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BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Applied Science

Exam Board: Edexcel


This qualification is for students who are interested in taking a Science based course alongside other subjects to allow them the opportunity to work in a related industry. Students will complete for Units which are shown in detail below.

Unit 1- Principles and Applications of Science 1 - Externally marked via a 1½ hr exam

This unit covers some of the key science concepts in biology, chemistry and physics. The topic areas covered in this unit include: animal and plant cells; tissues; atomic structure and bonding; chemical and physical properties of substances related to their uses; waves and their application in communications.

Unit 2- Practical Scientific Procedures and Techniques

Students will be introduced to quantitative laboratory techniques, calibration, chromatography, calorimetry and laboratory safety, which are relevant to the chemical and life science industries. This unit introduces you to standard laboratory equipment and techniques, including titration, colorimetry, calorimetry, chromatography, calibration procedures and laboratory safety. Through the practical tasks in the unit, you will develop proficiency in the quantitative analytical techniques of titration and colorimetry, including learning to calculate the concentration of solutions. You will use measurement of temperature to study cooling curves and be introduced to paper and thin-layer chromatography (TLC). You will also have the opportunity to calibrate equipment and will be encouraged to be aware of the safety aspects of given laboratory procedures and techniques.

Unit 3 – Scientific Investigation Skill

Externally assessed via a practical investigation task and written submission under supervised conditions.

Students will cover the stages involved and the skills needed in planning a scientific investigation: how to record, interpret, draw scientific conclusions and evaluate. In this unit, you will develop the essential skills underpinning practical scientific investigations. As well as drawing on Unit 1 and Unit 2, these skills will be delivered through subject themes ranging from enzymes and diffusion to electrical circuits. The subject themes provide different contexts for the development of the investigative skills. In this unit you will draw on your learning from across your programme to complete assessment tasks.

Unit 8 – Physiology of Human Body Systems

Students will focus on the physiological make up of three human body systems (musculoskeletal, lymphatic and digestive), how the systems function and what occurs during dysfunction. The human body is a complex mix of organs and organ systems. Knowledge of how they function to maintain human life is an essential part of the study of human physiology. In this unit, you will focus on three body systems: musculoskeletal, lymphatic and digestive. You will examine each of the systems as a functioning unit, identifying their structure and function. By exploring the anatomy of these systems, through experimentation and use of simulations, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of their role in the human body.


Students will complete 4 units, 3 of which are mandatory. Two of the 4 units are externally marked and moderated.

There are three main forms of assessment used in this qualification; they are external, internal and synoptic.

Externally-assessed units 

The styles of external assessment used for this qualification are:

Examinations – all learners take the same assessment at the same time, normally with a written outcome

Set tasks – students take the assessment during a defined window and demonstrate understanding through completion of a vocational task.

Internally-assessed units 

Most units in the sector are internally assessed. Students may be given one or more of the following:

  • write up the findings of their own research
  • use case studies to explore complex or unfamiliar situations
  • carry out projects for which they have choice over the direction and outcomes
  • demonstrate practical and technical skills using appropriate work-based values and practices.

Synoptic assessment

Synoptic assessment requires students 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. Synoptic units may be internally or externally assessed.

Career Progression

This qualification taken in combination with other Level 3 courses can help gain access to careers in nursing, psychology, sport, engineering, geography or environmental science