If you are already studying for, or considering taking an A-Level science qualification with one of the AQA, Pearson Edexcel, OCR or WJEC examination boards, you have probably already heard of the associated Practical Endorsement. It is very important that you are aware of what is involved and what is required of you before you start, to ensure that you choose the right options.
What is the A-Level Science Practical Endorsement?
In simple terms, the practical endorsement is a minimum of 12 practical activities to be carried out by students under controlled conditions and assessed by teachers using Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC). Students who demonstrate the required standard across all the requirements of the CPAC will receive a ‘pass’ grade.
What You Need To Be Aware Of
First things first – the practical endorsement is not an obligatory component of A-Level study and does not contribute to the overall grade awarded to a candidate.
HOWEVER, there are a number of critical considerations to bear in mind before you opt out of undertaking the endorsement.
- if a candidate opts to omit the practical endorsement, their final certificate will show the endorsement as “Not Classified”, which is the same as if they had undertaken but not passed the endorsement.
- Overall, 15% – 25% of the marks for all A-Level science courses from AQA, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC will examine the candidate’s knowledge of practical skills. That means, potentially a quarter of the available marks in the written exams will be based upon skills and competence acquired through laboratory work. The practical endorsement covers all of these required skills and competences.
- Many UK universities and further education establishments require an applicant to have passed the practical endorsement in order to enter into an undergraduate course. This is especially true where the undergraduate course in question relates to a scientific discipline, such as medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine. In fact, some of the universities which we contacted specified that, if a candidate has taken one of the sciences at A-Level, they will expect them to have passed the practical endorsement irrespective of which undergraduate course they wish to apply for. We recommend that each student verifies whether that is the case with their preferred institution(s).
Where Can I Do The Practical Endorsement?
You can undertake the A-Level Science Practical Endorsement right here at Macclesfield Tutorial College.
The Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual have mandated that any candidate undertaking an A- or AS-Level Science specification with a JCQ awarding body (AQA, Edexcel, OCR, WJEC) must be given the opportunity to attempt the accompanying Practical Endorsement at the same centre with which they are sitting the written papers. In other words, if you wish to attend Macclesfield Tutorial College and attempt the Practical Endorsement in our fully equipped laboratory, you must also be entered for the written examinations with our Examination Centre.
Want To Know More?
Please visit our GCE Science Practical Requirements page for full details, including the value for money Practical Packages we offer.