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    Evening all. I've tried searching for the answers to my questions but there are far too many results to wade through so I thought it would be more expediant to ask, considering that I have more than one question. If that's not alright, just let me know.

    First of all, these questions relate to getting a GCSE from college. Also, I apologise if they seem a little simple but I'm totally out of the loop when it comes to education-related matters. By the way, I'm aware that there's a key difference between physics and Physics, so there's no need to worry about that letting me know.

    So the thing is, I'm in my mid-twenties and I want to get a Physics GCSE; however, I missed a couple of years of secondary school, so I imagine I'll need to get a book or two on pre-GCSE Science before starting a course. Am I correct in that assumption, or would I get along alright if I went straight into it with no preparation? For example, I did GCSE English Language a couple of years ago and we were taught everything we needed to know to complete the course. Would this be the case for GCSE Physics or not?

    I'm also wondering about textbooks; if they're used in the course, it would really help to get one beforehand so that I can prepare. Do pupils studying Physics at school use textbooks or not? If so, would this carry over into college courses?

    That's everything I need to know, for now. Any information and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
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    (Original post by Smokie)
    Evening all. I've tried searching for the answers to my questions but there are far too many results to wade through so I thought it would be more expediant to ask, considering that I have more than one question. If that's not alright, just let me know.

    First of all, these questions relate to getting a GCSE from college. Also, I apologise if they seem a little simple but I'm totally out of the loop when it comes to education-related matters. By the way, I'm aware that there's a key difference between physics and Physics, so there's no need to worry about that letting me know.

    So the thing is, I'm in my mid-twenties and I want to get a Physics GCSE; however, I missed a couple of years of secondary school, so I imagine I'll need to get a book or two on pre-GCSE Science before starting a course. Am I correct in that assumption, or would I get along alright if I went straight into it with no preparation? For example, I did GCSE English Language a couple of years ago and we were taught everything we needed to know to complete the course. Would this be the case for GCSE Physics or not?

    I'm also wondering about textbooks; if they're used in the course, it would really help to get one beforehand so that I can prepare. Do pupils studying Physics at school use textbooks or not? If so, would this carry over into college courses?

    That's everything I need to know, for now. Any information and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
    Nah, you can go straight into GCSE Physics.

    For AQA - all you need is past papers and the cgp REVISION guide.

    Although, there is an ISA, which needs to be done under controlled conditions, so that may pose a problem.

    As for textbooks for AQA Physics GCSE, they were worthless IMO.
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    Yeah, I'd advise against AQA because of the ISA's thing. I know my course (21st century science) doesn't have those, but I don't think they do separate science GCSEs.

    It's all quite straight forward, as the above poster said; a CPG textbook with some past papers should be sufficient enough.
    Good luck!
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    Nah, you can go straight into GCSE Physics.
    (Original post by tehforum)

    For AQA - all you need is past papers and the cgp REVISION guide.

    Although, there is an ISA, which needs to be done under controlled conditions, so that may pose a problem.

    As for textbooks for AQA Physics GCSE, they were worthless IMO.
    I was wondering about the different examination boards - do they vary, depending on where you are? Are there are any key differences between them? And will the revision guide really help, or would it be better to use a study book?


    Also, does the I in ISA stand for investigative, or individual? Because I've found a website about GCSEs with both words in that acronym and it says that they - both Investigative Skills Assessments and Individual Skills Assesments - are part of the CAU.


    I shouldn't be too bad at the assessment parts, though. Maths is generally harder for me but I hadn't used to find Science prohibitively difficult. I just need to find the best way to prepare for it, that's all.

    (Original post by Ears)
    Yeah, I'd advise against AQA because of the ISA's thing. I know my course (21st century science) doesn't have those, but I don't think they do separate science GCSEs.
    (Original post by Ears)

    It's all quite straight forward, as the above poster said; a CPG textbook with some past papers should be sufficient enough.
    Good luck!

    Thanks for the tip as well, Ears. So is the difference between AQA and other exam bodies the fact that they do ISAs and the others don't?

    By the way, sorry if the quotations came out funny; I tried multiquote but failed.
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    (Original post by Smokie)

    I was wondering about the different examination boards - do they vary, depending on where you are? Are there are any key differences between them? And will the revision guide really help, or would it be better to use a study book?



    Also, does the I in ISA stand for investigative, or individual? Because I've found a website about GCSEs with both words in that acronym and it says that they - both Investigative Skills Assessments and Individual Skills Assesments - are part of the CAU.



    I shouldn't be too bad at the assessment parts, though. Maths is generally harder for me but I hadn't used to find Science prohibitively difficult. I just need to find the best way to prepare for it, that's all.




    Thanks for the tip as well, Ears. So is the difference between AQA and other exam bodies the fact that they do ISAs and the others don't?

