Subjects to avoid?

(66 Posts)
longingforsomesleep Sat 25-Aug-12 14:16:55

Bit of a tongue in cheek thread but, with three teenagers at secondary school, there are things I know now that I wish I'd known when they started!!

I've posted on the GCSE PE thread and I think this is one subject I wish we'd avoided for ds2. Seems it's not uncommon for this to be the worst subject for bright kids - certainly the case for ds2 and we thought it would be a soft option for him!

DS1 did music GCSE and only got a D. He wasn't a brilliant musician to be fair, but the music department were keen to have him. He got good grades for his performances but flunked the exam (mock and real thing). Just didn't seem to get it. May just be him of course, but strikes me as quite a hard GCSE unless you're very good at music. My youngest is keen to take it but am a bit wary.

Psychology also gets very mixed results at our school - lots of Us in the January and June AS modules. Apparently it's one of those exams where the examiners are looking for very specific answers ....

Horses for courses and I'm sure I'm now going to get lots of posters telling me about their kids' A*s in the above subjects!

But before my youngest embarks on option choices, I wondered if there were any other subjects posters felt might be harder than others?

Kez100 Sat 25-Aug-12 15:34:33

Thing is, I am not so sure learning to pick easy subjects is really the best way to choose.

For example, my son has picked ICT - it is easy (his sister has just done it and said so) but he didn't pick it for that. He chose it because that is where he wants a career - he has only done 6 weeks of it, and is already bored to tears!

My daughter picked History and French. Both considered difficult choices - especially as she was targetted D and E in them! However, she loved the courses. She ended up with a History D (took it early in year 10 which didn't help) but the essay writing really improved her English and she has just nabbed C Grades in Language and Literature (targets of D). She also managed, with a lot of work, a C in French. That particular C will always be one of her 'life achievements' because of the journey in getting there.

What I am trying to say is an easy grade B is just a piece of paper, whereas a hard earned grade D a student might actually have learned more real skills from.

longingforsomesleep Sat 25-Aug-12 15:58:54

Kez - I agree entirely with what you say. Thing is, my kids go to a grammar school and are expected to do a ridiculous amount of GCSEs. So I'm all for some of them being those they can get high grades in without too much effort!

DS2 for example starts year 11 next week. He's already got GCSEs in Maths, IT, DT, Core Science and RE (half a gcse). Next year he'll be expected to get GCSEs in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Eng Lang, Eng Lit, Geography, PE, French and finish his RE. Plus a finance qualification he opted for instead of the additional AS they wanted him to do (he's already doing AS maths). That's the equivalent of 14 GCSEs. He went for the finance qualification because it's multiple choice, is equivalent to a B at GCSE and looked like an easier option than an extra AS.

inkyfingers Sat 25-Aug-12 16:05:58

I encouraged my DSs to go for the traditional subjects for GCSE - ie for pupils with above average ability - A*-C grades predictions. None of them wanted the 'softer' ones.

Music is quite hard I think. Not popular in many schools. Psych and health&social care, both a bit of waste of time, in my biased opinion, unless you just love the subjects, but Psychology more respected at A level and taken seriously by Uni.

Unfortunately, I've heard that ICT is boring and really just using IT packages, rather than programming, and this is such a pity for the bright computer 'geeks' who choose it and who are better off doing maths/systems at 14-16 and specialising later?

Theas18 Sat 25-Aug-12 21:00:14

Bloody art! Never do art gcse unless you are artistically gifted AND not overly self critical.if you are pretty good at art, and a perfectionist, it will take you over, dominate your life, suck all the fun out if you and spilt you out like a bit of chewed string!
Eldest did it.she shouldn't have touched it with a bargepole-sadly she was also pretty good ...

Otherwise do anything you enjoy, be aware you have to cover the basics though.

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 25-Aug-12 21:11:32

I wouldn't approach this about avoiding certain subjects, but by making sure you include key ones.

The English Bacc is a good starting point - English, Maths, Sciences, a MFL and History/Geography. Once that is covered, then most traditional subjects are highly valued. It's important to enjoy the lessons.

Music and Art are not easy options, even for extremely talented students, and they are very highly regarded. Drama is also good, and helps develop softer skills (education is not all about exams).

