What is Electronics?
Electronics has revolutionised the way in which we lead our lives. Obvious examples are radio, television and computing, but electronics systems control virtually every aspect of our lives; in cars, washing machines, aircraft, telephones – the list is endless.
This course is a useful introduction to electronics, providing the student with the necessary knowledge and qualifications to go on to study Electronics at university or be able to use that knowledge in a more advanced course or in a job.
At Alton our aim is to make the course interesting and enjoyable by mixing practical work with the theory.
Is Electronics suitable for me?
Student comments range from “challenging”, “great when project/circuit works” to “great sense of achievement”.
By far the most enjoyable part of the course is building and testing circuits and finally designing, building and testing the student’s own project.
The more challenging, and so the more rewarding parts are “getting circuits to work the first time – or even the eighth time”, and explaining how it works.
How will I learn?
The course assumes no previous knowledge of electronics. Lessons are taught in the well resourced Electronics Laboratory. A typical lesson will involve you in building and testing a circuit on either a specially designed teaching board or on a prototyping board. We devote little or no time to soldering the circuits. We are far more interested in the underlying ideas and the design process than in hard wiring the final product.
Three units will be studied in the first year for the AS Level – two theory units, one of which covers simple electronics, components, digital circuits and logic. The other will include feedback theory, amplifying audio signals and microcontrollers. Most lessons will have a very hands on approach.
The other unit will involve building and testing specific circuits including a digital circuit and a microcontroller.
For those going on to A Level in year 2 the units covered will involve digital processing, communication systems, TV systems, servo control systems and microprocessor systems.
Each lesson will be similar to year 1 but in more depth and the project is expected to be substantial.
The homework and private study time should amount to about 4 to 5 hours per week.
How will I be assessed?
Coursework: AS – 27%; A2 – 27%.
Each level, both AS and A2, will be assessed by a mixture of examination and coursework projects.
Assessments: In both the AS and A2 years, two units are assessed by two 1 ½ hour theory papers. The theory papers are the normal written answer and calculation type.
In the first year the other assessment will be to build and investigate three circuits. In the 2nd year the final assessment will be to design, build and test a more complex circuit.
Many students move on to study Electronics at university or go directly to a job in electronics. If you are thinking about electrical or electronic engineering courses at university it is important to bear in mind that most will require A Level Mathematics.
Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.
Grade C Science GCSE is essential. Students who have been successful with Design and Technology: Systems and Control may be suited to this course though this is not essential.
This is a very good introduction to the theory and practice of electronics. You will need good maths and practical skills and a genuine interest in electronics.
All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer discs and calculators (where appropriate). Costs are outlined below:
Essential: £20 for a textbook, £10 minimum for a scientific calculator.
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.
- Sixth Form Course: