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DoubleTriple science options at GCSE

(27 Posts)
chaosmonkey Fri 30-Jan-15 09:32:18

GCSE options time again!

DS1 has to make a difficult choice - hive mind please advice us!

he's quite geeky, and would prefer to do mainly sci/maths. He is currently doing well prob not by mumsnet standards, but still doing OK in his maths science (level 7a/8c at this stage in year 9) and OK (6/7) in other subjects

His school have a 9 gcse maximum, with 6 fixed, so he has 3 he can choose - but he wants to do more!

In an ideal world, he'd do:

Further Maths
Triple science (counts as one optional subject - double science is compulsory)
Computer Science
History
German

The school are hoping to do further maths as a 'twilight' option - so he'd stay after school one day to do that.

He absolutely loves computer science, and his teachers really really want him to take it, so that's not an option to drop although is probably the sensible option

His preferred thing is to do double science - his school assure him that he could do Physics and Chemistry A Levels from double science. I'm not so sure... He currently wants to do A levels in maths, physics, chem, and study computer science at degree level - he has been certain of that for a long time.

Any thoughts on this would be very much appreciated!

Iloveaverycosheshubbahubba Fri 30-Jan-15 09:36:48

I went in and interrogated dd science teacher on this and they did a talk about just this. Upshot is that yes you can do A levels in sciences with just doing double. And a lot of unis also accept double too. She ended up taking triple though as the thought of history bored her senseless. HTH.

catslife Fri 30-Jan-15 09:57:09

There is another thread currently going on this topic see www.mumsnet.com/Talk/education/2294653-Triple-Science-over-Double-Science.
Yes you can take A level Science subjects with only Double science and what the sixth forms are looking for are high grades.
You can also take A level Computer Science without taking it at GCSE providing that you have high enough grades in Maths. You can even take degrees in Computer Science with A levels in Physics, Maths (and one other subject e.g. further Maths or Chemistry).
Computer Science counts as an additional Science subject at GCSE so if he took the first 3 subjects from his list that wouldn't be very balanced imo but if it's what your ds really wants to do .....
At my dds school the Triple Science pupils have 15 hours per fortnight Science whereas Double is 10 hours per fortnight. Students taking Double Science take the first Core Science exams (usually 3 papers depending on exam board) at the end of Y10 whereas those taking Triple Science now have to take all the exams at the end of Y11 (this is usually 9 papers depending on exam board).
Hope that helps

HereIAm20 Fri 30-Jan-15 10:00:28

You can do the A levels just having done the double. My stepson went down this route. However now in AS year he is finding that there is an element of catch up to do as pupils who have done Triple Science have covered more topics than those who did double. Therefore whilst these topics are covered from scratch they are done so at speed assuming most people had done the triple.

Also bear in maths and science is definitely a big step up from GCSE even for those with A*/A grades at GCSE. If he knows for sure that those are the subjects he want to do at A level then I would suggest triple (especially if he likes science) so he is then only dealing with step up rather than catch up and step up.

MrsSquirrel Fri 30-Jan-15 10:07:19

It's entirely possible to do science A levels after having done double science. Many people do it.

The problem might be that when he does his A levels, he may feel at a disadvantage compared to his classmates who have done triple. He might have to do more work at the beginning to 'catch up' on some of the topics he hasn't done at GCSE. If he wants to do well and is prepared to do that, he should be fine.

He sounds like my dd. She is currently doing further maths GCSE as a twilight option. She is planning on maths, further maths, physics, chemistry A levels.

chaosmonkey Fri 30-Jan-15 10:19:21

Thanks Ilovea - he's just come around to enjoying history, and I'd like him to keep it as I think that learning some deeper social analysis could help him.

Will read that thread too cats - and thanks for the info about balance - he's prob going to keep the german and history options - do further maths as a twilight option - so it's kind of down to the comp sci vs triple science.

That's good info on the 'catching up' element here and MrsSquirrel. Will talk to him about that.

lljkk Fri 30-Jan-15 10:40:27

DS (lazy unmotivated, all his science knowledge comes from Horrible science books, wants to be a programmer) was sure he'd be bored stiff in double science. It was a nightmare prospect for him to do double.

I suspect OP's DS should drop history, good as it is for communication and critical thinking skills.
The other night DD's math teacher was saying they are completely dropping further math for KS4 because the new basic math not-GCSE will be so tough.

We are programmers anyway, so not surprising that DS &DD are doing comp-sci. I think it's pretty good as GCSE subject DC can teach me python.

Not sure which GCSE-not-GCSE your yr9 DS will face, but I would look closely at whether further math is worth it.

German is useful for engineers, BUT all well-educated Germans speak English somewhat well and German can be picked up later.

catslife Fri 30-Jan-15 11:33:32

My dd is Y10 and we had to make similar decisions last year.
My other bit of advice would be to have a look at past GCSE results for these subjects. If the school gets better results for Triple Science than for Computer Science for example then that may help.
Computer Science is a relatively new subject and some schools may not have any results yet so if this is the case, I would recommend asking a few questions as it is also a subject where there is a shortage of experienced teachers.
PS You don't need further maths GCSE to take Maths at A level.

