GCSE Science... Explained!
GCSE Science is a complicated business. There are lots of different subjects, several exam boards and over 100 books in the CGP GCSE Science range.
It can be hard to know what you’re looking for, so we’ve put together a few pointers to help you get started.
This page explains the “Grade A* to G” GCSE Science courses with final exams in summer 2016 and 2017. If you’re taking the new courses
starting in September 2016, head over to our Grade 9-1 GSCE Science Courses Explained page.
If you’re still stumped, just call our friendly customer services team on 0800 1712 712 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you taking two GCSEs in Science, or three?
Most students have to take at least two GCSEs in Science, and it’s often possible to choose to take three GCSEs (or International GCSEs). These are the three most common options:
Two GCSEs = GCSE Core Science + GCSE Additional Science
If you’re taking two GCSEs, we’d recommend our Core and Additional Science books.
You can choose from:
Higher Level (predicted grades A*-C)
Foundation Level (predicted grades C-G)
(Some students take GCSE Additional Applied Science or Further Additional Science...
click here if that applies to you.)
Three GCSEs = GCSE Biology + GCSE Chemistry + GCSE Physics
If you’re taking three GCSEs, we’d recommend our Biology, Chemistry
and Physics books.
These books cover grades A*-G.
Three International GCSEs = Biology + Chemistry + Physics
International GCSEs are taught in schools all over the world. In the UK, these qualifications are often known as Level 1 / Level 2 Certificates.
We make books for the International GCSEs set by Edexcel and AQA.
Which exam board sets your course?
GCSE Science courses and exams are set by “exam boards”. Each board sets a slightly different syllabus, so it’s best to choose the book
that matches your course exactly if possible.
We have syllabus-specific books for these GCSE exam boards: AQA, Edexcel, OCR Gateway and OCR 21st Century For International GCSE courses, we cover the AQA Certificates and the Edexcel Certificates. (We also offer general books that cover a range of topics from all these boards.)
If you’re not sure which exam board you’re studying with, your school will be able to tell you.
Has this cleared things up?
If not, click here for details about Extension Science, Additional Applied Science, BTEC and more...
How are all these GCSE courses connected?
This is the clever / fiddly bit. GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics are each split up into three "Units".
In GCSE Core Science and GCSE Additional Science, students take the first two Units from each of Biology, Chemistry and Physics.
It’s all a bit complex, so here’s a table to show what’s contained in each CGP book...
|CGP Book Title||GCSE Biology||GCSE Chemistry||GCSE Physics|
|GCSE Core Science||1st Biology Unit||1st Chemistry Unit||1st Physics Unit|
|GCSE Additional Science||2nd Biology Unit||2nd Chemistry Unit||2nd Physics Unit|
|GCSE Extension Science||3rd Biology Unit||3rd Chemistry Unit||3rd Physics Unit|
Confusingly, each exam board labels its Units in a slightly different way — but this basic structure is the same for all their courses.
What’s Extension Science, then?
If you’re taking three GCSEs in Science and you’ve already got our Core and Additional Books, you can use the Extension Science books to get full coverage of all three subjects (see the table above).
Our Extension Science books are also perfect for GCSE Further Additional Science courses. (Some schools now offer GCSE Core Science + GCSE Additional Science + GCSE Further Additional Science as an alternative way to get three Science GCSEs.)
What about Additional Applied Science?
After taking Core Science in Year 10, some Year 11 students take GCSE Additional Applied Science — it’s got a more practical focus than GCSE Additional Science, and has a different set of Units.
Two GCSEs = GCSE Core Science + GCSE Additional Applied Science
If you’re taking these courses, you should go for our Core Science
and Additional Applied Science books.
(Available for the AQA and OCR exam boards.)
What’s the difference between GCSE and BTEC?
BTEC qualifications are taken by some students as an alternative to GCSEs. BTEC First Science courses are mainly assessed by teachers in schools, but there are also externally marked exams (Unit 1 and Unit 8). We’ve got Study & Exam Practice books to help students prepare!
BTEC First in Principles of Applied Science + BTEC First in Application of Science
If you’re taking these courses, our BTEC books are brilliant for exam preparation.
Which type of book do you need?
We’ve got Revision Guides, Workbooks, Practice Papers, Complete Revision & Practice books, Student Books and Apps for most GCSE Science subjects... visit the CGP GCSE Science Range Explained page for a brief summary of the differences between these products.