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Sixth Form Entrance Test Syllabus

Ancient history (1 hour)

Candidates are firstly asked to write briefly about five of these names or events from Greek or Roman history:

  • Minoan Culture
  • Mycenaean Culture
  • Athenian Democracy
  • The Spartans
  • Plato
  • Alexander the Great
  • The Kings of Rome
  • The Punic Wars
  • Caesar and Pompey
  • Cicero
  • The Emperor Augustus
  • The Emperor Nero
  • Hadrian’s Wall
  • The Emperor Constantine
  • The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire

Candidates must then write an essay on an event or person of their choice, taken from Classical Antiquity, commenting on what interests them about this event/person and why they feel it/he/she is important.

A final question will ask them to choose and comment on an event in Greek or Roman history that they would most like to have witnessed.

Biology (90 minutes)

The paper is based on the following topics:
  • Cell structure
  • Diffusion, osmosis and active transport
  • Respiration
  • Photosynthesis
  • Enzymes and digestion
  • Gas exchange
  • Circulation
  • Homeostasis
  • Microbes
It consists of three sections:
  1. Short-answer questions
  2. How science works - experimental design, data processing, interpretation and evaluation
  3. Essay

chemistry (90 minutes)

The paper is based on the following topics:
  • Atomic structure
  • Understanding the differences between ionic, covalent and metallic bonding
  • Basic group 1 and group 7 chemistry
  • Rates of reaction
  • Giant ionic, giant covalent, simple covalent and giant metallic structures
  • Empirical formulae calculations
  • Moles calculations, mass, gas and solution
  • Bonding and structure
  • Crude oil: alkanes and alkenes
  • Electronic configurations
Some very basic tests for ions and gases may be covered but will not be an extensive part of the test.

classical greek (1 hour)

Candidates will be expected to be familiar with the language syllabus for the OCR specification and will be asked to do a translation based on the syllabus for the language paper.
 
In addition, candidates will be expected to write a short essay on any ancient author whose work they have read and a shorter piece on an event in Greek history that they would most like to have witnessed.
 
There is no English to Greek translation required.

economics (1 hour)

The Economics paper will require the candidate to answer two essay questions from a choice of five. No prior knowledge of Economics is expected, but a good general knowledge of current affairs is. The paper will test the candidate’s ability to construct a coherent argument and weigh up contrasting points of view.

english (90 minutes)

This will comprise three sections:

  • Literacy
  • Composition
  • Analysis of poem or prose/drama extract

french (90 minutes)

The test consists of three sections:

  1. Multiple Choice Grammar Test - candidates select one of four translations that they believe to be correct and enter the appropriate letter on the answer grid.
  2. Translation into English - candidates are provided with a French text of approximately 250 words, which they translate into English.
  3. Essay - candidates produce a short piece of writing (100-150 words) in French, having chosen from two titles (one narrative, the other discursive).

None of the tasks assumes or requires knowledge of any specialist vocabulary. The translation may require recognition of the past historic but an active knowledge of this tense is not required.

geography (90 minutes)

This will consist of two sections:

  1. Section A – candidates will face a number of short answer questions that test their geographical skills, knowledge and understanding within Human and Physical Geography. Candidates will be expected to be able to interpret maps and graphs, and to offer geographical explanations for various phenomena. (45 minutes)
  2. Section B – candidates will be expected to write one essay from a choice of topics. (45 minutes)

german (90 minutes)

The examination consists of two sections:

  1. Essay - candidates write a 200-word essay in German. They should aim to use a wide range of tenses and grammatical structures and show that they have a broad vocabulary.
  2. Grammar – candidates enter an appropriate word in a gap to complete a sentence to test tenses, cases, modal verbs, separable verbs, reflexive verbs, prepositions, adjective endings, subordinate clauses, comparatives and superlatives.

government and politics (90 minutes)

