Specification at a glance

The number of exams students of GCSE Science A take depends on which route is chosen:

  • Route one uses three one-hour exams for each of physics, biology and chemistry (Units 1, 2 and 3) with a controlled assessment (Unit 4)
  • Route two uses two combined exams of one hour and 30 minutes each (Units 5 and 6) with a controlled assessment (Unit 4).

Students on both routes also need to take a controlled assessment that covers a minimum of one practical investigation based on the topics

The controlled assessment is not tiered but students take either the Foundation Tier or the Higher Tier for the written papers.

This specification has been updated to take account of GCSE reforms. There have been no changes to the subject content between the specifications.

Route 1 (4405)
Unit 1: Biology 1
Written paper – 1 hour
60 marks – 25%
Structured and closed questions

At least one question assessing Quality of Written Communication in a science context
Unit 2: Chemistry 1
Written paper – 1 hour
60 marks – 25%
Structured and closed questions
 
At least one question assessing Quality of Written Communication in a science context
Unit 3: Physics 1
Written paper – 1 hour
60 marks – 25%
Structured and closed questions
 
At least one question assessing Quality of Written Communication in a science context
Unit 4: Controlled Assessment
Investigative Skills Assignment – two written assessments plus one or two lessons for practical work and data processing
50 marks – 25%
 
Controlled Assessment:
  • we set the ISAs and send you all the information before the course starts
  • you choose which of several ISAs to do and when
  • your candidates do the ISA test in class time
  • you mark their tests using marking guidance from us 
  • we moderate your marks.
Route 2 (4406)
Unit 5: Science A1
Written paper – 1 hour 30 minutes
90 marks – 35%
Structured and closed questions
 
At least one question assessing Quality of Written Communication in a science context

Assesses:
  • Biology 1 (B1.1 to B1.3)
  • Chemistry 1 (C1.1 to C1.4)
  • Physics 1 (P1.1 to P1.3)
Unit 6: Science A2
Written paper – 1 hour 30 minutes
90 marks – 40%
Structured and closed questions
 
At least one question assessing Quality of Written Communication in a science context

Assesses:
  • Biology 1 (B1.4 to B1.8)
  • Chemistry 1 (C1.5 to C1.7)
  • Physics 1 (P1.4 to P1.5)
Unit 4: Controlled Assessment
Investigative Skills Assignment – two written assessments plus one or two lessons for practical work and data processing
50 marks – 25%
 
Controlled Assessment:
  • we set the ISAs and send you all the information before the course starts
  • you choose which of several ISAs to do and when
  • your candidates do the ISA test in class time
  • you mark their tests using marking guidance from us 
  • we moderate your marks.