Open Evenings 2020

We're really excited about our open evenings being online this year and we've put together some great materials for you on this page and on our Yr11 support website linked below where you'll find...

  • Video introductions from all key subjects and support teams
  • A video walk from Sir Isaac to Jane Austen and back 
  • Links to ask our subject teams any questions you wish 

Year 11 support website

Reserve your place at our small group, live-online and interactive, Q&A sessions from all key departments and support teams which will take place on our second open evening date of Tuesday 20th October. Book your spot via the links further below. 

All-new online prospectus

 

Subject FAQs

Maths

 

Q: What do you study in A level maths?

A: A level maths builds on the algebra skills that you learn at GCSE, and two-thirds of the content is pure maths and is algebra-based. The other third of the content is split between mechanics (the maths behind force and motion), and statistics. We follow the OCR-A specification, but the content for A level maths is fixed for all exam boards so the content is the same wherever you study it.

 

Q: Is A level maths difficult?

A: It’s certainly a step up from GCSE, but anyone with a level 6 or above at GCSE can succeed at A level maths. It really helps if you practise the algebra, number and trigonometry topics at GCSE as they are the ones that follow through to A level. Our homework provides a lot of problem-solving practise to help you get to the next level.

 

Q: What does the homework look like?

A: At Sir Isaac we set two pieces of homework each week that follow the lessons and provide the essential practice needed. These are mainly online, and we have a system that checks your answers as you go along so you know straight away if you’re not doing something correctly. We also set a third, short, revision homework each week, which is normally two or three questions on past topics to help you keep your knowledge fresh.

 

Q: Will I need a new calculator?

A: Yes, unless you are already using an A level calculator you will need to get one as there are functions needed for A level that most GCSE calculators don’t have. They cost around £25, and we recommend the Casio fx991ex “Classwiz”.

 

Psychology 

Q: Do we get to do experiments in psychology?

A: As a general rule, we don’t get the opportunity to conduct experiments, as we would have to conduct them using the student body, which isn’t ideal. However, at the end of year 12 the students may be given the opportunity to set up and report a piece of research of their own. 

 

Q: How much homework do I get in psychology?

A: You will receive two pieces of homework each week, one from each double lesson. You should also prepare for your lesson in advance by watching a video and taking some notes.  

 

Q: What does a typical Psychology lesson look like?

A: A double lesson starts with the marking of homework, followed by a brief discussion of the work you have prepared for the lesson. This will also involve dealing with misconceptions from that preparation. The rest of the lesson is spent discussing pros and cons of research and studies and practising what you have learned using exam questions. 

 

Q: How many lessons of Psychology do I have each week?

A: There are five lessons which are broken down into two double lessons and a single period one which is consolidation, where you get a chance to work on past content and any gaps you might have.

 

Q: Do we go on trips?

A: We have done trips in the past and will continue to do so in the future. However the opportunities for trips around Norfolk are quite limited and so we often have to go further afield (London, Nottingham, Manchester), which also means there is often a cost involved. We have also had a number of psychology speakers come into school and deliver talks on a variety of subjects. 

 

Q: What Textbooks do we use?

A: We use the AQA A-level psychology Year 1 & Year 2 books, published by Illuminate. They are known as the Green Haired Girl Book and the Pink-Haired Girl Book, due to the images on the respective front covers.

 

Q: Which exam board do you study in psychology?

A: We follow the AQA A psychology syllabus.

 

Q: Do I need to have studied psychology at GCSE?

A: No, the assumption is that all students are new to the subject. 

 

Q: How can I prepare for A-level psychology?

A: No preparation is necessary for the course. If you would like to do some wider psychology reading any book / TedTalk / podcast that takes your fancy will help you to get motivated for the subject. 

 

Q: What are the entry requirements for psychology?

A: See our admissions page here for entry requirements.

 

Chemistry 

Q: Do you do practical work in chemistry and how much practical work is there?

A: Yes there are several practical tasks and you will complete a range of activities as part of your practical endorsement (PAGs). You might already be familiar with required practicals from GCSE.

