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Consequences of taking Sciences and Additional Science at GSCE?

(18 Posts)
KEDP Sun 25-Sep-11 13:55:54

My child is at a school that only offers sciences and further sciences at GCSE level. The headmaster insists this is no obstacle to going on to do a chemistry, physics, or biology A level, if the child wishes (they need to change schools at Sixth Form). Anyone have any thoughts on the consequences of not taking the triple sciences at GSCE level? How difficult will it be for my child to go on to do those individual subjects at A level if she chooses--and any idea of the top universities view the sciences and additional sciences as opposed to the triple sciences? Am I locking her into a non-science/math type of career by leaving her at this school now for secondary school?

TheFallenMadonna Sun 25-Sep-11 13:57:59

A levels are accessible to students who have taken additional science. We offer both, and have both types of students doing a levels. Check the entry requirements for other local sixth forms.

KEDP Sun 25-Sep-11 14:06:27

I'm specifically interested in how hard it is to do the A levels if you have only down sciences and additional sciences. Do students who do that struggle with the A levels?

MindtheGappp Sun 25-Sep-11 14:07:10

A-level courses follow on from Additional Science. It is not necessary to do extension units. These extension units add breadth, not depth, and the overlap immensely with core and additional.

I teach about one-third of the Physics extension because so much of it overlaps with Core/Additional. I do this during one lunchtime lesson per week, lasting 25 - 30 minutes.

MigratingCoconuts Sun 25-Sep-11 15:00:13

its not hard at all. Taking double science does not limit your chances of suceeding at A level in any way.

The benefit of taking double science is that the triple course can be taught in a very rushed way and crammed into the time it takes to normally teach a double course. Schools are very concerned about giving up even more curriculum time to triple science grin.

Therefore, gaining an indepth understanding of the double course (and often a higher grade) can be better preparation than skimming the triple course and not really fully getting it.

There are different routes to suit different students and schools but one is not better than the other.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 25-Sep-11 15:30:51

People are very hung up on triple science I think. It works if you love science and it gets enough curriculum time. If it is done badly it is demotivating and can lead to lower grades.

ragged Sun 25-Sep-11 15:50:29

What's your definition of "top University"? Must it be

Russell Group
Times (or other newspaper/Wikipedia) top 30 list
Anything not an Ex-poly

MindtheGappp Sun 25-Sep-11 16:01:04

I think it is only worth doing triple science ifvyou get A/A*. It is not worth doing if it detracts from other subjects.

The key thing for a high achieving student is to get 7+ A/A*.

MigratingCoconuts Sun 25-Sep-11 16:07:44

Yes, I can't see how 'top' universities can discriminate against students who have done double award when so many schools run only this option.

As Mindthegapp says, its the quality of the GCSE grades you have that really matters.

stellarpunk Sun 25-Sep-11 16:09:05

Possibly. I teach GCSE & A Level Physics at a grammar (A reasonable amount of the cohort will go on to study at Oxbridge/Russell Group). I would prefer my A Level students to have an excellent understand of a wide range of physics topics as the gap between the two qualifications is large. The physics we teach at the school is above and beyond the syllabus and greatly aids the transition between A Level and degree.

I would also add that an Oxbridge candidate would be looking to fully master triple even if it is taught quickly.

However, I would add the caveat that if your DD isn't too fussed about where she studies, she should be OK at the school she is in. Personally, my science GCSE was coordinated dual award from a 'bog standard' secondary. There were no grammars where I grew up but believe me, I would have given my eye teeth to have attended one. I studied physics at Liverpool but I would have loved to have attended Cambridge. Oh well.

stellarpunk Sun 25-Sep-11 16:15:16

KEDP, what board is your DD studying, I'll go and have a look at the syllabus.

KEDP Sun 25-Sep-11 16:18:48

I don't know the answer to that! I'll find out. But we're at the stage where we have to decide about applying to secondary schools or keeping her at the school she's in now, which extends to secondary school. She isn't showing a special interest in maths or science (she's a good student, but not passionate), so I'm not focused on her having to have the triple sciences and then A levels. I just want to make sure that by keeping her in this school, I'm not somehow cutting off options for her or ensuring that A level sciences are very difficult for her.

MigratingCoconuts Sun 25-Sep-11 16:23:29

I would also add that an Oxbridge candidate would be looking to fully master triple even if it is taught quickly.

I would completely agree with this for my Biology candidates at the local comp where we offer both courses.

However, if the school doesn't offer triple, I don't think it would damage chances at A level or beyond.

MigratingCoconuts Sun 25-Sep-11 16:24:58

then, KEDP, all else being equal, I'd keep her where she is, if it was me making the decision.

stellarpunk Sun 25-Sep-11 16:26:34

In that case it might be worth you while looking at the school as a whole e.g results, ofsted, reputation etc I think you would probably know by now if that was the route she wanted to take. I chose my secondary because of the quality of its labs.

bebanjo Sun 25-Sep-11 20:26:43

Can you not go to WHSmiths and get the GCSE books for all 3 and let her have a look at them to see if there are any gaps?

jgbmum Mon 26-Sep-11 07:22:58

I have no experience on how Oxbridge would view double/triple science.

My DS studied double (triple not offered by his school at that time). He got A*s and went on to study Physics and Chemistry to A2 & got offers from all the Unis he applied to. 3 of the 5 were RG Unis so it certainly didn't hamper his chances, & that's for a STEM course.

seimum Mon 26-Sep-11 17:51:59

I concur with jgbmum.

My DD1 only did double science, as that is all the school offers, but got A* at GCSE. She then went on to do A2 physics & maths - got A's and offers from several Russell Group unis to study Physics. She didn't get an offer from Oxford, but that's because she got poor marks at the extra entrance test they set, and nothing to do with her GCSE subjects.

As a contrast, my DD2 (at a different school) did triple science and got B's. Despite studying more science, DD2 has a far weaker understanding of scientific principles than DD1 & I would not have wanted her to continue with science at A-level.

Quality not quantity, I think is the message.

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