So, mocks are over, and there’s 11 weeks until the real thing.

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

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Original post by SarcAndSpark

So, mocks are over, and there’s 11 weeks until the real thing.

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

hi! im aiming for 9s in triple science and do you think it is possible to get 9s in short 2 months?

Original post by TimotheeLaurie

hi! im aiming for 9s in triple science and do you think it is possible to get 9s in short 2 months?

What did you get in your mocks?

Original post by TimotheeLaurie

hi! im aiming for 9s in triple science and do you think it is possible to get 9s in short 2 months?

It depends a bit on where you are starting from and how much time you are willing to put into science. If you are already getting 6+ grades regularly, then 9s are likely to be possible, but if you are mostly getting 6/7 grades it would take a lot of work to bring yourself up to a 9.

The students I teach who are getting 9s regularly in class are different from other students in a few ways:

-They always check their work carefully and never hand in test papers with silly mistakes.

-They are always able to give enough detail in answers- they have really drilled down into the content and know not just overviews but specific details e.g. if you asked them about the endocrine system they would be able to tell you all glands/hormones and their functions.

-They usually get at least 5 marks on the 6 mark questions because they have good exam technique and can sequence points in a logical way.

-They have very strong maths skills.

-They are always able to understand what the question is asking them- they never answer about something else entirely!

Obviously even 9 students drop marks here and there- nobody knows everything and you don't need to be getting anywhere near 100% to get a 9. However, they really minimize the marks that they are dropping in a way that bright students who get 7s don't, and part of this is putting a lot of work in at home.

Original post by SarcAndSpark

So, mocks are over, and there’s 11 weeks until the real thing.

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

this is amazing

Original post by SarcAndSpark

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

This was very helpful thanks! I’ve got a question: I’m predicted a 9 and I’m in yr 10 with my mocks next week. We are meant to learn the practicals for all sciences including bio but I don’t get how we could be asked questions on it as everyone will get different results. Also, how much details is enough detail if that makes sense; like I make my notes using school resources, free science lessons ( a YouTuber) and my text books is that enough? Lastly, do you teach GCSE physics or have knowledge about vector diagrams as I’m struggling with them- please let me know if you do. Thanks again!!

Original post by Cherrygrape1234

This was very helpful thanks! I’ve got a question: I’m predicted a 9 and I’m in yr 10 with my mocks next week. We are meant to learn the practicals for all sciences including bio but I don’t get how we could be asked questions on it as everyone will get different results. Also, how much details is enough detail if that makes sense; like I make my notes using school resources, free science lessons ( a YouTuber) and my text books is that enough? Lastly, do you teach GCSE physics or have knowledge about vector diagrams as I’m struggling with them- please let me know if you do. Thanks again!!

Questions on required practicals don't use your data, as you won't have access to this in the exam. You'll be given data and asked to interpret it, or asked to write a method, or asked to identify control/independent/dependent variables etc.

There's some examples of exam style questions here: http://www.eastbarnetschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/EBS-AQA-Required-Practicals-Practice-Questions.pdf and here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/physics-aqa-paper-1-and-2-required-practical-questions-11911844

These aren't actual exam questions, but do give you an idea of how these are assessed. You could also ask your teachers in school for some practice questions.

I'm a biology specialist but I do teach some physics so if you've got a specific question about vector diagrams I'm happy to try and help!

Original post by SarcAndSpark

Questions on required practicals don't use your data, as you won't have access to this in the exam. You'll be given data and asked to interpret it, or asked to write a method, or asked to identify control/independent/dependent variables etc.

There's some examples of exam style questions here: http://www.eastbarnetschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/EBS-AQA-Required-Practicals-Practice-Questions.pdf and here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/physics-aqa-paper-1-and-2-required-practical-questions-11911844

These aren't actual exam questions, but do give you an idea of how these are assessed. You could also ask your teachers in school for some practice questions.

I'm a biology specialist but I do teach some physics so if you've got a specific question about vector diagrams I'm happy to try and help!

