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GCSE Support Thread 2013

(682 Posts)
wolvesarerunning Thu 18-Apr-13 16:33:19

I've been waiting for someone to start this (was on the 2012 thread last year and am unlucky enough to have dc 18 months apart in consecutive school years!) Please join me to support and share the angst with only four weeks to go now to the first written exam.

marinagasolina Sun 05-May-13 16:29:57

I am an mfl teacher. Hard to say without experience of teaching your dd, but I would have thought that given her higher writing marks she's got a decent vocabulary but struggles verbally, I don't know what exam board she's following but assuming only the best coursework piece goes forward, she has an A and a C going into the exam- so roughly a B average give or take, depending on her actual marks in the coursework. If she's only aiming for a c then foundation would be the better option; a low c/high d would still work out as a c overall. However, if her vocabulary is up to the standard of her writing coursework she would most likely do ok in the higher paper and be in with a chance of a B. working on these assumptions, if your dd was in my gcse class my decision would be based on the standard of her vocabulary and how hard she's likely to have been revising.

circular Sun 05-May-13 16:31:08

At DDs school for MFL, they have all been entered for both Foundation and Higher, to be decided in the day.

Although you can possibly get a B (may be even an A?) overall by taking the foundation papers, all the sixth form requirements for A level, even if asking for B are insisting it is on the higher papers.

creamteas Sun 05-May-13 16:33:13

For some DC the foundation/higher decision is a difficult decision game.

For DD is in this position for French. DD struggles with interpreting questions (ASD). She can't always get the answers right, even though she knows the vocab. She also can't have a scribe as it is a language exam and can't have extra time for listening and her writing is really really slow (dyspraxia)

So although her French is good (A/B standard), it is too much of a risk trying for a higher grade. For her, it is better to play safe and do the foundation paper where the questions are more literal.

KatyMac Sun 05-May-13 16:50:25

It's so complicated - I've asked the teacher to confirm her CA grade then we can look at it again

circular Sun 05-May-13 16:53:41

From what I've seen, the questions are set out to confuse, especially in the listening. They really need to listen out for words like 'except' tying to catch them out. And some are answered in English, some in French. In DDs class, the first practice papers saw the typical B grade student getting Us.

DD is also A/B standard, but without the difficulties your DD has. She has worked really hard in the CAs and has AA being submitted for the written and AA* for the spoken. She has been told she only needs about half marks in both the reading and listening for a B overall, but is hoping for an A. must take the higher, as intending to do A level. She forgets vocab. under pressure though.

creamteas Sun 05-May-13 17:41:03

Yes, the listening paper is difficult, especially if you don't 'hear' tone of voice like my DD.

DD has not been given an indication of CA grades so far, and they have not actually finished them either shock. One more writing to go next week, so barely anytime to focus on exam technique.

I hope DD gets a C, but there is no certainty at all. In the last practice, she lost loads of marks by not writing the answer expected (eg When the question was 'what is X doing at 8 o'clock?' writing 'eating' instead of 'breakfast' where the passage mentioned le petit dejeuner).

But she doesn't need this C to get into sixth form, so whilst it will be a real shame as she tries so hard, and does know her French, thankfully it won't have any long term impact . Unlike English, which I am more worried about...

webwiz Sun 05-May-13 17:56:08

That is late creamteas DS's french exams are on the 13th May so I'm grateful for any practice he does at school. He seems a bit clueless about how to prepare for them.

circular Sun 05-May-13 18:05:05

Creamteas That's really late for the French written CA, DD had some in yr10. But then again only finished sciences last week.

I thought they did up to 4 written and 4 spoken with the best 2 of each being submitted. If that is just the last written to go, is it worth speaking to French teacher to see where her CA grades stand so far? Then you can gauge how much she needs in the exam for a C, and see how close she is getting to that ob the practice papers?

What's the English situation?

roisin Sun 05-May-13 18:19:08

I would leave any foundation/higher decisions to the teachers tbh. they are the experts and will be as keen as you are for them to achieve their potential.

