A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Adelaide,
South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Science

Science

Frequently Asked Questions

General Science

Which Science should I do?

There are many options in our Science program at Westminster; if you are having trouble deciding then please speak to the Science Curriculum Leader (Mr Greenslade), your Head of House, Ms Sherwood, Ms Howland and your Science teacher to get some guidance. We have had many students do combinations of three sciences in Years 11 and 12; this is an option. Other choices may include an accelerated option with two more sciences later in Year 11/12; but please seek guidance as needed.

Do the subjects have exams?

All Science subjects have exams at Stage 2 so in order to prepare students best for this, we also have exams at Stage 1.

What skills will I develop studying science?

Science provides you with a way to understand and explain the world around you; it will equip you with skills which include the ability to pose questions, analyse, think critically and creatively, work collaboratively and (in some cases) apply mathematics in new and varied ways. It will help you see the critical link between science and society, and how our subjects have and continue to help all people worldwide to solve problems facing humanity.

How much homework is there at Stage 1 and 2?

This varies but on average you would expect to be doing 30 minutes 3-4 times a week on average.

Biology

I am considering the accelerated option at Year 10/11 for Stage 1 and 2 – what do I need to know?

Apart from doing Stage 1 and then Stage 2 a year early – this course is the same as the normal Stage 1 and 2 courses. Please note this is available to those students who would like to do a Stage 1/2 subject early and are thinking of taking multiple sciences and, hence managing their workload. It is only available to those students who have shown high levels of achievement at both Year 9 Science and then in the Stage 1 course at Year 10.

What courses have Biology as a prerequisite?

Whilst Biology is not a prerequisite for many courses; its skill and knowledge base are drawn on and used in a great variety of degrees including health science, medicine, biomedical sciences, pharmacy, podiatry, sports science, nutrition, physiotherapy and physiology to name a few.

What jobs might I do with Biology?

Biology is used in a great number of career options including research science, pathology, teaching, physiotherapy, medicine, nursing, midwifery, sports science, podiatry, nutrition and many more.

Do I need Stage 1 Biology for Stage 2 Biology?

You do not need to have done Stage 1 to do it at Stage 2 but at least a semester of Stage 1 is recommended.

What does this course cover?

Biology at Stage 1 is split into four topics which include cells and bacteria, disease and immunity, organisms and systems and environmental biology.

Biology at Stage 2 is split into four topics which include DNA and proteins, cells, homeostasis and evolution and natural selection.

More information on these topics can be found in the curriculum booklet or by contacting the Science Curriculum Leader.

Which semester is better to complete in preparation for Stage 2? Bio A or Bio B?

Biology A (Semester 1) is generally considered more useful for those who want to study Biology at Stage 2 but either is useful for building the skills needed.

What is the assessment?

The assessment is very similar at both Stage 1 and 2 and consists of some practical reports, a report on an area of Biology related to society and some tests.

Are there practicals?

Both courses have a practical component which allows for you to explore the concepts taught in a hands-on way as well. These practicals include those designed by students and some which are provided by the teacher.

Do you need Biology for medicine?

Technically no; but it would be helpful and give you an excellent base to start from at university.

Do we go on any excursions?

There are excursions tied to our courses at both year levels where we cannot give you that experience in school (eg. more advanced lab work requires a trip to Flinder’s University).

Chemistry

Can I do Chemistry for just one semester?

You can but if you wish to do it at Stage 2 you need both semesters; it would likely be better to enrol in both and then make a decision once you have tried it in Semester 1 if it doesn’t end up being what you thought.

Can I do Chemistry in Year 12 if I don’t do it in Year 11?

Unfortunately, you cannot; there is too much prerequisite knowledge from Stage 1 that is needed for Stage 2.

What does this course cover?

Chemistry at Stage 1 is split into topics which include the structure of atoms, periodic table, chemical bonding, organic chemistry, chemical calculation, acids and bases and redox/electrochemistry.

Chemistry at Stage 2 is split into four topics which include chemistry and the environment, rates and yields of chemical reactions, organic chemistry and useful material chemistry.

More information on these topics can be found in the curriculum booklet or by contacting the Science Curriculum leader.

Do I need Chemistry for Medicine or Engineering?

