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GCSE much do they really matter?

(142 Posts)
wordfactory Thu 24-Jan-13 12:07:31

DS is currently considering his options for GCSE.
After he's done all the core stuff (Eng x2, maths, science x3, MFL) there are only three choices left.

He's thinking History, Latin and Geography. But then he's thinking History, Latin and Ancient Greek. Then Spanish, RS and Latin. This morning he said History, RS and Latin, then changed his mind back to Latin, Ancient Greek and History...

Does it really matter in the scheme of things? Do any universities really care what they do at this stage?

RKgsa Thu 28-Feb-13 12:30:51

Info from school heads here about GCSE options choices. Might be helpful.

GreatUncleEddie Wed 30-Jan-13 14:30:33

Thanks Grimma. It takes three slots as opposed to two. It's a grammar school so all the kids are reasonably able.

gelo Mon 28-Jan-13 19:10:56

Actually mordion I've never said music isn't academic, so I'm not really sure what this is about. All I've said is there's more to it than purely academic stuff, that's not controversial surely? The fact dd might not have wish to expend much effort on a subject has nothing whatsoever to do with its academic nature or otherwise, she's surely not the only child to chose GCSEs based at least in part on what might be easiest for her? That only arose as the part of music that would definitely have cause lots and lots of effort for her was performance and that's what put her off. Composition was also an unknown, I guess you don't know if you'll be any good at that until you've tried. She chose RE and PE instead, RE was fairly straightforward in the end, and PE was loads of effort to get 3 sports up to a reasonable standard, but even so she judged it to be easier than getting 2 or 3 grades higher on her instrument.

MissMarplesThong Mon 28-Jan-13 17:31:08

Grimma I agree that not all schools offer the choice of BTEC and GCSE. I was meaning it more as a general point to not automatically discount the BTEC option if available I know that sometimes people do and have probably been guilty of that myself.

hellsbells99 Mon 28-Jan-13 17:12:16

Thanks Dizzy

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 28-Jan-13 16:05:16

Hi Bells, good luck to your DD with her A levels.

hellsbells99 Mon 28-Jan-13 15:00:20

Also Dizzy, my DD has found both subjects very 'sociable'. They are encouraged to go at lunctimes to do art, compositions etc., and a few of them really enjoy having a good gossip and eating their lunch in there etc.

hellsbells99 Mon 28-Jan-13 14:57:27

Forgot to say I am rubbish at both art and music - she must belong to someone else!!!

hellsbells99 Mon 28-Jan-13 14:56:22

Hi Dizzy. My DD is artistic too - loves music, has always loved art but has found the GCSE quite repetitive. Will get As in both and possibly A*s, but for A level she has said she is doing maths and sciences and that she feels she will cope with them much better as she won't have all her art and music to do! She is planning on continuing with music as a hobby (orchestra, lessons etc) and I think she will always draw/paint as well but only for fun. Good luck with your DD's options - it is not always easy choosing.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 28-Jan-13 14:49:17

Bells, personally I think music would suit DD better as she's quite musical, but she's also artistic, just realised that me having said she does it as a hobby sounds like I am putting her art ability down! I am so not artistic but I reckon she's pretty good it (in a totally PFB way!) grin

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 14:37:32

@gelo it's of consequence when people are claiming that music isn't an academic subject at GCSE, on the basis apparently that their daughter couldn't have done well in it with little effort. On that basis French is not an academic subject because my daughter isn't going to do well in it with BIG effort.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 28-Jan-13 14:30:57

>With some subjects it may be worth looking at the BTEC rather than the GCSE

that assumes the school gives that choice - I'm not sure most do (surely would make timetabling even more of a nightmare to try to accommodate BTEC and GSCE in the same optional subjects)

Eddie - depends who you ask... can you get the curricula for the 3 separate and the double award so you can see what the difference is? Also, does doing the triple take up an extra option? (some schools timetable triple for able students in the same amount of time as double for others)

gelo Mon 28-Jan-13 14:30:13

composition is different again, probably more academic. I think dd would have been ok with it, it's only the performance she'd have struggled with. But the exact breakdown of what's academic and what isn't is of little consequence really.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 14:17:03

Composition is an academic discipline. You don't need to be able to play or sing to do that at all. It doesn't have to be inspired, it doesn't have to be worthy of comparison with Varese or Debussy or Mingus it has to, you know, obey 'the rules' (which are of course arbitrary, made up, and have varied with time, but that's a bit like pretending there are rules in maths for the purposes of O and A level and then pulling the rugs from under the students' feet as soon as they get to uni).

gelo Mon 28-Jan-13 14:10:42

I think it's 30% performance and 30% composition? 60% total coursework iirc.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 14:07:40

@gelo the performance tasks do not provide 60% of the marks.

