Frequently Asked Questions

Listed below are our most frequently asked questions. To skip to the relevant section select one of the following options:

Terminal assessment and GCSE reform

Are there any changes to the subject content?

No. Changes to the specifications are limited to assessment only. The subject content for the terminal specifications is the same as the 2016 modular specifications. There will be no need to replace text books moving from the 2013 to 2014 specifications.

Will the format of the examinations change?

No changes have been made to the general format of the exams. There will be a written paper for each unit, but students in England will need to enter all of these units in the final series of their course. For those taking Route 2 (combined) there will be 2 combined exam papers for each GCSE.

What about Controlled Assessments and terminal assessment?

No changes have been made to controlled assessment. Students do not necessarily have to sit the controlled assessment in year 11. They can sit the assessment as soon as a valid set is made available on e-BLISS. You must however make sure that the controlled assessment(s) that you use are valid for moderation in the May when the students will finish the course.

Which controlled assessment should I use?

This depends on when you are planning to certify (finish the course):

SeriesWhich set should I use?
January 2013Set A
June 2013Set B
June 2014Set C

You should make sure that you choose a controlled assessment that is valid for the GCSE you are studying towards.

Can I sit units early or split the units over years 10 and 11?

No. All assessment for a GCSE must be taken in the same series, at the end of the course. Students can however enter GCSEs early, completing them before year 11.

What about double award science?

Double (or dual) science is a term often used to describe the situation when students take a core and an additional science GCSE. Students can sit core and additional science in different years if the school feels it would best suit their learning, as long as they meet the terminal assessment requirements for each GCSE.

Which specification do I need to use?

If you are finishing the course in 2013 you need to use the 2013 specification – modular exams are available with assessment according to the 40% rule.

If you are finishing the course in 2014 or later you need to use the linear assessment specification for 2014 onwards.

What about centres outside England?

If you are a centre outside England you will be able to use the current specification up to and including June 2013. After this date you should use the new Modular specifcations (signified by an M after the code). Any unit results achieved under the 2013 specification can be used towards awards in the new modular specification that replaces it. The January examination series will be available for centres outside England, for students following separate sciences and Route 1 combined sciences.

Will there still be a January exam series?

Centres in England will not be offered a January examinations series for GCSEs. The last January series offered will be January 2013.

What about re-sits after June 2013?

Students in England will need to re-sit all of the written papers. It will not be possible to sit less than 100% of the assessment in a re-sit. A student taking Science A Route 1 who wanted to improve their B1 result would therefore need to sit B1, C1 and P1. Students will however be able to carry forward the marks from their controlled assessment.


Will Additional Applied Science be counted as a part of the Science component for the English Baccalaureate?

No the DFE Performance Data Unit has confirmed that Additional Applied Science will not be counted as a part of the Science component for the English Baccalaureate.

How will students qualify for the component of the English Baccalaureate?

Below are ways we expect students will be able to qualify for the Science component of the English Bacc with BLISS from 2012/13.

Certification available from 2012/13:

  1. Achieve A* to C grades in both of the following (certification available from 2012):

  2. Enter all three of the new single sciences (certification available from 2013). Achieve A* to C grades in at least two of them.

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What resources for the new GCSE sciences are available on Bliss Science?

At present you will find our accredited specifications, Specimen Papers, Mark Schemes and Controlled Assessment Units (CAUs) in our Resources Pages. An extensive range of free resources are also available soon with our Exampro Extra Online service. Try EEO now.

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Exampro Extra Online

How can I get access to Exampro Extra Online?

You can access Exampro Extra Online via e-BLISS. e-BLISS gives authorised staff at centres direct access to information related to their centre and BLISS services.

If you have a login for e-BLISS

Please ask your Centre Administrator to give you access to Exampro Extra Online.

Then simply click on the subject of your choice from the list below, login and then you will be linked directly to the Exampro Extra Online for that subject:

Register for Exampro Extra Online – if you don't have an e-aqa login

If you currently teach BLISS GCSE Sciences

Register for e-aqa to access Exampro Extra Online.

If you don't currently teach BLISS GCSE Sciences

Firstly, sign-up to teach then register for e-BLISS.

Why do I have to register for e-BLISS to access Exampro Extra Online?

e-BLISS offers security to ensure that the resources and other information is only available to teachers and not to students. There are also other services available to teachers within e-BLISS which can be accessed with your login to e-BLISS.

I have had problems registering for Exampro Extra Online through e-BLISS?

Ring the e-BLISS helpdesk on 08442 096 614 who will help you with the e-BLISS registration process.

I have submitted my registration form for an e-BLISS password but have not heard anything back?

Your Centre Administrator (Exams Officer) needs to approve your request. It may be that your Exams Officer has not seen your request for approval. Contact your Exams Officer to see if your approval is pending on the system.

