Science | Pearson qualifications


Subject update | 1 May 2024

May 2024 Teaching Science update

Welcome to the May update for teachers delivering Pearson Edexcel Science qualifications. In this update you can find information related to this Summer's exams, links to pre-release scientific articles, upcoming training and other news items that I hope you find useful. 

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GCSE Science news

To help teachers prepare their GCSE Science students with summer exams we have released a series of short videos covering areas such as exam structure, short answer questions, calculations, graphs, extended open response questions and command words. We hope you find these useful. 

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Just a reminder that from Summer 2024 students will have access to a detached periodic table that will be provided as an insert inside chemistry papers for GCSE Chemistry and GCSE Combined Science. 

Exactly the same periodic table insert will be provided in all chemistry papers - across GCSE Chemistry, GCSE Combined Science and Higher and Foundation papers.

As mentioned in previous updates students sitting GCSE Physics and GCSE Combined Science (physics papers) will be provided with an equation sheet in Summer 2024 exams. 

The equation sheet will be provided as an insert in the exam papers as it was in the Summer 2023 examination series. It is also possible to view and download the equation sheet from the Pearson Science qualification page so students can familiarise themselves with it ahead of their exams.

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25 June 2024 at 09:30 - 16:00 GMT 

A new face-to-face event will be taking place this summer for teachers or heads of department who deliver our GCSE Science qualifications. There will be a selection of speakers relevant to our GCSE specification - focusing on topics ranging from practicals, data analysis to understanding the way our assessments work. There will be opportunities to listen, learn and discuss the wonderful world of science teaching with other like-minded colleagues.

Event Fee (GBP) £99 excl. Tax | Pearson Event Code 1SC0-23F1/01

 26 June 2024 at 16:00 - 17:30 GMT

We are pleased to announce we will have a Pearson Edexcel GCSE Science event on 'Supporting Learners with EAL and Literacy Difficulties in Science'.

At this event teachers can:

  • gain insights into common literacy challenges faced by students in science classrooms
  • explore evidence-based and effective strategies to support learners with literacy difficulties in science
  • explore practical ways to develop scientific vocabulary needed for GCSE science
  • look at strategies for planning and answering extended writing questions
  • learn practical ways of supporting EAL learners in carrying out science experiments.

Please note: As this session may be repeated, and to ensure recorded content is not accessed by undisclosed third parties, it is Pearson’s policy not to share recordings for paid training events.

Event Fee (GBP) £40 excl.

Tax Pearson Event Code: 1SC0-24ON1/01

This event counts as 1.5 hours of CPD. You will receive an e-certificate by email, post attendance.

A level Science news

We require the A level Science Headteacher form by the 15 May to declare that students have completed the practical activities that meet the practical Endorsement requirements of the A level science specifications. You can access the Headteacher declaration form, along with accompanying CPAC FAQs, from the link below. 

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The completed Head Teacher declaration form should be submitted online to Pearson via the form below. 

A ‘Pass’ (P) or ‘Not Classified’ (NC) decision for each student should also be submitted on Edexcel Online by 15 May. This can be done through the  'coursework marks' option on Edexcel Online. Note, Edexcel Online (EOL) access and profile permissions are set by the Exams Officer at each centre. If your Exams Officer requires any support with EOL then our support team can be contacted on 0344 463 2535.

The Pearson Edexcel A Level Biology A 9BN0 (SNAB) Paper 3 Scientific Article for the Summer 2024 exam series is available for secure download from the qualification page from the 'Course Materials' section. A direct link to the article has also been provided below.

The article can be given to students so they can study and annotate it in preparation for the Paper 3 examination paper 9BN0/03. Students are not allowed to take their annotated copy into the examination room - there will be a fresh copy provided inside examination paper. In the unlikely event that fresh copies are missing, then please download it from the qualification page.

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From Summer 2024 all students will be provided with a separate  'Lists of data, formulae and relationships booklet' inside the AS and A level Physics exam papers.

