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Triple Science over Double Science

(78 Posts)
Freeman1 Thu 29-Jan-15 01:15:36

My eldest in year 9 has just failed his exam to take Triple Science at GCSE level. To say he is disappointed is putting it mildly, no enthusiam for any science now and feels he is a complete failure. I cannot find anything to tell me the disadvantages to future A levels / Uni courses or indeed what the differences are. Is he already at a great disadvantage? Although he has no desire to be a Dr, Rock guitarist (no science req lol) and careers that would require engineering have been mentioned. Please help.

LIZS Thu 29-Jan-15 08:09:00

It is possible to do science A levels with double., as long as the grades are good. There may be an element of syllabus to catch up though. We took that decision on basis that better to have 2 good grades than 3 mediocre.

Freeman1 Thu 29-Jan-15 08:58:40

That's good to know. He's been predicted A or A* for double but getting him to see this in a positive light is proving extremely difficult.

Freeman1 Thu 29-Jan-15 09:00:33

I guess as well that it's more confusing as it all seems to have changed this year. They are the first year group (they are starting early after Easter) to be graded on a 1-9 basis and the exams are supposed to be harder? As we haven't yet had parents evening both my husband and I are struggling to understand what all this means.

HmmAnOxfordComma Thu 29-Jan-15 09:10:45

No, the science exams are not changing for the current year 9s, just maths and English.

Ds's school decide who does which based purely on speed of learning in the classroom (triple scientists don't get extra time on the timetable), as well as how busy students are out of school, eg musicians and sports stars might prefer to have more spare time out of school (less homework).

His teacher explained that many of the double scientists go on to successfully take science A levels and most years they have students go on to top Universities to study engineering, physics, medicine etc who only took double science. They cannot take science A levels if they get Cs at CGSE in triple; they prefer double at A or A*.

Whyjustwhyagain Thu 29-Jan-15 13:28:21

Ask the school to confirm whether he will be allowed to take A level sciences, from the double,
At the school my DSs attended, it was find to go from double which is what DS1 did (school had chosen only to offer double! Thankfully they reversed the policy a year later) before studying engineering.

TalkinPeace Thu 29-Jan-15 14:00:14

At DDs college - which has over 1500 AS students there are loads and loads of kids doing sciences who only did the double.
The point is that 2 x A* is better than 3 x B

ExitPursuedByABear Thu 29-Jan-15 14:03:24

I would have preferred dd to do double rather than triple for all the reasons stated here.

SomewhereIBelong Thu 29-Jan-15 14:08:07

My DD is top set and does not want to do triple - we spoke to her teachers and they said if you are not totally committed to working in science and putting a lot of effort in than don't do triple. (even though they wanted her to do it).

Ours would be 15 hours of science a 2 week cycle - an hour and a half every school day seems a lot if you are not totally committed.

Again at ours you can do A level in any of the sciences if you get 2x A (minimum) at double

Moher Thu 29-Jan-15 14:43:08

DD did double science because she was keen to keep on a wide range of humanities/languages etc at that stage. The school were horrified because DD wanted to become a doctor and they said she'd blown her chances. Absolute rubbish. She went on to do the science A-levels with no trouble and she didn't find that the triple Science people knew loads more when it came to starting A-levels.

Freeman1 Thu 29-Jan-15 19:03:40

All sounds very positive. Thank you so much for your comments. I will sit DS down and show him that it is not the end of the world.

nomorehollyoaks Thu 29-Jan-15 23:36:18

Apologies for hijacking thread! My DS is in Year 9 about to choose his options. He does not yet know what he wants to do at A level, but at this stage he has not ruled out the idea of doing science subjects at A level. I had assumed that if you might want to do science A levels it would be best to do triple science at GCSE, but this thread is making re rethink! At my DS's school you use up an option if you want to do triple science rather than double, so presumably doing triple means more science lessons rather than simply trying to cram three GCSEs into the same amount of time as you would have for two.

If you do triple, is getting (say) an A in the third GCSE harder than getting an A in the first two? Is it common for pupils to drop a grade on the third GCSE compared to what they get for the first two, even in cases where triple does equate to more science lessons?

Is there something intrinsically different about the third GCSE, or is it essentially "more of the same"?

MillyMollyMama Fri 30-Jan-15 00:50:08

The GCSEs are separate. Or they were when my DD did 3. She did Biology, Physics and Chemistry with individual grades awarded for each. You don't get a B x 3 or an A* x 3 as you do for double. Until recently the girls' grammar school near me only did double . They managed to have plenty getting top grades at A level sciences! Although my DD did triple, she did 11 subjects, so kept her options at the same number. Doing the triple does allow for one science that is not so strong to drag the mark down of the other two. So if you get an A* at Chemistry and Physics but a C in Biology, the C does not affect the other grades as it could in the double.

