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Another year 9 options question..

(23 Posts)
pigsinmud Mon 24-Feb-14 11:11:20

Ds2 is in year 9 and choosing his options for GCSE. He has a career plan(much more organised than his older brother!) - geology at university, so wants to do geography, biology, english and music or RS or history at A Level.

His problem is he loves RS and history. He can either do one of them as a full GCSE or both as half GCSEs. In my mind a full GCSE sounds better, but does it make any difference? Would a university care less? He has been struggling with this decision for weeks now and the form needs to be handed in. He is quite a clever boy so I think he'd do well at either of them.

TeenAndTween Mon 24-Feb-14 11:52:58

My gut reaction is a whole GCSE will be slightly easier and more satisfying than 2 halves.

The question answering techniques are different for the 2 subjects (at least they are for my DD). The homework may be more 'joined up'.

Is he aware what the subjects will actually cover for GCSE? History in particular may be 20th Century or Medicine through time / American West. RE also has different options (according to the fact I can't find a revision guide that covers my DD's RE course).

Neither is a pre-requisite for doing at A level as far as I am aware (have looked into History A level for DD).

It doesn't affect the ebacc as he has Geography GCSE already.

I don't think a university will care.

To my mind a full GCSE will be easier when CV writing later in life.

Do the school's results differ significantly for the 2 subjects?

crazymum53 Mon 24-Feb-14 11:58:33

Assuming that you've checked the syllabus for both RS and History and that he's happy with both of these, I would recommend History - as this would open up more options at A level and degree level.
In dds option booklet the "half" GCSE option is not aimed at students who are above average ability so this could give the wrong impression later on.

lljkk Mon 24-Feb-14 12:06:17

Since English is a core subject I'm trying to figure out the options...
geography, biology, and then how many of music/RS/history can he choose? How many options does he get?

the school doesn't do triple? Because physics & chemistry can both be very useful for geologists, physics especially.

ChocolateWombat Mon 24-Feb-14 12:09:05

Yes, go for the whole GCSE. RS or History would be fine. History generally seen as more academic. At A Level, History is a facilitating subject, which top RG Unis are keen to have at least 2 of, which RS isnt. However, as you say, you can do History or RS at A level without it at GCSE. In reality though, few pick either up at A level, having dropped at GCSE.
Have a look at the results the 2 departments get, as well as the syllabi.

pigsinmud Mon 24-Feb-14 12:14:43

Thanks TeenAndTween. He has the syllabus for both and thinks they both look interesting. We checked at parents evening and he doesn't need GCSE to study at A level.

I think he would excel at RS as there is a lot of ethics & philosophy in the course - something he has been interested in for a while. Results pretty similar 78% get A*-C for history and 70% get A*-C for RS. I think a lot more take history.

I go with your idea that a full will be more satisfying. I have been trying to gently push him towards one, but he needs to decide which and then we go round in circles again. As I did a history degree he feels he's letting me down by not taking history?! No idea where he got that from as I have told him loads of times that it is his choice.

pigsinmud Mon 24-Feb-14 12:20:30

Sorry lljkkif my original post was confusing - the history/music/rs was about A level...he was planning ahead!

He has to do English Lang, English Lit, Maths, core and additional science - he has to choose at least one language, one from the arts section, one from humanities and then one from any section. So, German, Geography & music. He was then left with either full RS or history OR half RS & half history OR half RS/history and full Spanish (half on half off timetable) - but I think he has decided to ditch Spanish!

lljkk Mon 24-Feb-14 12:32:53

Ah, too bad it's such a restrictive set of choices (saddled with Ebacc evidently). They get so few choices anyway, I can't see that Ebacc achieved much good.

titchy Mon 24-Feb-14 12:38:31

Can he not do triple science? Agree with llkjj that physics and chem would be very useful A levels for a Geologist, and triple science at GCSE makes these much easier.

pigsinmud Mon 24-Feb-14 13:26:57

No they don't offer triple science. Corse science at end of year 10 and then additional at end of year 11(well that's how it is for ds1 in year 11 so I assume it's the same).

His geology aim is not great as he is really an arts/humanities boy! He checked a degree course and it wanted geography and another science at a level.

