree course studying abroad. Entry requirement:

Ideally an A*/A at GCSE.

Outline of AS Specification: Module 1:

Module 2:

Listening (70% of AS, 2 hours) Individual CD. Answers in English or short answers in the foreign language. Reading Answers in English or short answers in the foreign language and a gap fill exercise requiring putting a verb/adjective in the correct form. Writing A 200 word letter/article answering one of a choice of three questions based on the four topic areas covered. Speaking (30% of AS, 15 minutes) Candidates choose one of two cards based on the four topic areas covered and, making notes, have 20 minutes to prepare for a 5 min discussion. There follows a 10 min discussion of three other topic areas, including one nominated by the candidate.

Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3:

Module 4:

Listening (35% of AL, 2 hours 30 minutes) Individual CD. Short answers in the foreign language or multiple choice or True/False Reading Short answers in the foreign language or multiple choice or True/False and transfer of meaning from English to the foreign language and vice-versa. Writing A 250+ word essay on one of the two Cultural Topics studied for A2 such as a novel, play, geographical area or historical period. Speaking (15% of AL, 15 minutes) Candidates choose one of two cards based on the three topic areas covered and, making notes, have 20 minutes to prepare for a 1 min presentation of their viewpoint which they defend/justify for up to 4 min. There follows a 10 min discussion of the two Cultural Topics studied for A2.

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Music Introduction This AQA course has a strong bias towards performing and harmony. You will pick up some handy extra skills as a musician which will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life – whatever your final career choice. This course offers a chance for anyone who has practised his or her instrument (or singing) for many years to harness that work into gaining a good A level grade. This is all the more pertinent if you plan on having music lessons during your sixth form years anyway. Entry Requirements: Music GCSE and/or the ability to play a musical instrument to approximately Grade 5 standard (Grade 6 would be helpful by the time the AS examination is taken). Theory to Grade 5 standard and some knowledge of bass clef will also be needed. Outline of AS Specification: Listening

(30% of AS)

A listening examination with a CD and 2 essay questions based on your two areas of study: Beethoven symphony no1 and Baroque Choral Music Composing

(30% of AS)

You will be taught how to handle harmony and shown how composers and songwriters use it. This will include harmonising a 16 bar melody. There is also an option to compose in a traditional style. Performing

(40% of AS)

You must record two performances from: solo instrumental, solo on a second instrument, solo vocal, ensemble performance. Each performance needs to be between 5 and 7 minutes long A2 Specification: Module 4 Music in Context

(15% of AL)

Listening questions from a CD and two essay questions based on two areas of study: Shostakovitch symphony no5 and English Choral Music of the 20th Century Composing

(15% of AL)

Either: harmonising a Bach Chorale and a string quartet or composition Performance

(20% of AL)

A 10 – 15 minute performance as a soloist. Approx 6 – 7 standard.

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Physical Education Introduction Physical Education at Advanced Level has a multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses the scientific, the socio-cultural and the practical. It requires much of its students, focusing on the performer and performance. All theoretical work is supported by practical experiment and demonstration, with the emphasis being very much ‘hands on’. Entry Requirements: · All students are considered on their individual merits. However, it would be fair to say that advantage will be gained by those students who have good GCSE passes in Biology/Physics, English and Mathematics. (B or above) · You must be literate, numerate and committed to the subject. · Physical ability is a necessity. Good skills in observation and analysis are required. · All students must be committed to representing the school at one sport and must train for a second sport either in school or outside of school regularly. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1: An introduction to Physical Education This includes the study of Anatomy and Physiology, Acquiring Movement Skills and SocioCultural Studies relating to participation in physical activity. (60% of AS) Module 2: Acquiring, developing and evaluating practical skills in Physical Education This module focuses o the student’s performance in two different activity areas and their ability to evaluate and plan for the improvement of performance. (40% of AS)

Outline of A2 Specification : Module 3: Principles and concepts across different areas of Physical Education This includes the history of sport, comparative studies, sports psychology, biomechanics and exercise and sport physiology. (35% of AL) Module 4: The improvement of effective performance and critical evaluation of practical activities in Physical education. This unit focuses on practical skills and students will be assessed in their ability to perform effectively in the authentic, contextual situation that the activity is normally performed. Students will also be assessed by observing a live performance and recommending an appropriate strategy to improve the observed performance. (15% of AL) In short, A Level Physical Education is academically stimulating, physically challenging, enjoyable and worthwhile. The multi-disciplinary nature of the subject allows you to combine PE with many different subjects.

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Physics Introduction The Physics specification offers a challenging course based on contemporary contexts to motivate and interest students. The two year course provides essential grounding for those who intend to read one of the Physical Sciences or Engineering at university, and it is often highly recommended for those students who are likely to study Medicine, Biological or Chemical Sciences or Geography at degree level. Physics can, of course, be pursued for its own sake. The one and the two-year courses provide a chance to acquire a deeper understanding of the universe in which we live and to develop the ability to cope flexibly with problem-solving, in both theoretical and practical situations. Entry Requirements: Potential students must have achieved at least a grade A in GCSE Physics or Science and Additional Science. Competence in Mathematics is essential for success in Physics and you should have an A grade or better at GCSE. Mathematics is very useful as an accompanying subject and is essential for students wishing to study Physics or Engineering at university. Outline of AS Specification: Module 1:

Physics on the Go – Sport and spare part surgery are the contexts for the study of mechanics and the properties of modern materials. (40% of AS)

Module 2:

Physics at Work – Medical physics, music and technology in space are used to develop a detailed understanding of current electricity and wave phenomena. (40% of AS)

Module 3:

Exploring Physics – Students undertake a visit to see a real life application of physics which then forms the basis of a laboratory based experiment. (20% of AS) Outline of A2 Specification: Module 4:

Physics on the Move – Particle physics involving the acceleration and detection of high energy particles with exotic names such as ‘strange’ and ‘charm’ link concepts such as momentum, circular motion and magnetic fields. (20% of AL)

Module 5:

Physics from Creation to Collapse – Through earthquake zones to nuclear decay and Astrophysics to Cosmology, students study the evolution of stars, the possible future of the Universe, radioactivity theory and the physics of oscillations. (20% of AL)

Module 6:

Experimental Physics – Students use the skills they have learned during the course to plan and carry out an experiment in the laboratory. (10% of AL)

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Politics Politics and Government Introduction Politics is a live subject, changing day by day and impacting on all our lives. The study of it involves both an investigation into the institutions of government, such as Parliament, the Prime Minister and the cabinet, and a look at more philosophical ideas that underpin the political parties, our constitution and the way we vote. In looking at these ideas you will learn much about the world around you, it’s constraints and freedoms and who makes the big decisions and how. You will consider the major issues of the day and come out of the course well equipped in decision making and analytical skills The AS is an entirely UK Government and Politics course. The A2 extends understanding through a comparative study of the Government and Politics of the USA. Entry requirements: GCSE English Language B Outline of AS Specification: Module 1 - People, Politics and Participation (50% of AS) This unit covers the following topic areas: The nature of participation in the political process and voting behaviour. The nature of representation and elections. The role of political parties & the importance of Pressure groups. You will be tested in short and long written answer data responses to show your ability to deliver mature thinking processes Module 2 - Governing Modern Britain (50% of AS) This unit covers the following topic areas: The British Constitution and Judiciary, Parliament and government relationship. The PM and Cabinet system, policy making and its implementation & Elected local and devolved government in the UK, and the European Union. The exam is the same style as paper 1and allows you to show you understand complex concepts and inter-relationships. Outline of A2 Specification: Module 3 - The Politics of the USA (25% of AL) This unit covers the following topic areas: US Electoral Process and Direct Democracy, Political Parties, Voting Behaviour & Pressure Groups. You will gain a broader understanding of a very different system to the UK. Module 4 - The Government of the USA (25% of AL) This unit covers the following topic areas: Constitutional Framework, The Legislative Branch, The Executive Branch & The Judicial Branch. This section allows you to investigate one of the world’s superpowers systems of Government The AS is examined in June of Lower Sixth and the A level in June of Upper Sixth.

