The sun coming over the horizon taken from space


You'll already be used to learning science lower down the school, and they are primarily taught via lessons and practicals.

There are two tiers available for combined science GCSE. Depending on your ability, you'll be able to take the foundation tier which gives you the chance to gain grades 1-5 or the higher tier which gives you the chance to gain grades 4-9.

As it’s a double award qualification, you'll receive two grades. These grades could be the same number, e.g. 6, 6 or 7, 7. However, your may receive a grade with adjacent numbers, e.g. 6, 7. This will signify that you are at an intermediate point between the standard required for a 6, 6 grade, and the standard required for a 7, 7 grade.


There are a number of awarding bodies and exams that your school can choose from. Here are the most common:

AQA: Triology


  • 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 changes
  • Energy changes
  • The rate and extent of chemical change
  • Organic chemistry
  • Chemical analysis
  • Chemistry of the atmosphere
  • Using resources


  • Energy
  • Electricity
  • Particle model of matter
  • Atomic structure
  • Forces
  • Waves
  • Magnetism and electromagnetism
AQA: Synergy
  • Building blocks
  • Transport over larger distances
  • Interactions with the environment
  • Explaining change
  • Building blocks for understanding
  • Interactions over small and large distances
  • Movement and interactions
  • Guiding Spaceship Earth towards a sustainable future
OCR: Combined Science A (Gateway Science)


  • Cell level systems
  • Scaling up
  • Organism level systems
  • Community level systems
  • Interaction between systems
  • Global challenges


  • Particles
  • Elements, compounds and mixtures
  • Chemical reactions
  • Predicting and identifying reactions and products
  • Monitoring and controlling chemical reactions
  • Global challenges


  • Matter
  • Forces
  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Waves and radioactivity
  • Energy
  • Global challenges
OCR: Combined Science B (Twenty First Century Science)


  • You and your Genes
  • Keeping healthy
  • Living together – food and ecosystems
  • Using food and controlling growth
  • The human body – staying alive
  • Life on Earth – past, present and future


  • Air and water
  • Chemical patterns
  • Chemicals of the natural environment
  • Material choices
  • Chemical analysis
  • Making useful chemicals 


  • Radiation and waves
  • Sustainable energy
  • Electric circuits
  • Explaining motion
  • Radioactive materials
  • Matter – models and explanations


  • Key concepts in biology
  • Cells and control
  • Genetics
  • Natural selection and genetic modification
  • Health, disease and the development of medicines
  • Plant structures and their functions
  • Animal coordination, control and homeostasis
  • Exchange and transport in animals
  • Ecosystems and material cycles


  • Key concepts in chemistry
  • States of matter and mixtures
  • Chemical changes
  • Extracting metals and equilibria
  • Groups in the periodic table
  • Rates of reaction and energy changes
  • Fuels and Earth science


  • Key concepts of physics
  • Motion and forces
  • Conservation of energy
  • Waves
  • Light and the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Radioactivity


You'll be assessed via exams at the end of Year 11. 

AQA: Trilogy, OCR: Combined Science A (Gateway Science) and Edexcel are assessed via six exams with two in each subject. AQA: Synergy and OCR: Combined Science B (Twenty First Century Science) are assessed via four exams.

In these exams you'll be given a mixture of different question styles to test your knowledge including multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, calculations and extended open-response questions.

You'll also have to undertake a number of practicals throughout your two GCSE years. The exams will assess your practical skills and what you've learn via them. You'll be required to have kept a record of your work.


Numeracy - you'll use numbers and formula as part of your learning and will gain an ability to work confidently with numbers over the two years.

Investigation - Practicals will teach you the ability to find things out for yourself. 

Problem solving - Practicals will give you the ability to solve tasks that you've been given.

Teamwork - You'll have to work with others during your practicals and learn from one another.

Verbal communication - Learning with others in practicals will help you speak to one another about what you have to do and what you've discovered.

Written communication - Your science exams will teach you to communicate your understanding of the subject to the examiner. 

Practical skills - From your practical work. 

Attention to detail - Also developed through your practical skills, as well as revising for your exams.


GCSE Bitesize - With learner guides and quick tests to help you understand how much you already know.