Science

Department Vision/Mission

To ignite a passion for life-long learning in Science, grounded in ethics, with a lively curiosity of the universe and the persistence to challenge the unknown.
 

Department Programmes/Highlights

Academic - Subjects Offered at the Upper Secondary Level

5094 Biology (with SPA)
5072 Chemistry (with SPA)
5058 Physics (with SPA)
5116 Science (Physics, Chemistry)
5118 Science (Chemistry, Biology)
 

The Science syllabus aims to emphasise the understanding and application of scientific concepts and principles.  This will enable students to become confident citizens in a technological world, recognise the usefulness and limitations of the scientific method, and to appreciate its applicability in other disciplines and in everyday life.

From 2006, School-Based Science Practical Assessment (SPA) has replaced the traditional Practical Examination, normally conducted at the end of the 2-year course.  Instead of a one-time practical examination, pupils will be assessed on their practical skills in a series of practical sessions throughout the 2-year course.  This applies to Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  For Science (Physics, Chemistry) and Science (Chemistry,Biology) the Practical Examination remain status quo for the year 2011.

The mode of assessment for all science subjects is basically the same, consisting of multiple choice questions, structured and free-response questions and SPA or Practical Examination.

Examination Format for the Pure Sciences of Chemistry, Physics and Biology

Paper

1

2

3

Format

Multiple Choice Questions Structured and Free-Response Questions School-Based Science Practical Assessment (SPA

Duration

1 hr 1 hr 45 mins N.A

Marks

40 80 96

Weighting

30% 50% 20%

 

Theory Papers
Paper 1  -   Consists of 40 compulsory multiple choice questions

 

Paper 2  -   Consists of 2 sections: Section A and Section B
 

v      Section A carries 50 marks and consists of a variable number of compulsory structured questions.


v      Section B carries 30 marks and consists of 3 free response questions

The first 2 questions are compulsory questions, one of which will be a data-based question worth 8 - 12 marks each.
The last question is presented in an either/or form and is worth 10 marks.
 

Paper 3  -  The School-Based Science Practical Assessment (SPA) will take place over an appropriate period of time that the candidates are offering the subject.  The assessment of science practical skills is grouped into the following 3 skills sets:

 

Skill Set 1  - Performing and Observing

Skill Set 2  - Analysing

Skill Set 3  - Planning

  • Each candidate is assessed only twice for each of skill sets 1 and 2 and only once for skill set 3.
  • The overall level of performance of each skill set (skill sets 1, 2 and 3) is the sum total of the level of performance of each strand within the skill set.
  • The weighting and marks computation of the skill sets are as follows

 

Skill Set

No. of Assessments (a)

Maximum Marks per Assessment (b)

Weight (c)

Sub-total
(a x b x c)

Weighting

1 2 6 4 2 x 6 x 4 = 48 50%
2 2 4 3 2 x 4 x 3 = 24 25%
3 1 4 6 1 x 4 x 6 = 24 25%

Total Marks for SPA

96

 

Chemistry


Chemistry is the study of the structure, properties and reactions of matter.  Some of the topics that are in the curriculum include experimental chemistry, chemical reactions and processes, electrolysis, metals and their properties and extraction, acids, bases and salts, and the atmosphere and environment. In all these, attention is drawn to the importance of chemistry and its application in everyday life and in industries.

In Chemistry, pupils are trained to think logically and systematically. They will learn how to make detailed observations, analyse and interpret results obtained and to draw conclusions.

The Chemistry knowledge gained, especially in Organic Chemistry, together with the experimental skills learnt will stand pupils in good stead should they wish to embark on courses in Life Sciences after the O-Level.

Physics


This is a study of basic physical phenomena such as force, energy, heat, light and matter and their applications to technology and engineering in areas such as optics, power generation, electronics, transport and communications.  The curriculum places high emphasis on the applications of physics to everyday life and its relevance in the real world.  The study of physics trains pupils to reason things out in a logical manner and to apply concepts learnt in new and novel situations.  The aim is to suitably prepare pupils for studies beyond the O-Level in the pure sciences, applied sciences or in science-dependent vocational courses.

