BTEC Applied Science


BTEC Nationals are widely recognised by industry and higher education as the signature vocational qualification at Level 3. They provide progression to the workplace either directly or via study at a higher level. Proof comes from YouGov research, which shows that 62% of large companies have recruited employees with BTEC qualifications. What’s more, well over 100,000 BTEC students apply to UK universities every year and their BTEC Nationals are accepted by over 150 UK universities and higher education institutes for relevant degree programmes.

BTECs have a learner-centred approach to the curriculum, with a flexible, unit-based structure. They focus on the holistic development of the practical, interpersonal and thinking skills required to be able to succeed in employment and higher education.

Today’s BTEC Nationals are demanding.  You will have to:

  • choose and complete a range of units
  • be organised
  • take assessments that we will set and mark, and keep a portfolio of your assignments

A BTEC could be right for you because – whether you decide to study further, go on to work or an apprenticeship, or set up your own business – a BTEC National could be your passport to success in the next stage.

What can it lead onto?

The qualification carries UCAS points and is recognised by higher education providers as contributing to meeting admission requirements for many courses if taken alongside other qualifications as part of a two-year programme of learning, including, but not exclusively, those which are science-related. The qualification can be taken as part of a diverse programme, leaving progression options fully open.

It can also give context to subjects which would benefit from some scientific background. 

Entry Requirements

  • GCSEs at grades C or 4 or above to include 2 Sciences, English Language and Maths.

Course Summary

The approach provides rigour and balance, and promotes the ability to apply learning immediately in new contexts.

Learners will study three compulsory units:

  • Unit 1: Principles and Applications of Science
  • Unit 2: Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques
  • Unit 3: Science Investigation Skills.

Learners also choose one optional unit designed to support progression to applied science courses in higher education. Optional units include:

  • Unit 8: Physiology of Human Body Systems
  • Unit 10: Biological Molecules and Metabolic Pathways
  • Unit 13: Applications of Inorganic Chemistry
  • Unit 15: Electrical Circuits and their Application.

How is it Assessed?

The styles of external assessment are:

  • Examinations – all learners take the same assessment at the same time, normally with a written outcome
  • Set tasks – learners take the assessment during a defined window and demonstrate understanding through completion of a vocational task. Some external assessments include a period of preparation using set information
  • Synoptic assessment requires learners to demonstrate that they can identify and use effectively, in an integrated way, an appropriate selection of skills, techniques, concepts, theories and knowledge from across the whole sector as relevant to a key task. BTEC learning has always encouraged learners to apply their learning in realistic contexts using scenarios and realistic activities that will permit learners to draw on and apply their learning. For these qualifications we have formally identified units to be a focus for synoptic assessment. 

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