    By the way, sorry if the quotations came out funny; I tried multiquote but failed.
    Yes, but If they don't do ISAs, they may have coursework of some kind. I can say from experience, the OCR course is very straightforward, but it will require you to just learn all the basics again.

    How are you sitting the exam? With a local centre? You may have to find out how they do coursework and things, I'm not sure how it all works.
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    (Original post by Ears)
    Yes, but If they don't do ISAs, they may have coursework of some kind. I can say from experience, the OCR course is very straightforward, but it will require you to just learn all the basics again.
    (Original post by Ears)

    How are you sitting the exam? With a local centre? You may have to find out how they do coursework and things, I'm not sure how it all works.


    I've not begun looking at courses yet - I just know that for my career (I've only just settled on a choice), I need that specific GCSE and one in Maths. So I don't really know how anybody does things, as I said, I'm completely out of the loop with this stuff.

    The OCR course sounds a little better at the moment, anyway. But then, beggars can't be choosers, so I'll just have to see. Cheers though.
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    I may have misread some of the stuff you've been saying so let me know if what I post is wrong/incorrect.

    But um, I think you'd like to find out more about what an ISA is?
    I'm not able to confirm what the I actually stands for, but basically an ISA (for AQA) is a practical exam, where you have to do an unseen experiment under controlled conditions. So this tests your ability to do the experiment and get results. Then you also have to take a written test about this ISA topic, usually the test is like an hour and 15.

    So this ISA test is broken into two sections. Section 1 is about the experiment you actually did. It will ask questions like what were you trying to find out, what did your results show, what problems did you have in your experiment, etc.

    Section 2, will be a slight variation on your experiment, but will still be about the same topic e.g. if you did an experiment on light, it will probably also be about light. It'll show you a hypothetical experiment that another student would do, and show the results they would get. And it will ask you questions about this experiment. Things like, what would be a potential problem in doing the experiment be, suggest a way you could improve this experiment, identify the anomaly in the results etc.

    I think that what you're saying is, you want to take a Physics GCSE. I'm not sure how it works at a college/whether you have to enrol/ things like that.

    But another option is to take the Physics GCSE at an examination centre, as a private candidate OR, doing it as like in a private college.

    Check out Campbell Harris as an example.
    http://www.campbellharris.co.uk/

    You can enrol into the 'private college' to take your Physics GCSE, where basically you go in and get taught the GCSE. Then you have to pay for tuition etc, and once your course is complete you take the exam.

    Or the cheaper alternative is to enter as a private candidate. This means you will have to learn the Physics GCSE at home yourself (or elsewhere e.g. a friend/ private tutor), and then you only go to the examination centre to take the final exams for the GCSE. This option means that you can learn the syllabus yourself at home, and then sign up to take the exams.

    You were asking what are the differences between exam boards. They don't vary depending on where you live geographically. They are just different exam boards AQA, Edexcel, OCR, WJEC etc that all offer a GCSE in Physics, but each exam board contains different stuff on the syllabus and the course is structured differently.

    Thats why other people were mentioning not to take AQA as it has an ISA element. Although you might be good at this practical assessment, the problem is if you were looking to do it as a private college where you go in and get taught by them, or as a private candidate where you just sign up to take the exam with them, part of the AQA course would be made up of the ISA part.

    Its difficult if you are a private candidate, to complete this ISA part, because then you have to also sign up for time at the exam centre, to be allowed to do the practical experiment.
    I'm not sure how it works for a private college, but I would assume since you spend time there working on learning the course with a tutor, they would allow you to do the practical experiment there too.

    In any case, doing this practical experiment is likely to cost extra as the exam centre will charge you for them having to get all your equipment set up, and then to monitor you etc.

    In contrast, say you took an exam board where the entire Physics GCSE course, was just two written exams. It would be cheapest to learn the syllabus at home by yourself, then try and find an exam centre that will take you on as a private candidate, which means they will order in the two written exams you have to do, and you can take the exams with them. So choosing an exam board without an ISA element would be cheaper.

    Though I'm not sure which exam boards don't have any practical assessment sorry.

    As for when you do decide to take up your Physics GCSE, I recommend you get the actual textbook for that course physics and exam board you are doing. And also get a revision guide, CGP are good. And then do lots of practice papers.

    Generally the official textbooks will be quite brief, but I think if you don't get them, you run the risk of maybe missing out one bit of information that is not mentioned in the revision guide. The revision guides act mainly as an addition to the official textbooks. Usually the revision guides offer an alternative and sometimes more in-depth explanation of some topics in the textbook, but the revision guides don't cover every little thing mentioned in the textbook, only the important topics.

