if you do GCSE early, would you still need to sit the new O'level exams?

(24 Posts)
quadsmum Mon 01-Oct-12 23:52:03

My 11 year old wants to sit GCSE maths early next year, If he gets A or A* would he still have to sit the new O'Level exam that comes into effect 2015? His age group would be the first lot of children sitting the new O'level exams. If he has to resit the O'levels regardless of GCSE grade then I wont bother with him doing the exam early. Would appreciate any advice.

Yellowtip Tue 02-Oct-12 00:21:07

What would be the point of such an early entry? I'd have thought sticking with his regular cohort and aceing it on the new exam would be just as good, if not better. It's what I'd do for my own, anyhow.

jabed Tue 02-Oct-12 06:11:23

Who says he /she would ace the new exam yellowtip?

If these new O levels are supposed to be harder then I guess a decision has to be made based on whether a GCSE A* is better than a mid pass at the new exam.

I would imagine to all intents they will be considered equal ( after all the less than appropriate GCSE has for many years been equivelent of my old O levels!).

Then you need to take into account how well these new exams are going to be taught to the guinea pigs in the first cohort.

Might be better to ace the old GCSE and put it on the CV as an early take because you is gifted innit?

senua Tue 02-Oct-12 08:17:33

What would be the point, apart from bragging rights?
What would he do once he had sat the GCSE and how would it fit in with school & the rest of his cohort. There is a danger in going too far, too fast with Maths and being totally out of kilter (ask Ruth Lawrence)
He is better off branching sideways into something like the Junior Maths Challenge.

rabbitstew Tue 02-Oct-12 11:12:05

It depends what he was planning to do post-GCSE maths. Presumably not just give it up? In which case, by the time he gets to O-level age, surely he will be ready to take a harder exam than the new O-level? How is the school teaching him and planning on teaching him, or is he home educated, or is the school just confused????

Yellowtip Tue 02-Oct-12 14:25:12

jabed it's a pretty good assumption, if this same child is up to sitting the GCSE aged 11. I absolutely can't see the point myself, none at all. If the top grades take another hit next year (pretty likely I'd have thought) then a precocious 11 year old may be stuck with a grade B (or worse) on his UCAS form which he'll be bound to declare. What's the rush? Completely agree about branching sideways, much better idea.

breadandbutterfly Tue 02-Oct-12 14:31:03

Harder decision once they are in year 10 - I'd much rather take a GCSE a year early, in the last year of GCSEs than the Ebacc equivalent a year later as a guinea pig - I wonder if there will be lots of early entries that year? I was in the last year of O Levels and have always been v glad I wasn't the first year of GCSEs - that year had loads of marking errors from what I've heard.

But agree there is no point in taking it now.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Tue 02-Oct-12 16:55:41

Why would he sit GCSE Maths at 11/12?

If you're going to do something early, make it something that he might not otherwise do, maybe IT/Computing?

jabed Tue 02-Oct-12 19:31:48

I am not atall sure why DC take exams early.

I have read of a couple in the local paper ( in August) who it seems had around 8 GCSE A* One was 10 ( still in primary) and had taken maths physics and something or other else and the older brother ( 11) had astronomy, maths physics Latin chemistry and French or some other MFL.

They were both embarking on English , history, geography and something or other else this year it seems as well as AS maths and physics. So before they are even 14, let alone 16, they will have done the NC GCSE curriculum to death. I ask what for because in reality it is very difficult to get most universities to take a DC early (even a 16 year old. I had one of those last year and the universities wouldnt take her without a chaparone

But maybe better that than boredom. I dont know. For such able children though I think maths challenge is a waste of time.

If it were my own DS I would have to consider it to be honest. Do I let him get bored silly or do I put him in for the challenge. As someone who was forced to wait ( and I had covered the work when I was 13), I recall being very frustrated by having to make pace with my peers and although I did very well, I am sure I could have done better with real support rather than being held back.

The think is too clever by half DC's (such as me and my DS oe even my DW, but as a musician she was allowed to move at her own pace) are out of kilter anyway.

MrsSalvoMontalbano Tue 02-Oct-12 19:46:35

DC are at a one of the most academic schools, which has taken the decision in recent years that dc will not take exams early. They do extension work, but sit the exams all at the same time. DS2 will be the guinea pig year, but I trust the teachers to continue doing a brilliant job educating the dc.

Yellowtip Tue 02-Oct-12 19:48:44

jabed most children need a social life, mathematicians or not. What compensation is 8A* aged 13 to having a decent friendship group and going out with friends and exploring life as you should? Clever pales in comparison really. Boredom is peanuts surely compaed to social and emotional dysfuction?

breadandbutterfly Tue 02-Oct-12 19:49:37

Plenty of ways to stimulate bright kids - unlimited creative challenges or non-academic ones - sport etc. No need to do GCSEs.

Yellowtip Tue 02-Oct-12 19:54:42

Compared, sorry, not compaed. I'd have refused to allow my DC to move up a year had it been suggested (they went state, so it never was, though it might have been for some had they been at an indie). Over my dead body. What's the hurry? You can't even get into clubs if you go up to uni a year early - unless you fake your id. What a miserable life; just pointless.

jabed Tue 02-Oct-12 20:13:59

jabed most children need a social life, mathematicians or not. What compensation is 8A aged 13 to having a decent friendship group and going out with friends and exploring life as you should? Clever pales in comparison really. Boredom is peanuts surely compaed to social and emotional dysfuction*

Of course the DC I referred to are not mine They were the children of a local academic and a consultant sugeon if I recall, but what makes you think that they did not have friendships and a social life? What makes you think they were dysfunctional? I didnt say it and the news report did not remotely suggest it.

