AS/A levels Programme Outline and Subject Choice
Year 12 and 13 programme at MIS is based on Cambridge AS and A levels subject options. Cambridge International AS and A Levels are international in outlook, but retain a local relevance. The syllabuses provide opportunities for contextualised learning and the content has been created to suit a wide variety of schools, avoid cultural bias and develop essential lifelong skills, including creative thinking and problem-solving. Cambridge International AS and A Levels give learners building blocks for an individualised curriculum that develops their knowledge, understanding and skills.
The following courses are offered at MIS to Year 12-13 students in 2017-19 academic years:
English Language (Eng)
Computer Science (CS)
Travel and Tourism (TT)
All students will take a core of compulsory subjects and choose one subject from each of the three options groups. Please take a note of some suggested pathways that are based on your preferred field of higher study/career choices.
OVERVIEW OF THE COURSES
Cambridge International AS and A Level English Language gives learners the opportunity to study English language and its use in contemporary communication. It aims to encourage a critical response to texts in a range of forms, styles and contexts, and to promote skills of communication, reading, research and analysis.
Through their study, learners will develop an ability to read and analyse material, gaining further knowledge and understanding of English language features and issues, and writing clearly, accurately, creatively and effectively for different purposes and audiences.
Cambridge International AS & A Level Mathematics is accepted by universities and employers as proof of mathematical knowledge and understanding.
Successful candidates gain lifelong skills, including:
- a deeper understanding of mathematical principles
- the further development of mathematical skills including the use of applications of mathematics in the context of everyday situations and in other subjects that they may be studying
- the ability to analyse problems logically, recognising when and how a situation may be represented mathematically
- the use of mathematics as a means of communication
- a solid foundation for further study.
Through the study of the syllabus candidates:
- appreciate the scale and importance of the travel and tourism industry
- learn that the travel and tourism industry is dynamic in nature and how the industry responds to change, e.g. external factors such as changing consumer needs and expectations and developments in information technology
- recognise the positive and negative impacts the industry may have on people, environments and economies.
Key concepts include:
- Global and growing: The travel and tourism industry is a global industry. Changes in political and socioeconomic circumstances and technological developments contribute to the continuing growth of the travel and tourism industry and its importance to many national economies.
- Change and development: A key feature of the industry is its dynamic nature. The only constant is change. Exciting new enterprises, products or services are often developed in response to economic, political, social or technological change.
- Customer focus: Travel and tourism organisations provide products, services and facilities to meet customers’ needs. In order for travel and tourism providers to be successful, they must adopt a strong customer focus. This means they must really understand who their customers are and how they can best meet their needs.
- Sustainability and responsibility: The Travel and Tourism industry has close links to destinations and so has a vested interest in ensuring environmental and sociocultural impacts are managed. Responsible management means that any developments must maximise the positive, and minimise the negative impacts of tourism.
Cambridge International AS and A Level Biology helps learners develop the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for successful university study. Learners also develop lifelong skills of scientific enquiry, confidence in technology, and communication and teamwork skills.
Key concepts include:
- Cells as the units of life. A cell is the basic unit of life and all organisms are composed of one or more cells. There are two fundamental types of cell: prokaryotic and eukaryotic.
- Biochemical processes. Cells are dynamic: biochemistry and molecular biology help to explain how and why cells function as they do.
DNA, the molecule of heredity. Cells contain the molecule of heredity, DNA. Heredity is based on the inheritance of genes.
- Natural selection. Natural selection is the major mechanism to explain the theory of evolution.
- Organisms in their environment. All organisms interact with their biotic and abiotic environment.
- Observation and experiment. Different fields of biology are intertwined and cannot be studied in isolation: observation and enquiry, experimentation and fieldwork are fundamental to biology.
Key concepts include:
- Atoms and forces. Matter is built from atoms interacting and bonding through electrostatic forces. The structure of matter affects its physical and chemical properties, and influences how substances react chemically.
- Experiments and evidence. Chemists use evidence gained from observations and experiments to build models and theories of the structure and reactivity of materials.
- Patterns in chemical behaviour and reactions. By identifying patterns in chemical behaviour we can predict the properties of substances and how they can be transformed into new substances by chemical reactions. This allows us to design new materials of use to society.
- Chemical bonds. Understanding of how chemical bonds are made and broken by the movement of electrons allows us to predict patterns of reactivity.
- Energy changes. The energy changes that take place during chemical reactions can be used to predict both the extent and the rate of such reactions.
Key concepts include:
- Models of physical systems. Physics is the science that seeks to understand the behaviour of the Universe. The development of models of physical systems is central to physics. Models simplify, explain and predict how physical systems behave.
- Testing predictions against evidence. Physical models are usually based on prior observations, and their predictions are tested to check that they are consistent with the behaviour of the real world. This testing requires evidence, often obtained from experiments.
- Mathematics as a language and problem-solving tool. Mathematics is integral to physics, as it is the language that is used to express physical principles and models. It is also a tool to analyse theoretical models, solve quantitative problems and produce predictions.
- Matter, energy and waves. Everything in the Universe comprises matter and/or energy. Waves are a key mechanism for the transfer of energy and are essential to many modern applications of physics.
- Forces and fields. The way that matter and energy interact is through forces and fields. The behaviour of the Universe is governed by fundamental forces that act over different length scales and magnitudes. These include the gravitational force and the electromagnetic force.
