Our KS4 students follow one of two main pathways at GCSE, either AQA Trilogy Combined Science or AQA Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The latter course is often referred to triple science or separate science (or unhelpfully by the exam boards, single science).
We select students for the course that will enable them to be most successful, our firm ethos being that it is better to achieve well on two GCSEs via the combined science course rather than averagely on the Separate science route. A common misconception is that combined science does not entail all sciences. Students will study Biology, Chemistry and Physics on either course, just a little more of each subject on the separate science route.
To ensure fairness, our entry criteria for A-level are not affected by the route that students are placed on, a minimum grade of 6 is required from either course for A-level entry.
Both science GCSE’s are linear courses, meaning that assessment happens in full at the end of the course in the summer of year 11. However, to prepare students for the final exam, we have in place a series of practice exams throughout year 9, 10 and 11. These typically take place in the spring and summer, some of which happen during whole school PPEs (pre public examinations) whilst others are sat in class. Before each exam, we aim to contact parents and share resources to help preparation for the exam.
The final exams take the format of 6 exams, 2 for each subject. These are 1hr 15 minutes long for combined science and 1 hr 45 minutes long for the separate science route. Each exam will contain questions based on recall, application of knowledge and key practicals that students have studied.
To support students journey, we have created a website which contains links to all the resources they need to use. This can be accessed at www.tiny.cc/eb2 Students can then access our “exam bank” which contains lots of mini packs of questions matching each sub topic of study.
Activities are organised by Subject, then exam paper and then topic. Each topic has links to Doddle activities and packs of past paper questions.
Two other resources that are highly effective are:
Doddle – www.doddlelearn.co.uk
Student user name – Firstname-surname-year of entry – e.g Danielrose14 (if I started in 2014)
Password = password
This contains lots of mini revision activities, quizzes, animations and power points. Teachers will assign activities as personal study, but students can also browse these resources.
Kerboodle – www.kerboodle.com
Student user name – initial-surname – e.g. drose
Password – password initially but this needs to be changed after the first log in.
Institution code – lu1 (as in lemur)
This site gives students access to digital copies of the text books we use in class.
Tassomai – www.tassomai.com
This is a resource that we advertise to students at the end of year 10. It is an app that learns student’s weaknesses and helps them learn through repeated mini tests. It is a great way to get students revising through a little and often approach and highly motivational for many. We have found that launching this product at the end of year 10 is the optimal time, striking the balance between giving enough time to work through the course and later enough that they can see the end in sight so they keep going at it.
How to help your child at home
We encourage a simple but well established approach to revision, that focuses on student weaknesses rather than going for a broad overview or worse, revising areas that already well understood!!
Exam board links
We have produced lots of documents that simplify the language presented in the exam board specification, but if you are able to support your child working through the specification, the specification offers excellent guidance on what they need to know.
https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/gcse and select the appropriate subject (Biology, chemistry, physics)