I do agree though that it's very late for CAs to be done. ds1's CAs were all complete before Christmas in all subjects; and they've been concentrating on exam skills prep since then.

creamteas Sun 05-May-13 18:26:11

Circular yes it is really late, but as they have only done one other written piece, there is no chance of pulling out of this. They have no spares sad

In English, DD is just doing language, but even this is a struggle. Again here, it is the ASD issues of literal interpretation and very little imagination. Her spoken CAs are ok, but everything else is at the C/D borderline.

She sat the exam in Jan and got 59 which in previous years would have definitely be a C. But who knows what OFQUAL will do to the English boundary this time round. As her English teacher so tactfully put it, DD will get a C, but they are not sure when grin

Thankfully, because her struggle with English is related to her disability, she can go into sixth form without a C smile. She can retake then if necessary. She needs to get 5 GCSEs in total, with Bs in the subjects she wants to take for A level (Maths/Sciences). She has As for most of the science modules taken so far, so this should be ok.

roisin Sun 05-May-13 19:08:35

Is this AQA? We are interpreting 59 in January as a C+ ... I certainly hope so! Nov and August C boundaries were both 53; much lower than that in Jan 2012.

creamteas Sun 05-May-13 19:56:31

Yes roisin AQA, school have said anything above 57 likely to be an C, but given the shift last time, there are no guarantees are there.

She is sitting the exam again this time, so hopefully will do better anyway. She may need the wiggle room as CAs not far off borderline as well.

webwiz Wed 08-May-13 20:43:04

DS did his drama GCSE performance today and when I got in from work I found him fast asleep on the sofa! He said it went well so that's the first GCSE completed.

creamteas Wed 08-May-13 21:01:45

That's good new webwiz, hopefully it has put him in the right frame of mind for the next few weeks smile

fivefathoms Wed 08-May-13 21:14:11

DS did his drama performance on Friday and was also exhausted afterwards. Hope it was worth the effort, from the experience of students in other years it seems disproportionately difficult to achieve a high grade in drama. Still one down now!

prettydaisies Thu 09-May-13 07:35:18

DS's last day of school today for a while. Study leave begins tomorrow!

basildonbond Thu 09-May-13 12:02:29

ds's study leave started on Tuesday afternoon

and on Wednesay morning he was back at school at normal time because he says he works better with the structure of being at school - fewer distractions!

first exam this afternoon - his teacher just emailed to say fingers crossed he might scrape an A ...

he has been working really hard ever since Easter - shame he spent the first two terms of Y11 arsing about ...

beachyhead Thu 09-May-13 20:22:49

First one tomorrow... Maths of all things.. Tears here...

Doinmummy Thu 09-May-13 22:15:28

Awwwwwww Beachy it's so hard to see them stressed. My DD 15 year 10 had a mock maths exam yesterday and only managed 11 questions. She reckons she'll get a U sad

Can anyone recommend a maths tutor in Essex? DD has agreed that she will need one.

beachyhead Fri 10-May-13 08:07:10

Doin, we did a couple of Justin Craig short courses, one at Christmas and one at Easter, but mostly it's just been old papers, again and again....

I feel I've done the Maths GCSE already smile...

I think she will feel better tonight, now she's actually started the exams. (She hasn't done any early, her school doesn't)

basildonbond Fri 10-May-13 09:11:46

lots of stressy shouting here this morning - it's the first maths paper this afternoon

I've told the other dc to keep their distance over the next couple of weeks ...

boschy Fri 10-May-13 10:07:07

DD1's english teacher has given them all a handwritten good luck card and a new highlighter pen each - sweet. Think her stress is being quite well-hidden, although there is the odd explosion like the fight with DD2 this morning over whether someone on TV was or wasnt Avril Lavigne (I havent a clue).

Worryingly, she doesnt seem to be doing much (any?) revision, tho she says it is all they are doing at school and she is doing extra sessions after school and on saturday. beachyhead maths is our biggest bugbear too. She got a G last summer, and then Ds in 2 subsequent retakes. I very much doubt she will get that magic C this time, which means a bloody retake or 3 in 6th form.

I am trying to remain calm, not going to give up smoking til after the GCSEs and find wine very helpful.

mumslife Fri 10-May-13 12:58:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumslife Fri 10-May-13 12:59:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

boschy Fri 10-May-13 13:24:37

first one Monday here too mums, 9am, Religion & Life Issues - same thing? and I so agree with stressy shouting while claiming total non-stressedness.

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