Yr9 dd wants to be a scientist but only wants to do double science.

(31 Posts)
GalaxyInMyPants Tue 19-Aug-14 10:06:40

I'm happy that its her choice, etc but want to make sure we're both aware of future implications.

Dd is bright, Lvl 6a in most subjects at end of year 8 and her teachers say she's often working at Lvl 7. She's always enjoyed science and says she wants to be some sort of scientist when she's older but isn't any more specific than that.

Physics is her favourite subject. She's not enjoyed chemistry the last year and now says she only wants to do double science as she wants to drop chemistry.

Firstly, does it work like that? I thought double science meant she did all three subjects but just not as indepth?

What sort of degrees/careers in the science field would she not be able to do? I'm guessing medicine, vet school, biochemistry would all be out? Which is fine and quite possibly stuff she wouldn't have done anyway. I can see her doing more engineering type stuff. Would a lack of chemistry be a problem for that?

NorwaySpruce Tue 19-Aug-14 10:12:11

Double science will cover all three sciences, you are right.

Taking double science now won't ruin her chances of anything later.

There is a huge leap from GCSE to A-Levels, to the point where you hardly recognise them as being the same subjects you studied at GCSE.

Chemistry is highly regarded at A-Level, and your DD may end up taking it anyway, as the sciences and maths back one another up so well.

I'd say leave her to the double science award for now, by the time she wants to do A-Levels, she may have an entirely different outlook, and double science won't hold her back at all.

CartwheelCate Tue 19-Aug-14 10:16:56

As NorwaySpruce said.
Thing is, if she wants to do A level sciences triple will prepare her much better than double. It's not essential but to be honest I'd be recommending her to do triple if she wants to continue with sciences. It will also put her in a better position to know if she really wants to continue with science at A level. If she finds triple too hard then she should look in other directions.

shinysparklythings Tue 19-Aug-14 10:22:48

There shouldn't be a problem with only doing double science, however, as previous posters have said this doesn't mean she misses chemistry just does all three to less depth. The only thing it might be worth checking is what the 6th form requirements are (although I know these things change all the time).

temporaryusername Tue 19-Aug-14 10:30:04

Going back a long time here blush but at my school if you wanted to do sciences at A level or beyond you had to do the three separately. Anyone expressing an interest in related careers like those you mention would have been told they must do all three.

Since your dd will still have to do Chemistry as part of the double science, it seems like it might not be worth dropping it.

summerends Tue 19-Aug-14 10:49:57

She will do less physics if she does double. She will of course also do less chemistry so it is up to her whether her like for physics outweighs her dislike for chemistry. If somebody is capable enough academically and may want to do a science subject later then triple science is usually the better option but double does n't preclude it. Physics at more advanced levels require a mathematical mind.

Spindelina Tue 19-Aug-14 10:54:36

Do you have an idea where she might go for sixth form? If so, what is the norm for people doing science A levels there? Back in the day, I went from a school where we had no choice but to do double (and got A*A*), to a sixth form in a different school where virtually everyone else had done triple. There was a hell of a lot of catching up to do in the first term.

To get to physics A level, she will have to do more work in the sixth form if she does double that if she gets ahead a bit with triple. Unless that pushes out other options that she really want to do, I would stick with triple if possible. Doing double won't close doors, but it will make them heavier to open!

ElephantsNeverForgive Tue 19-Aug-14 11:11:09

Yes, DD1 got stuck with double (due to being dyslexic and having an idiot of a HOD)

She's doing three sciences at A level and is busy reading through the textbook of stuff they didn't do in double.

She's not bothered because she understands it without needing to be taught it. Scientists for parents, talk here rarely goes below A level, so she has an unfair advantage.

However, there is a lot of it. Walking into A levels if you don't live in house where science is unavoidable having done double would be a shock.

senua Tue 19-Aug-14 11:14:59

She's not enjoyed chemistry the last year and now says she only wants to do double science as she wants to drop chemistry.

I'm way out of date but is Y8 Chemistry a reliable indicator for GCSE? It is dangerous to assume that subjects carry on the same groove, as they often don't.
Has she looked at the syllabus for GCSE?

Back in the day, I did double award science at gcse, science a levels all at A and had 3 offers to do medicine. Wasn't a problem at all from that point of view but jump to A level was possibly a little bit harder than if I'd done single sciences.

bloodyteenagers Tue 19-Aug-14 11:16:59

Check with where she will be studying. A number of places want the triple. She will also have a lot more work to do, catching up on things missed out when doing the double, on top of the work assigned.

With the double in the first year it's science and all three are covered in brief. The second year is additional science, which again all 3 are studied, and if I remember correctly more is covered in the biology part. With both years, chemistry is taught more than the physics.

LIZS Tue 19-Aug-14 11:21:38

Double science covers all 3 areas but you only get 2 grades , triple you'd get 3 grades. Some schools would expect her to do triple if she wanted to take any sciences at A level.

Vicky5910 Tue 19-Aug-14 11:24:02

I would check on how many lessons a week are allocated to double and how many to triple. A lot of schools have cut down hours for double science so it's the same amount of work to be covered in less time. Harder for the kids and teachers. Triple science is actually recommended as the easier option as the content is sometimes a bit harder but there's lots more time to do it smile

BeckAndCall Tue 19-Aug-14 11:42:16

You need to work backwards from where she'll go for sixth form - some places - incl my own DCs' schools- will only let you do science A level if you've done triple science. I know that's not the case at sixth from colleges as that would be too restrictive, but some schools say that for a reason - it's a big big leap and the better prepared you are the easier the transition ( 2 of my 3 are science degree students, so I speak from some expereince)

Returning Tue 19-Aug-14 13:44:22

I think a certain amount of the university view would be based on whether the school had offered triple science. Double science is ok to do science A levels, but if triple science is on offer (not all schools offer it) then a university may query why this path wasn't followed - does it indicate lack of ability/commitment for example?

