GCSE options - art?

(58 Posts)
JugglingChaotically Mon 28-Jan-13 18:36:15

My DD has to choose her GCSE options but is not sure yet why he want to do next. She'd talks of Oxbridge and other top universities and also of medicine. Don't know how realistic it is or whether she will be prepared to work hard enough - she can do, sometimes blush
Compulsory subjects are triple science, English language and literature, maths and a MFL. She wants to do history then 2 of RE, Latin and art.
She is leaning towards art and RE, her school says choices don't matter just grades.
Is 9 plus art enough? And is art so time consuming that it could make it difficult to get good grades in the other subjects?

Tuftysquirrel Tue 05-Feb-13 11:31:35

Agree with all the other posters - if your Dd loves art and is a perfectionist, choose something else for your family's mental health! It is the most difficult GCSE to get an a* in and the workload is immense and relentless from day 1.

For my perfectionist, super-organised Dd1, it was the subject we thought may have pulled her grades down although she did get an a* in the end. It is impossible to know for certain what you might get due to external moderation and marking until the exam result arrives -cue lots of extra pieces of work, work improvements that may or may not be better and general upset, as standards are all subjective.

It required triple the work of other subjects and those who didn't keep up with their sketchbooks, despite daily reminders from the teacher, couldn't get a good grade at the end as they couldn' t catch up, despite endless catch up sessions after school organised by their great and endlessly patient teacher. I believe the best artist in the class came out with a B or a C as she didn't keep up and you have to score v highly in each sketchbook to be able to get a good grade on the final pieces of exam art.

Nearly a year on, Dd 1 has sadly still not picked up a paintbrush or produced any art of any kind, although she always did before. Dd 2, less organised than Dd 1, is very artistic and wanted to take art but having seen her sister's workload has wisely decided to do her art at home (am sad because she has talent but relieved that I don't have to be on her back all the time to keep up and that we can actually have art-free family time.) You don't find many younger siblings of art-takers choosing art as the parents know what is involved. Her friends who took it as an easy subject are already behind after four months.

Dd1 now says she would have chosen drama if she had known what art would entail. My teacher friend says that art often knocks on to lesser grades in other subjects due to managing workload during revision time and I can really see how that can happen if you are not very organised.

Sorry I don't have anything positive to add. As you see, I'm still traumatised eight months later!!! Still love her art teacher though, he was great!
'

niceguy2 Tue 05-Feb-13 11:38:52

At GCSE i don't think studying Art is a travesty. I wouldn't recommend it at uni level though but then I'm a scientist at heart and all arty subjects and wishy washy nonsense to me so I admit I am a bit biased! grin

Toomuchtea Tue 05-Feb-13 19:02:50

Tuftysquirrel, I was really sad to read that your DD1 no longer paints after GCSE art. Exactly the same happened to my DD.

When I did art in the dim and dark ages of long ago, it really was a doss subject. At the end of two years, we had a three hour still life exam, and a six week period to produce another piece on a given subject. If I'm honest, I don't think a little bit of art history would have hurt us at all.

Going back to GCSE, I'm sure there are people for whom the format doesn't crush all the joy out of it, but I think they must be exceptional. There's not a lot of joy in education these days, is there?

Ooh gosh, quite a few warnings on here and not so many recommendations re choosing art shock

My DD is at the same stage and has 3 to choose after the standard ones, 3 sciences, a MFL, and RS, all compulsory at her school.

She wants to do History, Geography, and Art as she says it will "keep her sane" and she loves her art. I do hope she's right and won't be put off for life !
Would be a shame not to be able to explore the art resources they have over the next few years ?

Any words of encouragement out there at all ?!!

Nice name BTW - Do you think the Juggling we have in common has anything to do with having a teenage daughter ? grin

Bump !

Any more thoughts on choosing Art at GCSE ?

Anyone had a positive experience with their DC's doing Art ?

SensibleMufti Wed 06-Feb-13 10:26:06

DC4 took Art GCSE last summer. She got a C. Her other grades were Bs and Cs, so what she got in art was fine in relation to her other grades (which we, and she, were v happy with, btw).

None of the older DCs, nor DH, nor I, had taken Art, so it was new to us.

There was a constant heavy workload to keep the sketchbooks up to date. Also, a tip to parents, don't throw away any bits of artwork that are lying around the house, because they will be needed.

I have just asked DC4 for a comment about the experience of taking GCSE Art. She said, "If you do because you love art, it'll make you hate art".

seeker Wed 06-Feb-13 11:09:38

I've been thinking about this.

I think if you love doing art- if it's your hobby, then GCSE Art is a nightmare.

If, like my dd, you're OK at it, and want a subject that is very different from the academic subjects you're doing, it's very hard work, but it's incredibly useful for learning planning, organisation, persistence- a completely different way of working. Dd learned loads from doing it and realises that, even if she didn't much like it while she was doing it. And the "kit" is wonderful.........!

Ooh dear, I think she's pretty set on doing art - and has already handed in her options - though still possible to change them.

She already spends ages on her art homework, is not particularly well organised, and a bit of a perfectionist. So you're all making me very a bit worried !

Still maybe forewarned is forearmed ? hmm

monion Wed 06-Feb-13 11:56:23

I'll give it a rare recommendation! My son took it a couple of years ago and the work was perfectly manageable (and he's not on the whole a hard worker!). As it was something he enjoyed doing he viewed it almost as relaxation time in between all the heavy learning he had to do for other subjects.
It required him to be a self starter rather than being spoonfed facts as he was in most other subjects but that was a good skill to develop.
I agree with whoever said time management is the key, and keeping on top of the workload. He started the course fairly interested in art and came out loving it - so completely the opposite to what most people here are saying!