GreatUncleEddie Mon 28-Jan-13 14:06:07

He is good at science - he won that prize too.

GreatUncleEddie Mon 28-Jan-13 14:05:35

DS1 is an excellent all rounder but is convinced that only by doing three separate sciences is he "doing science properly". He is an excellent linguist (top of the year in two last year) and a truly excellent essay writer. I think he should do dual science to allow for another mfl or humanity. Does he need to do separate science if he intends to do a science at A level?

MissMarplesThong Mon 28-Jan-13 13:52:48

With some subjects it may be worth looking at the BTEC rather than the GCSE.

My DS will be taking ICT BTEC and Sports BTEC next to his core GCSE subjects. Both of these are practical rather than theoretical. DS plans to build himself a gaming PC and will see if he can include this in the BTEC.

The Sports BTEC does not require proficiency in the chosen sports what it requires is an understanding of what is required for proficiency and where that is or is not being achieved. This is different from the Sports GCSE which requires proficiency.

gelo Mon 28-Jan-13 13:45:57

She'd have been prepared to put a fair bit of effort in as she did with PE if she thought she had a chance to be fair.

No I'm not saying it's not academic, but it's more than just academic - a bit like PE to be honest - 40% academic exam, 60% something else.

MordionAgenos Mon 28-Jan-13 13:40:25

But gelo, none of that means that music is not academic, it just means that your DD wasn't suited to music gcse. The fact that your DD thought she couldn't get a top grade 'without too much effort' is hardly an argument for it being not academic, is it. I might just as well proclaim that French isn't academic on the basis that my DD1 can't do it.

Xenia Mon 28-Jan-13 13:39:38

Some of mine did music GCSE but they would all have had 2 grade 8s or 1 8 and 1 7 (three had/have music scholarships). I put myself in for music O level without a single lesson and got an A when I was a teenager but then I'd done grade 8 music theory etc.

I think the main point from the thread is if your child is doing 8 core academic GCSEs by all means do an art/music etc more fun one but realise that will mean extra work, more work than they probably realise and if doing the core 8 is a struggle then do not do the additional ones or only one of them.

GrimmaTheNome Mon 28-Jan-13 13:39:05

We've just had the options booklet from DDs school - they recommend to the pupils that they weigh them up considering (in no particular order)

1) what they enjoy (subject itself, not particular teacher)
2) what they get good levels in
3) possible career relevance
3) is it a balanced set of options

The latter includes considering the mix of assessed/exam. Seems like a good set of guidelines.

They do 11 GCSEs - have to do 2xEnglish, Maths, 3xScience, 1MFL and one humanity(Hist, geog or RE) and they are encouraged but not compelled to include a tech and one of art, music or drama.

So, German for the MFL and Geog for the humanity -leaving 3 free options for Electronics, Computer Science and Drama.

Wouldn't suit everyone but seems about perfect for

One boy we know is determined to be some sort of archaeologist so for him History, Latin and Ancient Greek would be the perfect combo!

gelo Mon 28-Jan-13 13:34:18

well dd was actually strongly encouraged by her school music teachers to take it - she didn't because although her theory is excellent she knows she's rubbish at playing (and singing too btw - you should have seen her last singing report - diabolical, and not through lack of trying). She'd have been quite amenable to taking it instead of say RE if she thought she could have achieved well without too much effort, but it was really a non starter for her. Your dd is good at music, please don't assume everyone is. Grade 3 by the way is probably not sufficient to secure a top grade at music.

hellsbells99 Mon 28-Jan-13 13:33:21


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