There's some examples of exam style questions here: http://www.eastbarnetschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/EBS-AQA-Required-Practicals-Practice-Questions.pdf and here: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/physics-aqa-paper-1-and-2-required-practical-questions-11911844

These aren't actual exam questions, but do give you an idea of how these are assessed. You could also ask your teachers in school for some practice questions.

I'm a biology specialist but I do teach some physics so if you've got a specific question about vector diagrams I'm happy to try and help!

Ok thank you for replying and for linking questions! I don’t get how to do difficult vector diagrams result the forces are in different directions and also when they are not at right angles (I will attach them below)

Original post by Cherrygrape1234

Ok thank you for replying and for linking questions! I don’t get how to do difficult vector diagrams result the forces are in different directions and also when they are not at right angles (I will attach them below)

My teacher told me it was incorrect but I’m not sure why? Also, I will attach an example to my other question after this has been answered so it doesn’t get muddled up 😂

@Cherrygrape1234 I'm not sure if you've drawn that diagram to scale or not, but the force is basically the length of each side. Using pythagoras, the diagonal side should be 3.6, not 3.5- it's likely you need to draw the diagram a little more carefully. But check with your teacher because it's hard to know without seeing the full context.

Original post by SarcAndSpark

@Cherrygrape1234 I'm not sure if you've drawn that diagram to scale or not, but the force is basically the length of each side. Using pythagoras, the diagonal side should be 3.6, not 3.5- it's likely you need to draw the diagram a little more carefully. But check with your teacher because it's hard to know without seeing the full context.

@SarcAndSparkThe scale was 1cm = 1N and I did it on graph paper but I re did it so you could see it better and I got 3.5 by measuring it with a ruler as my physics teacher said you could use Pythagoras or using a ruler so I might have just misread . The reason why I have got it wrong is because I haven’t drawn 2N and 3N in the correct places but I’m not sure how?

Original post by Cherrygrape1234

@SarcAndSparkThe scale was 1cm = 1N and I did it on graph paper but I re did it so you could see it better and I got 3.5 by measuring it with a ruler as my physics teacher said you could use Pythagoras or using a ruler so I might have just misread . The reason why I have got it wrong is because I haven’t drawn 2N and 3N in the correct places but I’m not sure how?

I'm a bit confused about the 2N/3N thing- as far as I can see you've drawn them ok, but obviously I can't see the original question. I'd ask your physics teacher for a bit more help with this one, or go back and check you haven't done something silly like misread the question!

hi, is physics and maths tutor only for triple science students as there is no split section for combined. and some questions seem harder and different.

Original post by _.q_.4.1.u_m

hi, is physics and maths tutor only for triple science students as there is no split section for combined. and some questions seem harder and different.

Physics and maths tutor don't have a separate combined section, so there are triple questions mixed in with others. If you're unsure if a question is included on the combined syllabus, you can ask on here, or ask your teacher, or check the syllabus yourself. Most of the questions are suitable for both!

Original post by SarcAndSpark

I'm a bit confused about the 2N/3N thing- as far as I can see you've drawn them ok, but obviously I can't see the original question. I'd ask your physics teacher for a bit more help with this one, or go back and check you haven't done something silly like misread the question!

Ok i will thanks

Original post by SarcAndSpark

What can you do to improve your grade?

As a science/biology teacher, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the best ways to bring up students science grades between now and the summer exams, and here are my key ideas to share with you!

1. Know what you need to know

There’s a huge amount of content in GCSE Science and it can be hard to know where to start, or what exactly you need to know.

The key thing you need is the specification. The AQA combined science one is here, but you can find the one for your exam board easily enough. https://filestore.aqa.org.uk/resources/science/specifications/AQA-8464-SP-2016.PDF

The specifications aren’t written in hugely student friendly language, but if you go to the “what you need to know section” it’s mostly readable.

My suggestions:

Highlight all the key words in one colour. Make sure you make flashcards or learn the definitions for all of these.

Highlight anything you feel like you’ve never heard of before in another colour. These are the parts of the spec you need to sit down with a revision guide or textbook and try to learn about before you start your revision. Between now and Easter, there’s still time

Highlight areas you’re not fully confident on in a third colour. These are areas where you need to make sure you are testing yourself on key words/concepts with flashcards, doing mind maps and practicing past paper questions for.

