Year 11 leavers – Science

Useful links:

Familiarise yourself with the A-Level specifications.




Then use the past paper materials available at Physics and Maths tutor to firm up your GCSE knowledge:

Reading list:


The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee


The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean


A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson


Compare the AQA GCSE specification to the specification that you will take at A-Level. Make notes about the similarities of the course and areas that you have never encountered before. You will be surprised by how much of the A-Level science course is an extension of what you have already done. The time that you take familiarising yourself with the content you are about to study will make learning it much easier.

Preparing for A-level Physics

This document is intended for students who are looking to use their time in the second half of term to prepare for Physics at A-level.

Practical things to do
  • For A-level Physics, your Maths needs to be in good shape. If you are at all shaky about GCSE (there is no harder Maths in Physics!) then practice at, in particular rearranging equations to have a different subject.
  • Buy Essential Maths Skills for AS/A level Physics. £11.50 Amazon.
  • Find out which exam board your sixth form will be studying. You might need to email them to discover this. Find the specification online and download it.
  • Find out if your sixth form recommends a text book. Buy it.
  • Find out about the practical work for A-level and the records you will need to keep.
  • Think hard about the notes you will take. Most A-level lesson will contain some note taking. The best thing to do is take rough notes then write them up beautifully that evening. If your note taking is good, the second-best thing to do is to take them live then file them carefully that evening. Have a folder for each topic. The worst thing is to scribble some notes and leave them in a pile somewhere. You will learn nothing.
  • Organise somewhere conducive to work at home
Good websites include:

Areas to revise from GCSE Physics

N.B. If you did Combined Science you will need to look at those topics marked (Physics only) in particular.

Preparing for A Level Chemistry

This document is intended for students who are looking to use their time in isolation to prepare for taking Chemistry at A Level.

Practical things to do
  • Find out which exam board your sixth form are using, you might need to email them to find this out. Find the specification online and download it.
  • Find out if your sixth form recommend a text book, consider purchasing this, either in hard copy or electronically
  • Find out about the practical work for your A Level and the records you will need to keep, this will be slightly different depending on your exam board.
  • Make sure you have a scientific calculator. If you are also taking math’s they might have extra requirements for your calculator, you might want to find out what these are before you purchase a new calculator for Chemistry.
  • Consider how you will organise your stationary. Students normally work on paper and will be expected to hand in some work but not all of their notes, so you will need a notebook or pad of paper where the pages can be removed. Students often have a large folder at home for each subject and a smaller folder or wallet that they use for the last few lessons of notes. This is important because you will need to refer back to them in class, at A Level you look at topics in greater detail and build on the content in the previous lesson much more than you did at GCSE.  You will probably have two teachers and will file the notes from each teacher separately.
  • Find and print an A Level copy of the periodic table. It is really only the number of significant figures for atomic mass that vary, EG/ Mg was 24 at GCSE but 24.1 at A Level.
  • Consider buying “Essential Maths skills for A-Level Chemistry” if you feel like Maths could be your weakness.

Visit these websites and save them to your favourites, you will find them very useful when working towards your A Level

Organise your work area at home. You will need to complete more work at home than you probably did for GCSE. Make sure it is clean, tidy and comfortable.

Preparing for Biology A Level

Here are some suggested activities, articles and books to read with some tasks for you to prepare yourself for next year. These will support your transition to A level Biology well, ensuring that you are A-level ready and raring to go. You can also rest assured that you are in a good position to start this course because you have completed the transition work and have a good foundation of knowledge on which to build.

There are several A level textbooks available and if you are intending to study at Abbeygate this is the one to buy:

You will need this for next year, and may therefore wish to buy it now so you have a reference book to look at and check you are on the right tracks when doing any research (it is very easy to find far too much information at a very high level which confuses you!)

Suggested Tasks for the summer:
  1. Work through the Head Start to A level Biology book:
  2. In preparation for the Cells unit of work, research the history of the discovery of cells, from the initial work of Robert Hooke, through Van Leeuwenhoek to the more recent work of Robert Brown, Schleiden and Purkyne. Produce a summary of this and illustrate your work with pictures and diagrams to show how our understanding of the structure of the cell has developed.
  3. You will also be studying Biological Molecules as one of the first units of work, and this is usually something students find hard. If you could become familiar with the names, structures and functions of the following molecules, that would give you a head start:
    1. Monosaccharides
    2. Disaccharides
    3. Polysaccharides
    4. Triglycerides
    5. Proteins
    6. DNA and RNA

We suggest that you make a summary sheet, table or mind map with diagrams of all the relevant structures and their functions as a good reference document.

  1. Complete the following online course about COVID-19 – very relevant of course at the moment and an interesting insight into why biology is such a useful subject to study. It is free and certificated if you complete it:
Reading List:

The link below is to a magazine that we vey much recommend for A level students.  They are currently offering a free trial, so have a look and if you enjoy it you could sign up:

You could also read any of the following books – they are very readable and widen your knowledge and understanding of the subject:

The Epigenetics revolution – Nessa Carey
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
The Unexpected Truth about Animals – Lucy Cooke
The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson

Websites  – An interactive cell biology site  – Explore the genetic code  – Details of the history of the best scientific discoveries  – The London Natural History Museum’s website with lots of interesting educational material  – The website of the British Medical Journal  – The BBC news page for Science and the Environment

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Year 11 leavers – Science