KS5 Coursework

Back to Teaching Rota

Practical Skills & Unit 6 Coursework

Investigative and Practical skills (Externally Marked)

Externally Marked Practical Assignment (EMPA – 55 raw marks)
10% of the total A Level marks

The assessment in this route is through a one off opportunity of a practical activity.
The first element of this route is that candidates should undertake five short AQA set practical exercises throughout the course, to be timed at the discretion of the centre. Details of the five exercises will be supplied by AQA at the start of the course. The purpose of these set exercises is to ensure that candidates have some competency in using the standard equipment which is deemed suitable at this level.

The formal assessment will be through a longer practical activity. Details of this activity will be provided every March. The activity will require candidates to undertake practical work, collect and process data and use it to answer questions in a written test. The activity will be made up of two tasks, followed by a written test. Only one activity will be provided every year.

It is expected that candidates will be able to use and be familiar with ‘standard’ laboratory equipment which is deemed suitable at AS level, throughout their experiences of carrying out their practical activities. This equipment might include:
Electric meters (analogue or digital), metre rule, set squares, protractors, vernier callipers, micrometer screwgauge (zero errors), an electronic balance, stopclock or stopwatch, thermometer (digital or liquid-inglass), newtonmeters.

It is expected that candidates will be able to use and be familiar with more ‘complex’ laboratory equipment or techniques which is deemed suitable at A2 level, throughout their experiences of carrying out their practical activities. Reference made to more complex equipment/techniques might include:
Oscilloscope, travelling microscope, other vernier scales, spectrometer, data logger, variety of sensors, light gates for timing, ratemeter or scaler with GM tube, avoiding parallax errors, timing techniques (multiple oscillations).

In the course of their experimental work, candidates should learn to:
• demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques
• process and select appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
• make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations
• make measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy
• analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others experimental and investigative activities in a variety of ways.

In their course of study, candidates will develop their ability to use IT skills in data capture, data processing and when writing reports. When using data capture packages, they
should appreciate the limitations of the packages that are used. Candidates should be encouraged to use graphics calculators, spreadsheets or other IT packages for data analysis and again be aware of any limitations of the hardware and software. However, they will not be required to use any such software in their assessments.
The skills developed in course will include being able to:

• plan or follow a given plan to carry out an investigation on topics relevant to the specification
• identify the dependent and independent variables in an investigation and the control variables
• select appropriate apparatus and methods, including ICT, to carry out reliable experiments relevant to topics in the specification
• choose measuring instruments according to their sensitivity and precision.
• demonstrate and describe ethical, safe and skilful practical techniques
• process and select appropriate qualitative and quantitative methods
• make, record and communicate reliable and valid observations
• make measurements with appropriate precision and accuracy
• analyse, interpret, explain and evaluate the methodology, results and impact of their own and others experimental and investigative activities in a variety of ways.
• follow appropriate experimental procedures in a sensible order
• use appropriate apparatus and methods to make accurate and reliable measurements
• identify and minimise significant sources of experimental error
• identify and take account of risks in carrying out practical work.
• tabulate and process measurement data
• use equations and carry out appropriate calculations
• plot and use appropriate graphs to establish or verify relationships between variables
• relate the gradient and the intercepts of straight line graphs to appropriate linear equations.
• distinguish between systematic and random errors
• make reasonable estimates of the errors in all measurements
• use data, graphs and other evidence from experiments to draw conclusions
• use the most significant error estimates to assess the reliability of conclusions drawn.


Back to Teaching Rota