Anyway, is the consensus that a full is better than 2 halves? Sounds like a philosophy question...

lljkk Mon 24-Feb-14 14:21:30

I still suspect physics over biology, if you have the choice. I looked at geology for Uni and it was lots of physics, no biology. But check the reqs now in UK.

pigsinmud Mon 24-Feb-14 14:37:17

Ok will think about that for the future(physics is the one he hates!).

redheaded84 Tue 25-Feb-14 14:12:16

hello everyone,

i am new to this site not sure how it all works.

my daughter came home yesterday very up set that she could not pick the subjects she had set her heart on picking for a gcse for the past two years because they are not in her band options.

i have spoke to the school this morning and they are going to give her access to some off the gcse lesson which she has a choice of but mine and her disappointment is not that she is unsure of the lesson but that the lessons are not going to help her active qualification in the areas in which she see's her self working in.

i understand as along as she gets good grades when she finishes her gcse's in 2 years she can then move on to the subjects of her choice and pursues her carer path then, but why waste 2 years on a subjects she does not find inspiring or interested in.

TeenAndTween Tue 25-Feb-14 14:25:58

redhead you might do better to 'create a conversation' of your own, and maybe give some more details of what she wants to do that she isn't being allowed to do.
Some schools seem to limit choices to ensure that bright students do academically rigorous options, and that less high achieving ones don't attempt a set of GCSEs they might then struggle with.

redheaded84 Tue 25-Feb-14 14:43:07

thank you for your advice on starting my owe thread will do.

pigsinmud Tue 25-Feb-14 15:10:48

Well, he went for full RS, but has ticked the box that he is interested in after school Italian confused Goodness knows where that has come from! It could possibly be that his brother is doing 10 GCSEs and he'll only (in ds2's mind) be doing 9!

ChocolateWombat Tue 25-Feb-14 16:57:59

Glad he was able to decide. I'm sure it will work out well.

mummytime Wed 26-Feb-14 07:20:26

Chemistry is really really useful for Geologists! In fact if he can't do Physics and Chemistry he will struggle - they are hard but a lot of Geology uses them as background knowledge (and I've taught Uni Geology).

pigsinmud Wed 26-Feb-14 09:51:18

Thanks for that info mummytime. Obviously A-levels are still a way off, but ds2 does like to plan ahead! He likes biology and chemistry and initially said he'd do chemistry A level, but then he thought he'd prefer biology. If chemistry is more useful than biology he will do it. He is really not keen on physics, but I think it is the one he has to put most effort in to, so that could be the reason why! So, it would be Geography, Chemistry, English (because he loves it and doesn't want to do all sciencey A levels) and then one of Music/RS/History which would be dropped after a year.

I slightly worry(not the right word)as I think he is more of an Arts student and think he could really excel at History or English. Obviously I have not said that to him and will only encourage him. Don't get me wrong, I am sure he will do well in the sciences, it is just that they are not his strongest subjects. However, he has set his heart on Geology....all because he went to a careers evening and spoke to the most articulate, enthusiastic young man from the oil industry.

mummytime Wed 26-Feb-14 10:07:25

Chemistry is very hard at A'level.

To be honest I would encourage him to find out more about Geology, and to see if that is really what he wants to do.
Most Geologists are probably employed by the Oil Industry, next could well be things like Road building.
What aspect of Geology appeals? Is it Dinosaurs? (If so some Biology might be better.)
Does he like going on long walks? Being outside in the cold and wet? (Snow?) Walking for miles across peat bogs?

pigsinmud Wed 26-Feb-14 10:26:13

Yes I had heard about chemistry being hard at A Level. Ds1 plans to do it, but keeps getting put off by 6th formers telling him it's hard!

He has time to investigate further. I don't think he is in to dinosaurs. He is very interested in earthquakes, volcanoes etc and generally terrifying his younger sisters by saying that the volcano under Yellowstone park might erupt soon and we'll all die - thanks ds2.

Ds2 is academic. He reads voraciously and I had always imagined him doing English, History or Philosophy as he is articulate and has an ease with language - unlike his parents! So, we shall see. I shall certainly encourage him to look in to it more - thanks for your advice.

mummytime Wed 26-Feb-14 11:22:55

I would strongly suggest he does D of E. Oh and most Geology courses don't do much Volcanos etc. even though I think that is the most fun.

pigsinmud Wed 26-Feb-14 11:46:25

D of E is on the list. Ds1 is just doing Silver at the moment so we have the gear.

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