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Applied Science - Level 3 Certificate

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Key elements of the new qualifications:

  • It will contain a broad balance of biology, chemistry and physics, with a wide range of practical activities.
  • Over the two year course there is equal weighting for the portfolio and examination units.
  • The overall outcome is graded as pass, merit, distinction or distinction* and UCAS points are awarded for each level. It is equivalent to studying one A level.

General view from AQA:

It will offer opportunities for broader skills development giving it a significant edge over A-level in that regard, and will produce well-rounded scientific thinkers who will be able to progress to scientific careers via a range of HE pathways.

What could this qualification lead to?

This qualification is supported by a range of universities, and taken alongside other qualifications, it can fulfil the entry requirements for a number of science-related higher education courses: biomedical sciences, forensics, sports science, science teacher qualification, nursing and midwifery. In addition, the qualification is eligible for UCAS points.

AQA Level 3 Extended Certificate in Applied Science – unit summary


Year Unit number Unit title Assessment type
12 1 Key Concept in Science Written exam
2 Applied Experimental Techniques Portfolio
3 Science in the Modern World Written exam
13 4 The Human Body Written exam
5 Investigating Science Portfolio
6c Organic Chemistry Portfolio


The portfolio element enables candidates to work more methodically and independently. They research scientific principles, then demonstrate their understanding by applying this to industrial processes and relate it to their own investigation. They become very competent at planning and analysing their own investigations.

Learners will cover topics such as:

U1 – Scientific principles associated with Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Best bits of study: impacts on BMR, diabetes, forensic tests (quantitative tests), energy losses from different materials, understanding energy transfers, generating electricity.

U2 – Experimental and practical techniques associated with applied science. Best bits of study: respiration rate of worms at different temperatures, titrations to find unknown values, resistivity values used to finds the most appropriate material.

U3 – The roles and skills of scientists, and the public and media perception of science. Best bits of study: We are given some pre-release material before the exam to investigate in detail. This is a brilliant opportunity to study in depth a current scientific area of interest. Recent topics have been heart disease in women, consequences of Chernobyl and radioactivity, micro plastics and their impact on the environment.

U4 – How the human body works. Best bits of study: altitude training, causes and treatments for depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and fast and slow twitch muscles.

U5 Scientific investigations, with a focus on microbiology techniques. We investigate natural alternatives to antibiotics due to the rise of resistance in bacteria. This involves finding appropriate extraction techniques, from researched possibilities, then testing their effectiveness on a range of bacterial types. There is a lot of freedom in this unit to investigate ideas that interest you and to be independent.

U6c – Organic Chemistry investigation. We research the basics of organic chemistry, then build up into how this interacts with living organisms and the complex ways that slight changes can have massive impacts in molecules such as medicines.  We also complete two practicals, developing competent handling of equipment and application of health and safety issues. The results are evaluated in depth, while comparing to industrial methods to see how classroom scale differs from outside in the world.  This topic has clear links to how science is actually applied.

GCSE grade profile:

Students who study Applied Science must have achieved 4-4 minimum in GCSE Combined Science (Trilogy) or a 4-9 in GCSE Biology/Chemistry/Physics and will normally achieve a 9 – 4 in Mathematics and English.

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