‘As I had not studied Electronics at KS3 I was not really 100% sure what to expect but after doing the taster lesson I thought this was the subject for me and I have not looked back since. I really want to do something with electronics now as a career.’
GCSE Electronics is extremely rare to find as a subject taught in schools giving you a real edge over other students having it on your CV.
The study of Electronics will enable you to develop an understanding of electronic components, systems, processes and methods. The contents of your study will help you answer questions about actual circuits and solve practical engineering tasks. The theory studied will be reinforced by practical investigations, and design and make tasks throughout the course of study
You will develop the scientific and engineering skills to analyse and design electronic systems for a range of practical situations. You will learn about and work with a wide range of digital and analogue electrical and electronic systems. For instance, you will be involved in:
- designing logic circuits to perform a set task
- testing amplifier circuits for their suitability
- programming a microcontroller (a computer on a single chip), and wiring the microcontroller into a circuit to control processes in the real world
- designing, manufacturing and testing a series of fully working circuits
How will I be assessed?
This course is assessed through three components – two external examinations sat at the end of year 11 and one non-exam assessment:
- Component 1 Discovering Electronics: written examination, 1 hour 30 minutes, 40% of qualification. A mix of short answer questions, structured questions and extended writing questions, with some set in a practical context.
- Component 2 Application of Electronics: written examination, 1 hour 30 minutes, 40% of qualification. A mix of short answer questions, structured questions and extended writing questions, with some set in a practical context.
- Component 3 Extended system design and realisation task: non-exam assessment, 20% of qualification. An extended system design and realisation task to assess electronics skills.
What will I learn?
Electronic systems and sub-systems
This topic explores how systems can be represented in terms of sensing, processing and output sub-systems. It investigates the types of components making up each sub-system and the need for transducer drivers.
This topic covers the use of standard circuit symbols used to communicate electronic circuits. It investigates circuits in terms of voltage, current, resistance, energy and power and how they can be measured.
Resistive components in circuits
This topic focuses on the use of resistors in series and parallel, including the E24 code for values. It investigates the use of voltage dividers in sensing circuits with a range of input components and the use of current limiting resistors for output with LEDs.
This topic looks at the operation and use of n-channel enhancement mode MOSFETs, npn transistors and voltage comparator ICs in switching circuits.
Applications of diodes
This topic studies the characteristics of silicon diodes and their use for component protection and as half-wave rectifiers for AC circuits. The use of zener diodes in voltage regulation circuits is also covered.
Combinational logic systems
This topic explores logic and the use of a range of logic gates to design systems to a given specification using truth tables and Boolean identities. Logic circuit simplification and NAND gate redundancy is also introduced.
This topic covers how amplifiers work and their limitations. The topic also covers the circuits for non-inverting, inverting and summing operational amplifiers (op-amps).
This topic covers the use of RC networks to create time delays and the operation of a 555 timer IC as a monostable and/or astable timer.
This topic covers the action and design of latches, BCD and decade counters, including the use of timing diagrams.
Interfacing digital to analogue circuits
This topic covers an introduction to the interfacing of digital to analogue circuits. It develops the use of transistors, comparators and Schmitt inverters for interfacing between digital and analogue systems.
This topic introduces the microcontroller as a programmable integrated circuit and explores how it is interfaced and programmed through flowcharts to perform tasks.
What could I do next?
The knowledge and skills you will learn and practice throughout the course will help you to progress to Level 3 courses or apprenticeships in electronics or wider engineering areas, such as T Level Engineering, BTEC Engineering, process control, systems design, manufacturing, robotics/automation and medical services. The transferrable skills developed by studying electronics are actively sought out by employers. Many of our partner companies are in the electronics sector and offer us visits and work experience.