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History/Geog/RE- which GCSE/s?

(33 Posts)
Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 10:33:51

Y9 DS is reasonably clever and is heading for the expected triple science, 2 x English, maths, one MFL. So most of his 'options' -aren't!

He is equivocal about whether he'd rather do History or Geog. I know he will have to do one of those (Thanks, Eng Bacc)- or maybe I should say, probably 2 of the 3 listed in the title.

I personally think History would win over Geog purely because his other choices demonstrate a science bent, as can Geog I guess (when I was 18 one could do Geog at uni as either a B Sc or a BA) but I wonder if History demonstrates the ability to construct coherent essays better than Geog might? Actually, this 'ability' is a bit of a weakness for him, thinking about it!

I am also hoping he can do something a bit techy or arty tho he is rubbish at actual art!

We have parents Options Eve tomorrow night but they have been meeting with the DC many times, but of course, DS hasn't yet really grasped what he gets to choose between.

grotbagz Tue 05-Feb-13 10:50:15

It all depends what your ds plans to do in terms of a levels and uni - unfortunately at my school this wasn't made that clear so just be aware that certain choices may implicate being unable or less 'perferred' for certain subjects at either sixth form / uni - that is if he is going down that route!

Does he want to do those things? Unfortunately it is very early to have to even think about that but that seems to be the nature of the beast!

fubbsy Tue 05-Feb-13 10:51:54

Find out on options evening what topics they will be covering. Then ds can decide which ones are more interesting to him. If he is interested, he is more likely to do well.

My dd is also a science-y kid and will problably go on to do science/maths A-levels and a science degree. I don't think it will make much difference in the long run which humanities subject she does, just as long as she has one and gets a reasonable grade in it.

senua Tue 05-Feb-13 10:57:07

History used to be DS's favourite subject but he has gone off it now because he realises its a bit, um, irrelevant. He is learning the higher skills (analyse, argue, research etc) but that can be covered by other subjects eg English and RE. The actual content is the irrelevant bit. The content of Geography is much more practical and useful.

grotbagz Tue 05-Feb-13 11:03:00

Oh and I forgot to mention - although it is ridiculous for him to have to think about in such advance if he's not set on what he wants to do if he does want to go into further/ higher education, the uni I went to preferred certain subjects to round out their a levels than others, whereas some have a points based system with no specific requirements, an sometimes just one required subject.

Is it likely he'll want to go to one of the more picky unis or wants to do a degree with specific lean, that will be more interested in other subjects, then that's something to take into account but if not Its definitely true he will be more likely to enjoy it and do well if he's interested in the subject.

Although if he does think that after gcses he'd like to study history and hasn't, it is likely they will let you do this with a gcse in geography anyway - lots of people at my school did this.

Not sure if this is relevant to you but hope it helps in some way, sorry for the ramble!!

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 11:04:23

DS thinks he wants to be an 'engineer' (I may have influenced that a bit! grin).

I do wonder if he might be better off doing more 'science' as long as he gets good enough marks for English. I see Geography as being more science-y, more objective than the subjective way history seems to be handled ('What do you think....?') now.

We (He!) have a month to decide, I gather, and I trust the school, having decades of experience of stellar exam success (for a comp) will guide him appropriately, but I do wonder if they might guide him towards more guaranteed GCSEs over a good range?

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 11:05:07

Thanks for all the input, everyone, incidentally!

grotbagz Tue 05-Feb-13 11:09:25

In that case you may be interested in going on Ucas course search and typing in engineering - they show what grades and requirements a range of unis wants - just for reference and to see what, if any, particulars they'd be interested in!

I studied linguistics which is basically 'the science of language', don't ask, so they didn't ask for specific subjects but they had some listed that w

grotbagz Tue 05-Feb-13 11:11:10

Would have been 'preferred' when applying!

I personally love learning about history but found the a level to be a bit irrelevant as has already been said on here so it all depends whether that may affect his grades/enjoyment!

Ponders Tue 05-Feb-13 11:48:49

History & RE are both more thinky than Geog, iyswim - there is more interpretation & analysis than reporting (for want of a better word)

Is D&T not a compulsory at his school?

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 11:56:06

Ponders tbh, re D&T- I don't know! Their GCSE results pages reveal loads of what sound like D&T style subjects many of which I've never heard of (Whatever happened to 'art'? and 'metal work'? grin) so I presume there will be some provision there. DS has mentioned 'Electronics' but until I see The Booklet on Friday I don't really know what additional choices he'll have.

I guess we may have to take advice from the school re the 3 'options' I gave in the OP title and his possible future direction. I wonder if they think he'll need to beef up his 'interpretation/essay' ability proof a bit as much of the other 'choices' will be 'science'.

mummytime Tue 05-Feb-13 12:10:23

Geography has quite a lot of analysis, it is not just Physical Geography, but also Human. The later can be quite "businessy" so studying case studies on different types of towns.
At DCs school RE is compulsory and most people do a full GCSE in it (one of DS's failures), it doesn't count as an option. They are encouraged to do one but not more than two "creative subject" which covers the Art ones and the D T ones.

