Combined Science International GCSE

A row of glass test tubes filled with different colored liquids

This combined science home study course provides a sound introduction to the three core sciences: physics, chemistry and biology. Essential for anyone wishing to study science at advanced level, and providing a great starting point for education with a view to working in any of the countless career areas that make use of science, this distance learning programme will give you a sound grounding in how the scientific world works. A science GCSE or IGCSE pass at grade C, along with English and maths, is often a prerequisite for various further and higher education courses and careers. Full details of the course can be found below.

Would you prefer to pay for your course by instalments? Please see the ‘How to enrol’ section below for details of our low cost, interest free finance available.

Are you intending to take your exams next summer? Please refer to our information on fast tracking and studying your course within one year.



Entry requirements

No previous knowledge is required for this course, but it is recommended that you have previously studied some science and have adequate mathematical skills.


This course follows specification 0653 from the awarding organisation CIE. Full details of the specification can be obtained from CIE's website.

Hours of study

As a guideline, you should allow for between 120 and 150 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 18 months from the date of enrolment.

Exams and assessment

Three exams:

  • 1 hour 15 minutes, 50% of marks
  • 45 minutes, 30% of marks
  • 1 hour, 20% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

  • None

All exams must be taken in the same session.

NEC's tutor-marked assignments:

  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 9 assignments


Additional information

You do not need laboratory access for this course, but you will need access to the internet. This course contains several simple experiments that you can carry out at home and is also accompanied by a series of 14 online flash animations that demonstrate key laboratory tests. Each study topic is followed by an online quiz to help you check your learning and provide instant feedback.

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:

  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser


  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

How to enrol
There are several ways to enrol with NEC:

  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

How can you pay?
It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or spread the cost with our finance offer. To pay in instalments, you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:

Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to or visit

Unit 1: Physics

  • Motion
  • Matter and forces
  • Energy, work and power
  • Energy resources
  • The kinetic model of matter

Unit 2: Chemistry

  • Atoms and molecules, elements and compounds
  • Chemical and physical change
  • Atomic structure and the periodic table
  • Chemical bonds
  • Formulae and equations

Unit 3: Biology

  • Living things
  • Movement in and out of cells and the role of enzymes
  • Animal nutrients
  • Plant nutrition
  • Animal nutrition

Unit 4: Physics

  • Thermal energy
  • Waves
  • Reflection of light
  • Refraction and total internal reflection
  • Electromagnetic spectrum

Unit 5: Chemistry

  • Electricity and chemistry
  • Periodic trends
  • Acids and bases, preparation of salts
  • Reactivity series
  • Identification of ions and gases

Unit 6: Biology

  • Transport in plants
  • Transport in humans
  • The human circulatory system
  • Respiration and gas exchange
  • Coordination and response

Unit 7: Physics

  • Sound
  • Electric charge
  • Electric current
  • Practical electricity
  • Series and parallel circuits

Unit 8: Chemistry

  • Metals
  • Reactions: energy changes and rates
  • Air and water
  • Fuels
  • Alkanes and alkenes

Unit 9: Biology

  • Reproduction in plants
  • Sexual reproduction in humans
  • The development of the human baby
  • Energy flow in ecosystems
  • The human influences on the ecosystem
Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

IGCSE Combined Science Course Sample

Thank you for your interest in this course.

Please fill out your details below, and you will receive an email containing a link to download the course sample.

What our students say...

"I have found studying by distance learning a rewarding yet challenging experience. I feel studying in this way lets you choose your own hours to study and go through the course at your own time. I have enjoyed being in control of my own learning."

— Emma Wellings