AQA GCSE Science A

AQA GCSE Science A

This is the Core Science GCSE, usually taken in year 10, sometimes in year 9. It is one of two paths to AQA Science, the other being Science B. Both cover the same content, but in a different way, and the exams are organised differently.

Within Science A, schools can choose to follow route 1 or route 2. They cover the same topics, but they’re combined in different ways in the exam papers.

~ Route 1: three separate exams are taken in Biology, Chemistry and Physics together with the controlled assessment.

~ Route 2: two combined exams (all three subjects mixed up in the same paper) plus the controlled assessment.

Links to more information:

AQA Science A webpage. Includes past and specimen exam papers, marking schemes and examiners’ reports.

Details of the two Routes. How the topics are examined.

The course specification. This is a full description of the course structure and content and how it is administered.

Exam dates for Summer 2014

Route 1 (specification code 4405)

Unit 1 (Biology):  June 6th.
Unit 2 (Chemistry): June 10th.
Unit 3 (Physics): June 12th.

Route 2 (specification code 4406)
Unit 5: June 6th.
Unit 6: June 12th.

Course content


B1.1 Keeping healthy
B1.2 Nerves and hormones
B1.3 The use and abuse of drugs
B1.4 Interdependence and adaptation
B1.5 Energy and biomass in food chains
B1.6 Waste materials from plants and animals
B1.7 Genetic variation and its control
B1.8 Evolution


C1.1 The fundamental ideas in chemistry
C1.2 Limestone and building materials
C1.3 Metals and their uses
C1.4 Crude oil and fuels
C1.5 Other useful substances from crude oil
C1.6 Plant oils and their uses
C1.7 Changes in the Earth and its atmosphere


P1.1 The transfer of energy by heating processes and the factors that affect the rate at which that energy is transferred
P1.2 Energy and efficiency
P1.3 The usefulness of electrical appliances
P1.4 Methods we use to generate electricity
P1.5 The use of waves for communication and to provide evidence that the universe is expanding

Controlled assessment

In this unit, candidates use a range of practical skills and knowledge in one investigation chosen from those supplied by AQA.

8 Responses to AQA GCSE Science A

  1. Shanaz February 25, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Hi Bob. Is there any exams for science A available in 2015?? I want to go my pgce and they require minimum science grade C. Many thanks.

    • Bob Foster February 25, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

      You have to take a controlled assessment (practical exam), which is possible only if you’re studying at school or college. Ask the college, at which you want to study your PGCE, what your options are. For example, they may offer a science equivalency test.

  2. Jordan July 29, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    I’m currently a year 10 student awaiting the results from my AQA Science A GCSE Higher Tier paper that I did in June. I would like to achieve an A grade, but I’m worried I won’t. If I got a low B in the exam and the A* from my ISA Controlled Assesment, is there a chance that I could get an A overall? Thanks for your help!

    • Bob Foster July 31, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

      Maybe – depending on your marks.

  3. Chloe June 5, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    Doing C1 on 10th June. Really struggling any good links, tips, advice, resources. Please let me know :)

    • Bob Foster June 6, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      hi Chloe, Your course textbook (not revise guide) is the most important resource for you. Make sure you’ve read and understood all the key points and answered the sample questions. The workbooks are good – lots of questions with answers – and they also do specimen exam papers. BBC Bitesize is very useful – do the revision sections and tests. When you’re learning stuff, imagine that your job is to teach it to someone who doesn’t know about science. That gets you to really think about it, which is important especially for the longer questions. You could also have a bit of online tuition ;-). Good luck!

  4. Chloe September 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    I am in year 10 and taking B1 and P1 exam in January for edexcel and was wondering if anyone knows the topics or any good websites.

    Many Thanks

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