I've forgotten my password for e-BLISS. How can I gain access to e-BLISS?

You can request your password by submitting the forgotten password form . Please input your username and the answer to your security question. Once these have been accepted, your password will be e-mailed to you automatically. If you have any further difficulty you should contact your e-BLISS Centre Administrator.

How do I know which service a teacher requires access to?

Please contact the teacher concerned to discuss what they need.

I have registered for e-BLISS and been approved but I cannot see the link to Exampro Extra Online?

It may be that your Exams Officer has not given you the access rights you require. Please contact him/her to ask that they give you access (this can be done by him/her through 'Manage access rights'.

How do I use Exampro Extra Online?

Once you've clicked on one of the five subject areas available there is a 'getting started' facility which provides an online tutorial.

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Teacher's Pack (USB)

Why is nothing happening when I insert my Teacher's Pack memory stick?

On some operating systems, the memory stick does not open automatically. To access your resources, you will need to:

  • go to 'My Computer' usually found on your desktop
  • here you will see to drives located under the heading 'Devices with removable storage'
  • to launch the resource, open the 'BLISS GCSE Science' drive.

For further queries you can contact us at

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How do I log in to the community?

You can login via any page on Bliss Science. There is a login and password section at the top of the page.

I can't remember my username or password.

If you can't remember you username or password then please use our forgotten password service

How can I update my details?

Once logged in you can amend your details on the edit profile page in the left hand navigation or by selecting my profile at the top of the page.

Do I need to register to read and reply to the topics in the forums?

You will be able to read all of the forum posts without logging in. You will, however, need to login if you wish to reply to a topic or create a new topic.

Do I need to register to read and reply to the blogs?

You will be able to read all the blogs without logging in. You will, however, need to login if you wish to comment on the blogs.

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Teacher Support Online

How do I gain access to Teacher Support Online?

After completing our very short registration form you can gain access from simply entering your e-mail address each time you wish to view the meeting. Log in here.

I can't log in to Teacher Support Online?

You will need to register first. If you have registered then you will need to include your e-mail address to log in.

I'm having problems viewing the videos?

You will need the latest version of Flash to play our videos.

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Controlled Assessment

How much of the new GCSE Additional Applied Science is Controlled Assessment?

There is one Controlled Assessment for Additional Applied Science comprising two assignments. Controlled Assessment is worth 60% of the total mark.

Can students sit the Controlled Assessment for new GCSE Science in Year 10 and then sit exams in Year 11?

Yes, as long as the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs is met.

When can we get the new GCSE Science Controlled Assessment moderated?

The new GCSE Science Controlled Assessments can be moderated in the May of the year for which they are valid.

With the new GCSE triple science, when would you submit the Controlled Assessment?

You would have to submit the Controlled Assessment in the moderation series for which it is valid. It is important that you check that you check the front of the ISA for the correct dates. Triple Science candidates can do the Additional Science or Unit 3 Controlled Assessments, which will be available for moderation for the first time in June 2013.

How many new GCSE Science Controlled Assessments will there be each year for each unit?

Each year, there will be one Controlled Assessment each for units B1, C1 and P1: these may be used for Science A only. There will be one each for units B2, C2 and P2: these may be used for either Additional Science or the separate sciences. There will be two each for units B3, C3 and P3: these may be used for the separate sciences only. Therefore, there will be 3 each year for SCIA, 3 for Additional, 3 for each Sep Sci

For Science B, three Controlled Assessments will be available each year: one for each unit.

For Additional Applied Science, two assignments will be available every year, each of which will have four options to choose from.

Does the Controlled Assessment (CA) get harder? Will the B3 CA be harder than the B2 CA?

The Science A (Unit 1) and Science B CAs do not ask students to devise a hypothesis; the Additional, Additional Applied and Separate Science CAs do. The Unit 2 and Unit 3 CAs are designed to be of the same standard.

If a student completes all of the written papers for their BLISS new GCSE Sciences qualification in year 10 but fails to do their Controlled Assessment (CA) can they do the CA in year 11 and still be awarded the GCSE?

Yes, but students who do this will have to re-sit at least one of the written units in Year 11 because of the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs. The mark gained in this second unit assessment will count towards the final GCSE, even if the mark is lower than that gained in Year 10.

Additional Applied Science coursework can currently be marked, reworked and remarked, will we be able to in the future?

No, as it is now a Controlled Assessment Unit and has to follow Controlled Assessment Unit rules.

Is it true that for the new GCSE triple science, all Controlled Assessments for all three sciences must be carried out in Year 11?

This will be the case for the first cohort as unit 2 and 3 Controlled Assessments can only be moderated for the first time in June 2013. After this you will be able to submit the Controlled Assessment earlier and run more external exams later as the 40% can come from any combination of components.

What is the shelf life of the new Controlled Assessment?