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Religious Studies Philosophy and ethics Introduction This course combines a study of Philosophy and Ethics and using the principles of critical thinking gives insight into human nature and aspiration. It develops understanding and challenges you to think systematically and logically. An AS or full A Level course in Philosophy and Ethics will equip you with a set of transferable skills which can be applied successfully to other academic subjects at degree level. Entry Requirements A lively and investigative interest in the reasons for the way we think and act is vital for success in this subject. A grade B at RS GCSE or English Language is desirable. Outline of AS Specifications Module 1: Ethics (50 % of AS) 1. Utilitarianism. A system of ethics based on the principle of doing the greatest good for the greatest number 2. Situation Ethics places the emphasis on making moral decisions rather than following rules 3. Abortion, Euthanasia and Embryology Module 2: Philosophy 1. The Cosmological argument 2. Psychology and religion 3. Atheism and postmodernism

(50% of AS)

Outline of A2 Specifications Module 3: Studies in Ethics 1. How free are human actions and choices? 2. Virtue Ethics. A system based on the development of character 3. Ethical issues arising from Science and Technology

(50% of A2)

Module 4: Moral Decision-Making (50% of A2) 1. Considering which ethical system is the most suitable for making moral decisions in the 21st century. 2. Application of ethical systems to issues arising from medical research and developments

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How do I apply to universities? We offer you a full programme of advice and guidance on applying to universities and expect applications to be completed by the middle of October in the U6. After you apply, universities will hopefully make you offers: Two A Level passes (or the equivalent) are expected to remain the minimum requirement for considering university entrance. Many courses demand specific A Level grades (e.g. AAB). Some will specify a tariff. The tariff will depend on the grades achieved in examinations. (See box) An AS score is only included if it is NOT part of an A Level. Many points offers specify the subjects which must count and / or a maximum number of subjects. Aptitude tests also exist that may be required by certain universities and they include LNAT [Law] and BMAT [Medicine] Further information is given on Page 34 in An RGS Guide to Examinations and University Entry

What is a GAP year? At the end of their Sixth Form, and before going on to university, many of our leavers choose to take a GAP Year. Some universities and employers believe that taking a constructive year out between A Levels and university can have a very positive impact on your personal development. Moreover, a GAP year may be an ideal way for you to experience a different way of life, take a break from studying, earn money for university, gain work experience, improve a foreign language or just have an adventure! You can organise a GAP year in a number of ways. We help ‘Gappers’ to get in touch with the relevant organisations. At the moment there are 134 such organisations in the UK alone! The top 17 cater for about 4000 placements a year. We have particularly strong links with the biggest, the ‘GAP Organisation’ itself, but you should be aware that placements with the most popular organisations are highly competitive. In recent years, we have helped our students to organise GAP years in: Canada, the USA, Spain, France, Morocco, South Africa, Kenya, India, Chile, Ecuador, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, China, Malaysia and Russia. Many more students have spent their GAP year in the UK. For all, it has been a thoroughly worthwhile experience; for some, an opportunity they may never have again!

What about my career? We encourage you to consider a wide range of careers. To assist your final decision you will take part in job shadowing and the Head of Higher Education is available to help you.

Do I have to do Games? Yes. You will take part in Games for one afternoon each week. The range of activities is likely to include: athletics, badminton, cricket, cross-country running, dance, football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, netball, rowing, rugby, sailing, table tennis, tennis and weight training. 31


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In addition, there exists a comprehensive programme of fixtures with other schools in a variety of sports, many of which occur on Saturdays. The expectation is that those selected will be available as and when required. Whilst special consideration will be given to individual cases where excellence is apparent, opting out of individual sports is not normally acceptable.

What else should I do outside the classroom? Involvement in extra-curricular activities is vital, and not just because it looks good on a university application form. We expect you to take part in or, even better, to organise activities. This will broaden your experience and give you an opportunity to display initiative, exercise responsibility and lead younger students. You will benefit from this and so will the school. In recent years such activities have included: BISMARCK Modelling Club Chess Club CCF Community Service Dance Drama Fencing Film Society Music War Games and Fantasy Society

Board games Christian Union Charities Debating and Public Speaking Duke of Edinburgh Award Helping in local schools History Literary Society Trampolining Work Experience and Job Shadowing

What do I wear? There is a formal dress code which includes a suit and the school tie for boys and a suit and formal top for girls. You will be given details of the dress code later.

