Our GCSE science experts answer your questions
Our Head of Curriculum for Science – Julian Clarke – shares his expertise to answer the questions you’ve been asking us.
To see answers to previous questions, choose from under 'Past topics'.
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In April 2018, you asked us...
What are the rules around using calculators in GCSE science exams?
Scientific calculators will be needed in all science exams, as each paper will assess maths skills.
We don’t recommend a particular model. However there are some rules around the type of calculator that can be used in the exams.
- Calculators that connect to the internet are not allowed.
- Memory and equation storage must be empty before each exam.
Get to know the available functions
Whichever science exam a student is taking, they should take the time to familiarise themselves with their calculator in advance. Practicing using the most common functions will help them feel more comfortable.
If students already have a calculator for GCSE Maths, we recommend using the same one in their GCSE science exams, as they're already familiar with the design.
Calculator requirements for A-level science exams
At A-level, every student will need a scientific calculator.
- For A-level Biology exams, students will need a calculator with logarithmic functionality.
- For A-level Physics exams, we recommend students choose a calculator that can handle quadratic equations, as these are now included in the specification.
JCQ exams guidance
If you’re not sure whether a certain calculator is allowed, you’ll find further information in the JCQ guidance:
- JCQ instructions for conducting examinations 2017/18 – see Section 3 ‘Using calculators’
- JCQ guidance for students – applies to written exams in 2017/18