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Double and Single Award Science Tier of Entry information

20th September 2022

GCSE Science Tiers of entry details

The following document contains the basic information regarding Science GCSE in St Marys.

We follow 2 courses at GCSE;

  • Single Award Science which is worth one GCSE up to an A*
  • Double Award Science which is worth two GCSEs up to A*A*


For both Double Award Science and Single Award Science pupils can be chosen for foundation tier or higher tier.

The main differences in the tiers are;

  • More difficult content is not tested in foundation tier
  • The highest grade in each module that can be achieved is a C* at foundation tier.
  • In Double award Science it is possible to achieve an overall grade of BC* even if studying all foundation tier over the 2 years.

How do we choose the best tier of entry for your son;

The key aspects we take into consideration when deciding on the pathway that we feel would give your son the best chance of success are;

  • Performance in ‘in’ school tests (particularly Christmas mock tests). Pupils should aim to be hitting a consistent grade B if they are to be considered a higher tier candidate
  • Work rate in class
  • Verbal/written answering in class
  • Quality and completion of homework

It is important that pupils show their best level of work on a consistent basis as this gives us a much better indication of their level. The tiers of entry for Double Award Science are usually made around the end of January.

Tiers combinations

For Single Award Science you can be entered for different tiers of entry for each exam e.g. Chemistry Higher, Biology Foundation, Physics Higher.

For Double Award Science you can be entered for different tiers in each subject and different tiers in each year e.g. a pupil may do foundation tier biology in Year 11 but then higher tier in Year 12 if significant improvement is shown.


When are the examinations?

  • Single Award Science;

Chemistry in February of Year 11

Biology in November of Year 12

Physics in Summer of Year 12

Practical paper in Summer of Year 12

(repeats are available during the months of February, November and May at a cost of £8 each)


  • Double award Science

Module 1 of Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Summer of Year 11

Repeats available in November and February of Year 12 at a cost of £10 per module)

Module 2 for Biology, Chemistry and Physics plus the practical paper is in Summer of Year 12.


Both Single And Double Award Science have a practical element which is examined during year 12 between February and April.

The Tier of entry for this again is chosen as normal the only difference is that the tier of entry has to be the same for each subject e.g. Biology foundation, chemistry foundation, physics foundation.


I hope this gives some clear details of the process your son is entering or is already in. I  want to re emphasise two key aspects;

  1. Your son needs to work consistently from the beginning
  2. The Tier of Entry we choose for your son is based on where we feel he will have the best chance of success in Science


We appreciate your continued support


Mr Kelly – Head of Science

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Head of Department
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