I am just finishing off my PGCE in Secondary Chemistry, so a lot of these issues are still relatively fresh in my mind First, you don't need to buy the NC as it's all online, although relatively vague. http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/key-stages-3-and-4/subjects/index.aspx has both key stages 3 and 4 on there for Science. The active involvement will come more with time, I started my course having only done 2 weeks worth of observations at my old school - no marking or teaching done at all. You get training and experience of these aspects on the course and in placement schools. The best bit of advice I could give for preparation is to go to your local library and get any books about about starting to teach in secondary schools or in science - don't buy them as they can all be pretty pricey (usually starting at at least 20 quid). As for subject knowledge, which course are you doing? If it's a university based-course, some universities offer a subject knowledge enhancement course for a couple of weeks that my friends have found incredibly useful - they also give you some really good resources for lessons in the future. I've also found that buying some revision guides is a really useful place to start recapping your knowledge - and even trying some past papers yourself is useful to ID the areas you need to improve on, many of which you can get for free online from OCR/AQA/Edexcel (along with the mark schemes). The best bit of advice I can give you for next year is to be organised and to never be afraid to ask the 'stupid' questions because there will probably be someone else that wants to know the answers too. Hope this has helped a bit, and good luck!