The Sciences

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

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 skills 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 Combined Science course (worth two GCSEs) leading to exams in 2022. 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 subject.

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 study, 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.


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. The papers examine 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 Upper Fifth. Students can sit foundation tier papers which access grades 1 – 5, or higher tier papers for 
grades 4-9.