Electronics (A Level)
Why should I study A Level Electronics?
Electronics is a practical subject with immediate relevance to many aspects of contemporary science and technology. This subject will help you to develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding of the behaviour of analogue and digital electrical/electronic circuits including a wide range of electronic components.
Electronics will help you to develop an understanding of the nature, processes and methods of electronics as an engineering discipline to help answer questions about practical circuits.
Electronics will also help you to:
- Be aware of new and emerging technologies.
- Develop and learn how to apply observational, practical, problem solving and evaluative skills to identify needs in the world and to propose and test electronic solutions.
- Electronics can also help you in areas such as I.T., engineering and music technology.
Finally the A Level qualification will allow you to progress to higher level qualifications or careers in electronics and engineering.
During lessons circuits and techniques are introduced using working demonstration circuits, livewire simulations, and powerpoint presentations, alongside class discussion sessions, quizzes and group work. There is individual and sometimes collaborative practical work, and homework is set and marked regularly. There are fully equipped workstations with test equipment and digital oscilloscopes for each student in the class.
The first year of the course consists of the following topics (examined via written exam papers):
1. Core Concepts.
2. Logic Systems.
3. Timing Circuits.
4. Sequential Logic Systems.
6. Semiconductor Components.
7. Flowcharting with Microcontrollers.
8. Mains power supply systems.
You will also complete 3 practical coursework projects on microcontrollers and analogue and digital electronics, which could include building a traffic lights control, a sequence generator for decorative lighting and an amplifier for an audio system or an oscillator.
Progression onto Year 2
Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.
Further topics are studied for the A Level examination which fall under the two broad areas of control systems and communications systems.
Final Assessment at end of Year 2
You will sit two exams at the end of the second year which will cover all the content from both years of the course and will count towards 80% of the grade.
You will also complete two practical coursework projects. In the past students have built basketball scorers, fruit machines, spectrum analysers and keypad motor controllers. This will make up the other 20% of the grade at A Level.
Core Mathematics (Mathematical Studies) is a very useful complementary course for this subject and is strongly recommended as a further (4th) subject choice for students who are not taking A Level Mathematics or A Level Statistics options. See the Core Mathematics subject page for further details (page 92 in the Prospectus).
Minimum Entry Criteria
Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of:
Both 1st and 2nd grade GCSE Combined Science
if triple science is taken
GCSE Physics (ideally also with 6 in either GCSE Biology or Chemistry)
Please note that GCSE Applied Science or Level 2 BTEC Science qualifications are not acceptable as alternative GCSE science qualifications for Electronics (A Level).
What can I do after studying A Level Electronics?
Many students continue on to university to study a degree in electronics, electronic engineering or computer science. Others will take up apprenticeships with local employers, including companies such as e2v.
This leads to a variety of career paths including engineering, communications, control systems, robotics, I.T. and music technology.
Students will need a scientific calculator. Students will have access to the course textbook with notes, worked examples and problems via an on-line e-book.