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An RGS Guide to Examinations and University Entry [a] Exams The system introduced in 2000 modified all Advanced Level subjects in two main ways; the first was to make them modular, that is the content and skills necessary in each subject were divided into four (Maths, Science and Music have six) modular specifications (‘specification’ is the new word for syllabus). The second change concerned exams; the logical consequence of having four orsix modules was to examine them individually. The first two or three modules would be AS modules, the second two or three would be A2 modules. Thus two qualifications were now available: an AS Level (marks gained from AS modules), graded A-E and U [unclassified; it means fail] and an A Level (comprising marks gained from AS modules plus A2 modules) and graded A*-E and U. A2 has no standing on its own. It was always planned that AS would be easier than A2 but that both would count 50% towards an A Level. This change made the system more flexible for students: •

Modular exams held in January and in the Summer would enable students to sit them shortly after finishing that particular course of study. However, not all A2 modules are examined in January.

The system also allows students to re-sit particular modules in order to improve the overall result; if a modular exam is retaken, the higher result always counts.

A student wishing to discontinue a subject after one year’s study could now gain a recognised qualification (an AS Level)

A student could study four subjects to AS Level in year one (Lower Sixth here at RGS) and then drop one to concentrate on three subjects in the second year (Upper Sixth) in order to focus on three good grades.

A student could add one AS subject to his or her three ‘core’ subjects in the Lower Sixth, bank that and then take up another in the Upper Sixth.

Four subjects in the Lower Sixth encouraged some balance, typically either three sciences plus a language, or a humanity like Economics, Politics or Religious Studies or three arts/humanities plus Maths or a science.

The marks system was made uniform (it’s called UMS, uniform marks system). Each module would be awarded a mark and a grade (A-E + U). In every module, in every subject, the following applies: 80%+ = A 70%+ = B 60%+ = C 50%+ = D 40%+ = E 39% - = U 33


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• Many modules are marked out of 100, though not all; however, all AS maximums are 200 (except Maths, Science and Music which are 300) and all A2 maximums are 400 (except Maths, Science and Music which are 600) •

The modules have little individual standing until aggregated into an AS Level or A Level. The relationship between marks and grades are the same for overall grades at AS and A Level. So for all subjects except for Maths, Science and Music:

AS Mark 240 210 180 150 120 Below 120 •

AS Grade A B C D E U

A2 Mark 480 420 360 300 240 Below 240

A2 Grade A B C D E U

Module exams taken early can clear the way for concentration on fewer exams in the Summer.

With this flexibility, inevitably, goes complexity but some of these complexities are opportunities: •

Students may re-sit AS modules where the result is quite good because they wish to improve their overall A Level total (remember marks are easier to come by at AS than A2)

If they re-sit, it does not always make sense to re-sit the one(s) with the lowest total(s). If you want ten extra marks, it may be easier to raise something you are good at from 70% to 80% than to raise something you are not good at from 50% to 60%.

Students can improve their AS or A Level overall grades by re-sitting modules.

Students can re-sit modules after they have left school; most modular results have a long shelf-life.

Some of these complexities are potentially problematic: •

Universities have access to each applicant’s modular record from the Exam Boards; lots of re-sits might not look so good, especially in comparison with other applicants who got them all first time. Medicine is a particular concern here.

AS re-sits taken in the January of the U6 year can divert valuable time and focus from A2 courses.

So the pattern is both helpful and challenging: it is certainly different from the previous system where all the decisions came at the beginning and all the exams at the end. Now the decisions (course modifications, early exams, re-sits) and the exams happen throughout.