Probably the least valuable GCSEs are those in traditionally A-level or degree subjects, such as business studies and law. They can, however, be good options for students who are struggle to pick subjects, eg those who are not artistic, or good linguists.

mummytime Sun 26-Aug-12 07:50:07

Graphics! My DS is awful at long projects, and the subject was not what he expected. If I never heard about Blooms taxonomy again it will be too soon.

lljkk Sun 26-Aug-12 09:11:01

Neah, I think this is helpful in its own right. DD school may require an arts-area GCSE, I was inclined towards violin/music; contrary to what so many say I don't think it will be end of world if she gets a C/D in it unless she is already sure she wants to go for a competitive course (like Medicine, or Oxbridge). But it's nice to be ready for the outcome. True of any course, I guess.

I have similar with DS1, who is already sure he wants to do Art. And he will love it.

But DD is also sporty so I think it's useful that if she gets set on wanting to do PE, to have low expectations about the outcome.

I know others on MN slag off "studies" type courses, which I will keep in mind, at least with regard to not taking more than 1 or 2.

Quite glad my kids are ordinary enough not to agonise over the possibly fun stuff. All this GCSE-choice stuff is extremely confusing.

mysteryfairy Sun 26-Aug-12 09:30:51

My DS2 had to choose between a second MFL or a design technology course. He is doing resistant materials and it's a complete nuisance. He has real interest in it - the choice was forced on him - and the volume of stuff he has to produce is nightmarish. In Y10 he did a project which wasn't assessed - just done for experience. What he came up with was totally hopeless. Nothing was said to him at school about how poor it was though it was clear to us the product he had designed would not fulfil the brief and worse would be dangerous. DH and I got involved and helped him to completely redesign it - it took up ages of all our time, pretty annoying as as far as we are concerned he could live without gcse no 14 and time would be better spent revising for other subjects.

Both DSs have done music GCSE. DS1 got an A* and I expect DS2 will too. They are both currently grade 7 performers so not outstanding but certainly strong. When DS1 considered going to sixth form college I was shocked by the questions being asked of the music department re a level e.g. Is grade 3 good enough for performance, does it matter that I've failed grade 5 theory. These made me think that students who are not strong musicians are being encouraged to do music which surely must result in poor grades. Also we bought sibellius - the composition software they use - which cost about £200. I think the children who don't have this at home are at a disadvantage so if music is not your child's passion and you don't want to spend that much I would avoid.

magentadreamer Sun 26-Aug-12 09:38:32

Art, unless very talented but even then it's a nightmare, a colleagues son did Art GCSE and it took over his life for 2 years. My DD and her best friend thought Art would be a jolly nice thing to do for their yr11 option subject, they thought it would be a break from Academic subjects and a rest.... I laughed hysterically when DD told me of this plan and pointed out that to do it in a year as they do at her school also involves Saturday mornings and two sessions after school. They rapidly went off the idea.

Loshad Sun 26-Aug-12 09:42:52

Art, my oldest 2 both did it at GCSE and it took more time than about 4 or 5 normal subjects. (Oldest did it at A level as well, he really loved art but he totally stopped drawing for pleasure during the course, it has been so good this summer to see him start painting etc at home for relaxation)

singaporeswing Sun 26-Aug-12 09:48:28

Now I'm that really awkward one who did Music GCSE 7(!) years ago, as part of 11 GCSEs. I'm very musical and took it after school in Year 11 as a "break" from all my other academic subjects.

Ended up scoring 3 marks off full marks overall whilst having so much fun, so if you have DCs who are very musical by nature, it could turn out to be a very easy GCSE to score highly in.

BeingFluffy Sun 26-Aug-12 10:01:56

I would echo "art"! You would not believe the amount of time the students are supposed to devote to it. The shouting and tantrums, having to virtually imprison DD in her room and check on her progress every 30 mins until the work was done. Internet switched off etc. At the last parents' evening the teacher was literally begging her to complete her coursework and she only completed it the morning of the deadline before school. DD got an A* but it took about 10 times as much work as the others.

Yesterday we went to see the Damian Hirst and Munch at Tate Modern and it was the first time in two years she could actually enjoy an exhibition without thinging about interpreting it for her GCSE portfolio.

The other one I would mention is Latin. DD loves Latin but the standard is very high, I assume because it is generally done at high performing schools and she only got an A.

