The difference between Combined Science and Triple Science in 2024

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The difference between Combined Science and Triple Science in 2024

Administration / 7 Sep, 2023

Overview of Differences

There is a main difference between Combined Science and Triple Science, which our GCSE tutors are very accustomed to explaining. In GCSE Triple Science 3 separate grades are awarded for each (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). But, for GCSE Combined Science only 2 grades are given. Yet, Combined Science students are still required to study all 3 sciences. Hence GCSE Combined Science is viewed as 2 GCSEs, whereas GCSE Triple Science counts as 3 GCSE subjects.

This difference also means that Triple Science contains more content and more challenging topics. This leads to the Combined science exams being 30 minutes shorter (1 hour 15 mins, in comparison to 1 hour 45 minutes for Triple Science papers). Both nonetheless require 2 exams to be taken for each core science. As well as this, both Combined and Triple have a Foundation and Higher Tier. As Combined Science is 2 GCSEs, students can sit Foundation or Higher, but they must choose all foundation or higher. There is no mixing and matching of Foundation and Higher tiers in Combined Science. For Triple Science, students can sit Foundation or Higher in each Science, but they can not mix tiers between papers 1 and 2.

For example in Foundation Combined Science you will sit Foundation for each Science. But, in Triple Science if you chose to do Foundation tier for Physics, you can do Higher Tier for Biology (both paper 1 and 2).

Which students do Combined Science vs Triple Science

Due to the more challenging content, Triple Science is offered to students who have shown high attainment in tests. However, this is different in each school and you should check with your Head of Science at school.

Impact on A-Levels, University and Career

In terms of future prospects, Triple Science sets you up for pursuing a career that requires scientific aptitude. Careers such as Medicine, Dentistry and Physics fall into this. GCSE Triple Science provides a better platform into taking A level Sciences and thus into such job fields. However, this does not mean Combined Science does not allow you to also pursue A level Science. However, it is important to acknowledge that it will require more work and there may be a few gaps in knowledge to be filled in. This can make it harder and demotivating for some students. For example, titrations are not covered in Combined Science but is relevant in A level Chemistry.

Ultimately it does not matter much if you do Combined or Triple in terms of university level, as majority of universities accept GCSE Combined Science in place of Triple for their courses. It is still best to confirm this for your specific course and university. University places are granted based on A level grade attainment. The decision between Triple and Combined in 2024 should be made based on the student’s interest in Science and pursuing it further in the future, as well as their current grade attainment in GCSE Science. Either one provides you with a good base knowledge for taking Science forward in higher education.