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The Cambridge Science Competition is an exciting extra-curricular activity for teams of aspiring scientists studying Cambridge IGCSETM or O Level science. Building on their passion for science, teams work together on a scientific investigation and could be crowned ‘Best in World’!
Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition
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.
The Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition is for teams of three to six, Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge O Level learners.
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:
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:
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
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.
Entry period 1:
By 31 March
Entry period 2:
By 30 September
January - April
July - October
By 30 April
By 31 October
We have a range of resources available to support you in running the competition. These include a Team Guide, Teacher Guide, mark scheme, example projects, frequently asked questions, factsheet and presentation to help schools explain the competition to parents, students and other stakeholders.
To find out more about the Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition and how you can get involved, please visit the School Support Hub.
Visit the School Support Hub
The Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition is not a qualification but an extra-curricular activity which will complement a student’s academic studies. Discussions with US and UK universities have told us that they are keen to see applications that include this type of extra-curricular activity throughout a student’s academic career because it helps to demonstrate a passion and commitment to the subject area outside the formal curriculum.
The Cambridge Upper Secondary Science Competition works well alongside the Cambridge IGCSE Global Perspectives course, but there is no requirement for students to be studying the subject.
Cambridge IGCSE Global Perspectives is a cross-curricular and skills-based course that encourages learners’ to develop the ability to think critically about a range of global issues. It is designed to help students develop transferable skills such as collaboration, and communication through teamwork, presentations, projects, and working with other learners around the world.