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[b] University Entry Change here too, often as a result of the specification and exam changes outlined above. It is well to remember too that universities are much more diverse than they used to be, if only because there are many more of them, appealing to different types of applicants. Some, for example, are very selective: in 2004 Bristol had 1171 applicants for its 100 History places, yet some 50% of UK universities do not select at all. In this explanation, we will focus on the ‘selecting’ rather than on the ‘recruiting’ universities. Advice on application for non-UK universities can be found elsewhere. For RGS students, selection for any given university is mostly by A and AS Level results. At present universities set entry ‘offers’ (the offer of a place dependent on certain exam results) either as A Level grades (e.g. ABB, or sometimes more precisely, in the form of A in Maths +BB) or as points (e.g. 360 points). The UCAS points system is as follows: A Level Grade A* A B C D E

UCAS Points 140 120 100 80 60 40

AS Grade

UCAS Points

A B C D E

60 50 40 30 20

UCAS points can be accrued in other ways as well, including Music qualifications. One major problem here, for the selecting universities, is the growth in A grades (in 2004, 26% of all A Level entries were graded A) which makes it harder for universities to select. Hence the introduction of the A* grade which requires enough overall marks for the A grade plus an average of 90% in A2 modules (n.b. special rules for Maths) They are, therefore increasingly turning to variants on the American model of SATs (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) which purport to measure aptitude rather than simple knowledge. They are harder (some say impossible) to prepare for and are thus seen as fair discriminators. For example, BMAT and UKCAT (for medics), HAT (for History), EAT (for History), TSA (for PPE) and LNAT (for Law). The process for application to university requires some preparation and a good working knowledge of the system. This outline covers the main elements: Year 11

Gain good GCSE results; they are still a good indicator for university admissions officers and the top universities will be looking for A*/A in key subjects and/or the average grades gained in key subjects. Select the ‘right’ AS subjects. The best guide for students is to choose what they like and are good at, but some university subjects require certain subjects (e.g. Medicine requires Chemistry) and some prefer certain subjects (e.g. Chemistry for Archaeology, Maths for Economics or Architecture) and some look for certain subjects (e.g. a subject like History or English for Law) Start to think and act on any necessary work experience; this is an absolute must for courses such as Veterinary Science and will also help the student to decide whether it is the right course for them.

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Select possible courses and universities; plan visits and open days; check entry requirements. Continue to develop work experience, if appropriate. If Oxbridge or top selecting universities are in the frame, then the student needs to develop his/her claim to be interested and committed to a particular course or subject. This may mean independent reading, visits (to historical sites, Parliament, research labs, etc). If at interview the student can show none of this, then the interviewer is entitled to doubt the genuineness of the claim. Guidance will be given at School concerning the process and the method of application. Gain good AS results; these will appear on the application form and universities will have access to all module results.

Upper Sixth

Application: key role of the personal statement which summarises interests and the claim to be considered; this is the culmination of the last few years’ preparation. If it is not and is merely a shortterm reaction to a deadline, then it tends to show! Consider the range of speciality qualifications on offer. Some university courses require the successful completion of an aptitude test as shown above. Deadlines are important: 15 October for Oxbridge and all medical applications but early application is a significant advantage. Advice is available on all aspects. Practice interviews are arranged for Oxbridge (because the interview is such a key part of selection and all colleges interview) and medical (ditto) candidates but any student at RGS can ask for a practice interview. When offers from universities are received, the student needs to sift through them and decide which two to hold, usually the most preferred university and an ‘insurance’ offer (the lowest). Should there be no offers the student can re-apply before the results come out via the appropriate process. We are here on results day and thereafter to give advice and guidance on the procedure to be followed should the student wish to enter the clearing process.