Biology

Biology deals with living organisms and life processes like nutrition, transport, respiration, excretion and reproduction as well as the relationship of organisms with one another and the environment through the study of ecological concepts.

The study of Biology requires students to use information to identify patterns, report trends and draw inferences.  They are also required to be able to present reasoned explanation for phenomena, patterns and relationships, make predictions and propose hypotheses.

The topics of cells, genetics and some aspects of biotechnology, when interconnected with topics in Chemistry, serve to form the framework for the study of Life Sciences beyond the O-Level. 

Science (Physics, Chemistry) and Science (Chemistry, Biology)

The curriculum for Science provides pupils with a broad-based training in the key areas of Physics and Chemistry or Chemistry and Biology. Pupils are exposed to approximately 60% of the Pure Chemistry and either 60% of the Pure Physics or 60% Pure Biology curriculum. As such, pupils who intend to pursue the future courses in engineering or pure and applied sciences are advised to offer Pure Sciences. However, this course prepares pupils well for future courses that require some exposure to the physical sciences beyond the O-Level.  In the examination, the demands of the questions are also less rigorous. As such, pupils who are more inclined towards the disciplines of languages, Humanities and Aesthetics would be able to handle the science content matter of this subject and get a good foundation in Science as well.

Examination Format for the Combined Sciences

 

Paper

Type of Paper

Duration

Marks

Weighting

1 Multiple Choice 1h 40 20.0%
2 Structured and Free Response (Physics) 1h 15min 65 32.5%
3 Structured and Free Response (Chemistry) 1h 15min 65 32.5%
4 Structured and Free Response (Biology) 1h 15min 65 32.5%
5 Practical Test 1h 30min 30 15%

 

Theory Papers
Paper 1  -    Consists of 40 compulsory multiple choice questions providing approximately equal coverage of the Physics and Chemistry sections of the syllabus.

 

Paper 2  -    Consists of 2 sections: Section A and Section B

 

v      Section A carries 45 marks and consists of a number of compulsory structured questions of variable mark value.

v      Section B carries 20 marks and consists of 3 free response questions

  • The candidate will answer any 2 questions worth 10 marks each
  • The questions are based on the Physics section of the syllabus
     

Paper 3  -    Consists of 2 sections: Section A and Section B

 

v      Section A carries 45 marks and consists of a number of compulsory structured questions of variable mark value.

v      Section B carries 20 marks and consists of 3 free response questions

  • The candidate will answer any 2 questions worth 10 marks each
  • The questions are based on the Chemistry section of the syllabus
     

Paper 5  -    Consists of 1 or 2 compulsory questions on each of the two Sciences.  In one or both questions, candidates will be expected to suggest a modification or extension, which does not need to be carried out.  The use of reference materials, other than the ‘Chemistry Practical Notes’ provided, is not permitted.

Department Achievements (Academic & Competitions)

 

Biology

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

MSG

2.1 2.2 1.7 1.9 1.5

% Passes

97.3 99.1 100 100 100

% Distinction

70.8 64.5 82.1 77.6 88.5

 

Chemistry

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

MSG

2.5 2.4 1.8 2.3 1.9

% Passes

100 99.7 100 99.2 100

% Distinction

71.3 60.3 82 64.9 77.7

 

Physics

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

MSG

2 2.6 1.7 1.8 1.8

% Passes

100 99.5 100 100 100

% Distinction

71.3 50.5 84.4 81.3 81.6

 

Chem/Bio

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

MSG

2.3 2.3 1.5 2 1.8

% Passes

100 100 100 100 100

% Distinction

56.5 52.6 87.2 80.6 83.8

 

Phy/Chem

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

MSG

1.7 1.5 1.4 1.7 1.8

% Passes

77.4 100 100 100 100

% Distinction

100 91.3 85.7 88.9 88.0

Lower Sec 

  • Workshop on Molecular Genetics
  • Fun Science Enrichment - Exploring Energy around us

Upper Sec

  • Integrative Science Field Trip
  • Sec 3 - UK Trip to Cambridge Science School
  • External Competitions, Science Fairs and Quizzes