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How is business studies GCSE viewed by good universities?

(34 Posts)
homeanddry Wed 05-Feb-14 13:18:17

DD is currently choosing her GCSEs. She is academically able, particularly good at English and languages, and her ideal future career (at this stage) is in writing/journalism. She is aiming for Oxbridge/RG for university.

As well as all the usual, she is considering business studies GCSE. I'm not sure about it - would she be better off doing computing/ICT/RE/music instead? Or something else?

Reincarnatedpig Wed 05-Feb-14 13:37:20

If she has a good mix of traditional GCSEs I would let her choose what she wants for the additional options. I don't think business studies would penalise her in any way.

janeyjampot Wed 05-Feb-14 13:39:48

Without any particular expertise, I would say RE was the better choice for writing/journalism as it looks at situations and dilemmas from different points of view.

applepearorangebear Wed 05-Feb-14 13:42:48

It's thought of as a soft option in all honesty, so unless she has her heart set on it I would advise that she goes for a more traditional subject instead, given the universities she's looking at. Music is generally well respected, as are humanities subjects and all modern / classical languages. I'm not sure about computing or ICT. It wasn't that well regarded when I was applying to uni (c. 15 years ago), but things may well have moved on since then. Good luck to her, and hope she really enjoys her GCSE courses.

Reincarnatedpig Wed 05-Feb-14 13:46:00

Children from my DD's school have got into Oxford with BS GCSE - one do called soft option does not make one jot of difference.

mimolette Wed 05-Feb-14 13:47:39

It depends. It is often thought of a soft GCSE (though so was computing/ICT), but I doubt universities would penalise her for it as long as the grades are all good. And there are many opportunities in business/finance journalism so she could spinare it to her advantage later (or go down that route in further education if she likes it).

MrsBright Wed 05-Feb-14 13:52:15

'Top' Unis vary on their attitude towards GCSEs and it will also vary between subjects at each each Uni. Oxbridge and LSE want high GCSEs across the board ('GCSE profile'), others specify certain subjects & grades as must-haves and this differs by subject. You need to go to the Uni websites and check admissions requirements for a number of different subjects/courses to see what they want re. GCSEs.

At GCSE level there won't be 'excluded' subjects . If your DD is doing a heap of traditional GCSE academic subjects that she is interested in/will get decent grades in, then go for BS as well. It's useful general knowledge stuff at this stage.

[Only at A level does the 'soft subject' attitude to some subjects creep in - some arent considered 'rigorous' enough or are seen as 'wet' subjects. And it matters only because by excluding that subject, applicants are effectively left with one 2 subjects that 'count'.]

PatTheHammer Wed 05-Feb-14 14:03:48

I'm not sure about the university angle as I only work in an 11-16 school so we spend lots of time on a level choices etc but not much at the uni level, besides recommending certain subjects for certain degrees.

Anyway, I was going to chip in and say that I teach a core subject but of all the subjects my year 10 and 11 students moan about the most, BS tops the pile. They all seem to hate it, and it's not the teachers who are both great. If she enjoys music then I would say take that. The pupils I teach that do music always seem happy with it and never moan about it. Or another humanities subject gives a good general knowledge.

IME GCSE subjects aren't really looked at beyond English and Maths. A Level subjects are much more important as a basis for degree level study.

(And sciences if it's a science based degree)

mrwilloughby Wed 05-Feb-14 14:08:33

I have a business studies GCSE and went to Oxford! I also had 11 others including RE and some batty IT one (Information Systems??). It is some time since I was there but I would have thought as long as she has other substantive ones a few mad ones won't make any difference.

mrwilloughby Wed 05-Feb-14 14:09:42

And as above it is 'proper' A levels that really matter I think.

homeanddry Wed 05-Feb-14 15:34:52

Thanks for the opinions. Interesting that your pupils don't enjoy it, Patthehamer. I'll have to ask why she is interested - I really didn't think it was her thing. She wants to do drama too, though I'd rather she did music...

Apparently they all do RE, which is a good thing IME. The only 'traditional' subject she doesn't want to do is history, which is a shame but she will do geography, as well as double science, 2 languages etc.

I did Business Studies for AS level and it wasn't what I expected at all... ended up dropping out. I think it just sounds interesting because it's something new but it ends up being pretty boring IME.

I teach Business English now and even find that boring compared with conversational English although you can overlap!

