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GCSE options / is Business Studies viewed as a 'soft' / easy subject or well respected these days?

(119 Posts)
Boysandme Sun 14-Dec-14 15:06:34

DS1 has to pick options soon for his GCSE subjects.

I know some subjects are viewed as soft subjects and also that business studies has been up and down as to how well respected it is.

Anyone know what the current thinking is?


MassaAttack Sun 14-Dec-14 16:06:30

I'm of the opinion that with science (triple for all but bottom set), English language, English lit, maths and RE being compulsory at ds's school that he should choose whatever he fancies for the remaining options. This flies in the face of RG-fixated MN wisdom, however, and I'd feel differently if he showed any inclination towards medicine etc.

howtodrainyourflagon Sun 14-Dec-14 16:13:19

Soft option for lower set kids

DoctorDonnaNoble Sun 14-Dec-14 16:16:09

Yup soft option at GCSE. Not offered at my school.

MassaAttack Sun 14-Dec-14 16:16:52

It doesn't look soft. There's a business studies teacher who posts here sometimes - hopefully she'll pop along.

OddBoots Sun 14-Dec-14 16:22:18

I agree Massa, my ds had a lot of comments when he chose to take Drama as his free choice (and Dance in his PE slot) as he is a very academic child but there is room in among all those compulsory subjects for something a child would enjoy without worrying if it is soft or not. A Level is different but at GCSE very few if any universities would be worried.

Pilgrimforever Sun 14-Dec-14 16:23:05

DD's school offer both GCSE and Btech business studies. She's doing the Btech but it's the school who decide who does the GCSE and who does the Btech. The Btech seems to be quite in depth so I dread to think what the GCSE involves.

meandjulio Sun 14-Dec-14 16:23:12

Realising I didn't know anything about the course, I looked at the syllabus and am not that impressed - why would you choose this instead of economics?

If knowledge about business is the aim, I would say get a Saturday job, a subscription to the Economist for Christmas and read a newspaper, and start applying to local businesses for work experience. If 'another GCSE' is the aim, then I would choose economics, statistics or a language.

jeanne16 Sun 14-Dec-14 16:23:45

If you have lots of other strong GCSEs, such as History, an MFL and the triple Sciences, then one 'soft' subject won't matter.

DoctorDonnaNoble Sun 14-Dec-14 16:26:54

My last school offered it to those who weren't able to cope with Economics at GCSE. My current school offers neither at GCSE. We do offer Economics at A level.
If a student is interested and they've already got 'serious' subjects I'd say go for it.
However, the question was about subject perception. It is perceived to be a soft subject.

AuntieStella Sun 14-Dec-14 16:35:00

I'd say it was a soft subject too. That doesn't mean it's necessarily easy, not that it won't teach you things that you may later find useful. Just that it's not seen as a facilitating subject.

More than 'one for fun' might be an impediment to the more academic courses in future, on the general basis that for just about everything you need a range of solid passes in facilitating subjects.

There really is no problem in having 'softer' subjects amongst a range that includes a good number 'harder' ones. And agree that you need to know which is which, reputationally, whilst making your choices.

catslife Sun 14-Dec-14 17:22:25

My main thought is that if your dc really wants to take this subject let them - they are better off doing well in a subject that they are motivated to do than less well in a subject that they didn't want to take but was chosen for them by their parents.
At dds school this subject is taken by students across the ability range, but the higher ability pupils take an Economics option for one of the modules.
BTW you can take an A level in this subject without having the GCSE.

skylark2 Sun 14-Dec-14 17:50:55

I'd say it was a soft option - top academic schools don't even offer it.

That said, there's nothing wrong in your DS having one soft option even if he's an academic high flyer. Might want to look at something more fun than Business Studies though.

"BTW you can take an A level in this subject without having the GCSE."

And a degree without having the A level, and a higher degree without having the first degree, and can end up running a business without any of them. Not having it doesn't close doors at any level. There are lots of subjects for which that's not true, so your DS needs to think carefully before dropping them.