Poisonwoodlife Fri 30-Jan-15 01:48:47

My DD chose to do double science at GCSE because she wanted to keep up the bredth with History and Geography and two languages. She was advised that even for medicine that would not be looked on unfavourably. She is now doing a Master's in Natural Sciences having done a degree with the entry standard A*AA. The only issue was that there was some ground to cover during A level that had been covered by those doing triple.

titchy Fri 30-Jan-15 07:52:37

The third module for each triple science subject is no more difficult than mods 1 and 2. Just different topics.

TalkinPeace Fri 30-Jan-15 07:58:49

At DCs school, which is a comp, the options are :
Bottom set do single science GCSE as one of their 5 GCSEs
4th set do Single science as one of their 8 GCSEs
3rd set do double science
2nd set do either double science in one timetable slot or triple science in two
top set do triple science in "fast track" one timetable slot.

The curriculum is (and will probably stay based around)
P1, P2, P3
C1, C2, C3
B1, B2, B3

Kids who go from double to the A Level will not have covered P3, B3 and C3 so are encouraged to read up on it over the summer.

imjustahead Fri 30-Jan-15 08:04:49

hi i only noticed this thread as dd school are in the midst of choosing options and it's year 8.
parents evening last night and i am confused.
what a mad system it all seems to be. at best confusing.

our school seems very approachable though so could you speak to a teacher op ?

Freeman1 Fri 30-Jan-15 09:03:56

We're still in negotiaton with the school over the final decision. Having read all of the replies, I'm more than happy with him taking double and achieving his predicted marks of A* or A. Less pressure, able to take another GCSE in a different subject and less homework, however my DS is determined to take triple, he even approached his Head Of Year (which he would never normally do) and pleaded his case. It's becoming more about how he's percieved by his peers I think, his friends are all doing triple and he now thinks he's thick and will be in with others who don't want to learn.

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 30-Jan-15 09:16:31

How heavy is the rest of his timetable, OP? Is triple in an extra slot or done within the same time as double? How many at his school take triple and how many double? How quickly does he learn?

Year 9 will be taking harder maths and English courses, with closed book exams.

Ds will only take 9 if he does double science and I'm pleased about that. He's very able but struggles with perfectionism (ASD) and other things and I'd rather 9 of the best grades he is capable of than 11-12 slightly lower.

Your ds's enthusiasm is certainly encouraging, though!

VivaLeBeaver Fri 30-Jan-15 11:49:29

Dd has to decide this in the next few weeks and I have concerns.

She is in the top set for science, getting Lvl 7s. She really loves physics, enjoys biology, struggles a bit with chemistry. Wants to do physics a level as she enjoys it so much but is heading (currently) for more of an arty career rather than science/engineering.

Her teachers says she should do triple science. I also think it's a good idea bupecause she will get a separate Mark for physics, a mark for biology and a mark for chemistry if I'm right in understanding this? Whereas with double she gets a mark worth 2 gcses which is the average of all three subjects?

So her weaker chemistry could bring her grade down if she did double science.

She's having a wobble because she thinks she won't have enough options left to do other subjects she wants to do if she does triple.

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 30-Jan-15 12:31:16

Yeah, the average mark for double versus individual marks for separate can be a consideration for some. I wouldn't make a choice to do triple based purely on that though. Doesn't your dd want to do three arts subjects, Viva? That's a lot of work plus triple science! Ds is doing 2 x arts and that's why we're happy to with double, not triple science.

VivaLeBeaver Fri 30-Jan-15 12:36:51

She does want to do three art subjects but reckons a teacher has told her she won't have enough options to do three art subjects if she does triple science. I'm not sure this teacher is right because I thought doing triple didn't use an extra option.

None of the teachers I spoke to last week at parents evening had a clue about options though. No one could even tell me how many options they have to choose!

HmmAnOxfordComma Fri 30-Jan-15 13:03:37


We didn't get a separate options evening this year (which looking at previous years' newsletters seems odd), but we got a fantastic and very detailed booklet explaining the new GCSES, the pathway that the school offers (eg, core examined subjects, core non-examined, then options), and had that some time before parents' evening so we could grill the teachers!

VivaLeBeaver Fri 30-Jan-15 13:05:04

We have got an options evening next month so ive told dd to stop fretting about it till then. Could be that due to timetable clashes she can't do all three arty subjects anyway. Wouldn't be suprised if art and photography are in the same block.

TalkinPeace Fri 30-Jan-15 13:19:17

Triple science is for those who can and want to.

Double science is for those who do not want a timetable chock full of science ( often very bright but more arts / language oriented ) as well as for those who would not thrive on the extra pressure of triple.

He is not thick to be doing the double, he's just widening his options wink

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