 

Q: How much homework do I get in chemistry?

A: You will receive two pieces of homework each week (one from each teacher). You should also prepare for your lesson in advance and revise a small amount of content for a recall quiz at the start of each lesson.

 

Q: What does a typical chemistry lesson look like?

A: A double lesson will include time marking your homework, completing a recall quiz followed by the teacher delivering new content with worked examples and plenty of practice.

 

Q: How many lessons of chemistry do I have each week?

A: There are five lessons which are broken down into two double lessons and a single period one which is consolidation, where you get a chance to work on past content and any gaps you might have.


Q: Do I need maths to study chemistry?

A: Although not essential, there is a large maths component in chemistry and we would advise all students to consider maths or core maths when studying chemistry.

 

Q: Do I need chemistry to study medicine?

A: Yes.

 

Q: How can I prepare for A-level chemistry?

A: CGP offers a book called ‘Headstart to chemistry’ which is a good way to look ahead and prepare for the course.

 

Q: Which textbooks do you use in chemistry?

A: We use CGP OCR A chemistry textbooks as a reference in class.

 

Q: Which exam board do you study in chemistry?

A: We follow the OCR A chemistry syllabus.

 

Biology 

Q : Which textbook do you recommend for AS and A2?

A : The textbook we recommend for your AS studies is the official OCR book AS/A-level biology A (year 1) published by Pearson with ISBN 978-1-4479-9079-6. The A2 textbook OCR AS/A-level biology A (year 2) also by Pearson has the ISBN of 978-1-4479-9080-2.

 

Q: Do I need biology to study medicine and dentistry?

A: No - subject criteria vary between medical & dental schools. 

 

Q: Do I need biology to study veterinary medicine?

A: Yes.

 

Q: Do I have to study plants?

A: Yes you do as they share many complex biological processes with animals and by studying plants we learn more about life on Earth. A-level biology is a broad subject which covers animals, plants and microorganisms.

 

Q: How much homework do I get?

A: In biology there are three study tasks each week; consolidation questions from the week’s lesson, feed forward to prepare for next week and a recall task to retrieve information on past topics to aid long term memory retention.

 

Q: Do I have to do dissection?

A: We do a heart dissection, fish gill dissection and daffodil dissection as part of the assessed practicals.  If you do not feel comfortable with the animal dissections the skills can be met by plant dissection.

 

Q: Is there a field trip?

A: Yes - each year we do some fieldwork in the local Norwich area and there is the opportunity to spend a day at the North Norfolk coast exploring biodiversity.

 

Q: What happens if I miss a biology lesson?

A: As your lesson is taught at various times during the week you will be able to attend.

 

Q: What can I study at university with biology?

A: There are a whole range of subjects you can study at university with biology.  You need biology to study veterinary medicine, it can also be useful for studying a range of biological sciences, environmental science, dentistry, physiotherapy, nursing and many allied health professions.  

 

Q: Do I need to study A-level maths?

A: Around 10% of the biology A-level is maths but don’t worry - you don’t need more than a level 5 at GCSE to be able to answer the maths questions.

 

Q: Is there a lot of chemistry in A-level biology lessons?

A: There are some basic chemistry topics from GCSE which you build upon in A-level for example bonds and biological molecules.

 

Q: Do I need to have done Triple Science at GCSE to study biology?

A: No - there maybe some aspects of the A-level curriculum which you are less familiar with but lots of support is available to help you close your gaps.

 

Q: How much practical work is there?

A: There are twelve key practical skills that you will work towards throughout your studies. The theory behind the practical is then assessed in the final exams.

 

Physics

Q: Which textbook do you recommend for AS and A2?

A: The textbook we recommend for your AS studies is the official OCR book with ISBN 978-1447990826. The A2 textbook has the ISBN of 978-1447990833.


 

Q: Can I study A-level physics without studying A-level mathematics?

A: Physics and mathematics are two streams of science that are very complimentary and cross over a lot through the two years of study. It is, therefore, a requirement here at Sir Isaac that all physicists study A-level mathematics.


