Science GCSE revision tips

Mar 17, 2023

The Easter holidays will soon be upon us and that can mean only two things: the baffled look of a teenager grappling with the enormity of GCSE Science and the unfathomable question of why we don’t eat hot cross buns all year round.

We can only help you with one of these problems, so we sat down with Aoife and James to get their top tips for Science revision at GCSE.

Aoife is a fourth year medical student at Imperial College, where she was the recipient of the Swinford Evans Prize and has delivered a series of online lectures for first year medical students.

James studied Physics at Imperial, before completing an MPhil in Psychology and Education, specialising in examined motor dysfunction with children diagnosed with ASD.

Clarendon: What are the best way to revise for Science at GCSE?

Aoife: Science subjects at GCSE can be very tricky, so it’s really important to make sure you’re revising efficiently! Try to ensure that all the revision you are doing is ‘active learning’. Try to avoid just reading through textbooks or watching videos. While reading and watching videos can be very useful to help your understanding, these are examples of ‘passive learning’. It’s a better use of your time to work through flashcards, or practise speaking out loud or writing everything you know about a particular topic. Pulling facts from your brain during revision is ‘active learning’ and has been proven to strengthen your fact retention!

James: I totally agree. Physics like most things requires practice, but revising the same way all the time can cause students to disengage. Instead find a variety of techniques that work for you, and alternate between them.

Clarendon: What is a topic that you find students often struggle with at GCSE and what is your top tip for helping them understand it?

James: Magnetism is a topic that many students struggle with as it seems so abstract! Online demonstration videos and interactive tools can make it understandable and approachable for anyone.

Aoife: Inheritance and gene expression is a topic students often find tricky in Biology GCSE! I would recommend taking the time to really understand all the different terms, what they mean and how they fit together e.g. DNA, genes, chromosomes etc. Once you have a good grasp on the definitions, applying your knowledge will be much easier!

Clarendon: What is one good bit of advice for exam technique in Sciences?

Aoife: Go through as many past paper questions as you can and mark them yourself using the mark schemes. The wording, style and sometimes whole questions themselves (!) can be repeated in subsequent papers so make sure to cover as many past exam questions as possible. Take note of the wording of the questions, whether they’re ‘explain’, ‘describe’ etc and the specific key words that come up repeatedly in mark schemes!

James: Agreed. And I think Physics specifically requires precise answers! Always check your calculations, significant figures, and units.

Clarendon: What do you think is a crucial difference between Single Science and Combined Science?

Aoife: Combined Science is a broad education of all three sciences: Biology, Chemistry and Physics but at a slightly less in-depth level than Single Science.

James: Combined science gives you two qualifications instead of three individual science grades. If you would like to study or work in science and medicine in the future more qualifications always help!

Clarendon: Science at GCSE often involved learning a whole new vocabulary. What is your top tip for students to help with this?

Aoife: Try to break down the individual parts of the word e.g. Gluconeogenesis: gluco – glucose, neo – new, genesis – the origin or formation of something, therefore Gluconeogenesis is the formation of new glucose.

We are immensely proud of the calibre of tutor we represent. If you need any support for the Easter holidays, even if it’s just advice, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.