Contribution: 1/3 of the overall mark for the course.
This paper includes synoptic questions that draw on any of the topics in the specification as well as the core practicals studied throughout the course.
Note: Overall, a minimum of 20% of the marks across the three papers will be awarded for mathematics at Level 2 or above.
Science Practical Endorsement: In addition to the three written exams at the end of the course, the course offers a Science Practical Endorsement which is composed of 18 Core Practicals that are taught as part of the two year course. These are designed to allow students to learn a range of practical skills and apply key experimental techniques, thus developing both a conceptual and theoretical understanding of experimental methods. As such they also constitute a key element within the Paper 3 exam.
One of the important differences between previous educational qualifications (and the earlier grading of A-levels) and the later GCSE qualifications was supposed to be a move from norm-referenced marking to criterion-referenced marking.  On a norm-referenced grading system, fixed percentages of candidates achieve each grade. With criterion-referenced grades, in theory, all candidates who achieve the criteria can achieve the grade. A comparison of a clearly norm-referenced assessment, such as the NFER Cognitive Ability Test or CAT, with GCSE grading seems to show an unexpected correlation, which challenges the idea that the GCSE is a properly criterion-based assessment. 
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