Thinking Skills develops a specific set of intellectual skills, independent of subject content. It reflects the need voiced by universities and employers for more mature and sophisticated ways of thinking. The Thinking Skills syllabus also enables students to approach their other subjects with an improved ability to understand, analyse and resolve problems. As a result, students find the course of great benefit when preparing for higher education and for a wide range of careers, including law, scientific research, social science, journalism, medicine, business, accounting and engineering. As a curriculum subject, Thinking Skills offers students an excellent opportunity to express themselves freely and openly. The Thinking Skills syllabus encourages free and open debate, critical and investigative thinking, and informed and disciplined reasoning.
Cambridge International AS and A Level Psychology is accepted by universities and employers as proof of knowledge and ability. The syllabus aims to encourage an interest in and appreciation of psychology through an exploration of the ways in which psychology is conducted.
This exploration includes:
- a review of a number of important research studies
- an opportunity to look at the ways in which psychology has been applied.
The syllabus uses a wide variety of assessment techniques that will allow students to show what they know, understand and are able to do. The emphasis is on the development of psychological skills as well as the learning of psychological knowledge.
In a rapidly changing world, Cambridge International AS and A Level Sociology offers students the opportunity not only to explore the processes that are shaping current trends, but also to develop an understanding of the complexity and diversity of human societies and their continuities with the past. The study of Sociology should stimulate awareness of contemporary social, cultural and political issues, and focus attention on the importance of examining these issues in a rigorous, reasoned and analytical way. The Cambridge International AS Level provides a solid grounding in the central ideas and approaches in Sociology, including family as well as theory and methods. Cambridge International A Level students can choose to explore a variety of important areas of sociological enquiry including global development, education, religion and media.
The study of Cambridge International AS and A Level Economics allows learners to explore concepts and theories which can be applied to the way that modern economies work. Cambridge learners develop the ability to explain, evaluate and analyse economic issues and arguments. They gain lifelong skills and a solid foundation for further study.
Key Concepts include:
- Scarcity and choice: The fundamental problem in economics is that resources are scarce and wants are unlimited, so there is always a choice required between competing uses for the resources.
- The margin and change Decision-making by individuals, firms and governments is based on choices at the margin; that is, once behaviour has been optimised, any change will be detrimental as long as conditions remain the same.
- Equilibrium and efficiency. Prices are set by markets, are always moving in to and out of equilibrium, and can be both efficient and inefficient in different ways and over different time periods.
- Regulation and equity. There is a trade-off between, on the one hand, freedom for firms and individuals in unregulated markets and, on the other hand, greater social equality and equity through the government regulation of individuals and markets.
- Progress and development. Economics studies how societies can progress in measurable money terms and develop in a wider more normative sense.
The study of Cambridge International AS and A Level Business allows learners to take the first step towards a career in private or public organisations or progress with confidence to a degree in business and management related subjects.
Learners will develop:
- the capacity to analyse characteristics and activities of business organisations and how they respond to the changing demands of their environments
- an understanding of how effective managers and leaders develop successful organisations in terms of customer focus and the products/services they offer
- the opportunity to reflect on how successful business organisations engage in financial and accounting practices to maximise value for stakeholders
- development of knowledge that relates to strategic planning and decision-making to ensure business survival, change, and sustainable success
- a solid foundation for further study.
This syllabus is designed to give greater flexibility both to teachers and to learners. It is envisaged that learners will use the skills and knowledge of computer science acquired through this course in one of three ways:
- to provide a general understanding and perspective of the development of computer technology and systems, which will inform their decisions and support their participation in an increasingly technologically dependent society
- to provide the necessary skills and knowledge to seek employment in areas that use computer science
- to develop their knowledge and understanding of computer science through entry to higher education, where this qualification will provide a useful foundation for further study of computer science or more specialist aspects of computer science.
By studying this course learners will develop research skills that will enable them to obtain information, evaluate its reliability and usefulness and use the evidence gathered to construct their own arguments and lines of reasoning.
Through well-defined stages, called the Critical Path, learners will be encouraged to apply a logical approach to thinking and reasoning. By following this path, they will be able to analyse the structure and context of arguments, assess the impact and limitations of evidence and make well-reasoned judgements. Learners will build skills in organising and communicating their findings in appropriate multimedia formats.
By developing thinking and reasoning skills, as well as research and communication skills, Cambridge International AS Level Global Perspectives & Research will enable learners to meet the demands of the twenty-first century and to make a successful transition to higher education, employment and lifelong learning.
This course helps students prepare for their next step after graduation. Learners will take part in activities that will teach them about themselves and their options for the future. For students who are planning on attending university abroad, this course will help guide them through the application process and ready them for life abroad. We will work together to prepare students to write personal statements and prepare for any required tests such as SAT or ACT. We will explore subjects of study and career options and create action plans in order to track progress.
Physical education provides opportunities for students to gain current knowledge of physical fitness facts, healthful living practices, leisure time pursuits, stress management techniques, and to receive instruction in the skills necessary for successful participation in activities necessary for optimum health and physical efficiency.
This course will help students prepare for and understand the test through the use of IELTS practice tests, and IELTS practice questions for the reading, writing, speaking, and listening sections of the test. Students will learn test-taking strategies that include time and question management. Students will receive individualized help and advice during class based on their English skill level and areas of improvement in order to gain the confidence, skills and knowledge to succeed on the IELTS test.