Course Title BTEC Level 3 National Certificate/National Extended Certificate in Applied Science (A Level)
Level: 3
Code MS062

Overview of the Course

The Level 3 qualification in Applied Science is a work-related qualification that focuses on the development of practical skills and underpinning knowledge in the science industry. The course will appeal to you if you enjoy studying science through practical work by completing projects and assignments based on realistic workplace situations. Successful completion of the course will provide a progression pathway, alongside additional A Levels onto higher education, as well as advanced apprenticeships. The National Certificate is an introduction into the vocational sector and is useful for those for whom an element of science would be complementary alongside other qualifications. The National Extended Certificate is useful if you are interested in the sector alongside other fields of study, with a view to progressing onto a wide range of higher education courses, not necessarily in science.

What are the career opportunities?

The Level 3 National Certificate/National Extended Certificate will be incorporated into a Study Programme alongside A Levels, to give you support for specific career goals if you know what you want to do after college. The Study Programme can provide a mix of subjects that gives you a wide range of employment and study skills to prepare you for a career or for higher education. The certificate/extended certificate will enable you to develop your practical skills in science, as well as problem solving and analytical abilities, which will be transferable to a range of careers, both science related and otherwise.

What are the entry requirements?

To study three AS Levels or two AS Levels and one Applied Qualification then the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including three subjects or more at or above grade C/5. You will also need GCSE maths, English and two GCSE Sciences at A*-C (9-4). Should you wish to study four AS Levels the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including two subjects or more at or above grade C/5 and two subjects or more at or above B/6. In addition to the above a minimum of 9 grade points are required from maths and English combined. Some courses may also have specific entry requirements.

How long is the course and when can I start?

The Level 3 National Certificate is a full-time one year course starting in September, where you will complete two units (equivalent to 0.5 of an A Level). Upon successful completion of your first year of study, you are able to progress onto a second year of study to complete the National Extended Certificate in Applied Science (equivalent to one A Level).

How is the course structured and how will I be assessed?

The course consists of mandatory units studied in the first year, with a scientific investigation and an optional unit studied in the second year. You will be assessed both internally by coursework assignments set and marked by your tutors, as well externally by the exam board. Each individual unit is graded Pass (P), Merit (M) or Distinction (D) and your overall qualification will have one grade from P to D*. You will study many different aspects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Mandatory units contain practical skills and underpinning knowledge judged to be essential. These units are Principles and Applications of Science 1 and Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques. These will be completed in the first year and you will gain a National Certificate in Applied Science. Second year units include Science Investigation Skills as well as an optional unit. These will be completed in the second year and will top up the first year qualification to gain the learner a National Extended Certificate in Applied Science.

What employability skills will I develop on this course?

In order to be successful in a science related career, you must be skilled in multiple areas. You must be able to communicate effectively and enjoy working as part of a team. Depending upon the vocation you choose to pursue, you must be able to work in a range of environments, e.g. laboratory, theatre or the great outdoors. Your problem solving skills must be effective, as well as your ability to work to strict instructions, methods and schedules. You need to have experience using various computing tools to display and present data. English and communication skills are particularly important. You need to be able to listen carefully to follow instructions in a lab environment, so that methods and procedures are carried out correctly. You may need to present findings and results to large groups of people, so effective and open communication is vital. Often, experiments carried out must be written up as a lab report, in a clear manner, so that they are easily followed by other scientists. Carrying out calculations and problem solving is a key feature of working in the science industry. You will need to be able to accurately calculate dilutions, volumes, concentrations, rates and percentages. In the statistics units, you need to be able to work out t-test values, standard deviations, correlation coefficients and compare frequencies.

Work experience

Work experience is an essential element of your Study Programme and you will be supported to secure a work experience placement during your time at Bury College. This will allow you to gain first hand exposure to the sector you wish to work in, start to develop key employability skills and most importantly confirm your career goals. Applied Science students have recently had successful work experience placements in the following areas: Radiography, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Optometry, Animal Care, Civil Engineering, Education and Nursery Care.

Study programme enrichment opportunities

Your Study Programme will support personal development to ensure you make good progress and acquire the skills required for successful progression into employment, apprenticeships or higher education. Enrichment has included ‘HeartStart’ and ‘FastBleep’ training, in which current junior doctors trained students in first aid and medical techniques, as well as gave guidance on applying to medical courses at university. There are various guest lectures throughout the year, where guest speakers come into the college to discuss progression and career options. There may also be course related study visits and careers events to advise students on progression.

Are there any additional costs or requirements?

Additional costs may incur for coursework study visits.

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