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Fast track

(15 Posts)
madaboutschools Mon 12-May-14 16:32:34

Would like some advice on GCSE's and being fast tracked to take some a year earlier. What are the pros and cons. Have heard that some Universities disregard any GCSE's, AS's and A levels if they've been taken earlier, when considering applications, because they want to see how well a child copes under pressure - taking all exams at the same time. Appreciate any advice anyone can give.

creamteas Mon 12-May-14 16:46:28

A tiny minority of universities like to see exams taken all at the same time and this mostly applies to A levels rather than GCSEs.

In terms of fast-tracking overall, it depends on how it is managed and why it is done. Will the teaching time be reduced? Do they do less subjects in one go?

For example the top set taking Maths a year early followed by further maths is different from everyone squeezing History into y10 ear so they can also do Geography in y11.

madaboutschools Mon 12-May-14 16:58:50

Thanks for your reply, the school promotes fast track French and Maths, not sure about other subjects. I will need to speak to the subject heads I think and find out more info.

AElfgifu Mon 12-May-14 16:59:10

Yes, it is a general principle that GCSEs taken together are valued more highly than GCSEs spread over several years. However I don't think there are many places that worry about some being taken in year 10.

The issue in the past has been schools that start in year 8 or 9, and pupils taking 1 or 2 every six months, which is a very easy way of anyone getting a large number of GCSEs, which cannot in fact be compared to a portfolio of GCSEs ALL taken during KS4, a far more intensive course of study.

As creamteas says, there is also the case where a class take a subject such as maths early so that they can go on to a further qualification in that subject. This can be a very valuable opportunity for very able students to show what they can do. But taking some subjects early just to clear space in your timetable for other subjects is helpful to the school rather than the students.

It may affect your choices of A level, so teachers are unwilling to accept students who rushed through a subject further down the school then didn't study it at all for a year or more. And it may affect some university applications too.

But overall, in moderation, or done for a good reason, should not have too much of a negative effect.

madaboutschools Mon 12-May-14 17:01:34

That's very helpful AElgifu. Thanks

AElfgifu Mon 12-May-14 17:04:08

Fast track in maths very useful, as long as the student then studies more maths, either alone unofficially or in a class. It is a very important subject, and taking a year break is not always helpful, as you can lose a lot of momentum. For that reason, I have known students turned down when applying to do A level physics, as well as A level maths.

Fast track French similar. If your child wishes to continue in French, do not take a break! If he or she is sure they don't want to carry it on, then getting it under their belt early might be helpful, as everyone needs a language GCSE these days, but for a non linguist, the date it was taken matters less: ideally should still be in KS4 to count towards final GCSE scores.

madaboutschools Mon 12-May-14 17:21:39


lottysmum Mon 12-May-14 17:26:21

Just wondered what you do with a child that is naturally gifted at Maths...I know there is a girl in my daughter's class (Yr 7) who is already level 8 and just filling in the gaps of her knowledge (quite a few are high level 7's too) how can you maintain this child's interest in the subject for a further 4 years until they sit their GCSE?

AElfgifu Mon 12-May-14 17:30:59

A child very gifted in maths should have the opportunity in most schools to do maths GCSe in year 10, and maths AS in year 11. It is also possible to do maths statistics GCSE too, although again, I wouldn't recommend doing it AFTER maths GCSE, because you are still left with the issue of a gap in your maths timetable, in which you are likely to lose ground. "Express" maths classes may be teaching GCSE maths alongside GCSE statistics, with the aim of taking both exams together in KS4

HercShipwright Mon 12-May-14 18:49:41

mad DD1's school does all the GCSEs in Y10. There is no sign at all of any universities taking against the students as a result.

DS's school makes all the kids do French in Y9. It is only an 11-16 school so I don't know how it affects destinations but I think it isn't a tack that suits all kids (including my DS, who sat his French today). I think they would be better off doing it in Y11. And so do they, now - his is the last year with the enforced y9 sitting. I'm pretty sad about it to be honest.

madaboutschools Mon 12-May-14 19:58:56

Apparently a child who did 3gcse's in year 10, is now under alot of pressure to get 6 A* all together as they want to study medicine and the university said that they would not cconsider the 3 they achieved in earlier year. I have also checked on website and unis tend to favour those who have achieved them all at the same time in the same year, it shows their ability to work under pressure.

creamteas Mon 12-May-14 21:32:17

I have also checked on website and unis tend to favour those who have achieved them all at the same time in the same year, it shows their ability to work under pressure

Don't worry about this too much. Universities are not supposed to treat applicants unfairly because of a school's decision, so it really shouldn't make that much of a difference.

OhYouBadBadKitten Mon 12-May-14 21:39:39

There are much better ways to extend maths than through doing GCSEs early. The UKMT mentoring program for example is superb.

madaboutschools Tue 13-May-14 09:43:49

Thanks everyone for input, I am making an appt to see the head of french to answer my questions.

TheWordFactory Tue 13-May-14 09:48:28

I think it depends on the reason the school do it, OP.

If they do it, to bank as many passes as possible, or to make room for pupils doing silly amounts of GCSEs, thI would say the school are putting league tables in front of their pupils' best interests!

However, if the pupils do it because they are more than ready and will continue to study those subjects, then that's fine.

DS took both those subjects early and has continued to study them alongside his other GCSEs.

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