Understanding GCSE Additional Science – Part 1

In our previous two posts we discussed GCSE Core Science. In this post and the next one we’re going to discuss GCSE Additional Science.

Additional Science is a GCSE in its own right and, together with GCSE Core Science, makes what used to be known as double award science. It’s also worth noting that this approach is not like the old Dual Award that was in place prior to 2006. Under that system, students would receive two Science GCSEs with identical grades. Under the current system, students studying Core plus Additional will get a separate grade for each of the two Science GCSEs they are entered for.

Students that take Additional Science, in year 11, will have already completed the Core Science course in year 10 (though many students re-sit Core modules to improve grades). The Additional Science course also forms a part of the course for students taking ‘triple’ science – a common way of referring to individual GCSEs that pupils take in Biology and/or Chemistry and/or Physics.

Additional Science is more technical and ‘scientific’ than the core science modules and many students find the concepts much harder. We have found that students that achieved the lower grades in Core Science struggle much more with Additional Science than those that obtained higher grades (A*, A, B). This is often because the content is much more complicated and covered in a relatively short period of time.

GCSE Additional Science can be taken as a series of module tests – variations between exam boards exist so it is important to find and follow the correct syllabus. All syllabuses contain modules for Biology, Chemistry and Physics and can be taken at either Higher Tier (grades D-A*) of Foundation Tier (grades G-C). Most syllabuses allow a combination of tiers to be taken. A student may, for example, be struggling with Physics but be OK with Biology and Chemistry and so sit for Higher tier in Biology and Chemistry, but foundation tier for the Physics. Working out the marks is complicated – see our first post on GCSE Core Science for more information.

In our next post, we’ll look in more detail at some of the specifications for GCSE Additional Science.

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2 Responses to “Understanding GCSE Additional Science – Part 1”

  1. Teresa says:

    Please can you tell me if the GCSE addtional science you mention is the same as GCSE ‘core plus addtional’ as this is what my son’s teacher called it. She did say it was the double award. At the end of Yr.11 are the two sciences they choose to take classed as eg GCSE Biology, Physics or are they just called eg GCSE combined science. My concern is that employers will know what route the child has taken and deem it inferior to the triple science….sadly a huge factor in our elitist education system that takes no account of a child’s maturity at different ages. finally, where can i obtain all the resources necessary for my son who will be starting yr.10 in september. Many thanks Teresa

  2. Alison says:

    Hi – it is definately complicated to understand! What exam board is your son doing?
    Basically core plus additional is often still referred to as the double award but is as x2 separate GCSE’s one in core science [yr 10], one in additional science [yr 11]. Some students [especially those who struggle with science] just take the core science but most also do the additional science. The exaxt qualification title does depend on the exam board/syllabus being followed though so again would check with his teacher the exam board/spec …this is also useful info so you know which resources/revision guides to get – and also be careful that science specifications have recently changed and some bookshops/online stores still have revision guides for the old spec, so double check things are for the right spec. Hope this helps, and thx for visiting our site

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