The booklet will be provided as an insert inside the AS and A level Physics exam papers. There will be a booklet for the AS papers, and a booklet for A level papers.

Due to this change, the 'Lists of data, formulae and relationships' will no longer be printed at the back of question papers as in previous exams series. Students can instead use the booklets that will be provided as an insert going forward.

You can view and download both AS and A level booklets from the qualification page and use them with your students as required e.g. for exam practice.

ELC Science news

The final date for submitting marks and samples for ELC assessments is 15 May in the year of certification. Please note, however,  that your Exams Officer may have their own internal deadlines.

Our updated assessment record forms that need to be used this year can be found on the links below which now include a statement about AI use. Also provided below is guidance on submitting samples.

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International qualifications news

The International Advanced Level Biology pre-release scientific article for Unit 5 (WBI15) can be download from the qualification page. A direct link to the article has also been provided below. 

The article should be given to students so they can study and annotate it in preparation for the Unit 5 examination paper. Students are not allowed to take their annotated copy into the examination room - there will be a fresh copy enclosed inside the Unit 5 written examination paper. In the unlikely event that this is missing, or if you do not have enough copies, you can download the article from the website. If you have any private/external candidates registered to sit this examination, please also provide them with a copy too.

Please note, you will require an Edexcel Online (EOL) account to securely download the article. Your Exams Officer will be able to create an EOL account for you if you don't already have one.

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As previously communicated, for International GCSE Physics, and International GCSE Science Double and Science Single Awards (physics papers), students will also have access to a revised equation sheet in Summer 2024 exams. The equation sheets for these qualifications have been uploaded onto the qualification pages and can be accessed from the links below so student can familiarise themselves with it ahead of their exams. 

You can view current training opportunities and look out for new training on our Professional Development Academy page - see link provided below. 

Modular Intenational GCSE Science qualifications are for first teaching from September 2024 with first assessment May/June 2025. Information on modular International GCSEs and specifications can be obtained from our website and International Science guide - see links provided below.

The present linear specifications are not being removed and will continue to be available. There will simply be a choice between the existing specifications following the linear assessment route, or the new specifications, that will follow a modular assessment route. Please note, the modular assessment route will not be available for students based in the UK.

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Pearson Edexcel View from the Lab Podcasts

Every month we release Pearson Edexcel View from the Lab Podcasts. These aim to inform, engage and entertain with the help of thought leaders, science journalists and education specialists, joining us for each episode.

Keep an eye on the link below for the latest podcast or listen to any you have missed.

Summer 2024 support for students

Ofqual, JCQ and Pearson have a range of information to help inform and guide your students during the exam season. Please see the information we’ve summarised below that you can pass onto your students.

Support for students

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The Ofqual Student Guide 2024 provides students with information about this year’s arrangements for GCSE, AS and A level qualifications, and explains what support is in place when taking exams and assessment.

The JCQ has a range of information and support for students – from coursework and onscreen exams to written exams, along with a checklist for exam day.

As the revision season is now fully under way and students begin to turn their focus towards the summer exam series, we’d like to share our 'Getting ready for exams' guide below that includes some top tips and advice including:

- preparing for exams
- what happens on exam day
- where to find further support
- what happens once exams are over.

You can also stay up to date with all our support for 2024 on our Qualifications assessment support page -  link provided below.

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Assessment and services

Timetables for this academic year are available on our website. We have also published our provisional timetables for Summer 2025.

This academic year we have a general qualifications assessment support page. Here you can find news, information and updates from Ofqual, the DfE, JCQ and Pearson relating to exams and assessments for our GCSE, AS and A level qualifications.

It will be updated regularly with the latest announcements, news, support materials to enable you to teach our qualifications and help your students with assessments and post-results support.

