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GCSE Science Hot Tip: Develop Critical Thinking Skills.

The key to GCSE science success.

· GCSE Study Tips

"Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think" Einstein


Happy New Year! Have you made any New Year resolutions? Were any of those about studying harder to achieve your perfect GCSE grades this year? Well, how about thinking about your approach to this preparation a little differently?

Let us combine the above quote from Einstein with the diagram below:


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I call this diagram the 'Success Tree' and it can be seen as a way to develop the curious mind and become a critical thinker. The true measure of understanding.

Knowledge is the foundation of all learning. It is your roots. However, knowledge alone does not get your perfect GCSE results. It's what you do with that knowledge that counts. As Einstein said 'it's the training of the mind to think'. So, from knowledge you now have to grow that tree and the further you go up that tree the greater you GCSE success will be.

Even the GCSE science exam papers are designed to the growing tree. Let's take a look with the example below.

This is an AQA GCSE Combined Science (chemistry) foundation tier question on salts.


The first two parts to the question are asking you to recall information regarding state symbols and formula. This is the knowledge part.


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The next part of the question and checking your understanding of which solutions contain OH- ions and the colour indicators will turn in such solutions. This is the understanding part.


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The next part of the question is asking you to apply your knowledge on quantitative chemistry (calculations) to this particular example. This is the applying part.


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The next part of the question is asking you to describe and create a method to investigate a particular variable. This is the creating part.


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If you are doing higher tier GCSE science the questions will go further to test your ability to analyse and evaluate.

All the above demonstrates that just reading notes and trying to remember facts is not enough. You have to be able to use those facts in order to progress through the exam paper structure and get that grade you desire.

So, the conclusion here is you must combine your reading of information with linking exercises and exam questions. As they say, practise, practise, practise.

Download the current Monthly Freebie on Comb Classroom by pressing the button below:



This Freebie uses the topic of Atoms and Radioactivity to show how, by combining GCSE content with exam questions, you can really develop your GCSE exam technique and start to improve your GCSE Science Grade.