The Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition is an extra-curricular activity that helps students build their passion for science and complements their academic studies.
Participating in the competition helps learners become more engaged with science through practical work, investigating topics of interest and using the scientific method. It also supports the development of Cambridge learner attributes and helps with the study of Cambridge science qualifications through the extra practice and exposure.
Who is it for?
The Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition is for teams of three to six, Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge O Level learners.
What do students do?
Teams choose a topic and work on a scientific investigation over 20-25 hours.
To conduct the investigation students will use the scientific method, building on their learning in Cambridge IGCSE™ or O Level science courses. This includes:
- selecting a topic and formulating a research problem
- planning and implementing practical work
- analysing and interpreting results
- evaluating outcomes.
The competition encourages investigations into areas of some practical or community relevance to the school and the students. Students are asked to consider sustainability in their planning, either in the focus of their investigation or in their use of resources. Projects may involve laboratory work or other scientific investigation.
At the end of the project, students will present their findings, giving them the opportunity to communicate their work to a wider audience. This could be in the form of a science fair at school, team presentations or posters. Teams will also reflect on the way they have worked together.
Through their work, learners develop key skills that are widely considered essential for success in education and employment. These include:
- critical thinking and problem solving
- collaborative working
- innovation and creative thinking
How is it assessed?
Teachers mark the competition, awarding Gold, Silver, Bronze or Participation to each team’s project. We have produced clear marking criteria to help teachers make judgements. You can find this, along with our Teacher Guide and example projects, on the School Support Hub.
Teachers submit any Gold investigations to Cambridge and our expert panel of judges will consider them for a Best in Country or Best in Region award. The winning teams will receive a certificate in recognition of their achievement. Their projects may also be featured on our website and in promotional materials.
At the end of the year, the winners of the Best in Region awards are put forward to be judged for the Best in World award. The winning team will receive a certificate, be interviewed by a member of the Cambridge team and be featured on our website and in promotional materials. The school will also receive a plaque to display.
Find out more about the judging panel
Key dates - 2023
Each year, there are two entry periods. Schools may enter for whichever entry period suits them best and schools can enter both, if they wish.