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GCSE options

(17 Posts)
lolascolas Sun 16-Mar-14 20:30:59

Just really want to canvas some opinions. My son is in the process of choosing his options. He is a high achieving student with ambitions to study English at uni. He is taking the compulsory Maths, English, 1/2 RE. He has chosen Separate Science, History, Drama and has one more choice. He is torn between Spanish and Computer Science. He loves ICT and loves what he has heard about CS, his teacher thinks he would be very good at it. Spanish is his problem subject doesn't particularly enjoy it, finds it hard work and as a result doesn't really give it his all. He is in top set though and should get a level 7 if he pulls his socks up a bit. Should he go with CS the subject he will enjoy more or Spanish for all the reasons having a MFL at GSCE is a good idea?

Nocomet Sun 16-Mar-14 20:51:56

I'm sure loads of posters will tell you MFLs look better on your CV and I'm not certain IT is a particularly good syllabus, but I hated French with a passion and would never make anyone do a MFL if they didn't want to.

MillyMollyMama Mon 17-Mar-14 08:19:42

It is hugely competitive to get onto an English degree course and it would be better to do Spanish because it gives a wide spread of academic GCSEs. However, it might be better to go with a better grade in another subject but make sure this is likely to be the case. If this is not the case, go with Spanish.

senua Mon 17-Mar-14 08:54:16

What A Levels is he thinking of taking?

mummy1973 Mon 17-Mar-14 09:17:11

I'd say go with what he enjoys unless he intends to carry Spanish on to a level. This from the Russell Group may help him think ahead to a level choices?

wordfactory Mon 17-Mar-14 09:21:11

Go with Spanish.

English is a hugely competitive course at university and many of the most selective establishments have fairly strong feelings about MFL...

lolascolas Mon 17-Mar-14 18:23:24

I think at the moment he is planning on taking English, Maths, a Science and Film Studies or Drama. A bit of a mixture! Essentially they are the subjects he enjoys most now so things may change once GCSEs start. Thanks for all your replies.

wordfactory Mon 17-Mar-14 18:30:04

I think those A levels work very well indeed.

But stick with at least one MFL at GCSE would be my advice.

MillyMollyMama Mon 17-Mar-14 18:57:12

I think an A level in History is better than a science and Drama is way better than Film Studies. Maths and a science do not demonstrate essay writing or literature. The competition will have the most suitable subjects not a mish mash.

lolascolas Mon 17-Mar-14 19:23:19

You have a point but at the moment we're just trying to get down to 9 GCSEs. He's got another 2 years to get down to 4 A-levels! Hopefully when he starts looking more closely at uni courses he will consider more 'facilitating' subjects for A-level.

SlowlorisIncognito Mon 17-Mar-14 21:32:08

Is he interested in any of the universities, e.g. UCL that ask for a modern language at GCSE? If not, then he is probably better off going for the subject that he will get a better grade in as this may feed into better predicted grades for A-level and a stronger overall accademic profile. He'll probably do better at a subject he is motivated and enjoys doing. If it is an actual Computer Science GCSE, this is more accademic than an ICT GCSE.

It is obviously difficult to advise on what university admissions may be looking for in 4-5 years time, as the exam system will have changed a bit by then.

Scholes34 Wed 19-Mar-14 13:53:33

He'll have a much better understanding of his own language if he is learning a MFL too.

Martorana Wed 19-Mar-14 18:36:37

He needs excellent. GCSEs to support an application the read English- and he will be competing against others with a MFL. I would go for Spanish. It's a good rule of thumb that universities tend to be sniffy about subjects with "studies" in their name.......Sad but true.

cricketballs Wed 19-Mar-14 19:29:45

Martorana - the 'S' in CS means science, not studies. (It has also been included in the list of sciences for the Ebacc league table count).

the sniffy comment is also misleading given that I have had previous students of Business Studies not only getting offers from Oxbridge, but shock horror it was a BTEC and not GCSE

ErrolTheDragon Wed 19-Mar-14 19:53:48

>Is he interested in any of the universities, e.g. UCL that ask for a modern language at GCSE?

the last I heard, UCL was the only university with this general requirement. However, it may be relevant for English degrees at a few others - there's some useful info here (not sure if its up to date but it gives information on how to look for details yourself)

Its a bit of a tricky one.... his enjoyment and engagement with the subject is one factor, another is what grade he's likely to get in each. If he's likely to get A*/A in Computer Science but less than that in Spanish, which of those would look better in the list of GCSEs when he's applying for university?

lolascolas Wed 19-Mar-14 21:50:14

Hi all. Had options interview today and he has decided on Drama, History, Separate Science and Spanish. Yes he looked at UCL and KCL both of which require a MFL at GCSE. He decided Spanish was the best choice because it kept all his options open.
Thanks for all the replies. smile

ErrolTheDragon Thu 20-Mar-14 15:21:45

Probably the better choice. If he's interested in writing code, it is the sort of thing he could do as a hobby - he might be interested in a Raspberry pi or lego robotics or somesuch.

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