Advice for Potential Oxbridge Applicants 36


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The Myth of the All-Rounder Oxbridge, along with other top UK universities, make offers solely on the basis of academic criteria – and this is becoming more and more the case as time goes by. As pupils prepare for GCSE exams this summer, and start to consider their A Level choices, they would do well to bear this in mind. Do not be under the misapprehension that an average academic profile can be countered by exceptional involvement and achievement in other areas of school life: it cannot. With the number of applicants to top universities increasing with each passing year, the competition for entry to Oxbridge will only increase. A Health Warning Some of the specific information provided below may appear to be at odds with advice provided publicly by Oxford and Cambridge (e.g. on their website) – for instance, you will not find the GCSE A* requirement that we outline below. It is the case, however, that Admissions Tutors will expect a near flawless academic profile from candidates from schools such as RGS – the information provided publicly is designed, in part, to encourage applications from students who come from very different educational backgrounds. The advice we provide below is based on our experience of the criteria for success for applicants from RGS. So, What GCSE Grades Do I Need? A realistic Oxbridge candidate should have A* grades in the majority of their GCSE subjects: candidates for all subjects should have at least six A* grades, whilst some of the more competitive courses might require eight or nine. And, ideally, there should be no B grades on the UCAS form of an Oxbridge applicant. And at AS Level? Academic achievement must be sustained into the Sixth Form. AS exams are likely to be the last examinations that a candidate sits before submitting an Oxbridge application, and Admissions Tutors will expect to see scores of at least 90% in the three most relevant AS subjects, with an A grade (i.e. at least 80%) in the fourth. Indeed, Oxbridge see AS results as a key identifier of ability, and candidates should ideally be looking to score greater than 95 % in their module examinations. These high scores can be achieved if the pupil is motivated and organised from the outset of the AS Level course. Many of the other top Universities (Imperial, UCL, and Bristol to mention a few) will also be looking for scores in excess of 90% at AS Level: for University entry in 2011, 15 universities have asked for an A* grade at A2. This number is only going to increase with time. What AS Subjects Should I Choose? In most cases, the answer to this question is less important than the answer to questions given above. Clearly, potential medics need to study Chemistry and at least one other science; potential classicists are likely to want to choose Latin at A Level; successful Engineering applicants to Cambridge normally study Maths and Further Maths. Applicants for Arts subjects should try and choose at least three Arts subjects at A Level, whilst applicants for Science subjects should try and choose at least three Science subjects including Maths and if possible Further Maths at A Level. However, beyond this, the grades achieved are more important than the subjects studied. Both universities publish details of where specific courses require specific A Levels to have been taken. This information can be found at: 37


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• •

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http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergraduate/apply/requirements/course.html and http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate_courses/courses/courses_and_entra nce_requirements/table.html

“Obvious” subjects are often not required – for example, a Theology applicant does not need to study RS; an applicant for PPS or PPE does not need to study Politics; Maths is more important for an Economics applicant than Economics. However, applicants who have not chosen these subjects in a school where they are available will have to remember that they will need to be particularly well-prepared to convince an Admissions Tutor of their interest in the course for which they are applying. It is true that, on the website mentioned above, Cambridge publishes a list of subjects which they believe – if studied at A Level – provide less good preparation for nature of study at Cambridge. This includes a small number of subjects that are on offer at RGS. It should be noted that potential Oxbridge applicants may certainly choose one of these subjects within their selection of 4 AS levels. Cambridge states that no more than one of these subjects should be chosen from an A Level portfolio of three subjects. However, as one subject within an AS Level portfolio of four subjects, these subjects are perfectly acceptable. Indeed, the very purpose of the “fourth AS subject” is to enable students to choose these subjects, should they so wish. However, it may be inadvisable to take such a subject on to A2. Preparing Oxbridge Applicants from RGS About 20 pupils apply to Oxbridge every year from RGS, and they should be aware that Admissions Tutors are looking, above all, for personal interest and motivation – this is not something that can be taught. Successful applicants will be those who are self-motivated and have demonstrated initiative in their engagement with their prospective course outside the confines of the A Level specifications. This having been said, RGS does provide a programme to support Oxbridge applicants. Beyond providing advice regarding GCSE grade requirements (to ensure that candidates have ticked this box) and A Level subject choice (where necessary), the formal process of preparation begins at the start of the Lent Term of a pupil’s Lower Sixth year. •

Mid-January – Oxbridge Evening. An evening for Lower Sixth form pupils and their parents, with information provided by RGS’s Oxbridge co-ordinators and speeches from current Oxbridge tutors.

Extension Classes. From the Lent Term onwards, each department will provide extension sessions for any interested student, which will expose pupils to material that is off the A Level specification. These classes will be modelled more on the style of Oxbridge tuition. Heads of Department will also provide guidance at this point on wider reading and work experience (where relevant).

• Late-April–Initial Identification. All possible Oxbridge applicants will be asked to signal their serious interest at this point, starting to identify courses and colleges (of which, more below). This information should be finalised by the end of the Summer Term, at the very latest. • Extension classes in the latter part of the Summer Term will focus on identifying areas for independent research and reading over the summer holiday, whilst also assisting pupils in the compilation of their UCAS personal statement. •

Early Michaelmas – Submission of Application. Pupils will be expected to submit 38


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their application to UCAS by the end of September. •

Extension classes in the Michaelmas Term will focus on the preparation for any subject-specific tests in the first instance (of which, more below), and preparation for interviews thereafter. All pupils will have at least one practice interview.

