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Q: What do UK students know after finishing a double award in GCSE science? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: What do UK students know after finishing a double award in GCSE science?
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: cgp314-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 22 Jun 2004 03:08 PDT
Expires: 22 Jul 2004 03:08 PDT
Question ID: 364424
I am interviewing for a science teaching certification program in the
UK.  I need to prepare a talk for 16-year-old students who have
successfully completed a double award in GCSE science.  Unfortunately,
I am from the United States, so I have no idea what things children
have been taught to that level.  If you could provide with with the
subjects (relating to science) that students are assumed to know at
that stage, it would be much appreciated.
Subject: Re: What do UK students know after finishing a double award in GCSE science?
Answered By: leli-ga on 22 Jun 2004 05:02 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello cgp314-ga 

Good luck with your teenage audience.
Let's look at what they are *supposed* to know.

First, an official list of topics they should have covered in school:

"Summary of Subject Content" for Double Science GCSE

10. Life Processes and Living Things

Cell Activity 
10.1 Plant and Animal Cells
10.2 Transport Across Boundaries
10.3 Cell Division

Humans as Organisms
10.4 Nutrition
10.5 Circulation
10.6 Breathing
10.7 Respiration
10.8 Nervous System
10.9 Hormones
10.10 Homeostasis
10.11 Disease
10.12 Drugs

Green Plants as Organisms
10.13 Plant Nutrition
10.14 Plant Hormones
10.15 Transport and Water Relations

Variation, Inheritance and Evolution
10.16 Variation
10.17 Genetics and DNA
10.18 Controlling Inheritance
10.19 Evolution

Living Things in their Environment
10.20 Adaptation and Competition
10.21 Human Impact on the Environment
10.22 Energy and Nutrient Transfer
10.23 Nutrient Cycles

11. Materials and Their Properties

Classifying Materials
11.1 Atomic Structure
11.2 Bonding

Changing Materials
11.3 Useful Products from Oil
11.4 Useful Products from Metal Ores
11.5 Useful Products from Rocks
11.6 Useful Products from Air
11.7 Representing Reactions
11.8 Quantitative Chemistry
11.9 Changes to the Earth and Atmosphere
11.10 The Rock Record

Patterns of Behaviour
11.11 The Periodic Table
11.12 Chemical Reactions
11.13 Rates of Reactions
11.14 Reactions involving Enzymes
11.15 Reversible Reactions
11.16 Energy Transfer in Reactions

12. Physical Processes

12.1 Potential Difference in Circuits
12.2 Energy in Circuits
12.3 Mains Electricity
12.4 The Cost of Using Electrical Appliances
12.5 Electric Charge

Forces and Motion
12.6 Representing and Measuring Motion
12.7 Forces and Acceleration
12.8 Frictional Forces and Non-Uniform

Motion Waves 
12.9 Characteristics of Waves
12.10 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
12.11 Sound and Ultrasound
12.12 Seismic Waves
12.13 Tectonics

The Earth and Beyond
12.14 The Solar System
12.15 The Universe

Energy Resources and Energy Transfer
12.16 Thermal Energy Transfer
12.17 Efficiency
12.18 Energy Resources
12.19 Work, Power and Energy
12.20 Electromagnetic Forces
12.21 Electromagnetic Induction

12.22 Types, Properties and Uses of Radioactivity
12.23 Atomic Structure and Nuclear Fission

This is all explained in much more detail in sections 10, 11 and 12 here:

Access from here:

There is another version of the Double Science GCSE. The first one was
called "co-ordinated", the next is the "modular" version. (Sorry about
the jargon)

The full syllabus is here:

Access from here:

(Please note that if you click on "assessment" you can read some past exam papers.)

Both kinds of GCSE are geared to the National Curriculum so there
isn't any substantial difference in topics covered.  GCSE level is
called National Curriculum Key Stage 4 (KS4).

Sc1 Scientific enquiry
Sc2 Life processes and living things
Sc3 Materials and their properties
Sc4 Physical processes
Breadth of Study


Your "double science" pupils/students will have been covering biology,
chemistry and physics without doing them as three separate subjects.
Most schools suggest 8 GCSE subjects for the majority of pupils, and
pupils do have some degree of choice. Teenagers who don't like science
will probably not choose "double" and will just opt for one science

If they are described as "successful" they have probably been covering
the "Higher Tier" syllabus, but be aware that there may be some
"Foundation Tier" pupils in the group. They will have had a rather
less rich and challenging course leading up to GCSE, but can still get
a "B" in the exam if they do well. The best pupils of all will achieve
an A* (A star) which is better than mere A.

If you want to get more of a feeling for the work they have been doing
and the level they are at, you can look at the online help available
for pupils preparing for their exams. Of course, this is geared to
"key facts", but nevertheless it might give you a flavour of what
they've just been doing. (As you say they are 16, I am assuming they
have just taken their GCSEs, and don't know their exam results yet.)

They will also have completed some "coursework", i.e. a fairly
independent project done in school and at home over a period of weeks
or months.

In the UK exam preparation is usually called revision.

Physics revision

Biology revision

Chemistry revision

The BBC website offers help with revision

If you read all the information on the first websites I provided, I'm
afraid you may find it quite indigestible. Please feel free to ask if
you need help with some of the British education jargon. Indeed, ask
for clarification if anything at all needs further explanation.

Good luck with your talk and interview!

Best Wishes - Leli


GCSE double science
GCSE science syllabus
national curriculum science site:uk
GCSE revision
cgp314-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks a bunch!  Very fast and very helpful.

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