    Hopefully I've explained what you were looking for? Though feel free to ask any questions and I'll try and answer them too.
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    (Original post by v2p)
    I may have misread some of the stuff you've been saying so let me know if what I post is wrong/incorrect.
    (Original post by v2p)

    But um, I think you'd like to find out more about what an ISA is?
    I'm not able to confirm what the I actually stands for, but basically an ISA (for AQA) is a practical exam, where you have to do an unseen experiment under controlled conditions. So this tests your ability to do the experiment and get results. Then you also have to take a written test about this ISA topic, usually the test is like an hour and 15.

    So this ISA test is broken into two sections. Section 1 is about the experiment you actually did. It will ask questions like what were you trying to find out, what did your results show, what problems did you have in your experiment, etc.

    Section 2, will be a slight variation on your experiment, but will still be about the same topic e.g. if you did an experiment on light, it will probably also be about light. It'll show you a hypothetical experiment that another student would do, and show the results they would get. And it will ask you questions about this experiment. Things like, what would be a potential problem in doing the experiment be, suggest a way you could improve this experiment, identify the anomaly in the results etc.

    I think that what you're saying is, you want to take a Physics GCSE. I'm not sure how it works at a college/whether you have to enrol/ things like that.

    But another option is to take the Physics GCSE at an examination centre, as a private candidate OR, doing it as like in a private college.

    Check out Campbell Harris as an example.
    http://www.campbellharris.co.uk/

    You can enrol into the 'private college' to take your Physics GCSE, where basically you go in and get taught the GCSE. Then you have to pay for tuition etc, and once your course is complete you take the exam.

    Or the cheaper alternative is to enter as a private candidate. This means you will have to learn the Physics GCSE at home yourself (or elsewhere e.g. a friend/ private tutor), and then you only go to the examination centre to take the final exams for the GCSE. This option means that you can learn the syllabus yourself at home, and then sign up to take the exams.

    You were asking what are the differences between exam boards. They don't vary depending on where you live geographically. They are just different exam boards AQA, Edexcel, OCR, WJEC etc that all offer a GCSE in Physics, but each exam board contains different stuff on the syllabus and the course is structured differently.

    Thats why other people were mentioning not to take AQA as it has an ISA element. Although you might be good at this practical assessment, the problem is if you were looking to do it as a private college where you go in and get taught by them, or as a private candidate where you just sign up to take the exam with them, part of the AQA course would be made up of the ISA part.

    Its difficult if you are a private candidate, to complete this ISA part, because then you have to also sign up for time at the exam centre, to be allowed to do the practical experiment.
    I'm not sure how it works for a private college, but I would assume since you spend time there working on learning the course with a tutor, they would allow you to do the practical experiment there too.

    In any case, doing this practical experiment is likely to cost extra as the exam centre will charge you for them having to get all your equipment set up, and then to monitor you etc.

    In contrast, say you took an exam board where the entire Physics GCSE course, was just two written exams. It would be cheapest to learn the syllabus at home by yourself, then try and find an exam centre that will take you on as a private candidate, which means they will order in the two written exams you have to do, and you can take the exams with them. So choosing an exam board without an ISA element would be cheaper.

    Though I'm not sure which exam boards don't have any practical assessment sorry.

    As for when you do decide to take up your Physics GCSE, I recommend you get the actual textbook for that course physics and exam board you are doing. And also get a revision guide, CGP are good. And then do lots of practice papers.

    Generally the official textbooks will be quite brief, but I think if you don't get them, you run the risk of maybe missing out one bit of information that is not mentioned in the revision guide. The revision guides act mainly as an addition to the official textbooks. Usually the revision guides offer an alternative and sometimes more in-depth explanation of some topics in the textbook, but the revision guides don't cover every little thing mentioned in the textbook, only the important topics.

    Hopefully I've explained what you were looking for? Though feel free to ask any questions and I'll try and answer them too.
    Thanks, that information is extremely helpful! I hadn't considered private colleges before but I'm not sure that would be the best option for me. To be honest, I don't think it'd be a good move for me to try and school myself - I get a bad feeling from it! Honestly, I do prefer the idea of going to a regular college at the moment, but I will take a look at private college courses anyway, just in case the cost does prove to be affordable.

    So, I appreciate that you don't have all the information about how colleges operate but I'll still ask, just in case - are you saying that colleges offer the same courses by different exam boards? Or would that be something for me find out from the colleges themselves? I imagine it might be, it feels a bit unfair to ask you that. Other than that, I don't think I'd mind doing the ISA in particular but I'll just have to see what's on offer.

    One of the most important things I've taken from what you said was about the textbooks. Once I know what sort of courses there are, I'll pick one then go and get the official corresponding textbook, plus one study book and a revision guide. I'm really grateful for the information about the ISAs, too. Nothing was incorrect, either, you'll be pleased to know!
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    does any one know how they get an A* in GCSE physics plz help :confused
 
 
 
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