Croydon Tutorial College

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GCSE Combined Science

GCSE Combined Science can no longer be considered to be an "easy option". Although intended for students who do not need full GCSEs in Physics, Chemistry or Biology it is a serious exam that although it does not require learning the various sections to the level of detail demanded in GCSE science subjects taken separately, nonetheless expects student to show the skills expected of those taking sciences as individual subjects. The trend in the reformed GCSE science exams is that the subject content that is designed to be of greater demand, and, the new GCSEs will include questions that reward students who are able to draw together their understanding of content from across the course and who write extended responses. The trends is to have less non-exam assessment and for all exams to be taken at the end of the course. The new subject content will require students to understand and use complex scientific terminology and to develop their mathematical skills in a scientific context. Exams will, more and more, include questions that will reward students who can draw on their experience of data analysis and experimental design." The message is very clear "gaming and rote learning will no longer be a failproof strategy for obtaining a good grade".

Most science is experimental and good students are often the ones who keep firing away "why and how" questions that cannot be answered in the classroom context, especially where the class is relatively large and where there may be a spread of abilities. The emphasis in good science tutoring should not be merely to cover the facts listed in the syllabus and provide training in answering exam questions, but to provide context and examples that may not be found in a typical combined science textbook. A good science tutor should, for example, be a member of the Association for Science Education (in the UK at least).

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