Another tip I would mention to GCSE parents, is that to ensure your child aims for 100% and not try and second guess the grade boundaries like my DD decided to do and ended up with much fewer A*s than predicted as a result. At least DD has now realised she is only human (her words) and the only way to get top grades is to WORK. She also interpreted being predicted A*s as having them in the bag and decided she didn't need to work hard to get them.

I would avoid GCSE PE for an academically able child as it's ridiculously hard to get an A*. DS1 took it as a soft option on top of a clutch of academic subjects and bitterly regretted it.
D&T of any kind unless they love it. There is a hugely disproportionate amount of work.

cardibach Sun 26-Aug-12 16:24:27

DD has just got results from 12 and a half GCSEs, all taken at the end of Y11 after a tradiotnal 2 year KS4 course (she had done modules along the way, of course). She did very well <proud>, but it was a slog. SHe did:
English Lit
Welsh (first language)
Welsh Lit
Art and Design
DT Food
RE (short course)

She got a B in music because she is an excellent performer. THe exam and, particularly the composition, were very hard. Buying Sibelius wouldn;t have helped as they had to do all the composition in class under supervision.
SHe got an A in Art, and although it did take up a lot of time it didn;t take over her life.
I took the decision that with such a heavy academic core, she should choose subjects she liked. I think she regretted the Music a bit.

BeingFluffy Sun 26-Aug-12 17:27:03

I forgot to mention the I media diploma to avoid at all costs. DD was forced to take an IT course as it was compulsory to take an IT subject(now dropped), and that seemed like the least bad option. She found it incredibly boring although apparently worth more than GCSEs. She claims she learned nothing new (already a wiz at photoshop etc). She and I would have preferred for her to take a second MFL instead.

longingforsomesleep Sun 26-Aug-12 19:13:44

I'd heard that Art is very time-consuming and one of the hardest subjects to get a high grade in.

I'm interested in your comments about Music Cardibach. DS3 is about to start year 9 so chooses some options next year. He is thinking of music but after his eldest brother's experiences I'm wary. DS3 is naturally brighter but not particularly hard-working (though by no means as lazy as his eldest brother!). He's grade 4 at piano and loves piano. However, he says he doesn't enjoy composing and I've no idea how he would do in the exam.

nkf Sun 26-Aug-12 19:15:26

I don't think subjects should be picked on the grounds of ease.

longingforsomesleep Sun 26-Aug-12 19:19:21

nkf - I agree in the main. But as I explained above, given the large number of GCSEs my kids are expected to do (around 14), when it comes to the 2 they are actually allowed to choose at the end of year 9 I think it's not a bad idea to take into account which might be the easier ones (obviously not base the decision on ease alone).

nkf Sun 26-Aug-12 19:24:41

But if you hate the subject, then it becomes hard. I think so anyway. I did two languages and got As and barely broke into a sweat because I loved languages and found them easy. I think I found them easy because I loved them. I don't think languages are usually regarded as an easy subject.

longingforsomesleep Sun 26-Aug-12 20:13:00

nkf - I'm talking about optional subjects and nobody would choose a subject they hate would they? Conversely, loving a subject doesn't make it easy - as I now know and wish I'd understood better a few years ago. DS1 loves history - he couldn't master the exam technique; DS2 is brilliant at sport but on paper it's his weakest gcse subject; DS1 absolutely loves performing in public - doesn't mean that gcse music would be the right choice for him.

I'm not looking for absolutes and, of course, much depends on the individual. But there are a few other factors to take into account and that's all this thread is about.

GnomeDePlume Sun 26-Aug-12 21:58:49

beware of how much the school may sell non-academic subjects to academic students. Cynically I believe that the staff are only looking for a nice quiet studious student to set an example to any rowdy ones in the class!

Xenia Sun 26-Aug-12 22:45:17

These are the core subjects most academic private school pupils will do and many employers will look for on a CV

English lit
English lang
A foreign language or possibly two eg French and German or French and latin or at the very least do one
2 or 3 sciences

So the above could be about 8. Then and only then consider doing less traditional one eg RE or as said above music -if they have passed grade 5 music theory as they will have done if they have done grades 6 7 and 8 they will have done a lot of the theory already - indeed it's suggested grade 5 music theory which some chidlren do at 10 is a bit like a GCSE.

