Physics 26/09/2018

Physics GCSE 2018 – Summary of examiners’ reports


This blog provides a summary of the examiner’s reports for the 2018 Physics 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 Physics 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.

On the plus side, the examiners reported that students recalled equations well. Basic calculations in the foundation paper were well-addressed. Where the formula had been given and the numbers which needed to be used were obvious, answers were of a good standard. Students were also able to read from simplistic graphs when the scales were easy to interpret.

But the examiners also identified a large number of areas of the specification which will require increased intervention in future. We’ve split the examiners comments into three broad (and overlapping) categories: ‘Required practicals’, ‘Key exam skills’ and ‘Subject areas for development’.


Required practicals

In both combined and separate science Physics, examiners identified student knowledge of required practicals as a key area for development. Specifically:

It’s clear that, in preparing students for the 2019 exams, a focus on the teaching and learning of required practicals is essential for all schools.

My GSCE Science complements lab demonstrations of required practicals with learning videos on each of them. These videos are useful as preparation ahead of a class demonstration and can also be used for revision. My GSCE Science exam-style questions on practicals thoroughly test students’ knowledge and help prepare them for the exams. All videos on required practicals are available directly from a student’s video dashboard, by clicking on the PRACTICALS button at the top of the video dashboard, or by using the SEARCH function.

In addition, My GCSE Science teachers have prepared a number of blogs that deal directly with the issues raised by examiners and summarised above. The blogs are invaluable sources of advice on required practicals and graph skills, for teachers and students alike. They are freely available on


Key exam skills

Examiners also highlighted multiple areas for improvement in exam technique: how students should approach questions in Physics papers.

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 Physics. These blogs cover all of the issues raised by the examiners and are freely available on


Subject areas for development

The examiners highlighted a number of specific areas which require increased focus:




My GCSE Science

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