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DS only projected B at GCSE - worth getting a tutor?

(30 Posts)
mumblechum Thu 02-Sep-10 14:01:06

Haven't actually received the result of the first module back, but Maths is his worst subject, and ds thinks he'll probably only get a B.

He wants to do 3 Sciences, English and History for A level, but not Maths.

Do you think that a Uni would insist on him having an A for Maths GCSE (he's hoping to do medicine)?

If so, and if he goes for tutoring to get up to that standard, would he have to go every week for a year, or is it more a last couple of months cramming scenario?

He's mostly A and A* for all the other GCSE subjects, ie those have been his coursework marks, but always lets himself down with Maths, particularly in the tests. He seems to do ok in lessons and h/work, but for some reason goes to pieces in Maths exams.

belgo Thu 02-Sep-10 14:03:41

I was just about to say what's wrong with a B - when I did GCSEs 18 years ago that was considered a good grade!

Then I noticed that he wants to study medicine. Good maths is necessary to be a doctor, who have to calculate complicated medical prescriptions, medical machines and much more.

If he really is serious about studying medicine, then yes get him a tutor and encourage him to work very hard.

said Thu 02-Sep-10 14:05:10

Do GCSE grades matter that much? Aren't they just a means to do A levels and it is those grades that will matter?

deaddei Thu 02-Sep-10 14:06:20

Yes definitely.
DD is starting with a maths tutor next week (she's going into yr 9)- maths is her weak point, and she needs extra support.
9.15 on a Sunday morning for the foreseeable future sad- but it is her godmother doing it free of charge smile

GypsyMoth Thu 02-Sep-10 14:10:04

i think most uni's look more at gcse grades.

am considering a tutor also for dd

belgo Thu 02-Sep-10 14:11:41

It's not just for his grade, it's because maths is vital for a doctor so he needs to get a drip with it.

mnistooaddictive Thu 02-Sep-10 14:28:59

It may be important to get a place. I would talk to his teacher and ask their opinion. I would reccomend an hour a week all year as a few weeks cramming may not be enough and then you will end up spending even more to get him an A at resit.

Cimarosa Thu 02-Sep-10 14:32:33

Have close contacts with admissions tutor for not dissimilar course, but harder to get into than medicine.

GCSE grade not particularly relevant unless likely to be lower - B would be ok. A level grades much more relevant, as is personal statement and evidence on application of a real interest in the field of study (more than just quoting 'New Scientist!, or similar Journals)

If you are worried about him falling below a B then tutor maybe worthwile, but otherwise not. Would he appreciate a tutor?

JustGettingByMum Thu 02-Sep-10 14:36:22

If he wants to study Physics at A level, then he should be aware that it has a lot of higher level (A Level) type maths in it.It might be worth checking with his school.

mumblechum Thu 02-Sep-10 14:41:29

Thanks all. Have just mailed his maths teacher.

Sorry, should have said he plans to do Physics only up to AS level, will then do 4 A2s, in Chem, Biol, Eng & History.

I don't think he will particularly appreciate a tutor, tbh, but he is incredibly driven and will therefore go for it, I think.

Of course, when he gets his module results today he may amaze me by getting an A! <unrealistic moment>

spadeoaktutor Thu 02-Sep-10 14:58:34

Sounds to me that it is a maths confidence issue and he needs to do lots of practise this year to make sure everything is firmly embedded. Sadly I fear that medicine is so competitive he should try very hard for an A (I expect others applying will have at least an A!) I tutor (around Bourne End Bucks) and find that by using lots of different resources (jigsaws, games etc) my students start to enjoy maths and then they really improve. Def buy him a MathsWatch cd (c£3) and my website which has some links to maths sites that I find useful.

mumblechum Thu 02-Sep-10 15:03:52

That's really helpful, Spadeoak. He's at Borlase, as it happens, and I guess you'll have had a fair few Borlasians through your door!

He does have the MathsWatch Cd, which I've just found gathering dust under my desk hmm.

I'll see what his maths teacher says, and may be in touch following that.

DustDustDust Thu 02-Sep-10 17:04:21

I was only predicted a B last year. Got an A though.grin
A B in GCSE maths won't stop your son doing Medicine at uni, but it can't help.

Get him to continue using the Mathswatch CD. I got 44% in my first mock, and then I got the CD. I went through every single exercise on it and filled up two notebooks of work. I got an A* in the second mock. I certainly wouldn't have achieved this without Mathswatch. It was the most effective way of revision for me.