OneMoreMum Wed 05-Feb-14 17:36:36

I remember wanting to do business studies GCSE and my school only allowing the 'less academic' types to do it since presumably the best they could hope for was a secretarial job!
Was extremely miffed until one of my (less academic) friends showed me the chapter in the text book on how to make a good cup of tea!!!! Hopefully it's moved on a bit since the 80s..
It seems like the sort of thing that everyone would benefit from but still has a weird stigma hanging over it, if they're doing the core academic subjects can't see how it could be a disadvantage

PatTheHammer Wed 05-Feb-14 18:09:14

I would echo that its mostly my brighter students who moan about it, they find it mind-numbingly dull. The less able seem to quite enjoy it, or at least they don't seem to moan as much. They moan about languages.......and citizenship!

Best idea to ask her why she fancies it. In a choice between drama and music I would say that depends on her musical ability. If she plays or sings to a reasonable level then music would probably suit.

MillyMollyMama Wed 05-Feb-14 18:23:55

Drama GCSE goes well with English so provided she is up to doing the practical I would not dissuade her from that. In fact Drama A level is ok so long as it is a 4th one if she decides to study English. BS is not a problem if the other GCSEs are strong academic subjects. Music is possibly the most academic, but not such a good match with English. If there is a strong Drama Department at her school, why would you be against that.

Oxbridge do look at breadth of GCSEs and anyone who says they do not is wrong. At least 5 A*s is an absolute minimum. Some courses recruit young people with an average of 10 A*s. They do matter. However whether the 10th GCSE is Music or Business Studies will probably not be of interest.

homeanddry Wed 05-Feb-14 22:24:16

Drama is very good at her school, i'm not against it at all if her teacher thinks she'll do well. I don't know really know how good she is as she's only started taking an interest this year. Her music ability is longer-standing.

She'll hate business studies if it's dull...

StolenStollen Wed 05-Feb-14 22:27:53

My dd was doing business studies. She said she thought it was a soft option. Its not. Lots of work. DD has dropped out due to health issues which mean she is in hospital.
She found it very dull. But she only did 2 months of the course.

gardenfeature Thu 06-Feb-14 06:21:02

Try and have a look at the syllabus and some past papers to get a flavour of it. I have a little experience of AS Level BS and personally think that it is very dull and that a fair amount of it is common sense and knowledge that you pick up without having to specifically learn it.

ihatethecold Thu 06-Feb-14 06:52:02

Watching this thread with interest
My ds is just about to choose his options.
He hasn't expressed an interest in BS but I will be wanting to do more research if he does after reading this thread.
What a shame the kids find the syllabus boring.
Who decides what will be on it?

AuntieStella Thu 06-Feb-14 06:59:49

The syllabus is set by the exam board.

It's largely disregarded (IYSWIM) in terms of university entrance (fine as 'one for fun' but won't take you anywhere).

Music OTOH would be enhancing and so would RE.

crazymum53 Thu 06-Feb-14 14:57:24

dds option booklet makes GCSE Business studies sound quite interesting saying that they link the course with current affairs and in the context of current global issues. But they give the option of studying "Economic Understanding" as one of the units in Y11 for students thinking of studying Economics at A level.
If your dd is interested in journalism then surely Business studies would be useful as most newspapers devote a lot of column space to economic and business issues. Having said that, it is possible to study Economics at A level without this GCSE provided that she has studied a suitable humanities subject such as History or Geography.

cricketballs Fri 07-Feb-14 17:56:21

I teach Business at GCSE, Btec Level 2 & 3...

If students are bored then it's the teacher not the subject. It is the one subject vthat no matter what you do in later life you would have learnt about and the reasons why. It's the one subject that takes into account 'real life' and what is actually happening in the outside world.
My A* target students do state that they have to work a lot harder than they expected.

I have past students (all qualifications) whom have gained offers from very high ranking unis (including Cambridge) for a range of subjects including medicine

Please op, don't take the MN attitude that a s it had 'studies' in its title that it's worthless

Mermi Fri 07-Feb-14 18:02:07

If it helps OP I did Business Studies at Alevel (carried onto A2) and am at a top 10 Russel Group university. None of my other Alevels were particularly 'academic' either.
When I applied I vaguely remember Business Studies as counting as a Science subject, although this will depend on the university.

I never found the syllabus boring, and the teacher wasn't exactly inspiring. It has actually helped me quite a lot with seemingly unrelated things that I have studied and the concepts and terminology have helped when doing work experience and internships so it has definitely been useful in that respect.

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