Thanks monion - good to hear that it can work out well !

Hi, my dd started her Art GCSE last September and it is going really well. She hasn't struggled with the work load at all tbh.

I'd say her only issue is her self belief. She often re does work because she thinks it is rubbish.

Thanks Nutcracker - glad it's going well for your DD smile

< hums quietly in corner ... "There may be trouble ahead ..." wink >

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 06-Feb-13 12:07:37

Just to say 9/10 gcse is plenty. The school dd will go to (selective- Oxbridge track record) only dies 9 gcse's.

hellsbells99 Wed 06-Feb-13 12:16:16

My DD is in year 11, has just completed her portfolio and handed it in last week. Now dedicated to doing exam prep - research, designs etc ready for the exam in 5 or 6 weeks. At least then she will be finished!!! She can then concentrate on her other subjects. She used to love art but has found the course work very repetitive and time intensive. She is enjoying the exam prep work as she has chosen to do something very different from what she has done over the last 18 months. On the positive side, she has found it to be a very sociable subject as she has spent a lot of time (lunch times and after school) in the art room with friends. She is expected to get at least an A (wants an A* - don't know why). She is another one that is a perfectionist and unfortunately art is just never finished - she is always trying to improve it. Just done her A level options and Art is not on the list even for AS - she says she cannot afford the time!

CatelynStark Wed 06-Feb-13 12:19:00

My eldest daughter took Art a couple off years ago and got an A but she clashed heads with her teacher as she is a lazy moo sometimes and resented having to be creative on demand and missed a few deadlines. She concentrated on sculpture and collage-y pieces and was full of ideas, which she didn't like being criticised (like anything else she does smile)

She dropped it for A level but is still drawing now she's at University. It's her hobby, it makes her happy and doing GCSE hasn't killed that.

Her sister has just handed in her options and has chosen Art too, although she's very much a Sciencey person who wants to be an engineer. She has a different temperament to the older one so I think she'll enjoy the challenge and opportunity to express herself in various mediums.

I have no doubt that the youngest one will take Art too.

The sociable time in the art room with friends sounds nice - but will my DD ever come home ? Good luck to yours hells smile

pinkbraces Wed 06-Feb-13 12:23:29

I can give you some insight, my DD did GCSE ART, then A level, is currently at Central St Martins doing her Art Foundation and will start her degree come October. She is absolutely passionate about Art, she loves all of it, sketch books, design sheets, briefs, painting, sculpting, its just part of her. Her other GCSE/A level subjects were academic and she did very well but was always going to do Art

My DSD also did Art at GCSE, she did really well and is now doing her AS level. She loved it at GCSE but is struggling with A level, the amount of work involved and the independence needed to produce good work is hugely different from GCSE.

There is so much work involved and the student needs to be organised and really want to do it. You also have to make sure that enough time is given to there other sujbects.

pinkbraces Wed 06-Feb-13 12:24:08

their not there!!

Hmm, perhaps she could give up going to band practice on Saturday mornings, and make Saturday mornings her Art time instead ?
(somethings going to have to give, I can see that - and I don't think she's desperate to do band)

dottygamekeeper Wed 06-Feb-13 12:46:05

My DS (yr11) and DD (Yr10) are both doing art GCSE. It is the most time consuming of all their subjects (apart from DS's textiles, which takes even more time), but they both enjoy it and, as monion says, they see it as relaxation away from their more academic subjects. Surprisingly they have both really enjoyed all the research into other artists etc and preparation work for their final pieces for each unit. I think it has been great preparation for more independent study at A level and beyond.

DS is aiming for A* in art and textiles (currently on target to get As and I'm just hoping he might have a chance of A*s but know it is all so subjective, and am trying to manage his expectations...). He is hoping to go on to do A level art and A level textiles, which will be a huge workload but he is up for it, and his dream would be to end up like pinkbraces DD, doing Foundation at St Martins, followed by a degree in art/textiles/design

hellsbells99 Wed 06-Feb-13 12:46:34

Don't give up band! Music is brillaint for developing the maths part of the brain. DD has done both music and art - and has put music down for her 4th A level subject - will probably just do AS. It is a great contrast to her other choices - maths, chemistry and biology. Music is very relaxing and helps with the stress of art!

hellsbells99 Wed 06-Feb-13 12:46:59

* brilliant *

dottygamekeeper Wed 06-Feb-13 12:52:44

Forgot to say, like pinkbraces, it is important that they do not let take art take over at the expense of time spent on other subjects - I try to ensure all other homework is completed first eg on a Friday night, then the rest of the weekend can be devoted to art. As others have said, it is also a continuous process - sketchbooks etc need to be kept up to date. Being a perfectionist makes art difficult - my DS is never quite satisfied with his outcomes and can always think of more to do...

SensibleMufti Wed 06-Feb-13 13:07:45

Hey, OP, I meant to add that my DC4 only did 9 GCSEs (of which Art was one). She's fine with that. Her cohort did between 9 and 11. She's at a fairly academic international school.

She could carry on going to her other band ? - she's in two with the same teacher/leader. Anyway she will probably have her own ideas about my proposals for her Saturday mornings ! The best laid plans of mice and mothers and all that grin

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