Gcse Science Coursework Tips And Toes

Writing a controlled assessment of a set text requires planning. You need to think about themes, ideas and characters as well as identifying language techniques and presentation features - then structure your assessment before you start writing.

Making a plan for your controlled assessment

You should focus on the following main areas:

  • what your text is about (its themes or ideas)
  • who your text is about (the characters and how they speak)
  • how the ideas or characters are expressed

For this you will need to identify language techniques and presentational features (just as you would in your reading and writing non-fiction exam). Finally, you will end with a conclusion, summarising your main point and how you have proved it.

Before you write your controlled assessment, you should plan all the points you are going to make and the order in which you are going to make them. Your plan should follow a structure, which we will explore in this Revision Bite.

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Coursework for GCSE Science

This is about the 2006 course. The 2011 course is similar.
See the OCR 2011 specification.

>>Download this information on an A4 mini-poster
GCSE Science coursework (0.8 MB).

Guidance for students

Internal assessment counts for 33.3% of your final grade. The Case study is 20% and Data Analysis 13.3%.

Case study (20%)

Choosing a topic

Choose a topic from one of these categories:
A question where scientific knowledge is not certain (such as ‘Does a mobile phone cause brain damage?’ ‘Is there life in other parts of the Universe?’)
A question about decision-making using scientific information (such as ‘Should the Government stop research into human cloning?’)
A question about a personal issue involving science (such as ‘Should my child have the MMR vaccine?’)

Selecting information

Collect information from different places: books, the internet, newspapers – look for different views on the topic.
Say where each piece of information came from. Make it clear if you have quoted or copied something.
Choose only information that is relevant to the question you are studying.
Say why you chose these sources and how you decided whether they are reliable.

Understanding the question

Use scientific knowledge and understanding to explain the topic you are studying.
When you report what other people have said, say what scientific evidence they had (from experiments, surveys etc).

Making your own conclusion

Compare the evidence and points of view.
Consider the risks of different courses of action.
Say what you think should be done, and link this to the evidence you have reported.

Present your study

Make sure your report is laid out clearly in a sensible order.
Use pictures, tables, charts, graphs etc to present information.
Take care with your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and use scientific terms where they are appropriate.

Creating a Case Study

Where do I start? Sources of information could include:

  • internet
  • school library
  • you science textbooks and notes
  • local public library
  • TV
  • radio
  • newspapers and magazines
  • museums and exhibitions

Data Analysis (13.3%)

Interpreting Data

Use tables, charts, graphs or calculations to show any patterns in your results.
Say what conclusions you can make from your data.
Explain your conclusions using your science knowledge and understanding.


Think whether any improvements in your apparatus or method could give more precise and accurate results.
Check how closely each result fits the general pattern and look for any outliers.
Suggest some improvements or extra data you could collect to be more confident in your conclusions.


Keep detailed notes of each stage of your planning and work. Check each result as you get it to see that it fits in with others you already have. If not, consider whether you need to repeat it to check.


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