Should I do triple science or double science at GCSE?

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Aug 09 2022

One of the biggest questions for GCSE students is whether to take triple science or double science. This article will help you understand the differences between the two options, and which option is best for you.


What is the difference between triple science and double science?

No matter which option you choose, you’ll still study all three sciences: physics, chemistry and biology. The biggest difference between triple science and double science is that triple science students study more content. While triple science students study everything on the syllabus, double science students only cover two-thirds of the syllabus. In addition to this, triple science exams are normally about half an hour longer than double science exams. If you know which exam board you’ll be following, you might want to look on their website to see the exact timings.

Do triple science and double science students receive different qualifications?

Yes. Triple science students receive three separate GCSEs (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). However, double science students only receive two combined GCSEs. The results will be based on your overall performance across all three sciences. Given that double science students have one less GCSE than triple science students, double science students often take an extra subject to compensate. 

Is triple science more difficult than double science?

Although the content of triple science is not more difficult than the double science content, triple science students have a greater workload. The extra content covered in triple science just delves deeper into the content taught across both sciences. Some students find having more detail aids their understanding of the overall topic, while some find it makes things more confusing. Furthermore, although triple science students have a greater science workload, most double science students take a non-science GCSE to compensate, so the workload may work out the same.

Do I need to take triple science if I want to do post-16 science?

It’s possible to study science post-16 if you took double science. However, many schools only allow you to do so if you have good grades in double science.

What are the advantages of taking triple science?

Given that triple science goes in more depth, it makes the transition from GCSE to post-16 science subjects easier. In a similar vein, triple science gives you more preparation for a science apprenticeship or degree.

What are the advantages of taking double science?

If there’s another subject you’re interested in, doing double science allows you to study both science and the subject of your choice. Furthermore, if you don’t enjoy certain sections of the science curriculum, studying double science allows you to focus on the areas you’re most interested in. 

Can I switch from triple science to double science or vice versa?

If you start triple science and feel overwhelmed by the workload, it’s possible to switch to double science. The workload is noticeably lighter, and you’ll quickly notice a difference. However, if you switch from triple to double science, you’ll probably need to take another subject to compensate for the lost GCSE. Catching up to a subject you haven’t done in a while may be difficult, so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

If you start double science and find that you’re not being challenged enough, you may wish to switch to triple science. However, it will be difficult, maybe impossible, to switch from double to triple science. Instead of bringing in the extra content later on, triple science delves deeper into key concepts from the start. Thus, joining triple science late might be difficult, in terms of keeping up with the extra workload. However, it's worth discussing it with your teacher to see if a move is possible. 

I didn’t do triple science, can I study science further?

Yes! Whether you chose double science because you were limited by your school, or because you didn’t enjoy some of the science content, this doesn’t stop you from never studying science again! Studying science post-16 is a great way to delve deeper into topics that fascinate you, and might even inspire you to pursue a career in science. Don’t let not taking triple science hold you back, there are opportunities for everyone!