Materials offers a great chance to study content that is completely fresh, it is very different from any A-level subject, giving you a fresh start to learn something new (no knowledge is assumed!). It focuses on material properties and the underlying physical reasons for these properties, e.g. crystalline structure of atoms, magnets, LCDs etc. The course strikes a good balance between practical skills and theory, discussing topics that come up in later years in many other subjects.
There are weekly practicals, they are assessed via a pre-practical quiz and whether you turn up. This means that the actual practicals are very relaxed, giving you opportunity to reinforce lecture material in a low pressure environment.
There is one three hour exam at the end of the year.
Material Science can be continued to Part IB and beyond.
The courses, as of 2019, are listed below:
A: Atomic Structure of Materials – 6 lectures
B: Materials for Devices – 12 lectures
C: Diffraction – 6 lectures
D: Microstructure – 12 lectures
E: Mechanical Behaviour of Materials – 12 lectures
F: Biomaterials – 6 lectures
G: Materials Under Extreme Conditions – 6 lectures