Below are some sample schemes of work for certain classes on the World University Preparation programme. These topics are taken from the 2010-2013 syllabi. The 2014 content may vary slightly but the same general areas will be covered in the various classes.
Tutorial Subjects – students choose 2 of the following subjects to study in small-group classes.
Science for Medicine (Biology & Chemistry modules)
Early notions of how muscles work.
Optical microscopy: new technology leads the way.
The chemistry of muscle: a different approach.
Electron microscopy: the key to progress.
Muscles 1 : structure.
Muscles 2 : sliding filaments.
Muscles 3 : how filaments slide.
Early discoveries in Photosynthesis.
Towards the current understanding of Photosynthesis.
Light dependent reactions.
Light independent reactions.
DNA: Discovering the chemical carrier of genetic information.
Structure of DNA.
Genes and polypeptides.
DNA and chromosomes.
The genetic code.
Evolution: The growth of an idea.
Evolution through natural selection – a modern statement.
The current paradigm.
Before Darwin / Enter Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)
Hesitation . . . . and barnacles
Selection and speciation.
The developmental origins of speciation: an afterthought for the future.
Acid-based equilibria: Review of reversible reactions. Le Chetalier’s principle. Definition of the equilibrium constants Kc and Kp.
Bronsted-Lowry definition of acids and bases. Strong and weak acids and bases. Conjugate acid-base pairs
Definition of acid (Ka) and base (Kb) dissociation constants for weak acids and weak bases. Definition of pH and Kw.
Buffer solutions and how they work. Relevance to biological systems, foods, skin / hair products and cosmetics.
Calculations to determine the pH of solutions of weak acids, weak bases, and buffer solutions.
Stereo isomerism in Organic compounds
- is/trans and
- eometrical isomerism
Importance of overall 3 dimensional shape for efficacy of pharmaceutical products and reference to thalidomide, amino acids, sugars, albuterol, penicillins etc…
The chemistry of benzene, including the reactions of side groups attached to the bemzene ring.
Opportunities for making organic compounds more water soluble.
Transition-metal compounds: d-block and transition elements. Key features of transition metals and their compounds. Catalytic activity.
Formation of complex ions, and their reactions with aqueous solutions to demonstrate deprotonation and ligand exchange reactions.
Chemistry of chromium, iron, cobalt and copper.
Relevance to biological systems – e.g. haemoglobin and Vitamin B12, and drugs – cis Platin (chemotherapy). Carbon monoxide poisoning.
Economics & Management
Globalisation and the move towards free trade.
Oil and commodity prices – why so volatile?
World recession – what it means, causes of it and economic policy responses.
Deflation – why this may be less desirable than inflation.
Public Finances – do very large deficits matter?
Must the environment lose from economic growth?
Emerging economies – what is driving their growth?
Less Developed Economies – a case study.
Corporate social responsibility and ethical decision making in business.
Executive pay – a case for government intervention?
Quick note on Mathematics (Why mathematics? What is mathematics?)
Very brief review of functions and graphs.
Calculus: Derivatives and Integrals.
Linear algebra and matrices.
Array of applications of linear algebra.
Conceptual difficulties in Mathematics: Infinity, limits, continuity etc.
Construction of Mathematical Proofs and usefulness in everyday life.
Symmetries in Mathematics and Physics (e.g. horizon problem, decay rules, conservation laws).
(Fast-Track) Quantised gravity emerging from String Theory.
(Normal) Harmonic Oscillator and Quantum Field Theory.
General Relativity and Analysis on Manifolds.
Partial Differential Equations and Quantum Mechanics.
Introduction to the Arts
There is no set ‘syllabus’ as such for this programme. Instead students are presented with a collection of literature, art and music and encouraged to make critical observations on each piece. All the topics and skills are interrelated and students choosing this subject will also enjoy a visit to the famous Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The final course topics will often depend on what is being displayed or exhibited in Cambridge museums and galleries over the summer. At the end of the course students will all be expected to choose and present on a piece of literature, art or music to the rest of the class.