Understanding GCSE Additional Science – Part 2

In the previous post, we took an overview of GCSE Additional Science – now it’s time to look at the subject in a bit more detail.

As with Core Science, the best starting point for helping your child with GCSE Additional Science is to understand precisely how it works and which examination board’s specification he or she is studying. For our students, in Manchester and Cheshire, AQA Science A or Science B, OCR Gateway or 21st Century Science and Edexcel Science are the most common choices. Summaries of each course are listed below:

AQA Additional Science
The AQA Additional Science course consists of 4 units, each worth 25% of the total mark.

• x3 written tests, 45mins each. One test in each of Biology, Chemistry, Physics. Tests can be sat in any order/combination (schools decide the order in which modules are studied and when the tests are sat). Tests are sat in either January or June. Tests can be re-sat to improve marks – maximum mark used to determine final grade.

• Practical element [ISA] worth 25% of the total marks.

• Student can choose between Foundation (grades G-C) or Higher tiers (grades D-A*), with a combination of tiers also permitted.

OCR Science
The OCR course follows one of 2 routes; either the 21st Century (Science A) or Gateway (Science B):

OCR 21st Century Additional Science – Science A (J631)

There are 9 teaching modules (x3 Biology, x3 Chemistry, x3 Physics) tested as 5 units. Students sit either Foundation (grades G-C) or Higher tiers (grades D-A*).

• Unit 1 – Biology B4, Chemistry C4 and Physics P4 – 16.7% of final marks. Almost always sat first in January.

• Unit 2 – Biology B5, Chemistry C5 and Physics P5 – 16.7% of final marks. Sittings in January and June.

• Unit 3 – Biology B6, Chemistry C6 and Physics P6 – 16.7% of final marks. Sittings in January and June.

• Unit 4 – ideas in context – 16.7% of final marks.

• Unit 5 – practical element – 33⅓% of final marks.

OCR Gateway Additional Science – Science B (J641)
There are 6 teaching modules (x2 Biology, x2 Chemistry, x2 Physics) tested in 2 units. Students sit either Foundation (grades G-C) or Higher tiers (grades D-A*).

• Unit 1 – Biology B3, Chemistry C3 and Physics P3 – almost always sat first in January.

• Unit 2 – Biology B4, Chemistry C5 and Physics P6 – sittings in January and June.

• Unit 3 – research study, practical skills and data task – no set date/exam for this, assessed/moderated at school.

Each unit contributes 33⅓% of total marks. Re-sits are possible for units 1 and 2, with best grades being used to determine final grade.

Edexcel Additional Science (2103)
There are several routes available in the Edexcel Additional Science syllabus, giving either greater or lesser emphasis on external assessment (exams). The maximum marks for exam based assessment is 60%, the minimum, 30%. The maximum mark for internal assessment is 70%, minimum, 40%:

Externally assessed route, maximum
60% of the marks are obtained through exam. Students sit either Foundation (grades G-C) or Higher tiers (grades D-A*) and must sit:

• 3 multi-choice unit tests (x1 Biology, x1 Chemistry, x1 Physics). Each test worth 10% of the final marks.

• 3 structured (non multi-choice) papers (x1 Biology, x1 Chemistry, x1 Physics). Each test worth 10% of the final marks.

Tests can be sat in any order/combination (schools decide the order in which modules are studied and when the tests are sat). Tests are at various times throughout the year – November, March, June. Tests can be re-sat to improve marks – maximum mark used to determine final grade.

• Practical assessment – practical skills (10%), Biology activity (10%), Chemistry activity (10%), Physics activity (10%).

Internally assessed route, maximum
70% of the marks are obtained through internal (school led) practical and subject based activities. 30% of the marks are through exam where students sit either Foundation (grades G-C) or Higher tiers (grades D-A*) and must sit either a multi-choice or structured paper in each of the three main subjects – Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

• 3 multi-choice unit tests (x1 Biology, x1 Chemistry, x1 Physics). Each worth 10% of the final marks.

• 3 structured (non multi-choice) papers (x1 Biology, x1 Chemistry, x1 Physics). Each worth 10% of the final marks.

Tests can be sat in any order/combination [schools decide the order in which modules are studied and when the tests are sat]. Tests are at various times throughout the year – November, March, June. Tests can be re-sat to improve marks – the maximum mark being used to determine final grades.

It is worth noting there is also an option for schools to vary the amount of internal and external assessments within the above limits but there must be at least one exam sat for each science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)

Also bear in mind, as we said in the second of our posts on GCSE Core Science, the GCSE specifications will be changing in 2011.

If you live in Manchester or Cheshire, and you’d like to talk to us about tutoring support in Science for your child, please get in touch. We have a full range of qualified and experienced GCSE Science tutors.

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One Response to “Understanding GCSE Additional Science – Part 2”

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