๐Ÿฅผ Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement

Independent thinking

This refers to you having the knowledge and confidence to approach a problem or experiment with common sense. It refers to you taking it upon yourself to understand the background, what is going on and what you might be able to do. Ask questions, find out information, update it as you go along. Itโ€™s not a test to trip you up, simply material with which you can toy.


Looking things up that you donโ€™t understand is a fundamental unit of not just the A level science, but research itself at the highest level. Research literally means looking things up. Having no clue what is going on is the default. You are not learning random bits of stuff, you are learning how to learn anything.


And how to learn anything requires independent thinking. Binge on it!


Applying investigative approaches refers to the general pattern of findings things out and following up on them. It is part of the overarching cycle of the scientific process.


Use and application of scientific methods and practices

The method

Science provides models for harnessing knowledge in a relatively objective, material and quantified environment. It involves high levels of reproducibility and peer-to-peer confirmation of findings, and as such can produce very widely applicable and powerful knowledge. The downside to this is that due to its basis of formulating testable hypotheses, many types of knowledge remain outside of the working field of science.


Starting out with an idea based on previous knowledge or new observation, a testable hypothesis is established as the foundation for experimentation. Hypotheses are statements to be tested. For example, โ€œcats donโ€™t have a food preferenceโ€ is a testable hypothesis for an animal shelter in the UK, but would not be a testable hypothesis somewhere where there are no cats. A hypothesis might not be testable due to abstract constraints e.g. โ€œpeople are not happier on the Moon than on Earthโ€, or due to…