In the following specifications, candidates need to study advance notice materials in preparation for questions on external exam papers.
These materials will be published on the relevant qualification page (and Teach Cambridge) on 13 March and hard copies will be supplied in the exam:
The practical skills and techniques for each science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Geology) are assessed directly in the practical endorsement.
The assessment of the practical endorsement is carried out by teachers as they observe students carrying out practical activities.
The requirements of the practical endorsement are detailed in the relevant specification, available via the qualification page and Teach Cambridge. We also provide useful advice on the administration of the practical endorsement in our FAQs.
The result for the practical endorsement will be reported on each student’s certificate as ‘Pass’ or ‘Not Classified’.
Quality assurance of the practical endorsement is carried out by visiting monitors.
For Biology, Chemistry and Physics, your centre will be monitored at least once during every two-year cycle, with that visit usually limited to one subject. Large centres (more than 140 entries for any subject) will be monitored for all sciences.
A Level Geology is monitored separately and a visit is required in every two-year cycle.
The monitor who visits will be appointed by the awarding organisation with which your centre has registered for the science selected for the visit.
Monitoring ensures the common practical assessment criteria are being correctly applied, and that procedures and records are being implemented and maintained in order to meet the requirements of the practical endorsement.
We use entry data from the last summer series to identify the centres we will be monitoring in each two-year monitoring cycle. For the current two-year cycle, which runs from September 2023 to May 2025, all centres require a visit before May 2025.
Our monitors will contact exams officers (or other nominated school contact) to arrange the monitoring.
If you are a new centre or switching to or from teaching our A Level science qualifications, please let us know so we can make sure you are monitored by the right exam board.
Please be aware, all centres need to appoint a lead teacher for each science. The lead teacher is required to carry out the lead teacher training.
As well as the Head of Centre declaration, centres also need to return the OCR NEA Centre Declaration Form to us by 15 May. This form confirms reasonable steps have been taken to ensure each learner has had the opportunity to do at least 12 practical activities which satisfy the skills criteria, as described in the relevant section of each specification.
A range of practical activities is available on Teach Cambridge as Word documents. This allows you to edit the activities to match your own resources, timetable and staffing.
Practical activities tracker spreadsheets are also available on Teach Cambridge. We have provided a choice of trackers to help centres meet the recording requirements for student achievement. Centres may use their own tracker if it meets the requirements for recording candidate achievement.
The latest cross-board messaging to centres on the monitoring of the practical endorsement is available on Teach Cambridge, and also on the positive about practical web page under ‘Key practical endorsement documents’.
If you have any questions about the practical activities, please email email@example.com.