BIST Science

Ms Connolly - Chemistry Ms Rodea - Biology Mr Graham - Physics Ms Shvelidze - Technician

At BIST we are dedicated to offering an excellent education in the Natural Sciences. With 2 modern, well equipped laboratories, the Science department seeks to explore the workings of the natural world with a strong emphasis on experimentation and other practical activities.

For our department, high expectations are key to student progress, and we expect students to apply the learning both inside and outside the classroom.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

At this stage, we introduce students to the fundamentals of working scientifically - how to ask questions and to seek to answer them as a scientist. This includes methods of presenting and analysing data.

At BIST we follow the Cambridge Lower Secondary curriculum. With an emphasis on stretch and challenge, through these years, we seek to build towards the IGCSE, and students will be introduced to IGCSE style exam questions.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11)

Year 10 & 11 are in preparation for the students' first externally assessed examinations at BIST. The IGCSE is a challenging and academically rigorous qualification designed to give students a grounding in Science in the wider world. This also includes:

  • Practical problem solving skills

  • Experimental technique and data manipulation

  • Mathematical models of natural phenomena

The IGCSE is assessed on a graded scale, where A* is the highest grade that can be attained - this denotes exceptional achievement. The lowest grade is G, which represents a minimum of achievement.

The examination consists of three papers, taken separately

Paper 2: Multiple-choice questions

Paper 4: Short written answer and calculation questions

Paper 6: Practical problem solving and analysis - this is taken in place of a formal experimental assessment.

We follow the Cambridge Co-ordinated Sciences syllabus, which combines elements of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, and counts as 2 qualifications, thus a high-attaining student may be awarded 'AA'

Key Stage 5 (Year 12 & 13, known as 'Sixth form')

Year 12 & 13 are where students may take Advanced Level Sciences (A Level), where the courses are designed to prepare students who may hope to study the Natural Sciences at university. A Level is a substantial step up in challenge, and students will be expected to engage positively in lessons and independent study.

Any student achieving a grade BB or above at IGCSE are strongly encouraged to consider the Sciences at A level. Students achieving less than a grade CC will likely find the course very difficult. Those who have not achieved a grade C or above in Maths at IGCSE would likely find A Level Physics very difficult. A Level is graded from A* down to E.

Students will sit examinations at the end of Year 12 and Year 13, each series of which contributes to 50% of the overall grade.

The course is taught in small groups, typically fewer than 10 students, with a strong emphasis on experimental skills and practical problem solving.


A Level Physics

Following the Cambridge International A Level syllabus, students explore the fundamentals of Physical interactions, from the scale of electrons, up to whole galaxies. This includes

Year 12

  • Advanced practical skills

  • Newton's laws and accelerated motion

  • Work, energy and power

  • Electric currents and Kirchhoff's circuit laws

  • Electric fields

  • Waves and superposition

  • Radioactivity and the standard model of particle physics

Year 13 includes elements of all the above, and

  • Circular motion and gravitational fields

  • Oscillations and harmonic motion

  • Communications systems and electronics

  • Thermal Physics and ideal gases

  • Coulomb's law of electric fields

  • Magnetic fields and electromagnetism

  • Electromagnetic induction and alternating currents

A Level Chemistry

The emphasis throughout is on understanding concepts and the application of chemistry ideas in novel contexts as well as on the acquisition of knowledge. The course encourages creative thinking and problem-solving skills which are transferable to any future career path.

There is extensive cross-over between Year 12 and Year 13. This includes:

  • Atoms, molecules and Stoichiometry

  • Chemical bonding

  • Chemical energetics

  • Electrochemistry

  • Equilibria

  • Reaction kinetics

  • Chemical periodicity

  • The Chemistry of the transition metals

  • Introduction to organic chemistry and hydrocarbons

  • Halogen derivatives

  • Hydroxy compounds

  • Polymerisation

  • Analytical techniques

  • Organic synthesis

A Level Biology

Following the Cambridge International A Level syllabus, students explore the fundamentals of Biology; from the scale of biological molecules, up to whole ecosystems. This includes:

Year 12

  • Cell Structure, Cell Membranes & Transport

  • Biological Molecules

  • Enzymes

  • The Mitotic Cell Cycle

  • Nucleic Acids & Protein Synthesis

  • Transport in Plants & Mammals

  • Gas Exchange & Smoking

  • Infectious Diseases & Immunity

  • Advanced Practical Skills

Year 13

  • Energy, Respiration & Photosynthesis

  • Homeostasis

  • Coordination

  • Inherited Change

  • Selection & Evolution

  • Biodiversity, Classification & Conservation

  • Genetic Technology

  • Practical Skills - Planning, Analysis & Evaluation