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From A to B

Posted on 6 November 2016

Since their launch in 2006 the Twenty First Century Science specifications have been OCR’s ‘A’ specifications for GCSE science. But that’s all changing in 2016.



With the launch of the new 9-1 specifications, Twenty First Century Science will be switching places with Gateway Science – OCR’s other suite of GCSE science specifications – to become the ‘B’ specifications.

The reasoning behind this is to match the way OCR’s A Level science specifications are designated. At A Level, the context-led specifications (Advancing Biology, Salters’ Advanced Chemistry, and Advancing Physics) are the ‘B’ specifications. Both Twenty First Century Science and Gateway Science are thorough preparations for A Level, and students studying GCSE science courses from either suite could progress to any of the A Level science courses; but it made sense to label Twenty First Century Science as the ‘B’ specifications because their approach is more context-led than that of Gateway Science.

From September 2016, the suite of Twenty First Century Science specifications will look like this:

GCSE Biology B (J257)

GCSE Chemistry B (J258)

GCSE Physics B (J259)

GCSE Combined Science B (J260) 


More information about the new specifications and assessments is available on the OCR website. Questions should be directed to


by Alistair Moore, Project Manager for the Twenty First Century Science project at the University of York Science Education Group.