2. Make sure you are revising content in enough detail

A lot of students struggle in science because they think they know about a subject, but actually they don’t know enough detail for the exams. Last year, there was a question which asked for 5 adaptations of the small intestine- that’s quite a lot! There were also questions asking about the role of nitrate ions in plant growth, which plant produced drugs that could treat heart disease and what type of pathogen malaria is.

That’s the sort of detail you need to know. Revision guides are great, but sometimes they don’t include all the detail you need- especially if you’re aiming for grade 7+.

As an example, if I was revising the respiratory system, I’d do something like this:

Learn all the parts and make sure I could label them on a diagram from memory.

Make sure I could describe a structural adaptation of each part (3 for the alveoli).

Make sure I could explain the functions of each of these structural adaptations.

Keep referring back to the specification you printed off and tick off each section as you revise it. This will help you make sure you’re not missing out on details you need to know!

All of this revision should be as active as possible. Scientists have proven we are more likely to remember information if we rehearse it, process it, and practice retrieving it. This is one reason flashcards are so great!

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts for this step- you just have to keep learning and practicing.

3. Practice your maths skills.

Maths skills are assessed across all the GCSE Sciences. By practicing your maths skills, you’re practicing for all 3 papers at once! All the maths skills you need for GCSE science are included below.

1.Arithmetic and numerical computation

a) Recognise and use expressions in decimal form

b) Recognise and use expressions in standard form

c) Use ratios, fractions and percentages

d) Make estimates of the results of simple calculations

2.Handling data

a) Use an appropriate number of significant figures (this is one students often forget in their exams. If you don’t round when asked to, you loose at least one mark).

b) Find arithmetic means (Including knowing how to do this from a table of results).

C) Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

d) Understand the principles of sampling as applied to scientific data (biology questions only)

e) Understand simple probability

f) Understand the terms mean, mode and median

g) Use a scatter diagram to identify a correlation between two variables

h) Make order of magnitude calculations

3.Algebra

a) Understand and use the symbols: =, <>, >, ∝, ~

b) Change the subject of an equation

c) Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities (this means knowing when to convert units, e.g. minutes to seconds, kilojoules to joules, centimetres to meters and so on- even if you don’t need to learn a specific equation, you need to know which units it uses!).

d) Solve simple algebraic equations

4.Graphs

a) Translate information between graphical and numeric form

b) Understand that y = mx + c represents a linear relationship

c) Plot two variables from experimental or other data (this is really important as graph drawing questions are often worth 3-5 marks, and lots of students miss out on these marks because they don’t use a correct scale, they don’t draw the right type of graph, or they don’t know when they should use a CURVED line of best fit). Getting confident with graph drawing can be an easy way to improve your grade!

d) Determine the slope and intercept of a linear graph

e) Draw and use the slope of a tangent to a curve as a measure of rate of change

f) Understand the physical significance of area between a curve and the x-axis and measure it by counting squares as appropriate

5.Geometry and trigonometry

a) Use angular measures in degrees

b) Visualise and represent 2D and 3D forms including two dimensional representations of 3D objects

c) Calculate areas of triangles and rectangles, surface areas and volumes of cubes (You also need to know how to find the area of an irregular shape.)

4. Make use of the resources you have at school!

If there’s something you don’t understand, or you don’t know how to answer a particular type of question, or you’re just struggling with revision in general, there’s no substitute for going and talking to your teachers. Most schools run some kind of revision drop in for their Y11 students, but if they don’t, then do speak to your teacher anyway- most will be more than happy to spend some time helping you with revision.

Your teachers will often have all sorts of things they can give you to help- from worksheets to revision guides to past paper questions, so if there’s something specific you need, do ask your teachers about it.

Let your teachers know if you don’t have a quiet space to revise at home, or you don’t have access to a printer at home, or if there’s something else you need. They will always want to help you!

If you school offers revision drop ins over Easter or at half terms, make use of these, as well!

5. Practice your exam technique.

Once you feel you know the content really well, it’s time to start practicing your exam technique. A lot of science questions want things phrased in a really specific way.

They also often ask you to apply your knowledge to new situations. Every year, after the exam, a lot of students take to twitter to say “We weren’t taught about X, Y or Z” or “Axolotls and Beta Blockers aren’t on the spec.” These questions often ask you to apply your existing knowledge to new situations, so it’s really important you practice doing this!

This doesn’t mean sitting down to do a full past paper- it means regularly practicing exam questions for short periods.

This brilliant website has past paper questions organised by topic: https://www.physicsandmathstutor.com/ and all the mark schemes. This means you can sit down and practice 30 minutes of past paper questions once a week on different topics!

Marking them yourself is a really good idea too, as you get used to the sort of language used in the mark scheme, and the sort of points they want you to make. This is especially important for 6 mark questions, where getting full marks isn’t as straight forward as making 6 points!

It is worth going through whole past papers too, maybe during the Easter holidays. Doing this in exam conditions is really good preparation- as it helps you work on things like timing as well. You can download full past papers from your exam board’s website.

There still aren’t that many past paper questions out there- so if you do run out, it is worth looking at questions from other exam boards. At GCSE, all exam boards have to cover the same curriculum and the specs for each exam board are VERY similar, so it’s fine to do a past paper from e.g. Edexcel, even if you’re doing OCR. iGCSE papers and past papers from before 2018 will be more different, so avoid using these. (Do note this doesn’t work at A-levels, where each spec is very different).

Well done if you managed to make it this far, and good luck with your revision. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Science GCSEs in this thread too!

I am in year 10 and started the course for seperate sciences in 2019. I am getting 7s/8s in seperate assessments. Do you believe I could get a 9 in year 11. I aspire to do A-level sciences but feel I do not have enough time to reach a grade 9. Please can you respond and let me know whether I can do it.

Original post by bowdeyga

Spoiler

There's no such thing as a grade 9 answer in science- it's all about dropping the minimum marks across the paper possible. There's no real shortcut to this except to say:

-Learn the content.

-Do lots of past paper questions and look at the mark schemes. As you look at the mark schemes more, it becomes clearer the sort of links you are expected to make e.g. if exercise is discussed often they want you to mention respiration, even if that isn't mentioned in the question. I agree it's not always clear what they want you to say at first, but the more you look at mark schemes, the better you will get!

Original post by helpme2005

I am in year 10 and started the course for seperate sciences in 2019. I am getting 7s/8s in seperate assessments. Do you believe I could get a 9 in year 11. I aspire to do A-level sciences but feel I do not have enough time to reach a grade 9. Please can you respond and let me know whether I can do it.

7s and 8s at this stage are great- if you keep working hard a grade 9 could be possible.

However, it's important to remember only a really small percentage of students get grade 9s. There's no school/college that requires grade 9 to study a subject at A-level, they wouldn't fill their courses. Grade 7-8 is fine for A-level.

By all means work hard and aim for a Grade 9, as this will give you a solid basis for A-level, but also check what your school/college require- It won't be a 9!

What mark would you say guarantees a 9, regardless of how high/low the grade boundaries are? (e.g. I know sometimes 65/100 is a 9 but sometimes it can be more like 70/100) I'm assuming if it's above 70 it's safe to say it's a 9?

Also, do you have any advice on how to improve my chemistry grade - I'm getting 9s in bio and physics but only 7s in chemistry and I'm very unsure as to why since I use the same revision technique for all of them

Thanks!

Also, do you have any advice on how to improve my chemistry grade - I'm getting 9s in bio and physics but only 7s in chemistry and I'm very unsure as to why since I use the same revision technique for all of them

Thanks!

(edited 4 years ago)

- my gcse growth journey!
- GCSE Computer Science Study Group 2023-2024
- apply post 16 after year 10 mocks
- Advice
- Can I go from combined science to triple science if I do well in my year 10 mocks ?
- my gyg!
- Dia's GYG journey: upping my game *cracks knuckles*
- How? what? To get grade 9 .
- Exam techinques
- yr 11 doing my GCSE mocks in a few weeks and I'm do cooked
- Help me recover
- Science AQA - Revision
- GCSE predicted + Practice questions
- What Subjects should I focus on?
- Former GCSE student achieved all grades 7-9s. Ask me anything.
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