Everydayimshufflin Sat 31-Jan-15 08:40:59

What are the 6 fixed subjects he has to take? I assume English language, English lit, maths and double science make up the first 5, but what is the sixth?
If it is another language eg French, then I would drop the German, as he will still have a language, and is unlikely to take languages beyond GCSE.
Otherwise I would say either the further maths, triple science or computer science, because as catslife said, all of these can be taken at a level without those options.

Iloveaverycosheshubbahubba Sat 31-Jan-15 13:50:30

Everyday RE is quite often a compulsory one. It is for my DD.

NeedAScarfForMyGiraffe Sat 31-Jan-15 14:33:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrazyTights Sat 31-Jan-15 14:35:39

I'd drop the German if he doesn't want to do a language, he doesn't need one apart from to help the school in the league tables after all.

CrazyTights Sat 31-Jan-15 14:37:05

My DS did triple science and had 9 hours a week, good job he loved it!

Decorhate Sat 31-Jan-15 15:58:24

I would choose triple science over further maths at this stage if the further maths can't be done as an extra after school.

I am wary of Computer Science - the old ICT subject was pretty useless if you wanted to do Computer Science seriously. But haven't seen the new curriculum. And beware of teachers doing a hard sell - they will all want the bright pupils to do their subjects!
Agree we need to know what the 6th compulsory subject is to give proper input

Decorhate Sat 31-Jan-15 16:01:14

I also think a max of 9 subjects (whilst sensible) might be a hinder in the future if he wants to go to one of the top unis. They often look at 10

lljkk Sat 31-Jan-15 17:22:12

Can you provide link to a Uni that says they want to look at 10 GCSEs, Decor?

TalkinPeace Sat 31-Jan-15 17:42:29

decorhate
DD is currently looking at science degrees at Top200 Unis.
No mention of 10 GCSEs to my knowledge

Decorhate Sat 31-Jan-15 17:42:32

Oxford do for medicine at least. Cardiff look at 9. Birmingham look at GCSEs too but can't remember how many they score out of.

Obv this may only apply to medicine!

TalkinPeace Sat 31-Jan-15 17:51:23

Oxford do for medicine at least.
www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses-listing/medicine
NO.

Decorhate Sat 31-Jan-15 17:58:43

They don't say "you need x number of A* at GCSE" in the prospectus but they most definitely do rank by that when assessing to call for interview (and the BMAT score as well). I'll try to find a link for you.
And I am not meaning to alarm anyone. 11/12 GCSEs are the norm around here. But I'm sure they take into account if your school doesn't allow you to do that many.

Decorhate Sat 31-Jan-15 18:05:36

www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/medicine/pre-clinical/statistics

According to this the average number of A* for those called to interview was just over 10 last year

lljkk Sat 31-Jan-15 20:16:50

okay, but that IS Medicine and Oxford. That's not just top uni or top course, it's the elite of the elite. Even so, it looks like about 1/3 of their intake had <= 9 x A* at GCSE.

Everydayimshufflin Sat 31-Jan-15 23:32:35

I think if a prospective Oxbridge candidate applied with 9A*s at GCSE, 4As at AS level and a good personal statement with a few extracurricular activities the admissions team wouldn't bat an eyelid that they had taken 9 subjects.

Yes the average number of A*s for Oxbridge may be 10, but this is because some schools offer 11-12 GCSEs and the brightest students at these schools who are applying for Oxbridge will get A*s in all of them. And then there are pupils who will take an extra subject out of school. A candidate wouldn't be penalised because they only took nine subjects at GCSE.

chaosmonkey Mon 02-Feb-15 10:28:34

Ooh sorry - was away from the weekend, and missed the lovely input.

The 6 compulsory subjects are:
English x2
Maths
Science x2
Religious Studies

So no other language options. He doesn't want to do RS, but on the bright side it has made him memorise various philosophers to back up his vehemently anti-religious arguments.. I suspect he's learning Stephen Fry's speech right now.

He has NO interest in medicine. He hates illness, germs and people. He loves computers. We've talked it over just to check, and after he stopped laughing, we're all clear that medicine is off the cards.

We think in the end (and after the great help here) he's going to do triple sci, comp sci as a twilight option, and drop the Further Maths. So he will do 10 options - as the twilight option is his favourite subject, that should encourage him to not drop it when the work gets tough, so that's good news all around.

Interesting the discussions on number of GCSE's - I thought it was an oddly low number - I think it's a strategy for getting good results in core subjects. The school isn't doing so well results wise, and has just been acadamised not sure that's actually a word We are looking at other alternatives, but there aren't really any better schools in the area. sigh.

TooHasty Mon 02-Feb-15 15:15:52

I would advise people to please not rely on MN as an accurate source of information for entry requirements for Oxbridge.
there are so many different courses, colleges and of course 2 separate institutions! It is much better to email the admissions tutor of the courses you are interested in.

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