The data shows an increase in the best grades in GCSE Physics this year, with the most results awarded in grades 8 (15.2 percent) and 9 (12.5 percent). However, the proportion of all other passing grades has declined this year, including declines of five percentage points in fifth grade (from 17.3 percent to 16.8 percent) and four percentage points in fourth grade (from 12.1 percent to 11.7 percent). GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics are separate degrees and students can choose to pursue one, two or all three. No, there are no longer grades for any coursework in any GCSE; all exams are taken at the end of Year 11; this is called a “linear system”.
The double grade will be based on their overall grade in all three subjects; they will not get a separate grade for each science, and a good performance in one area will compensate for the weaker performance in another, as in any GCSE. In combined science, those anchor points are less clear, because there is no prior double GCSE award for comparison. I have contacted the exam board confirming that it should be counted as 2 x GCSE, but the university maintains that the same exam board has informed it that it is only 1 GCSE for “higher education purposes”. A student can achieve up to GCSE Grade 5 if they sit at the basic level and up to the maximum GCSE Grade 9 when completing the upper level.
However, we know that when students are required to have a science GCSE to enter teacher training or similar, a 4-3 in combined science will suffice. Students pursuing combined sciences will study all three sciences and will cover approximately two-thirds of the content of individual GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics. In biology, chemistry and physics, examining boards will use statistics so that, in general terms, the same proportion of students achieve grade 4 or higher as they had previously earned a grade C or higher in legacy GCSE single science grades. The GCSE exams will be held in May and June, as usual, and the examination boards have already published their final summer exam schedules.
Several people have asked us about the basis of the predictions for the new science GCSEs and, in particular, for the combined scientific prize.