I think it is a big assumption to state intelligent children taking exams early are dusfunctional or somehow lacking socially. I can assure you that many are probably very well rounded. The issue you fail to appreciate is that often able children will have a social life and do well in academic life without too much work at the latter.

Indeed, I think being made to wait led to my being rather lazy in school. I didnt break a sweat on most of the class work. I back pedelled a lot too and coasted. I had the social life I wanted. Many able DC will do the same.

jabed Tue 02-Oct-12 20:15:11

jabed most children need a social life, mathematicians or not. What compensation is 8A aged 13 to having a decent friendship group and going out with friends and exploring life as you should? Clever pales in comparison really. Boredom is peanuts surely compaed to social and emotional dysfuction

Should all be bold type.

Yellowtip Tue 02-Oct-12 20:32:22

jabed you can bold all you like but in my experience if children are too far out of their year group they are likely to be utterly dysfuctional. Fact. I'm not sure I prefer your 'assurance' over my empirical observation. At the end of the day it must be better to be bored academically but bobbing up to the top and yet 'normal' than to have singular parents pushing you on and on just so that you're saved from intellectual ennui. If parents are anguished about which road to take I personally would say loosen up, every time, and take a rain check on how clever your kid actually is. There are very few Einsteins out there.

edam Tue 02-Oct-12 20:35:15

Trivial point but doing GCSE when you should be doing the new exam will make you look older than you really are, for the rest of your life. I was the last year to do O-levels - even now it's against the law to ask for ages on applications, there's no way I can ever fib about mine!

Yellowtip Tue 02-Oct-12 20:39:54

Most apps ask for a dob though edam, no? (I've never read a CV without one in any event).

senua Tue 02-Oct-12 21:43:22

edam is right: discrimination on the grounds of age has been illegal for the last five years. An employer is a fool if they request DoB on an application form becuase it leaves them open to accusations of ageism. They even have to be careful about requiring that an applicant has "x years' experience" because that could be seen as discriminatory against youngsters.
There is nothing to stop a CV vounteering the information but the company should not ask for it (it's the same as the "do you have children, what are your childcare arrangements" questions).

jabed Wed 03-Oct-12 06:06:42

Yellowtip - the phrase I wanted to bold wasyours, not for any reason of cussedness but because I wanted to ensure I focussed on the point to answer. I dont see why you needed tocomment as you did.

Einsteins are not made by academics alone (indeed Einstein was a poor academic). Intelligence is not something that guarentees success in life.There is little I can do with my MENSA sharp brain that most people who have measured intelligence in the low 10% of the population cannot.

So really its just about self fulfillment - self actualisation if you will, not about being some great success. If a DC is ready and wants to do the exams, then maybe they just should. No point in playing with a 12 inch ruler when you want to learn how to use a slide rule ( the use of those tools and measures is deliberate). Neither is it worth forcing a DC to play cricket because it iwhen they to read a book.

Intelligent DC do not want stretching in all directions , they want directing into what they may be good. But if you want Einsteins I dont think doing a few over simple exams early is the way to do it ( nor is all that stretching and broadening - its just makes the material thinner).

Sorry, I cannot agree with you. But you do what you want with your DC and I will do what I see fit with mine - OK?

I doubt that answers the OP though.

quadsmum Wed 06-Feb-13 12:58:55

Thank you for all your interesting views and feed back. I would just like to add that it is my sons idea to sit the exam, Im personally not that keen. He is a normal boy, who participates fully in Rugby, swimming and cross country. He also finds time to play on play station and hours on building K reo models. He does have lots of friends and very happy and popular amongst his peers. He has older siblings, who have gone to universities and have done well. Perhaps he sees them as a role models. Im glad that he is enthusiastic about studying and do well for himself and not hang around street corners and shops and getting himself into bother. So as a mum its my duty to support and encourage my child smile

JoanByers Wed 06-Feb-13 21:07:03

Where does he go to school? Posh comp, sink comp, academic private school, grammar school, what?

Is he an A+ student in other subjects too?

My son is 10 and I'm sure he could do GCSE maths next year, but I don't see why I would.

He will do the JMC this year (not done it before), and I would like him to get a good medal. I don't think he will get through to the JMO, but who knows.

If your son is able in maths there is a lot of extension work that he can do that doesn't require him to twiddle his thumbs for the next seven years when he's supposed to be studying maths.

An A* in Maths GCSE doesn't make you a gifted mathematician necessarily: it's a broad-based qualification aimed at average children and not designed to be challenging. Enter him for the JMC and see how he does.

Nrich is a good site, but there are dozens more: nrich.maths.org/frontpage

JoanByers Wed 06-Feb-13 21:08:31

Sorry I just see that this is a zombie thread, and that you haven't been back in four months.

Have you entered him for the GCSE? How has he covered the syllabus already?

I'm not sure exactly that children who are not sitting for GCSE maths at 11 are all hanging round on street corners.

quadsmum Sun 03-Mar-13 19:56:26

@JoanByers so anyone who does not visit this site on daily basis, has a zombie thread! Really?. My DS is at state school and is covering the syllabus. The exam is not until June and so has plenty of time. He is in top set for all the other subjects too but we are trying maths first and see how he does. We know of 3 other children, who sat GCSE in Maths in year 6 and in year 7 they have started As maths syllabus. My DS is getting extension work but doesnt find it challenging.

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