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Sciences (Separate) GCSE

Head of Department: Dr S Smith 

What is GCSE Separate Sciences?

Separate science covers the same content as the combined science course and more. It aims to equip students with a good understanding of each of the three science disciplines: biology, chemistry and physics. After sitting the exams, students will attain a separate GCSE grade (9 – 1) for each science. 

What skills will I develop?

By the end of this course you will be able to describe and explain a wide range of concepts, processes and theories that help us understand how things work. Students will also develop their practical skills of planning, collecting and presenting data as well as analysing it. Mathematical skills are hugely important in science, where a wide range will need to be applied to a variety of situations. The separate science course will develop a deeper understanding of scientific principles and skills compared to the combined science course. 

What syllabus will I follow?

Students will follow the AQA Separate Science Course. This syllabus started in September 2016.

What will the course look like?

Throughout the course, students will study each science for three lessons each week (nine science lessons each week in total). They will have a subject specialist teaching them. In year 10, students will study certain units, with the level of demand increasing as the course continues throughout year 10 and year 11.

There will be no coursework in the new GCSE Separate Science courses. Eight “required practicals” must be completed throughout each science course, and students will find questions linking to these experiments in the final exam.

Students must be entered for all three science examination series, they cannot opt to do one or two sciences.

What homework will I get?

Follow-up work is meaningfully related to classwork and includes: planning and writing up experiments, researching information, reading, note-taking, answering targeted text book and worksheet questions to aid understanding, as well as revision for the end-of-unit tests and end-of-year examinations. On average, students should expect one hour of homework from science a week, with significantly more time invested in revising for mock exams and end of unit tests.

How will I be assessed?

Students will sit all of the examinations at the end of year 11. There will be six exams in total, each 105 minutes long, with two examinations dedicated to each of biology, chemistry and physics. Each exam will cover different targeted units within that science specialism.

Questions will include multiple choice, structured, closed short answer and open response questions. There will be foundation and higher tiered papers.

Students will undertake several mock exams at appropriate times throughout the two-year course.

What jobs or further courses of study might this lead to?

The study of separate sciences would typically lead students to study at least one science at A Level. Most students study two or three sciences at A Level. Pupils who take separate sciences have gone on to take science related university courses, such as engineering, medicine, veterinary science, earth, life, natural and physical sciences. Equally, the study of separate sciences equips students with the skills for maths related courses, as well as economics, finance and business related courses and jobs. 

Are there any entry requirements for this course?

Students are expected to attain a secure, advanced or exceptional pathway by the end of year 9 to do the separate science course. The higher level of demand in content justifies this entry requirement.

If I need additional support, what can I access?

Students are encouraged to use a range of revision resources, including CGP revision guides and exam practice books.

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