Highgate Hill

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Mount Carmel - College for Girls

GCSE Core Science

This is a compulsory GCSE subject and is studied by all students. Students may opt to complete this course in year 10 and then they can follow a second Science GCSE course in year 11, leading to a double GCSE Award in Science (See the Additional Science information). The other alternative is to opt for Triple award Science where GCSE grades are awarded separately for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. (See separate information).

Course Outline

The AQA Science Course aims to: -
1. Develop students’ interest and enthusiasm for Science.
2. Develop a critical approach to scientific evidence and methods used.
3. Acquire and apply skills, knowledge and understanding of how science works and its essential role in society.
4. Acquire scientific skills, knowledge and understanding necessary for progression to.


  • 3 x 60 minute written examinations = 75% of final grade. Actual GCSE exams are held in January and June each year.
  • Investigative Skills Assessment (ISA) which is based on research, investigative work and two practical skills exam papers = 25%. These are held in October, January and March.

There are two tiers of assessment for the Core Science course. These are foundation tier (grades G-C) and higher tier (grades D-A*). The Investigative Skills Assessment papers are not tiered.

Post 16 progression

The Core Science GCSE is accepted by all colleges as a qualification into any ‘A’ level studies. However, if students want to pursue any Science ‘A’ levels (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) they would have to pass both the Core and Additional Science GCSEs at grade C or above, or opt for the triple award (See Additional Science information and Triple Science award).

Career Options

The Core Science GCSE is highly regarded by employers and is accepted as a qualification into any employment which requires GCSE standard of education.