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Options choices for GCSE Science
Science is a compulsory subject at GCSE. There are however some choices to make when considering how you wish to study Science in Year 10 and 11. The difference between the two choices mainly comes down to your enjoyment and dedication in Science and also how this balances with your other subject choices.
We begin studying topics that transition from Key Stage 3 to GCSE in the Spring term of Year 9. The topics and skills covered in Year 9 apply to both Combined and Triple Science courses.
Pupils who are studying on Pathway 3 are automatically opted to study Combined Science.
This is a popular course that many students opt for to give them a solid grounding in science with the option still open to do A-Level science in the future if they wish (dependent on grade). This is a good option for those students that are unsure what they want to do after their GCSEs as it keeps all options open for both A-Levels as well as other Post-16 qualifications and careers. Students opting for this course would be following the AQA Combined Science: Trilogy course.
How is the Combined Science structured?
Combined science is a course that is worth 2 GCSE grades upon completion. The students would be taught by 3 specialist teachers with an even balance of each branch of biology, chemistry and physics per week. There is an emphasis on practical work and investigation in combined science. There is no controlled assessment or coursework in GCSE science. Instead, students will complete 8 key practicals per subject. These practicals are then assessed through questions as part of the final GCSE exams. The course is assessed by 6 exam papers at the end of Year 11. Each of these exams is 1 hour 15 minutes and is worth 16.5% of their overall grade.
Triple Science- GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics
Triple Science is an option that students with a passion and interest in science should seriously consider. We would also recommend Triple Science for any student who has a firm commitment to A-Level science or science-based degree options. Strong performance lower in the school is preferable, but not essential for students wishing to do Triple Science. It is however essential that students who opt for Triple Science can demonstrate a commitment to learning out of lesson, self-reflection and independence in their studies. High levels of engagement and motivation are keys for success in Triple Science.
How is the course structured?
Students opting for Triple Science will receive more lessons per week of Biology, Chemistry and Physics – owing to the course being worth 3 GCSE grades rather than 2. They are taught by 3 subject specialists for these lessons, predominately in our laboratories. Students opting for Triple Science should expect to take part in many practical investigations throughout the programme of study. There is no controlled assessment or coursework in GCSE science. Instead, students will complete 8 key practicals per subject. These practicals are then assessed through questions as part of the final GCSE exams.
Biology, Chemistry and Physics each are assessed with 2 exam papers each at the end of Year 11. These exams are 1 hour 45 minutes, with each being worth 50% of the subject grade.
Routes to Employment
Studying Science enables students to develop many transferable skills including being able to work with and analyse data or evidence, how to plan effectively, drawing evidence-based conclusions, evaluating evidence on both its quantity and quality as well as being able to consider moral and ethical dilemmas that affect our lives considering points of view outside of our own.
Students who have studied Science go on to study courses at college, sixth forms such as A-Level Biology, Chemistry and Physics alongside other courses like Psychology or Engineering. Other students have opted for vocational science-based courses such as Level 1, 2 and 3 BTEC awards in Applied Science, Forensic Science and Animal Science. At university, students have gone on to study the biology, chemistry and physics as well as degrees in Microbiology, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, Medicine, Biochemistry, Genetics, Astronomy amongst many others.
Students who have studied science have access to a wide range of careers and employment opportunities in areas including nursing, medicine, scientific research, engineering and architecture, criminal science, dentistry, optometry (study of the eyes), environmental science or ecology. There are too many to list here! For more information, check the website www.futuremorph.org for careers ideas and advice in Science.