FAQs about GCSE Science first entry exam results

From 29 September 2013, only a student’s first entry to a GCSE examination counts towards a school’s performance measures. Read our FAQs here. 

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The changes are with ‘immediate effect’ for subjects in the following Edexcel GCSE Science family and apply to students currently in Y11 for 2014 results:

  • Pearson Edexcel GCSE Science 
  • Pearson Edexcel GCSE Additional Science 
  • Pearson Edexcel GCSE Biology 
  • Pearson Edexcel GCSE Chemistry 
  • Pearson Edexcel GCSE Physics 
  • Pearson Edexcel Level 1/2 Certificate Double Award in Science 
  • Pearson Edexcel Level 1/2 Certificate in Biology 
  • Pearson Edexcel Level 1/2 Certificate in Chemistry 
  • Pearson Edexcel Level 1/2 Certificate in Physics.  

Pearson Edexcel GCSE Further Additional Science and Pearson Edexcel GCSE in Computer science will be covered by this rule for results from summer 2015 (current Y10).

For this summer only, for those students who have already gained a qualification, the performance tables will still record their best result from either their previous attempt or from the next time they sit that GCSE or its equivalent. Those students who have not yet taken a qualification will have the result of their first GCSE or Level 1/2 Certificate taken after 29 September 2013 count in performance tables. 

Currently GCSE Science and GCSE Additional Science discount against GCSE Biology, Chemistry and Physics in the EBacc and other performance measures.

The implication of the first entry rule is that if a GCSE in Science is taken before Biology, Chemistry or Physics, it is the GCSE Science result that will be counted.  

No. GCSE and Level 1/2 Certificate are considered to be in the same GCSE family, so it will be the first attempt (the January 2014 result) that will count.  

In cases where exams are scheduled for different days, even if they are in the same series, only the first result will count in the tables. Where exams are scheduled for the same day, the best result will continue to count. However, as an awarding organisation we do not encourage such practice as it is unlikely to benefit students.

No. This rule applies regardless of which awarding body is chosen.  

If a learner is on an EBacc pathway they must enter either for GCSE Core and Additional or for three of the four separate sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science) in order to put forward the best two results towards the school’s EBacc measure. To meet the measure these results must be A*-C.

The first entry rule means it is not possible to move between these pathways once a result has been achieved for one of them. If the first qualification achieved by a student is GCSE Science, future results in Physics, Chemistry or Biology will not be eligible for performance tables. However, a result for GCSE Computer Science will still count alongside GCSE Science and Additional Science.

The government has announced that, from 2016, students’ progress and attainment will be reported in 8 subjects:

  • English and Maths (double weighted) 
  • 3 further EBacc subjects 
  • 3 other qualifications. 

GCSE Science, GCSE Additional Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science are all eligible for both the ‘3 further EBacc subjects’ group and the ‘3 other qualifications’ group, but none of these subjects is required.

Further Additional Science is not an EBacc subject and will only count in the ‘3 other qualifications’ group.

Discounting and first entry rules apply as explained in the answers to previous questions.

EBacc summary

To achieve the EBacc measure in 2014, 2015, 2016 or 2017, a student must gain A*-C grades in any one of the following combinations:

  • GCSE Core Science + GCSE Additional Science 
  • GCSE Physics + Chemistry (and take either Biology or Computer Science) 
  • GCSE Chemistry + Biology (and take Physics or Computer Science) 
  • GCSE Biology + Physics (and take Chemistry or Computer Science) 
  • GCSE Computer Science + Physics (and take either Biology or Chemistry) 
  • GCSE Computer Science + Biology (and take either Chemistry or Physics) 
  • GCSE Computer Science + Chemistry (and take either Biology or Physics).
GCSE Core and Additional Science will be examined for the last time in 2017. New GCSEs in Combined Science will be taught from 2016, and examined for the first time in 2018. This new qualification will also meet the EBacc requirement.