Boleh Tue 19-Aug-14 14:04:46

I did double science (school didn't offer them separately) and went on to do Natural Sciences at Cambridge, they weren't interested in my GCSEs as far as I know - only my A-levels. So as long as the double science doesn't cut off her chance to do it at A-Level, no problem, although there is the point above that they might question why she didn't do triple if she had the chance - if the response is 'because it clashed with geography and I have an interest in geology' probably fine, if it's 'because I wanted to do less chemistry' probably not fine!

She will indeed have to cover all science if she does double science. I can't comment on whether having done triple would have made A-levels easier but physics and chemistry A-Level were OK from the double in my experience. They basically start GCSES by telling you that everything they said before was so simplified it's actually wrong, same again for A-level then for Uni!
I would say that at Uni physics is probably essential for understanding chemistry, not so much the other way around. Maths is by far the most important thing for physics at A-level and beyond. My school didn't do further maths at A-level either, I suffered much more for that at Uni than the double science GCSE!

As for careers, geophysicists are much in demand in industry, I'm sure there are lots of others, most of the ones that spring to mind for me are academic though - astronomer, astrophysicist, particle physicist etc. I do know someone with a medical physics degree who went on to work in radiography. Buy a few issues of Nature and New Scientist and look through the job adverts - it's a wonderful world of science jobs out there!

GalaxyInMyPants Tue 19-Aug-14 16:01:00

I think she'd want to carry on to sixth form at her school which would be fine with double science. At the minute I think she'd want to do physics at a level. Not sure about other a levels but it could all change between now and then.

Will buy some copies of new scientist etc and have a look at jobs, that's a great idea thanks.

Have just told dd that double science would still involve chemistry. I do feel sorry for her. I hated chemistry and was so glad to drop it.

nostress Wed 20-Aug-14 10:08:06

There's a big difference between KS3 physics, GCSE and A level. It basically gets more and more mathematical. Chemistry I genuinely think is the most useful science (I'm a biology teacher and I did all the sciences for A level). It is the crossover science having strong links with physics and biology. A good understanding of chemistry aids understanding of physics and biology. I know some private schools allow you to choose two separate sciences and drop one. I would never recommend dropping chemistry. In fact double award would be preferable.

When I was in year 3 at secondary school (now called year 9) I won the prize for physics. To me it was all common sense/obvious. By the time I finished the A level it was may weakest subject out of the three sciences because I just wasn't confident enough in the maths element.

GalaxyInMyPants Wed 20-Aug-14 10:10:47

Hmmm, well I guess its possible that as she progresses she may end up not liking physics as well. grin

Its so hard when they're still so young and they're having to make decisions which could affect which degree, career they can have.

summerends Wed 20-Aug-14 10:21:38

I think that's the point at GCSE level, options need to be kept open as much as possible so that they have the freedom to change their minds. I would agree that chemistry is the most useful science for relevance to the other two. Any science at this level can be boring, especially if it involves learning of facts without the teacher being able to make the context of these facts seem interesting.

nostress Wed 20-Aug-14 10:36:58

Oh yes and don't forget the crossover of chemistry with geography!

I agree with many of the posters here. I think my advice would be dependent on how interested she is in her other options. Yes, keeping options open is desirable, but if she is struggling to choose other subjects that interest her, choosing the triple science route would make the step up to A levels easier. Is she good at Maths? If she were to take Physics A level in the 6th form with a view to using it in a career, she would also need to take Maths A level, and preferably Further Maths too. She wouldn't NEED to take any other science A levels unless she was heading for a career/university course that needed them (eg Chemistry would be needed for nearly all Medicine degrees).
Sometimes having a good pass at GCSE for Physics & Maths, but lower grades in Chemistry gives students more confidence about going on to study at A level. It is clearer to everybody where her strengths lie having 3 separate grades for the different sciences & being good at one science doesn't mean she would be as good in the others...
In terms of "science packages" for A level, Chemistry is often most useful if studied with Biology, whereas Physics and Maths support each other.
It's great to hear about girls interested in the sciences - she might be interested in: www.stemettes.org
The Russell Group of universities have issued a document about choosing the right A levels for different degree courses. Although this is VERY premature for those in Year 8, I know it is useful to have the information to hand when you want to start thinking about subject choices:
bit.ly/1k0VZoh

RunAwayHome Wed 20-Aug-14 13:19:49

also consider how many at her school do triple vs double, and what sort of a class/set she might be in if she just did double. Sometimes all the children who are really interested and enthusiastic about science are doing triple, and the ones that are left in double are the ones who are less keen or less able, which can then make for an unsatisfying experience for those who were capable of triple but chose to do double, and they actually end up getting less out of it/enjoying it less than they would have if they had just done triple (or if they had done double, but with the more keen and enthusiastic children that might have been in their top set Yr 9 classes but went into triple instead).

LightastheBreeze Thu 21-Aug-14 05:39:55

DS did chose double science as he wanted to do 2 languages at GCSE and timetables clashed, he could have done triple if not.

To do science A levels though from the double science route he did need A/A* whereas with triple science it had to be at least grade B.

He found that the most important thing that they wanted for a physics degree was at least an A in A level maths, and the GCSE's didn't seem to affect anything as he had done the A level physics anyway.

GalaxyInMyPants Thu 21-Aug-14 07:55:58

That's an interesting point about who else may be in her class if she does double.

She already complains about kids messing about in her non-streamed classes such as music and art. I mean really messing about, hitting her over the head with chairs, telling the teachers to fuck off, etc. she doesn't want to be in a science gcse group with them at all.

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