My teacher wasn't the best, and 17 out of 90 in my year had maths tutors. Many of them still didn't get As, so it doesn't guarantee anything, even at £15 a week.hmm The local tutor must be rich...

Anyway, he sounds a lot like me last year, and I think lots of practise with things like Mathswatch or BBC Bitesize would help. Like your son, I had As and A*s in everything else. My downfall was the fact I didn't bother with the homework for most of Year 9 and 10, and had a tendency to daydream. GCSE Maths isn't that difficult, and I'm sure your son is capable of an A or A*.

Unless he has real trouble understanding concepts, I think doing an hour or two of maths exercises every week would be just as effective as a tutor, maybe hiring one nearer exams. I can't stress the usefulness of Mathswatch enough either. For exams, past papers are the key. I did the Welsh exam board - WJEC - and they constantly repeat question format.

Good luck to him anyway! I'm sure he'll do brilliantly!

mumblechum Thu 02-Sep-10 17:34:38

Thanks Dust. Can I just ask you, did you start the CD at, say, grade C and do all of the tests then do the grade B tests and so on?

PixieOnaLeaf Thu 02-Sep-10 20:14:05

Message withdrawn

spadeoaktutor Fri 03-Sep-10 11:34:05

I would start with B grade stuff (if you can do all of this confidently it is possible to get an A). Then tackle the A/A* stuff. Do you know what set he is in? If it's a top set I expect his teacher will concentrate on A/A* topics in lessons. I agree towards exam time past papers are the key - they all follow a very set formula but start with the MathsWatch cd.

mumblechum Fri 03-Sep-10 12:59:13

Thanks all. His maths teacher just emailed me back to say that in the summer test, he got a C, which is the equivalent to a B at GCSE. She says that he is capable of getting an A if he puts the work in and has offered free tuition in a maths club run by sixth formers at lunchtime one day a week which sounds pretty good.

He's in the second to bottom set for Maths but as you'll know, Spadeoak, as he's at Borlase, that's not as bad as it sounds!

Thanks for all your advice. It's his birthday today so I'm not going to force him to start the MathsWatch CD today, but tomorrow is another story wink

DustDustDust Fri 03-Sep-10 17:16:54

Despite being in the top set, I started the CD at the very lowest clip. I really wanted to make sure I knew everything. You wouldn't need to do this though, since most of it was very simple. Starting at grade C or B would probably be sensible.

maggotts Fri 03-Sep-10 21:42:48

Where can I get this MathsWatch cd? Website says they sell to schools only.

oldinboden Fri 03-Sep-10 23:52:01

DSs school won;t let them do physics A level without at least an A in Maths

NotanOtter Fri 03-Sep-10 23:53:54

i would recommend a tutor - they do look at gcses when picking students for university . He will really need a good crop of As and A* for medicine

AllSheepareWhite Sat 04-Sep-10 00:18:40

Definitely would recommend a tutor, I got a B in my Maths GCSE, at the end of my first year of A'levels got predicted a D. I attended extra Maths sessions and got an A. An A in his Maths GCSE would be advantageous as Medicine is so competitive they will look at GCSE's if choosing between several candidates with the same A'level grades. See here for information on typical offers for medicine courses at universities in the UK.

MmeBlueberry Sat 04-Sep-10 06:58:06

If he wants to do medicine, and is not doing Maths alevel, then I think it is pretty important to have an A/A* at GCSE. It would be even better to do A-level.

As for his predictions, you need to know what the predictions are based on. Is it on his work ethic and achievement to date, or does the prediction include his raw intelligence scores?

His teacher should be able to go through all his exam data to date to figure out if he has a particular area of weakness which might be just a case of additional teaching to get it right and then enable him to move on to higher things.

A tutor may be helpful, but only if you can target specific areas, and that needs some cooperation with the school to find out what these areas are.

MrsBadger Sat 04-Sep-10 07:22:46

I just want to check, have you cleared his A-level choices with people who know about medicine admissions?
I only ask because a 50:50 science:humanities split at A2 might not be looked on as favourably as someone who took AS History and A2 Chem, Phys, Bio, English

in fact iirc some Cambs colleges won;t even consider applicants without 3 sci/maths A levels...

sandripples Sat 04-Sep-10 19:01:12

I'd suggest he just takes 3 A2s and makes certain he gets the grades required.

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