I would prefer just the basic 8 above, one language, perhaps 2 sciences and the rest I list. Not much merit in doing 10 rather than 8.

dottygamekeeper Sun 26-Aug-12 23:01:28

As others above have mentioned, art involves a lot of work, self doubt and angst - also textiles - both involving masses of coursework and a good deal of subjectivity in marking (in my opinion). Have a DS just finished Yr 10 doing both of these, in addition to Maths, Eng Lang, Eng Lit, French, Geog, Triple Science, RE - he has to work very hard to get the grades in Maths and English particularly, but has achieved A's and B's in all the Maths, English and Science modules taken to date. However he has set himself a target of A* for both Art and Textiles, and realistically, although he is very good at both these subjects, I think it will be very hard to achieve that target (and am fearing massive disappointment this time next year when his final GCSE results come out)

germyrabbit Sun 26-Aug-12 23:07:23

lol mn is very much filled of posters who really seem to have no faith in their own childs abilities

lljkk Mon 27-Aug-12 04:07:05

Do you have custody of teenagers, Germy?

wordfactory Mon 27-Aug-12 14:02:05

I know quite a few Mums who say their DC wish they'd never done art as if was so time consuming.

EduStudent Tue 28-Aug-12 15:41:53

Another vote for art. Not necessarily because it's difficult, but as others have said, it is so very time consuming. Admittedly it's about 5 years since I did it now, but I spent more time on Art than any of my other subjects and was expected to do at least 3 after school sessions a week just to get the bare minimum done.

Similarly friends who took PE found the subject wasn't what they expected. They may be very talented in a particular sport, but the design of the course meant that actually it wans't a great choice for them.

It's not about picking 'easy' subjects or lacking faith in your child's abilities, it's about realistic understandings of what particular courses involve and not just assuming that a sporty child will do well in PE, or that a child who can play an instrument will sail through a Music GCSE.

lljkk Tue 28-Aug-12 15:45:32

What about if a child wants to get into graphic design as career, does Art GCSE make sense then? DS has a very strong sense of aesthetics, always has done. I imagine him designing car bodies or doing something like CAD in future. If not Art at GCSE, what would he want to do as good background for those careers?

longingforsomesleep Tue 28-Aug-12 17:01:06


*It's not about picking 'easy' subjects or lacking faith in your child's abilities, it's about realistic understandings of what particular courses involve and not just assuming that a sporty child will do well in PE, or that a child who can play an instrument will sail through a Music GCSE*

Exactly - you've hit the nail on the head! That's what I know now that I wish I'd understood better a few years ago!

NoComet Tue 28-Aug-12 17:07:02

My prawn of a DD1 has insisted on doing art "for Fun!"

I have told her it will not be "Fun" and since DH and I do science exams for fun, we will not be able to help her.
She is also doing music and drama which is going to be interesting, since she's a reasonable singer who doesn't play an instrument and hates group work. (there's lots in bothhmm).

However, since she is dyslexic and can't do MFL for toffee and would like to boil the head of history in molten sugar too, she doesn't have a lot of choices.

mummytime Tue 28-Aug-12 18:40:34

Do Art if you really love it, or Graphics, but do not do it as an "easy" option, or for some relaxation. Do be aware it takes a lot of work, as do all those subjects with portfolios. Even my lazy DS was spending a lot lunchtimes and after school in school completing portfolios. It was the amount of work needed to prepare during holidays, especially when he also needed to revise for other subjects.

bidibidi Wed 29-Aug-12 08:58:22

If GCSE Art is bad, is A-level Art far more hideous? is there even sucha thing as A-level Art, or do people go to "Art college" instead?

Loshad Wed 29-Aug-12 09:01:07

DS1 has just finished A level art, don't think it is more hideous as by y13 they only have 3 subjects. He probably did spend more time on art than the others but think that is because he enjoyed it more.

NoComet Wed 29-Aug-12 09:43:52

I'm also guessing that by A'level keeping sketch books of inspiration and showing the development of ideas is second nature.
I think DD1 is going to find being organised a real challenge.

EduCated Wed 29-Aug-12 11:21:39

I guess at that point as well, it's only the people who really want to do it, rather than those just filling up a spare option.

