GCSE Separate Sciences

GCSE Separate Sciences

At school, it is compulsory for all students to follow the science curriculum until the end of year 11, so everybody will be entered for the Trilogy Science GCSEs (2 GCSE grades based on an amalgamation of the 6 science exams taken in the summer of year 11). Some students will be given the opportunity to study for the Separate Sciences which is worth 3 GCSEs (GCSE Biology, GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Physics).

Pros and Cons:

PROS: You get to study a few more sub-topics in all three sciences and, although each of the 6 science exams in the summer of year 11 is 30 minutes longer, you still only get 6 exams. For this, you gain an extra GCSE.

CONS: The exams are longer, the content is more challenging and, as this is aimed at the top 10% of the UK, the grade boundaries are usually higher. There is no requirement to take the separate sciences if you are planning to move onto sciences at college or even university, have a look at the entry requirements for colleges and universities of your choice. Finally, as we are timetabled to cover the Trilogy sciences in school, we are very unlikely to cover much of the extra topics in class, it will be dependent on your independent study, motivation and time management.

Extra topics for Biology

Cell biology:

Culturing microorganisms and the practical on the effect of antibiotics on bacterial growth

Infection & Response:

Producing monoclonal antibodies and their use. Detection and identification of plant diseases. Plant defence responses.

Homeostasis & Response:

The brain, the eye, how the body controls temperature. Maintaining water and nitrogen balance in the body. Plant hormones and their uses. Germination practical.

Inheritance, Variation & Evolution:

Advantages and disadvantages of both sexual and asexual reproduction. The structure of DNA. Cloning, the theory of evolution, speciation, understanding of genetics.


Decay practical. The impact of environmental change. Trophic levels, pyramids and biomass, transfer of biomass, factors affecting food security, farming techniques, sustainable fisheries, the role of biotechnology.

Extra topics for Chemistry

Atomic structure & the Periodic table:

Typical properties of transition metals and compare with group 1.

Bonding, Structure & Properties:

Size and uses of nanoparticles.

Quantitative Chemistry:

Percentage yield, atom economy, concentrations in moldm-3, moles of gases by volume.

Chemical Changes:

Neutralisation practical

Energy Changes:

Cells, batteries and Fuel Cells.

Organic Chemistry:

Alkenes, Reactions on alkenes, Alcohols, Carboxylic acids, Additional polymerisation, Condensation polymerisation, Amino acids, DNA and other natural polymers.

Chemical Analysis:

Flame tests, Metal hydroxides, sulfates, halides, Instrumental methods, flame emission spectroscopy. Practical identifying ions.

Using Resources:

Corrosion and its prevention, alloys and uses, Ceramics, polymers and composites, The Haber process, Production of NPK fertilisers.

Extra topics for Physics


Practical on thermal insulation.


Static charge and electric fields.

Particle Model of Matter:

Pressure in gasses and increasing that pressure.

Atomic Structure:

Background radiation, differing half lives, uses of nuclear radiation, nuclear fission and nuclear fusion.


Moments, levers and gears, changes in momentum.


Soundwaves, reflection of waves, waves for detection. Lenses and visible light. Practical – light. Emission and absorption of infrared radiation and the practical associated with it, perfect black bodies and radiation.


Loudspeakers, induced potential, uses of the generator, microphones and transformers.

Space Physics:

(Separate topic). Our solar system, life cycle of stars, orbital motion, natural and artificial satellites, red shift.

This page was updated on: 8th January 2022