Boysandme Sun 14-Dec-14 18:28:55

Thanks all.

He will have fairly academic subjects generally including triple science etc, I have said he can have one for fun, whatever he fancies then there are a few inbetween to look at. He is at the beginning stage of all of that now and I was wondering if it was worth encouraging it or not. If it is often viewed as a soft subject then I won't bother encouraging it.

He goes to a standard comp and they do let higher achieving students sit economics. He would probably be allowed to do that as he is top set for everything but they haven't yet announced who they seem suitable. Sounds like even economics might be deemed a bit soft now!!

antimatter Sun 14-Dec-14 18:50:23

How many subjects is he taking in total?
1 out of 12 not soft
1 out of 8 - may be a different matter.

Hassled Sun 14-Dec-14 18:52:41

Business Studies is one of those subjects which is perceived as soft but which would be actually bloody useful knowledge for later life. If everything else is non-soft, I'd encourage it.

Boysandme Sun 14-Dec-14 18:57:41

I think they take 9 altogether. It seems to be double English, maths, double science as compulsory then 4 options. Triple science uses up one option, a language ideally, one for fun and one other is my thought. He isn't sure what he wants to do so needs to keep options open.

There is of course compulsory PE, RE and PHSE but I don't think they lead to anything.

Everyone seems to have 4 options so a total of 9, seems strange that there is no variation other than some bottom set kids being offered btechs. Is that usual in state comps?

MassaAttack Sun 14-Dec-14 19:06:37

Ours only have 3 free choices now. This is because they want almost all of them to do triple science, and also are giving more time to English and maths (the new syllabuses/syllabi hmm are much larger, apparently.

I think it's a shame.

MassaAttack Sun 14-Dec-14 19:08:35

They have to do RE, so do the GCSE anyway.

cricketballs Sun 14-Dec-14 21:54:26

Business Studies teacher here! It is viewed as a soft subject by those who just see studies in the title! even Eton offer it at A level.

It is a subject that gives students an insight into the real world and takes what is actually happening and the impacts of the real world into account ; therefore from anyone from supermarket self fillers up to managing directors will experience what is learnt in the subject. Students do enjoy it because they can see it is real and not just things out of a text book.

The skills required in order to gain a good grade in GCSE are very high level; students need to be able to analyse, evaluate, have excellent essay skills and mathematical ability (not just with formula but also reading and using data) in order to access any grade higher than a D.

To the poster who said about the BTEC being scary; I would say that the new spec is harder than GCSE (it was never the easy option that people thought anyway) so much that I switched a group from the BTEC to the Applied GCSE.

To the poster who discusses facilitating subjects - facilitating is focus on A Level and even the guide suggests only 2 are required (and Business A Level is mentioned in a number of suggestions for degree choices!)

I have had previous students at GCSE, BTEC (level 2 and 3) and A level gain entry to Oxbridge and top unis (RG and non RG) so to answer the question - it is not a soft subject!

Boysandme Sun 14-Dec-14 23:36:03

Thanks for that cricketballs.

I have a degree in management science so don't think it is a pointless subject, stood me in great stead for starting my accountancy training. But that was many years ago and I got the impression that views had changed. It's interesting to hear what is involved from the horse's mouth so to speak.

blueemerald Sun 14-Dec-14 23:44:10

If your son is doing well in a school that has a sixth form then I don't think GCSE choices are all that important. A level choices are more potentially restricting.

dodo3 Mon 15-Dec-14 07:14:36

No subjects are soft at GCSE, let them do what they enjoy. Unis only look at A levels.

NoelleHawthorne Mon 15-Dec-14 07:23:33

agree with blue thingy

choose a subject he will get an A in

DoctorDonnaNoble Mon 15-Dec-14 07:29:03

With the uncertainty over A levels and the possibility of no AS depending on school's policy, I think unis will have to start looking at GCSEs again.

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