[Exam Cram] What you need to know about "working scientifically" marks for your GCSEsWatch
By revising the skills and key words, you can hit all three sciences in one go!
The keywords for AQA can be found here: https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resourc...JECT-VOCAB.PDF
I’d suggest learning them all- if you get asked what one is/what it means, it could be some easy marks.
Other skills you need:
Be able to interpret data and graphs. This is something a lot of students struggle with. Use past paper questions to practice. Make sure you’re comfortable with graphs showing two data sets (e.g. a bar and line on the same graph) and with 2 Y axis. You should be able to say if this data supports a given hypothesis.
Know how to describe a trend. E.g. “as x increases, y does too”. If the question is offering 2 or 3 marks, there will be something else to spot e.g. “Y increases with X until it hits 10ml, then it doesn’t increase any more”.
Know how to use data to make predictions.
Explain why data may not be perfect and discuss the limitations of different methods. Again, past paper questions are your friend here.
Be able to discuss ethical issues around experiments and new technology. Informed consent is an important one here- as is freedom to make choices e.g. about your diet.
Assess risks and suggest appropriate safety measures. A lot of these are obvious- e.g. wear goggles when using chemicals etc etc.
Describe a practical procedure, including the variables to be changed or controls. Obviously for this you do need to know the required practicals for your subject, but there is a skill to describing them in a way that will get you the 5/6 marks available and it’s worth practicing as these can be easy 6 mark questions. Bullet points and numbered steps are you friend here. You’re also expected to be familiar with most standard lab apparatus and use the correct names.
Understand whether a sample is representative or not and explain why. Does it cover all ages? Does it cover both sexes? Is it big enough? Is it taken randomly?
Evaluate experiments and decide if results are valid. Again, past paper questions and knowing the key words will really help here.
Be able to draw graphs. This includes scatter graphs- with a line of best fit (Straight or curved) and bar charts. You need to know which type of graph is appropriate (bar charts for categorical data) and make sure to remember: SLAP
S- is your scale appropriate, L- have you done a Line of best fit, A- have you labelled your axis, P- have you plotted all your points accurately?
Know what is meant by “uncertainty” and how to calculate it- i.e the range on either side of the mean. Also be able to give reasons as to why data is uncertain (e.g. random error).
I've never really understood uncertainty but it looks like I need to revise it 🤷🏻*♀️ Thank you
First, you work out the mean (add all the figures together / the number of figures there are) then the range (highest figure - lowest figure). Uncertainty is expressed as mean +/- half the range. The bigger the +/- figure, the more uncertain the results are.
There's a useful guide here: