More GSCEs vs fewer with good grades? Implications for uni admissions?

(11 Posts)
Takver Thu 22-Nov-12 16:09:08

Not a question for me, but a friend's ds in yr 11 is quite unwell and has been for some time (glandular fever type illness).

He's very academic, very maths/science orientated, likely in the future to be applying for 'good' unis to do maths or science. He's taking 12 GCSEs. She's concerned that because of his illness, he's unlikely to do as well as predicted in his weaker subjects, particularly geography. He was predicted borderline A/B, but (esp as he's having to do controlled assessments while really not up to being in school) this is likely to fall.

Her question, which she can't get a straight answer on from the school - is it better for him to have eg a C in geography, OR would he be better to drop it entirely, and have 1 fewer GCSE but all good grades? Anyone with good ideas as to where to get a definitive answer on this that I could pass on to her? Thanks!

Takver Thu 22-Nov-12 16:10:34

Should say the reason in part for so many GCSEs is that he's in Welsh medium education, so will have language and literature in both English and Welsh first language - ie 4 in total.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 22-Nov-12 16:17:35

The usual wisdom is that its better to have fewer but good ones than loads of mediocre - but in this case it sounds like he'd have loads of good ones plus one or two mediocre. My guess is that with this amount it won't make any difference either way.

Most private schools I know of only put their pupils in for 9 or 10 in the first place.

incogneetow Thu 22-Nov-12 16:34:21

One indicator that some colleges and unis use is the average of your best 8 GCSEs. Some would say this is an argument for doing a smaller number.

Lots of schools round here still do 14 or so - though some of those are usually BTECs.

But at ds1's school the standard is just 9 (unless you do one as an extra after school.)

If he drops geography has he got one of the other subjects in that catagory of the EBacc? I know you aren't in England but think this might just start to be the spread of subjects universities want. So if he has history as well then I would drop it.

Cahooots Thu 22-Nov-12 17:54:14

Drop it if he can. 11 good GCSE's are better than 12 good GCSE's and one less good one and, let's be honest, nothing looks better, than a lovely row of A's or A*s grin

However,in almost all cases it probably doesn't matter one way or another.

Some Uni's love lots of A*s (eg Medicine at Birmingham) and some calculate the percentage of A*s which means someone with 8A*s is favoured over someone with 11 A*s and one A. Oxford do this for some courses (See here for Oxford Medicine Requirement).

Uni entrance GCSE requirements vary from Uni to Uni (obviously smile) from course to course and from year to year. The only way to know what you need for a particular course is to read the course requirements on the Uni's website.
There is loads of incorrect advice about and a lot of parents worry much to much grin

Generally, if you have Stellar A and A* grade A'levels then your GCSE's don't matter that much as long as you have the basics covered.

Takver Thu 22-Nov-12 18:30:32

Sounds like it probably isn't the end of the world either way - I don't think he has any ambitions to do medicine, more maths/physics/yet more maths

Startail Thu 22-Nov-12 18:46:04

Drop the Welsh you'll never use it again

Startail Thu 22-Nov-12 18:58:41

Sorry, The sensible answer is almost certainly lose the Geography.

I think a C will raise questions when the others look much higher. Geography is easy, it will look very odd to me. I'm old, I'd just think the DC hadn't liked it and hadn't done any work.

Clearly not true, CA are a real devil if you miss to many and have to rush them, but I think it looks wrong.

I spent three years of my life totally failing to learn Welsh and think Welsh medium education is doing Welsh children a huge disservice. The children and their parents are being pushed into Welsh medium schools because that's where the funding is even in traditionally non Welsh speaking areas.

It's not preserving a culture it's destroying the culture of my childhood and it makes me veryangry

Takver Thu 22-Nov-12 20:17:42

We're in a very Welsh speaking area, so maybe a bit different? Anyway, I think the Welsh isn't a problem for him!

Actually, what the poor lad really needs is a quick cure for glandular fever, he just hit a really bad time to get sick, but not much to be done about that . . .

Startail Thu 22-Nov-12 23:30:51

Glandular fever, is horrid Seems to take 6 months to a year to get over it.
One of DD2's friends was ill again every time she tried to come back to school for ages. There isn't a quick cure.

I was brought up in mid Wales if you heard Welsh spoken it was a tourist. Lovely soft accents of the old Radnorshire farmers.

Welsh medium Education feels like some thing imposed by intellectuals from Cardiff.

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