Medicine - Technically no, but it would be helpful and give you an excellent base to start from at university. It is likely that Biology and Chemistry would give you the best science-based prerequisite knowledge.

Engineering - It depends on the engineering, but in general knowledge of chemical processes and the skills associated with the subject would be helpful in any engineering course.

What is the assessment?

The assessment is very similar at both Stage 1 and 2 and consists of some practical reports, a report on an area of Chemistry related to society and some tests.

Are there practicals?

Both courses have a heavy practical component which allows you to explore the concepts taught in a hands-on way as well. These practicals include those designed by students and some which are provided by the teacher.

Physics

What is the assessment?

The assessment is very similar at both Stage 1 and 2 and consists of some practical reports, a report on an area of Physics-related to society and some tests.

What does the course cover?

Physics at Stage 1 is split into sections which include kinematics, forces, electricity and charge, energy and momentum plus some work on radioactivity and nuclear physics.

Physics at Stage 2 is split into sections which include motion and relativity, electricity and magnetism and light and atoms.

More information on these topics can be found in the curriculum booklet or by contacting the Science Curriculum leader.

What Mathematics do I need for Stage 1/2?

Mathematical Methods is recommended for Stage 2 Physics but General Mathematics is also fine.

Can I do Physics for just one semester?

You can but if you wish to do it at Stage 2 you need both semesters; it would likely be better to enrol in both and then make a decision once you have tried it in Semester 1 if it doesn’t end up being what you thought.

Can I do Physics in Year 12 if I don’t do it in Year 11?

Unfortunately, you cannot; there is too much prerequisite knowledge from Stage 1 that is needed for Stage 2.

Are there practicals?

Both courses have a practical component which allows for you to explore the concepts taught in a hands-on way as well. These practicals include those designed by students and some which are provided by the teacher.

Do I need Physics for Engineering?

For most yes; but please see Ms Howland for more specific details on each course that universities offer.

Psychology

Is Psychology a science?

Psychology comes under the science banner as the theory is evidence-based. Students learn content through science-based inquiry. The study of Psychology requires a basic understanding of Science as well as strong English skills.

What topics are covered in Psychology?

In the Stage 1 course the following areas are covered;

  • How the memory works
  • How to improve memory
  • The role of memory in eye-witness testimony
  • Reasons we forget information
  • The role of the central nervous system
  • The relationship between the brain, behaviour & perceptions
  • How exposure to traumatic events, overstimulation & technology can affect the central nervous system
  • Exploration of cognitive, social, emotion & moral development
  • The role of psychology in sport & exercise
  • How/why we form attitudes
  • How attitudes influence behaviour (& vice versa)
  • How advertising influences our attitudes
  • How we form & manage impressions
  • How personality is formed
  • The different ways we learn
  • The stages of sleep & the role of circadian rhythms
  • Sleep disorders & sleep hygiene
  • Preventative & coping strategies for sleep disorders
  • The role of stress & how it affects the body
  • Preventative & coping strategies for stress, anxiety & depression
  • Developing resilience against mental health disorders

In the Stage 2 course the following areas are covered:

  • How/why we form attitudes
  • How attitudes influence behaviour (& vice versa)
  • How advertising influences our attitudes
  • How we form & manage impressions
  • How personality is formed
  • The different ways we learn
  • The stages of sleep & the role of circadian rhythms
  • Sleep disorders & sleep hygiene
  • Preventative & coping strategies for sleep disorders
  • The role of stress & how it affects the body
  • Preventative & coping strategies for stress, anxiety & depression
  • Developing resilience against mental health disorders

More information on these topics can be found in the curriculum booklet or by contacting the Science Curriculum leader.

What career pathways does Psychology offer?

The principles of Psychology provide a foundation for many career pathways including;

  • Media
  • Nursing
  • Law and law enforcement
  • Psychologist – clinical, sports, forensics, organisational, research
  • Teaching
  • Counselling
  • Social worker
  • Public relations
  • Health and welfare services
  • Marketing analyst
  • Human resources
Is there a lot of content to remember?

Psychology is a content-rich subject. The content is practical and can be applied to everyday life. The content is easy to remember as it is relatable to a person’s life, and can explain their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.