Having said that, I am only just beginning to appreciate how incredible it was that my school had a 97% pass rate in Art, with only 3 getting a D because they failed to turn up for the exam. This was in a failing school with 15% A-C pass rate. Think my art teacher must have been some kind of voodoo queen!

Another vote for art! DS didn't take it, but some of his friends did - all high achievers in every other subject - and got very disappointing grades, with an awful lot of time and effort expended. They've all advised my DS2 against taking it.

Some of his friends also took drama as a 'fun' option, and found it to be very demanding time-wise.

History was probably the biggest workload.

Music was fine for us. DS did it as an 'extra', one session per week after school for 2 terms - and got 100%. We've had Sibelius for some years now, and he's always enjoyed playing around with it on his own compositions. If you can stretch to it, it's definitely worth having just so the students know their way around it effortlessly.

YokoUhOh Wed 29-Aug-12 12:01:44

I'm Head of Music in a comprehensive and I'd like to dispel a couple of myths. Firstly, you don't need to buy Sibelius, there is a free online version called MuseScore, not as whizzy but does the job. Also, you don't have to be incredibly musically talented to get a C at GCSE, there are music technology options instead of performance options (my Year 11 GCSE cohort are split into Music and Music Tech). I think it's much-misunderstood as a GCSE subject, probably due to poor teaching in Years 7-9.

YokoUhOh Wed 29-Aug-12 12:09:08

Oh, and Grade 5 theory bears little relation to Music GCSE. I teach EdExcel GCSE syllabus and it consists of learning facts about 12 musical extracts. Dont be put off by the theory - very few of the questions require knowledge of e.g. notation.

renaldo Wed 29-Aug-12 12:12:30

Yoko what percentage of your student s get an a* in music?

EduCated Wed 29-Aug-12 12:18:46

YokoUhOh Do you find you get a lot of students who think its going to be easy (especially instrument playing ones) or do they choose it because they understand what it is and want to do it?

AlexanderS Wed 29-Aug-12 12:28:16

"I've posted on the GCSE PE thread and I think this is one subject I wish we'd avoided for ds2"

I have to say that I think choice of GCSE subjects is a matter for our offspring, the ones who are actually going to have to do the course, not us.

When I was at school my parents left this decision up to me, though my mum did say I should do History because she had it in her head that it's valued by employers, and I did do it as one of my options in the end in addition to Music. Has my History GCSE ever helped me get a job? Has it f ck. It was ok to study, I got an A in it as I did Music, but I look back and think it might have been more fun to do Drama. As long as you get 5 grades A* - C it doesn't really matter what subjects you do (as long as you have English Language and Maths of course).

DS is a long way off from picking GCSEs but when the time comes I wouldn't dream of telling him what to do.

YokoUhOh Wed 29-Aug-12 12:28:49

Renaldo I teach at a normal comp and my Y11s achieved almost 50% A/A* this time around. My trick is to get the vast majority of coursework done in Year 10 and spend from Christmas onwards in Y11 purely on the exam.

EduCated Students are a mixture; most of them are just super-keen on music (in bands etc.), I barely ever get any 'dossers'. I try to touch on the topics they'll meet at GCSE (minimalism, jazz/blues) in Years 7-9 so that they've had a taste and know what to expect, content-wise.

Yellowtip Wed 29-Aug-12 12:40:17

All my DC have picked their own subjects, both for GCSE and AS/ A2. If they're wavering over a final choice at GCSE I do tend to say maybe try an Art/ Drama one, to lighten the load (in terms of variety, not effort or time).

I can't imagine doing anything but standing right back, particularly at AS and A2. Even though some choices have sometimes surprised me.

Fireytiger Wed 29-Aug-12 12:49:19

The key to being successful at gcse's is knowing what the subject department can offer. For example if the department is consistently achieving 75 percent A-C then you could presume that your offspring has a good opportunity at achieving well. Also compare the departments last three year set of grades with the school average: the school may be achieving 85 percent, yet that particular department may only achieve 33 percent. You need to know about the quality of teaching in each area to make a good and successful decision.

jessabell Wed 29-Aug-12 14:06:14

daughter took art Gcse now doing it at a level. She loves it. The work load never bothered her. Straight A student at GCSE. Just got results for as level ART,GERMAN did well in. PHYSICS, MATHS not so well. Going into college to see what she will take next year. She thought she would do okay but the jump too much for her.
Oldest took MUSIC GCSE did very badly in. Teacher left halfway during course. Never liked new teacher.
Youngest just about to start doing GCSE he taking French History and Product Design Two bands at his school He on the lower band they do not like them taking the subjects hes chosen but he more interested in these than the others Not a sporty/ musical/arty person.
Take subjects you think you will enjoy.

