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Science Practicals

AQA Science Practical Assessments

The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) is the largest of the Unitary Awarding Bodies in the UK. AQA offers a range of qualifications and services and it’s primary purpose is to ensure that students’ attainments are supported by best assessment practice and that their grades are a reliable statement of their achievement. 

AQA ensure that their science courses consist of relevant, inspiring content and practical work, which will encourage students to learn. 

Why complete science practicals?

AQA believe that if you wish to embark on a career in the scientific industry, you must be fully conversant with practical skills and many universities insist that these have been assessed during A’ Level examinations. They also require that you have good theoretical skills to add to the mix.

Is the practical endorsement compulsory?

Whilst the practical endorsement is not compulsory, we would strongly urge students to consider carefully whether they complete this examination or not. Many universities in the UK will insist on students holding this endorsement, especially if you are wishing to complete studies at a higher level, within a science subject.

How many practical exams will I complete?

AS Level

Students will be entered for two examinations, which will consist of two theory papers.

A’ Level

Full A Level students will complete three written papers and one (optional) practical endorsement.

What practical skills will I be assessed on?

The practical examination will be a laboratory-based practical paper and students will be assessed on the following experimental skills: 

  • Follow written procedures
  • Apply investigative approaches and methods when using instruments and equipment
  • Safely use a range of practical equipment and materials
  • Make and record observations
  • Research, reference and report

CAIE Science Practical Assessments

CAIE are amongst the top awarding bodies for science education throughout the world. They are part of the University of Cambridge; who are best known for their scientific discoveries, namely the structure of DNA, the electron and the laws of gravity. 

Why complete science practicals?

Cambridge believe that if you wish to embark on a career in the scientific industry, good practical skills are a must and many universities insist that practical skills have been assessed during A’ Level examinations as well as theoretical skills. 

Evidence of practical science skills will also ensure that you are in the best possible position to apply to the most distinguished of institutions and improve your career opportunities.

How many practical exams will I complete for the A’ Level?

AS Level

Students will be entered for three examinations, two theory papers will be completed and one practical paper. 

Students will complete Paper 1 Multiple Choice (theory), Paper 2 (theory) and Paper 3 (Advanced Practical Skills). 

A’ Level

Two further examination papers will be taken; Paper 4 A Level Structured Questions (theory) and Paper 5 Planning, Analysis and Evaluation (all written papers).

What practical skills will I be assessed on?

The practical examination will be a laboratory-based practical paper and students will be assessed on the following experimental skills: 

  • manipulation, measurement and observation
  • presentation of data and observations 
  • analysis, conclusions and evaluation. 

Edexcel Practical Exams

The Edexcel Practical is assessed through written Exams only. Practical skills assessed through a dedicated examination Unit both at AS (Unit 3) and at A Level Unit 6) to ensure key practical skills are developed and assessed in an accessible way