Candidates must answer two questions from a choice of six. The paper will test candidates’ ability to construct a coherent and thoughtful argument which is supported by a good understanding of the issues and knowledge of contemporary political affairs. The questions are broad-based and thus relevant for candidates who may be unfamiliar with the UK political system.

history (1 hour)

Candidates are required to answer:

  1. One question, chosen from a choice of four, on historical topics that the candidate has studied at his school. Candidates are asked on the Sixth Form Application Form for the name of their examination board and to advise us of four major topics on which they would like to be assessed.
  2. One general historial question from a choice of two. This question should be answered by using knowledge of any historial period the candidate has studied or read about.

latin (1 hour)

Candidates will be expected to be familiar with the language syllabus for the OCR specification and will be asked to do a translation based on the syllabus for the language paper. In addition, candidates will be expected to attempt a small amount of English to Latin translation and to write a short piece on any ancient author they have read.

mathematics (90 minutes)

The paper is based on the following topics:

Arithmetic

  • standard index form
  • percentages, including reverse problems
  • calculations with compound measures, e.g. speed
  • approximation and estimation
  • rational and irrational numbers, simplifications of surds
  • sequences

Algebra

  • simplification, multiplying out and factorisation of linear quadratic expressions, rearranging formulae, solving linear and reciprocal equations
  • solving quadratic equations by factorisation, completing the square or formula
  • indices, solving index equations
  • solving simultaneous equations including one linear and one quadratic
  • linear and quadratic inequalities
  • equations of straight lines
  • sketching quadratic, cubic and reciprocal functions
  • simplification of algebraic fractions

Trigonometry

  • basic sin, cos, tan
  • 3-dimensional problems
  • sine and cosine rules, area of a triangle

Geometry

  • angles of a polygon
  • transformations
  • circle theorems

Mensuration
•    areas of triangle, rectangle, parallelogram, trapezium, circle
•    surface areas and volumes of prisms, cylinder, pyramids, cone, sphere
•    similar shapes and solids

Probability

  • Simple probability, conditional probability, tree diagrams

The paper will be divided into two sections:

  1. Questions on essential areas of the GCSE curriculum, roughly equating to A/A* grade standard. The emphasis will be on algebra.
  2. Less straightforward problems that will require some problem solving skills. These will be based on the GCSE syllabus but the style of the question will be considerably more difficult and unstructerd than that of a GCSE paper.

physics (90 minutes)

This examination paper has nine questions. Calculators are allowed. Candidates may be required to plot graphs and are expected to be able to use graphs. The topics covered include:

  1. Mechanics (moments, momentum, dynamics)
  2. Light and Waves
  3. Electricity
  4. Energy

Theology and Philosophy (1 hour)

This will test aptitude and does not require any specific background knowledge. However, candidates will be at an advantage by having some knowledge of ethical and philosophical dilemmas.

spanish (90 minutes)

The test consists of three sections.

  1. Multiple Choice Grammar Test - 50 questions testing a number of basic grammar points. This may involve choosing the correct word to fill a gap in a sentence, choosing the correct translation of an English phrase, or selecting the correct form of a verb or adjective. Four possible answers will be provided for each question; candidates select the answer that they believe to be correct and enter the appropriate letter on the answer grid.
  2. Translation into English – candidates are provided with a Spanish text of approximately 250 words, which they translate into English.
  3. Essay – candidates produce a short piece of writing (100-150 words) in Spanish, having chosen from two titles (one narrative, the other discursive).

None of the tasks assumes or requires knowledge of any specialist vocabulary. The translation may require recognition of the subjunctive but an active knowledge of this mood is not necessary.

Music (90 mins)

The paper is in three sections. The first section will test a candidates technical vocabulary and knowledge of music theory. The second section will test a candidate's ability to produce a piece of extended writing about music. Section three is a piece of stylistic composition to be completed without a piano. A candidate will also be required to demonstrate performance skills on his first study instrument.

other Subjects

Candidates who wish to be tested in subjects not detailed above but which are on Harrow's A-level list, should apply to the Admissions Office for further details.