LavenderOil Wed 29-Aug-12 14:47:02



FozzieMK Wed 29-Aug-12 16:18:00

Another vote for Music. My DD has grade 5 flute and grade 6 singing and found it incredibly difficult. She took her GCSE this year and scored well on composition and performance (one flute and one singing) but badly on the writing about the 12 given pieces. Pleased to say she got a C in the end but the class started out in year 10 with 5 and ended up with just 2 taking the exam in year 11.

Xenia Wed 29-Aug-12 16:27:42

I think my older 3 chidlren did music GCSE and they had 2 or 3 grade 8s each and I don't think found it too difficult. I certainly taught myself O level music and sat it alone at school in lower sixth but I had distinction in grade 8 theory and I think then there was some exemption from some of the music GCSE for music theory exams or something. Anyway I think it is a nice extra one to do but have your core 8 traditional academic GCSEs first and then do not add too many of the extra on as better to get 8 or 9 with very good grades in solid subjects than a load of more modern ones which some traditional employers will not count.

NoComet Wed 29-Aug-12 18:35:30

DD won't go near history GCSE, horrible depressing syllabus with a huge section on the holocaust.

Given history have spent Y7-Y9 giving out more HW than the rest of the school put together, she just couldn't face it.

BeckAndCall Wed 29-Aug-12 19:58:48

Cold sweat at the memory of GCSE and A level art.......

Absolutely takes over your life/lounge but if you love it, you love it....

You certainly do need the aptitude to do music - some people just get it, but I'm sure it can be learned like any other subject. But it's a breeze if you can just do it...

Otherwise, beyond the core list - I agree with Xenia on the first 8 you should do - then you can certainly afford the next two to be things you enjoy...

VoldemortsNipple Wed 29-Aug-12 22:16:28

DD will tell anybody who listens, don't touch music GCSE with a shitty stick.

It actually turned out to be the only A she got. grin She has no traditional musical education and can read only basic sheet music. She does have a good ear for music and enjoys working out how to play tunes. But she assures me thataking music and studying music are worlds apart.

The advice I gave to my dcs was, if you really need it you will be studying it anyway. As for the others, take advice from the teachers that really want to teach you and think you will do well in their subject.

DD was toying over history or drama. History was planning on taking as many dcs who wanted to take it, the teacher was trying to sell it by saying they were going on a foreign trip and studying from certain textbooks.

On the other hand, the drama teacher knew DD from school productions. He was enthusiastic about his subject, had asked DD and her friend to consider it as he was confident they would do well. He really sold it to them. DD picked drama and is now going on to study it at A level.

VoldemortsNipple Wed 29-Aug-12 22:17:55

Making music and studying music are worlds apart*

DeafLeopard Thu 07-Feb-13 23:14:24

Just bumping this for anyone else going through the trauma of choosing options in Year 9.

Startail Thu 07-Feb-13 23:35:32

German, only taken by bright pupils and still our schools grades aren't great.

DD1 is doing art and music, only six months in and so far Art seems to be tootling along nicely, but she likes messing.

I can't understand music at all, no Idea what they are doing and how the hell it's examinable.

lainiekazan Fri 08-Feb-13 10:52:02

It's a real shame that these days kids (or mums!) have to play the "will they get an A/A*?" game when deliberating over GCSEs.

Ds loves Music GCSE but he is grade 7 piano and plays guitar in a band (my poor ears). He will sit for ages composing bits and pieces so for him it's not a chore. I can imagine it is more of a struggle for those who have not done much music in the past, but I suppose it's just the same for those who are doing, say, French and have to work at it when there are others in the class who are clearly going to find it easier because they holiday in France every year/have French parent etc.

