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 new A-level course aims to provide the student with the necessary knowledge and qualifications to go on to study Electrical or Electronic Engineering at University or be able to use that knowledge in a more advanced course, apprenticeship, or 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 on the (old) Electronics course ranged from “Challenging” to “A great sense of achievement”. In the past, many students have regarded the most enjoyable part of Electronics as designing, building, testing, and finally getting their own project to work. The Examining Board (Eduqas) have yet to finalise the structure of the new A-level but make it clear that project work will continue to form an important element of the course.
Electronics should ideally be studied alongside partner subjects such as Maths, Physics, Computer Science, Design & Technology (A-level), or a Subsidiary Diploma in Engineering.
How will I learn?
Although the course assumes little previous knowledge of electronics, sound mathematical ability and problem-solving skills will be needed as well as practical skill. Lessons will be 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. Some lessons may be more based on theory and problem-solving, whilst others will be devoted to practical work or student projects. Resources and exercises in Moodle (the college VLE) will also be used.
At the time of writing (June 2016) the new Specification for 2017 has not been published; once it appears, this information will be revised. Broadly speaking, the first (AS) year is likely to include units covering basic electronic components and systems, analogue and digital circuits, logic gates and systems, together with essential understanding of d.c. circuits, sensors and switches, and electronic counting and timing.
The second year may include the use of microcontrollers, signal conversion, a.c. systems, analogue and digital communication systems, multiplexing and modulation, optical communication, and audio systems. Most lessons will have a very hands-on approach, and students will be required to undertake a number of development and testing tasks for assessment of their electronics skills.
Homework and private study should amount to between 4 and 5 hours per week including Directed Study time
How will I be assessed?
Final details have yet (June 2016) to be released and will be added as soon as possible, but are likely to include both internal assessment of Electronics Skills and also a series of (2 or 3) final examinations. It should be possible to take a “stand-alone” AS exam after the first year of the course.
Many students move on to study Electronics at university or go directly to a job or Apprenticeship. 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 should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C.
To be successful in Electronics A-level, you should have minimum grades B & C in two separate sciences or a Combined Science profile and a Grade 6 in Maths would be preferred. Students who have been successful with GCSE Design & Technology: Systems and Control may also be well-suited to this course.
All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, memory sticks and calculators (where appropriate). Costs are outlined below:
Essential: £40 (estimated) 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: