The Sciences

Exam Board: AQA

Syllabus Number:
8461 (Biology)
8462 (Chemistry)
8463 (Physics)
8464 (Combined Science)

In the Lower and Upper Fifth (Years 10 and 11) all students continue to study each of the sciences: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The teaching builds on the foundation of knowledge and skill established in the Third and Fourth Forms (Years 7 to 9) and provides a broad and balanced Science education which is an important asset in an increasingly technological world.

Combined Science

Most students at Sidcot will take the new Combined Science course (worth two GCSEs) leading to exams in 2021. Success in this course provides the necessary background for progression to study Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Psychology at A Level or in the IB Diploma in the Sixth Form. There are two periods per week for each science.

Triple Science

Through the options, students can also choose to study three separate GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. These courses have an additional period per week in each of the sciences which is needed to cover the extra content. This course gives students who may wish to study science beyond GCSE additional scientific experience. It is a good choice for anyone who enjoys science and wishes to dedicate as much time as possible to this area of study. 

What will I be studying?

For both options pupils study the same topics with the depth of coverage being greater for Triple Science. 


  • Cell Biology.
  • Organisation.
  • Infection and response.
  • Bioenergetics.
  • Homeostasis and response.
  • Inheritance, variation and evolution.
  • Ecology.


  • Atomic Structure and the periodic table.
  • Bonding, structure and the properties
  • of matter.
  • Quantitative chemistry.
  • Chemical change.
  • Energy changes.
  • The rate and extent of chemical change.
  • Organic chemistry.
  • Chemical analysis.
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere.


  • Forces.
  • Energy.
  • Waves.
  • Electricity.
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism.
  • Particle model of matter.
  • Atomic structure.
  • Space physics.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment is through Written exams. There is a programme of practical work and this is assessed on the written papers.

Controlled Assessment

There are no controlled assessments, but over the two years of the course, students are required to complete a series of experiments which are supplied by the examination board. For Combined Science there are 16 practicals and for each science of Triple Science there are eight. The experiments are not assessed, but on the written papers 15% of the marks are for questions related to experimental work.

Examination method

Combined Science: There will be six exams each of 75 minute duration with two exams for each science. Each paper will cover different subject content.

Triple Science: For each of the sciences there will be two exams each lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes with the papers examining different course content.

For Triple Science, the grades for each GCSE will be from 9 down to 1.

For Combined Science there will be a 17-point grading system from 9-9, 9-8 through to 2-1, 1-1.

Some of the questions will test mathematical skills. For combined science 20% of the questions will be of this type and for triple science the percentage will be Biology 10%, Chemistry 20% and Physics 30%.

All examinations are at the end of Year 11. Students can sit Foundation papers which access grades 1 – 5 or higher level papers for grades 4-9.

Is there anything else I need to know about this subject course?

This will be the fourth cohort to follow these courses.