Once moderated and graded the Controlled Assessment has a shelf life of the life of the specification.

Are there any guidance videos on controlled assessment?

Yes, Teacher Support Online contains a video dedicated to controlled assessment, where you wil be able to see teachers and students conducting them.

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Assessment Planning

Will BLISS offer terminally assessed papers for the new GCSE Sciences?

It is possible for a centre to decide to do all of its assessments for BLISS GCSE sciences at the end of the courses.

When can we first certificate the new Science GCSEs?

First certification for each Science GCSE is:

  • June 2012 Science A and Science B
  • June 2013 Additional Science, Additional Applied Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

When are the BLISS exams for the new GCSE Sciences going to become available?

The timing of the first BLISS exams varies with individual GCSE Sciences:

  • Science B Units from November 2016
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics Unit 1s and Science A combined Unit 5 and Unit 6 from January 2012
  • Science B Units 2 and 3 from March 2012
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics Unit 2s and Controlled Assessments for Science A and Science B from June 2012
  • Additional Science combined Units 5 and 6 and Additional Applied Science papers from January 2013
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics Unit 3s and Controlled Assessments for Additional Science, Additional Applied Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics from June 2013

Can you certificate for any of the new GCSE Science specifications

Yes, but only after the first year of certification. Certification will become possible in each series as shown:

November 2012 Science B
January 2013 Science A
March 2013 Science B
January 2014 Additional Science, Additional Applied Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics

Note: the student would still need to meet the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs.

With the new GCSE Sciences how quickly should we decide whether a student does the three separate sciences or just Science A and Additional Science?

Due to the 40% terminal requirement it is best to make this decision as early as possible. If students have taken all of their unit 1's and 2's before a decision is made they will have to re-sit some units.

When will teachers need to make decisions on tier of entry for the examined units?

For the external examinations the tier needs to be decided at the time of making the entry. This can be changed at a later date but may be subject to an amendment fee.
The Controlled Assessment is not tiered.

Can students do the old specification GCSE Science and the new GCSE Additional Science, and still get two A* to C GCSEs?


Can the new GCSE Science A or Science B and Additional Science or Additional Applied Science be taught in parallel?

Yes, they can be taught in parallel or series. Please note when the exams first become available and the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs.

If a student certificates for the new GCSE Science in Year 10, will these points count towards the schools CVA and two A* to C sciences in that students Year 11?

Yes, go to the Register of Regulated Qualifications for more information.

What are the declining rules? Will it be possible to decline certificated new GCSE Science A and use the units from Year 10 to contribute to triple science in Year 11?

No, declining is not allowed. Once a student has certificated, they can't refuse the certification and use the marks for another specification. If they haven't certificated, a student can use their unit 1 marks in triple science as long as they meet the 40% terminal requirement.

Will the new GCSE Additional Applied Science still have coursework?

No, coursework is being replaced by a Controlled Assessment.

How does the alternative route for the new GCSE Sciences work?

We've introduced an alternative assessment option for GCSE Science A and GCSE Additional Science. Each of the subjects are divided into two and combined papers are set. For example, Science A candidates would sit half of Biology 1, Chemistry 1 and Physics 1 in the first written paper, and then sit the other half in the second written paper.

Will our separate science students be able to use the alternative route?

No, it is only available for Science A and Additional Science.

Are there any tools to help me with assessment planning? For the new specifications

Yes, our assessment planner will help you plan and organise examinations for the new specifications. You can access it on our Tools page.

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The 40% Rule

What does the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs mean for the new GCSE Sciences?

It means that at least 2 of the 4 units counting towards one of the GCSE Sciences must be taken in the series in which the award is certificated. One of these units can be the Controlled Assessment.

Do we have to certificate in the same series as the 40%?


If a student sits 40% at the end of Year 10 and never sits another exam for that award, can they certificate, in Year 11?

No, as the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs will not be met.

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If a student wants to improve a grade in one of the new BLISS GCSE Sciences can they re-sit?

Yes, once they have certificated they can re-sit as many units as they want but they would have to re-sit at least two units due to the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs. When a qualification is re-taken, a student may have two further attempts at each unit. However, only the better or the last two results will count towards the final grade or the last result if it is needed to satisfy the terminal requirement.

What happens if a student re-sits three or more new GCSE Science units in the same series?

When a student re-sits more than two units BLISS will generate the best possible result which meets the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs.

If a student wants to improve a grade in one of the BLISS GCSE Science units can they re-sit that unit?

Yes, before they certificate they can re-sit each unit once. The better result counts towards the final grade; however if the unit forms part of the 40% terminal requirement for all GCSEs then that result must be used.

What options are there for certification for students who have been absent for some units.

This depends on the reasons for absence. Special Consideration would have to be applied for at the moment. Your Examinations Officer will know about how to apply.

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