 

Q: How much practical work is there?

A: There are 12 key practical skills that you will work towards throughout your studies. The theory behind the practical is then assessed in the final exams.

 

Further mathematics

Q: Do I need to study mathematics if I study further mathematics?

A: Yes, mathematics and further mathematics are two separate A-levels and further mathematics builds on the knowledge that you learn in single mathematics. 

 

Q: Will I be in mathematics classes with students who don’t study further mathematics?

A: Yes, your single mathematics lessons will have students who study further mathematics and students who don’t study further mathematics. We find this makes a really good classroom environment. This means that you will learning content in the mathematics and further mathematics A-levels at the same time (known as in parallel).

 

Q: Should I study further mathematics?

A: This comes down to your love of mathematics! If you study mathematics and further mathematics you will be studying 10 hours a week of mathematics, this means you need to have a real enjoyment in the subject to stay motivated. Further mathematics involves a lot of problem-solving so bringing a persevering attitude is definitely needed to be successful in the subject.

 

 

Q: What university courses require further maths?

A: The list changes all the time! Further maths is required to study maths at the more prestigious universities, but there are many good universities that will accept students who have studied maths but not further maths. Also, some universities (mainly the most prestigious ones again) prefer further maths for engineering, physics or other subjects with a high maths content. If you are interested in a specific course, check the university website for their latest requirements as they do vary.

Q: I would like to study mathematics at Cambridge or Oxford, will you support me with this?

A: Applying to Cambridge and Oxford to study mathematics means that you will need to take entrance exams, during your first year with us we will begin to run support sessions to help you be prepared to take these. We also enter the senior mathematics challenge and the team mathematics challenge each year which helps students develop their problem-solving skills.

 

Q: I definitely want to study mathematics and further mathematics, what else should I study?

A: This is completely up to you, we find that mathematics and further mathematics complement a wide variety of A-levels. We find that the two most common choices are studying mathematics and further mathematics with either physics or computer science. Both of these subjects draw on the mathematics that you learn in your A-levels and provide you with plenty of opportunities beyond your A-levels.

 

 

Careers and opportunities FAQs

Q: Are four A-Levels better than three?

A: No. All university courses only require 3 A-levels and studying four jeopardises gaining the best suite of grades.

 

Q: Do you support Oxbridge applications?

A: Yes. There is a specific society to support the application process to these universities.

 

Q: What is the minimum offer for Oxbridge?

A: Oxford A*AA and Cambridge A*AA or A*A*A.

 

Q: What are the additional steps required for Oxbridge?

A: Many courses at Oxbridge require additional admissions tests and interviews. Full details cab be found here

 

Q: If I take four A-levels will I get reduced grades in my offer?

A: No. If you take four A-levels any offer will be A*A*AA rather than A*A*A.

 

Q: Do you support medics, vets and dentists in the same way?

A: Yes. There is a separate Med/Dent/Vet society in a similar vein to the Oxbridge Society.

 

Q: Do Oxbridge and Med/Dent/Vet applications have to be done early?

A: Yes. The deadline for these is the15th October of Year 13 each year whereas all others are due by January 15th of Year 13.

 

Q: Do you support students who are the first in their family to apply to and attend university?

A: Very much so. A large amount of the form time programme is dedicated to encouraging students of all backgrounds to apply for university.

 

Q: Do you support students who do not want to attend university and may want to find an apprenticeship?

A:  Yes, absolutely.  We provide information, guidance and support for those wishing to pursue routes other than university with as much energy and effort as all of our other students.

Tuesday 20th October 2020 - view our sessions and reserve your place

Principal

Time Eventbrite link

6pm

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7.30pm

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Mathematics

Time Eventbrite link

6pm

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6.30pm

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7pm

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7.30pm

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Core mathematics

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7pm

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Further mathematics

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6pm

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6.30pm

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7pm

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7.30pm

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Biology

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6pm

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7pm

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Computer science

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6pm

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7pm

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Chemistry

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Physics

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Psychology 

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6pm

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7pm

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Environmental science

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6.30pm

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7pm

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