College Choice The choice of College can be crucial for a Choral or Organ Award applicant, but it is often less important for those not competing for these awards. Candidates will be advised by the relevant Head of Department. Whilst we tend to discourage two pupils from applying for the same course at the same college, this is simply cautionary – there is no firm evidence suggesting that this damages an individual pupil’s chance of success. Open Applications are made when the applicant does not specify a College, and is instead allocated to a College upon application – the impact of submitting an Open Application is, at worst, neutral. Visits to Oxford and Cambridge Open Days (which are often facilitated by departments in the latter part of the Summer Term) can be helpful in finalising college choice. Course-Specific Aptitude Tests Applicants for Medicine and Law will need to sit the BMAT (Biomedical Aptitude Test) or UKCAT and LNAT (Law National Aptitude Test) respectively. The BMAT is sat at school, during or shortly after the Michaelmas half-term. Pupils are responsible for entering themselves for the LNAT or UKCAT and these are taken at a test centre away from school. The LNAT or UKCAT are taken at the time of a pupil’s choosing, between September and November. More and more courses at Oxford are using course-specific aptitude tests, and these are sat at RGS during or shortly after the Michaelmas half-term. Currently, there are such tests for all applicants for Classics, Economics and Management, Engineering, Geography, History, English, Modern Languages, Oriental Studies, PPE, Physics, Experimental Psychology, Maths and Computer Science. This list is only going to grow. These tests are used to filter out applicants in advance of interview. This list is only going to grow. These tests are used to filter out applicants in advance of interview. Some colleges at Cambridge use the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) for some courses (and Engineering, Natural Sciences and Economics in particular). This test is taken either at the same time as the BMAT or alternatively, aspects of the test are undertaken at the time of interview. Some colleges at Cambridge use college-specific tests for some other subjects; again these are completed at the time of interview. At this point, Cambridge does not use aptitude tests to filter out applicants in advance of interview. All applicants from RGS will be helped to prepare for these tests in advance, and a formal “mock test” will be sat in early October, with formal feedback provided. Further Information and Support The UCAS application process at RGS is co-ordinated and run by Mr. Tim Hallett and Mrs Ceri Smee. The Oxbridge application process is overseen by Mrs. Vanessa James (who takes responsibility for all Arts applications) and Dr Howard Smith (who takes responsibility for all Science based applications).

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Glossary: A2

A2 modules are taken in the U6. You can only take an A2 in a subject for which you already have an AS pass. The score of the A2 and AS are combined to produce a ‘GCE A Level’ grade.

AS

These are intermediate between GCSE and A Level. They are examined at the end of the L6. Most students will study four.

A Level (AL)

The award based on a simple arithmetic adding of AS and A2 results. The AS and A2 have equal weighting.

Academic package

This is the combination of courses you take.

Year Eleven review

A regular review of your progress in Year Eleven which is used as part of the decision making process before you enter The Sixth Form.

Gap Year

A year taken away from education in order to take part in other useful activities.

Option Blocks

Subjects are fitted into timetable option blocks – there are 5 9-lesson blocks.

Oxbridge

Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Package (academic)

This is the combination of courses you take.

Probationary period

A time in which you have agreed targets to reach, failing 40


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which your Sixth Form progress or placement may be further reviewed. Sixth Form Review

A continuous process of evaluating student progress so that he or she can fine-tune methods and approaches.

Supporting subjects

Some subjects naturally complement each other. For example much of Biology is underpinned by a knowledge of Chemistry.

Synoptic assessment

An A2 assessment that draws on ideas and concepts from previous modules.

Tariff

A score awarded for each grade achieved at AS, A Level and key skills that is used by universities when they make entry offers.

Transferable skills

These are academic skills belonging to specific subject groups, so that a skill developed in one subject is also useful in another. Examples: Many mathematical skills transfer easily between Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Many writing skills transfer between History, Politics, Economics and English. A subject package such as Design, Biology and French would have few transferable skills between the subjects.

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