In June 2023 we introduced Multi-factor Authentication as Cyber security is increasingly in the news and deliberate attacks on centres are sadly becoming more common. That’s why Pearson is committed to working with all centres to ensure our digital interactions are as secure and risk-free as possible. In December of last year we rolled out a major enhancement to our current Edexcel Online Multi- Factor Authentication process. We will be moving away from the current email One Time Passcode (OTP) and will be asking Edexcel Online users to authenticate via an app on their smartphone or other compatible device. Each account user will use their own device (capable of operating authenticator apps such as Microsoft/ Google authenticator).

We are taking the opportunity to remind colleagues that using a personal device will not result in Pearson collecting and/ or using any personal data, including a mobile phone number. If you need support with accessing a device, please talk to your centre leadership about how they can best support you. 

JCQ exam guidance

Did you know that the most common form of candidate malpractice every exam series is the possession of a mobile phone?

According to data published by Ofqual, possession of a mobile phone accounted for 44.5% of all cases of student malpractice - 2,180 cases - in the summer 2023 series. This was an increase on the 1,825 cases seen in the summer 2022 series.

The JCQ awarding bodies have set out the agreed sanctions for the different types of candidate malpractice, including for possession of a mobile phone. These can be found in Appendix 6 of the JCQ Suspected Malpractice Policies and Procedures. You can see that the sanctions for possession of a mobile phone are severe, because we need to maintain the security and integrity of our exams:

- mobile phone in the candidate’s possession but no evidence of being used by the candidate – loss of marks
- mobile phone in the candidate’s possession and evidence of being used by the candidate – disqualification

We really want to see a reduction in this form of malpractice, which has such a significant impact on so many candidates. Please ensure that you’ve taken the following steps to help your learners avoid committing malpractice:

- clear communication to learners and their parents about items prohibited in exams, including mobile phones
- clear publication and display of the JCQ exam room posters
- sharing the JCQ Preparing to sit your exams infographic with learners and their parents
- having a member of your centre’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) deliver a pre-exam series assembly, to clearly explain the expectations of learners and the exam rules
- ensuring you have in place, and learners know about, a process for the safe collection and storage of their mobile phones during exams

The JCQ have updated their guidance on the 'Use of AI in Assessments' document. This guidance is designed to help students and teachers to complete NEAs, coursework and other internal assessments successfully.   

On 15 September 2023 the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) updated its Instructions for the Conduct of Qualifications’ document for the 2023/24 academic year to provide more clarity to candidates, exam officers and teachers given recent changes in technology.

In particular, the use of calculators in exams has been updated in Section 10 ‘Using calculators’. The use of calculators applies to a number of different subjects so please do pass this information to all who need to read it.

Full details can be found in the in the booklet 'Instructions for conducting examinations 2023-2024' and a set of FAQs about using calculators on the JCQ website.

Examiner vacancies

We're looking for knowledgeable and passionate individuals to become Pearson examiners for the 2024 exam series across a wide range of subjects. Becoming an examiner is a great way to deepen your subject expertise, spread your assessment knowledge within your department and acquire valuable insights into the assessment process, empowering you to better prepare your learners for their exams.  You can enjoy the convenience of working remotely, fitting it around your other commitments, and augmenting your income. It can also help you build your professional networks and benefit from opportunities for progression and continuous professional development.

BTEC news

We have a Teaching, Learning and Assessment 2023/24 web page which will contain the most up-to-date information on vocational assessment for this academic year. The link to this page is provided below and it is a page you can refer to during the year.

We send out regular Vocational Qualification Bulletins to keep centres informed of our support and services. You can sign-up for these and also read previous bulletins on our website.

Sign-up to receive regular vocational qualification bulletins 

Read previous vocational qualification bulletins on our website

View the latest BTEC Science update on the science news page and keep an eye out for new updates.

Signing-up to news updates

You can sign-up to recieve email alerts to my updates via our web form - see link provided below.

Pearson general qualifications bulletins are sent regularly providing you with key information and updates on our qualifications and assessments for both UK and International centres. You can sign-up to receive these from the link below.

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