Their school also emphasises that subjects should be choosen out of interest and enjoyment. From personal and my DS's experience, doing a subject you aren't really interested in takes a lot of self-control; and is much harder.

ISingSoprano Tue 05-Feb-13 12:27:04

Thought you might like some feedback from my children who have done the subjects you mention....

GCSE Geography is dull,dull,dull - added to the fact that our local high achieving state sixth form college does not require GCSE Geog to do A level.

GCSE History - interesting but LOTS of writing.

GCSE RE (Philosophy and Ethics) - really interesting - lots of topics to debate, makes you think. No coursework (controlled assessment). A surprise hit as it was a last minute choice for DD.

Erebus Tue 05-Feb-13 13:16:00

Interestingly, DS got his top mark in Y7 for RE (a 7 medium, if that means anything to you!). But I know the school will demand either Geog or History as well as Mr Gove says so.

Ponders Tue 05-Feb-13 13:19:16

Electronics sounds like D&T,

at my kids' secondary the D&T options were Food, Textiles, Graphics, Resistant Materials (= wood/metalwork) & Systems (maybe the same as electronics?) Through Y6-Y9 they did all of them in rotation

DS2 did both Geog & Hist GCSE - he preferred Hist too, ISing; he went on to do it at A Level but stopped there (there was a lot of Nazi Germany in both, it got a bit tired!)

RE is a proper humanities subject & really should have been included as an Eng Bacc option hmm. My DD teaches at a RC secondary where they all do it, & the school is v cross that it doesn't count as it interferes with other choices

Ponders Tue 05-Feb-13 13:21:41

oops - when I say Y6-Y9 I mean Y7-Y9 of course

Startail Tue 05-Feb-13 13:28:51

As others have said, read the syllabuses, do the one that interests you.

Our history is only four main topics including, as others have said, WW2 again.

DD has to do RE and couldn't face the horrors of persecution of the Jews a third time. Her honouree God Mother is my BF from uni.

Startail Tue 05-Feb-13 13:29:26

Jewish best friend.

mummytime Tue 05-Feb-13 13:58:52

At my DCs school they find Geography quite interesting - maybe it depends on syllabus and teachers? Admittedly I do envy another local school where they offer two kinds of History, one is about the History of Medicine and the students who are less interested in History find it very interesting.

RE at DCs school doesn't do much on the persecution of the Jews, its mainly ethics/morality; but that depends on the sections of the syllabus the schools chooses to teach. It is compulsory anyway (non-faith school).

Copthallresident Tue 05-Feb-13 17:26:38

DD2 just did all three. History a lot of essay writing and involves some historical skills as well, analysing sources etc. Acknowledged as the hardest of the three, but for both DDs also the more interesting. Geography as said more analytical, more Sciencey and more "bite sized" as well. Both DDs found it easier to do well in.

RE if it is the Religion and Ethics course that DD did, though most certainly an essay course, would ironically probably have been the one that best prepared Sciencey DD1 for uni. She is now doing Science at elite university and they all have to do ethics and policy modules and write essays shock and it really HAS been a shock. Worth bearing in mind even if he does engineering. Interesting too, opens their eyes to appreciate different perspectives and points of view. About on a level with Geography in terms of how easy it is to get a good mark.

GinandJag Tue 05-Feb-13 20:21:32

My DD is in Y9 and making these choices. She is allowed four options and is going for two languages and two humanities. For the humanities, she has tossed up and gone for RS and History, with Geography as a reserve (her school creates option blocks based on student choices).

GinandJag Tue 05-Feb-13 20:28:22

If he wants to do Engineering, his Chemistry, Physics and Maths will support this. He doesn't need Geography and it won't add anything. He should do subjects he enjoys and is most likely to get a top grade in.

Indyteach Tue 05-Feb-13 21:21:29

"GCSE Geography is dull,dull,dull" ..... Really? Well, as a Geography teacher, I'd like to apologise for the poor teaching you obviously encountered. I've been involved in teaching about four different (I)GCSE courses, all of which stimulated the pupils.

As for Geography "not adding anything" to an engineering application, how about generating an understanding of the issues that engineers will have to tackle, such as creating sustainable cities, protecting against flooding and providing enough water for a global population of nine million? Any Engineering applicant really does need maths and physics and chemistry can help with those interested in Chemical Engineering, beyond that it's pretty open.

The key factor at GCSE is enjoyment, whatever subject is under consideration. Pupils will do better in subjects they enjoy. The rest will largely take care of itselfand life is too short to spend too much of your childhood doing subjects you don't enjoy. My advice is to speak to careers specialists at your child's school, as there can be a large amount of myth and legend mixed in with the great advice offered on Mumsnet.

Indyteach Tue 05-Feb-13 21:22:56

Should say 9 Billion, not million. Autocorrect in action!

Erebus Wed 06-Feb-13 20:45:39

All is a little more clear tonight having just attended the Parents Only session about choices.

I gather he will have to choose one of history, geog or RE but can possibly add a second from his (single) 'free' choice. And yes, electronics is 'Systems' apparently

Will study the handbook in detail once I eyeball it on Friday.!

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