Sparklingbrook Fri 08-Feb-13 17:03:20

DS1 is in Year 9. No mention of Options as yet. Unless he's chosen and not told us. shock I have written Xenia's list down in readiness.

scissy Fri 08-Feb-13 17:18:34

if your dc wants to go into the IT industry I wouldn't bother with ict gcse, sadly very few schools offer 'computing' at gcse level. I'd focus on maths, physics and electronics/systems instead. As for other subjects, agree about art (lots of work and very subjective) and music.

teacherandguideleader Fri 08-Feb-13 20:51:26

No single subject is a waste of time if a child has a passion for it. I remember my mum refusing to allow me to do one of the subjects I really wanted to do as she thought it would be a waste of time for me. I now teach it.

circular Fri 08-Feb-13 22:20:55

Music does seem hard to get a high grade in. DD1 is Grade 6/7 standard and has Grade 5 theory distinction. Although she is scoring full marks on the perfomances, composition is her weakest (A/B at best) so unless she does really well in the exam is unlikely to get the A* she hopes for.
Not put her off chosing music A level, and still intends to go for a music degree.

A recent shocker with French is how difficult it is to get a decent marks in the listening paper. Managed A's in the CA's, but only a C in the first mock listening. Hopefully will improve in time for the real thing, as another A level choice.

Her only real regret in subject choices is Geography. Chosen as she enjoyed it in years 7 to 9 (much due to the teacher) but has found the GCSE course boring. Still on target for a B, but wishes she took RS instead.

DS1 will be making this decision next Spring.
The ones he has to do Maths, English language, English literature, Triple Science and German. I think he'll choose History too.

He knows he wants to choose two from:
Classical Civilisation.

They all seem sensible enough to me...

TheOriginalSteamingNit Sat 30-Mar-13 23:18:02

Dd is nearly at the end of having done maths, eng, eng lit, 3 sciences (not sure anywhere lets you do only two of them), history, geography, French, German, RE. Although that was what she wanted, and she had no interest in anything like art, she did miss doing anything 'fun' in her week. There were bits, like short critical thinking or PE etc, but actually I think in some ways it was a shame not to be doing anything a bit more interesting and less academic sometimes.

BackforGood Sat 30-Mar-13 23:34:56

Wish I'd not opened this now.....dd1 has just opted for music, and she's not the most enthusiastic at practising grin

Theas18 Sat 30-Mar-13 23:43:01

Our experience has been avoid art unless it's your life's work and you can't live &#373;ith out it!

Music is a relatively easy choice in our family, but it's what the kids do out of school, a lot, so it should be. Because they are classical choral singers the have a good ear and inherent grasp of harmony just by soaking it in, evn if they don't know the words for what they hear to start with. It's a lovely start to a GCSE to do a performance and get good marks. However I think, like art, if it isn't "inbuilt" it could be a struggle that sucks the enjoyment out f it.

Dd1 didn't much enjoy English lit at AS. Pulling apart texts in such fine detail killed them for her so that she adjusted the subjects she took to A2 to dop English.

DS isn't enjoying AS Maths much. However it's a means to an end he knows. Maths in a grammar school at all levels is dominated by very high achievers. Realising being in the 2nd stream (though still on target for a*) could make one kids think they are "rubbish" if they are used to being "top" at primary. DS learned early on that the top stream went at lightening speed and he'd never manage that, so wasn't bothered.

Over all my feeling is at any level , don't study things you don't enjoy, unless you absolutely have to. I'd even stretch that to telling a non linguist to not take a mfl if they were allowed to drop it. E bacc is or school not kids to worry about. The further through your education you go,clearly absolutely loving what you o is vital. Don't study what others think you should- do what you want. Even at a level there are very few subjects that "absolutely don't go together" . You don't, for instance have to commit to "arts or sciences" . An art subject that is academically rigorous plus sciences means you can take either path, though maybe a single science in an arts portfolio makes taking the science at uni a bit more tricky but I bet it's still possible (unless you were perusing physics without Maths I guess!)

Theas18 Sat 30-Mar-13 23:44:55

Backforgood you'll probably find she's more keen with a defined outcome to prepare for. Mine (especially ds) do better with a target...30/4/13 for AS recital here!

BackforGood Sat 30-Mar-13 23:56:51

Hope so ! grin

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