Getting ready for your GCSE Science exams? Exam board AQA shares advice to get you prepped
There's a lot you need to remember when you're studying for your GCSE science exams. But these are some easy exam based tips to really help you boost your grades.
We asked the science team at AQA to share their essential advice on taking AQA GCSE Science. Here’s what they had to say:
Tip #1. Don't just concentrate on your weak points
Plan your revision to target areas where you are less confident first, but mix it up with aspects of topics you like.
- Look for links between different areas of the specification.
- Make flashcards to help you learn the chemical calculations and equations included in Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics.
Tip #2. Practical work is important for your exams
Ensure you fully understand the practical work you’ve done so you can refer to it in the exam where required. What you have learned in practical activities is very important.
- Be ready to explain the reasons for carrying out a particular practical technique, or the use of a particular piece of apparatus.
- Think about how you might have improved the approach you took when carrying out investigative work – evaluation is a key part of working scientifically.
Tip #3. Investigate
Be ready to apply what you know about the use of scientific apparatus and techniques to practical situations you may not have met before. Some questions will ask you to apply your investigative skills.
- Show that you understand the subject specific language which applies when answering these parts of questions.
- Check that you know, and can use, the formulae needed to process the data you gather in different experiments.
Tip #4 Explain
Make sure you read the question carefully, identifying the correct command word. A common error students make is writing a description when they’ve been asked to explain something - a description alone will not get any marks. Remember:
- Identify key words and parts of the question instruction, especially those relating to unit conversions and the command words.
- You can underline key words and circle command words to help you focus on answering the question asked.
- You can also annotate the question.
Tip #5 Use the correct vocabulary
Use appropriate scientific vocabulary to demonstrate and communicate to the examiner that you understand scientific ideas and techniques.
- Proper application of knowledge is important to show understanding.
- Make sure you familiarise yourself with the vocabulary relating to practical work.
- Use the information from diagrams and tables to help you to answer the question.
Tip #6. Don't panic
You will know more than you think you do and everyone taking the exam is in the same boat. In GCSE science, 40 per cent of the marks will be for applying knowledge in unfamiliar contexts, including asking you to link together ideas that aren’t linked on the specification. You will be asked questions in contexts that you haven’t studied in class. Don’t let this put you off – think how the science you have studied relates to the question we are asking.
Tip #7. Plan
Don't start writing straight away when answering 6 mark questions. Think about what the question is asking you to write and plan your answer so that you give a coherent, sequenced line of reasoning that answers the question.
Tip #8. Always answer
Don't leave any gaps. If you don’t think you know an answer, work out what the question is asking and then make an intelligent guess. Remember the first part of the next question may be easier than the question you are answering. If you get stuck, don’t give up - try the next question.