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IGCSE Biology

(16 Posts)
minkah Mon 15-Feb-10 11:33:15

If you have done this with your child, I'd love to know how you did it, and at what age, how long it took, and if your child enjoyed it! In other words, I'd love to know your story on this one, as I'm thinking of this being ds first such project, he is going to be 12 in a week or so and I think he would like a challenge and an achievement..

musicposy Mon 15-Feb-10 15:04:08

We're about to take it this summer!
My daughter is 14, year 9 if she was in school (only just turned 14). We started after Easter last year, so it will have taken us just about a year to complete. We're just about finished now, this week, and will start revision next week. I have a couple of second books for her to just read for revision, until about Easter. Then it will be past papers until the exams which start quite early - in May.

We have worked through Biology for IGCSE by Mary Jones - this was the recommended text for Cambridge which is what we were doing. We've done just a little each day, read a section and answered the questions at the end of each section. As many things as we could do practically, we have. The text suggests various investigations along the way and we've found almost all of them possible to do at home, some with slight adaption.

For revision, we have Study Guide for Biology IGCSE by David Hayward, which is nice and concise, and Biology for you, which is a GCSE book but covers much of the same ground in a lighthearted way. That's all we've used.

I wouldn't really say she's loved it to be honest, but that's because Biology isn't really her thing. She did it firstly because it seemed among the most accessible of the IGCSEs and secondly because she is thinking of a dance career and it's a subject they like. She's been a bit squeamish about some of the body stuff but has conquered that quite well, considering! Be aware that there are long and detailed sections on reproduction, including a need for a thorough knowledge on assisted fertilisation if you are doing the higher level. This is something which I've found no problem with my 14 year old - I'm not easily embarrassed - but was one of the topics which my 10 year old didn't do alongside her big sister as I don't think she would have coped with the level of detail needed! For lots of the other topics, my 10 year old had a go too, because lots of it is fairly accessible. However, it's one I probably won't do with my younger daughter as an exam. She's more mathematical in her approach and I think would prefer Physics or Chemistry. But if you have a child who you think will enjoy Biology, I'd say go for it. We're also doing Geography which I'd say is much harder and needs a higher level of thinking.

Any other questions, just ask!

LauraIngallsWilder Tue 16-Feb-10 09:01:08

assisted fertilisation for igcse biology - good grief!

It was very interesting to read about how you have approached the studying musicposy - how have you found finding an examination centre?

musicposy Tue 16-Feb-10 15:33:42

We were really lucky to have 2 centres near us that said yes! I emailed about 60 private schools in the area and three came back to us with a positive response. One will do GCSEs and we've used that for her maths - about 30 miles away. The IGCSE centre we've gone for only charged us the exam fee, no admin, which has been fantastic. The downside is they wouldn't take DD1 younger than 14 as they didn't want her to stand out as younger than their students (I guess they don't want them going home and saying much younger children elsewhere can take it!), so when DD2 wants to do Chemistry in a couple of years we are going to have to use the other IGCSE centre which is further away and much more expensive. The other downside of the one we're using is they said they would take her for one or two a year maximum and if I opened the floodgates by telling the whole home ed community they would stop agreeing to any of it hmm. My guess is they want to show charitable benefit without too much hassle.

We're in west sussex, by the way.

loumum23 Thu 18-Feb-10 11:48:07


We are thinking of IGCSE's for our you mind me asking how much this has cost you ?


musicposy Sat 20-Feb-10 20:07:39

Well, exam centre has charged us just £34 per IGCSE, which is brilliant. Maths GCSE was a different centre and we also had to pay a £30 admin fee. I think we've been very lucky, some places cost a couple of hundred. Email around and you might hit the jackpot. It's worth pointing out to schools that if they charge very little, they can put this down as a great example of charitable benefit (which private schools are often keen to show).

Apart from that the only cost has been the textbooks, which were proably £30ish all told. But we could have done it fine with just one book for about £12-£16, and even less had we been patient enough to wait for secondhand to come up. I thought we were going to have trouble with past papers as Cambridge only release them to schools unless you pay an arm and a leg and were very snooty when I emailed them, but then I found and there are loads on there. Problem solved!

musicposy Sat 20-Feb-10 20:09:32

link for the above

loumum23 Sun 21-Feb-10 08:46:25

Thanks musicposy that's really helpful. I looked at the past papers and I think he could do these so that's a good start !

Now.... do we take him out of school or not !?
My Husband and I have a lot of deciding to do

astarmathsandphysics Sun 21-Feb-10 10:16:16
this will take you to the igcse papers direct

astarmathsandphysics Sun 21-Feb-10 10:17:14

musicposy Sun 21-Feb-10 16:24:49

Thanks astarmathsandphysics, it's a fantastic site which I can't recommend highly enough for those taking exams. My eldest got 100% in her first maths module in November and I know it's because we were able to access the examiner's reports on there and see exactly what NOT to do!!! wink

minkah Thu 25-Feb-10 10:40:34

This is fantastic, thanks everybody. Isnt it funny what a mental leap it is at first to reclaim your childs education and then again to stop believing that taking important exams 'belongs' to schools..shock

musicposy Thu 25-Feb-10 14:00:09

I also found it amazing how easily you could do them at home, too. There seems to be so much stress and pressure associated with GCSEs in school, and we haven't had any of that. A lot of it has been quite good fun, and we certainly haven't worked that hard! She's got up to virtually 100% on past papers for the next maths module in about 3 weeks from scratch. I heard stories before DD1 started of 12 year olds getting good IGCSE results and I thought, "how can that be possible? They must be geniuses!" But I can see it now; it is possible. You cover so much at home in such a short time.

Of course, we haven't done the IGCSEs yet - if she gets and E or U, I will skulk away from this board and never mention it again!wink

minkah Fri 26-Feb-10 09:46:10

ha, she wont get E or U, I hope she gets a brilliant grade and you will let us know and we can celebrate. My older son is doing gcse's at school at the moment and it is all so laborious and pressurised and slow moving.. it seems cumbersome to me to trawl through lots of subjects, all very slowly, in big perspective has changed so much. My HE son is 12 today. At the moment he does his maths on mathswhizz and is hooked on their cartoons and reward systems,and the same on mathletics. I think he will be easily ready to start I
/GCSE exam syllabus in september, really, in maths, as he is very competent, and my only concern is that he will be demotivated without cartoons! But I can see a love of learning kicking in for it's own sake,in other areas, which is a joy to see. So I hope that will carry over into maths. Musicposy, what texts did you use for maths? I am in London, so I assume I have a fairly good choice of centres in which to take exams.
BTW.. your daughter sounds very bright! Are you good at maths? I mean - were you able to help explain the maths to her? I have a huge gap where my maths should be..blush

suzymiller Tue 09-Oct-12 21:48:33

Is there a list of exam centres for IGCSEs's? I'm in Sussex.

SDeuchars Wed 10-Oct-12 14:06:40

No real list but I recommend you join the HE exams list, where there are people all over the country who can help with advice and practical pointers.

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