Chemistry 26/09/2018

Chemistry GCSE 2018 – Summary of examiners’ reports


This blog provides a summary of the examiner’s reports for the 2018 Chemistry GCSE Science papers.

The introduction of the new ‘9-1’ Science GCSEs of 2018 has been a challenging experience for students and teachers alike. This year, therefore, the examiners’ reports are more useful than ever as a diagnostic tool, to help teachers provide targeted guidance to students taking these exams in future.

This blog provides a summary of the examiner’s reports for the 2018 Chemistry papers. It covers both combined science and the separate sciences, foundation tier and higher tier. We have used the examiner reports prepared for the AQA exam board, but the same lessons apply to students taking Edexcel and OCR exams.

The links below provide tables of grade boundaries for all three sciences.

In Chemistry, according to the examiners, students coped well with many standard topics and skills, such as completing diagrams of covalent bonding and answering questions on energy profile diagrams. However, the examiners added that lack of exposure to basic terminology made it difficult for some students to access questions. For example, there was confusion regarding the difference between a liquid and a solution. Importantly, several new topics on the specification presented significant problems.

We’ve split the examiners comments into two categories: ‘Key exam skills’ and ‘Subject areas for development’.


Key exam skills

Key exam skills were lacking and accounted for a large share of lost marks, according to the examiners. The examiners commented regularly on errors that could have been addressed by improving students’ exam technique. Specifically:

The errors above can be addressed by using My GCSE Science to help improve students’ exam technique. My GCSE Science long-form exam-style questions (and corresponding mark schemes) help students build an in-depth understanding of each topic while at the same time developing exam technique.

My GCSE Science teachers have also prepared blogs that deal directly with exam skills and maths skills in Biology. These blogs cover all of the issues raised by the examiners and are freely available on


Subject areas for development

Below we outline specific topics in the curriculum which examiners identified as requiring further development.

All of this subject matter is of comprehensively covered by My GCSE Science video tutorials (linked above) and the associated exam-preparation resources. In addition, My GCSE Science teachers have prepared blogs that deal directly with the areas for improvement as outlined above. These blogs are freely available on




My GCSE Science

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