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my turn to see what mumsnet thinks about ds GCSE option

(30 Posts)
motherwithheadache Sat 07-Mar-15 16:12:41

7 core subjects (English*2, science*3), 1 MFL, maths.

3 options;
Will take history and geography.

3rd option: DT, Mandarin or RS?
RS: likes the ethical part
DT: likes it but more unpredictable in what grades he is likely to get
MAndarin: likes the unusual aspects of MFL but although good at it feels it's getting more difficult as well

Over to mumsnet...

CMOTDibbler Sat 07-Mar-15 16:15:46

Manadarin would be my choice as it could be very useful in the future

trice Sat 07-Mar-15 16:20:03

RS, as likely to get the highest grade with least effort. It also includes ethics, philosophy etc.

ragged Sat 07-Mar-15 17:58:30

DT!!! Lifelong useful skills. Very useful if goes into any applied science background or engineering, too.

mummytime Sat 07-Mar-15 18:27:35

DT - if he enjoys it. Its a good subject. Can be helpful for some careers, and otherwise everyone can do a "less academic" subject.
At DCs school everyone used to have to do an Art subject - it still got lots into Oxbridge and Medical Schools.

MillyMollyMama Sat 07-Mar-15 22:06:53

Same at DDs school, an art subject was expected. I would look at how good previous results are in these three subjects and where the higher grade might be at the end. Where are the best teachers? Does he have any idea what his A level choices might be? If he is good at MFL, offering two MFL A levels is good. Otherwise the choices don't matter so much.

motherwithheadache Sun 08-Mar-15 08:28:59

Hm, yes that was a good idea to look again at the results. I had looked at it in the past but not for this specific reason. Will show ds this as well.

Essexmum69 Sun 08-Mar-15 08:29:49

I have heard that Mandarin is extremely hard to get a high grade in, unless you are a native speaker. DS is studying it at sixth form as an extra curricular (fun non examined subject), he is enjoying it but finds it difficult.
Unless he is likely to need/want to study manadarin at a higher level I would go for DT, as I have not come across any course insisting on RE, and he has 2 humanities already, whereas a tech subject can be essential/desirable for many courses and thus would give better breadth and keep more options open. RE can also usually be taken up again at A level without the gcse should he change his mind in the future.

Hakluyt Sun 08-Mar-15 08:30:21

The one he enjoys most.

MrsFrankieHeck Sun 08-Mar-15 08:33:23

DT was DSs favourite subject, he got an A in it. He said RS was the easiest and got an A* with almost full marks.

Mandarin sounds good but must be very difficult to get an A/A* in unless he is very good at languages.

ChocolateWombat Sun 08-Mar-15 08:37:35

Because he already has a great range of academic subjects, he can probably choose freely according to which he enjoys. if likely to be a linguist would be good to have 2, but otherwise whichever he goes for will mean he still has the right spread - A Levels and degrees will all be open to him.
Enjoyment is clearly important, as is feeling he is good at it and can do well. In most schools some subjects perform better on a consistent basis - always worth checking the results to see how good they are, plus have many choose the subjects - apart from things which will never become majority subjects like Mandarin, mainstream subjects with poor take-up rates, such as humanities or one of the core languages, might cause you to wonder why, especially if combined with poor results.

AuntieStella Sun 08-Mar-15 08:41:58

DT, if he enjoys it (useful if he wants to do engineering, or if he does RMmjust for later DIY!)

Mandarin only if it's well taught and his current teacher says that he thinks he's up to it. It's a language which will look really good on a CV later and isn't commonly taught in schools.

Not RS, as he already has two humanities.

motherwithheadache Sun 08-Mar-15 10:19:30

Hm, as advised by you, he took one look at the school results and discarded DT. He likes DT but teacher a bit unpredictable, had a slightly unpleasant experience last year.

Expected good grades (A) for Mandarin but does find it difficult.

I think he will go for RS. Still have parents' evening in 2 weeks. That's when he needs to make up his mind.

Undecidedhousemove Sun 08-Mar-15 10:27:15

Lucky ds to have Mandarin! Definitely that. Its v hard and easier the younger you are you are learning it. Think English/Mandarin/Spanish the only world languages our kids will be communicating in as a common language.

Pepperpot99 Sun 08-Mar-15 12:49:46

Mandarin for sure, Languages are door openers worldwide.

lalsy Sun 08-Mar-15 13:26:09

I have heard, like others, that Mandarin GCSE is hard to do well in, often badly taught, and doesn't help you learn to communicate in it (my dc have both done MFL GCSEs and can only discuss a very limited range of subjects - sports centres and pencil cases mainly). So I would look hard at the Mandarin results.

Assuming he can get a good grade in either RS or Mandarin, I think he should do the one he will enjoy most. My ds has really enjoyed his RS GCSE, alongside triple science, history etc. I get the impression that for academically inclined kids there is time and space to discuss/explore/think a bit more, which he has really valued.

starfish4 Sun 08-Mar-15 13:45:28

We found parents evening really helpful, so allow plenty of time and speak to teachers in the MFL, DT and RE Department about course content. For those that have taught him in the past, get a feel for if he is likely to do well in that subject. My DD's school has examples of coursework out, text books and past papers

BabyGanoush Sun 08-Mar-15 13:51:18

Let DS choose the subject he enjoys most

My DSs' school had 60% get A or A* for Mandarin GCSE, but that might just mean only 5 took it and 3 were amazing (or native speakers.) You need to get the detail behind the raw stats.

The same with some DT subjects. If the DC who opt for eg, resistant materials instead of electronics tend to be lower ability academically, they may be more likely to miss out on As or A*s. It won't necessarily follow that the teaching is any worse.

The more academic DC are probably more likely to opt for more traditional, academic subjects, like RE, MFL, History, Geography etc so the stats for these will get a boost.

Some RE (at least 1/2 course) is compulsory at most schools, I'm surprised you have it as an option. My DS1 chose to take an extra half option in RE to top it up to full course. A very worthwhile subject to get my STEM geeky DS to think alternatively. (He bombed at French, though.)

motherwithheadache Sun 08-Mar-15 14:49:32

hm, lots of different opinions...

Ds is beyond listen to my advise ha ha.

He likes DT and RS most. but doesn't like DT teacher very much. I know they say that shouldn't influence your choice, but 2 years with a teacher he doesn't like....(very likely he will get that teacher as only small school).

motherwithheadache Sun 08-Mar-15 14:49:55

or advice

Whyjustwhyagain Sun 08-Mar-15 18:25:31

He's got a great set of academic subjects, so the opportunity to take something creative could be used as a bit of relief. If he enjoys DT, but not the teacher, has he considered Graphics? There's a fair bit of overlap. (Assuming it fits with the time tabling)

caringdad66 Sun 08-Mar-15 22:38:45

Gcse mandarin,is a very basic qualification.
You would not be able to converse to any level other than the very bottom.
Those people who say it would be a useful thing to have are exaggerating it's standing

Mindgone Sun 08-Mar-15 23:27:57

DS1 did DT and really loved it as his fun subject of the week. He got a B in it, and that hasn't mattered a jot for his future! Now doing engineering at uni, and the B in DT has neither helped nor hindered him. Your DS is doing plenty of strong academic subjects, I really don't think it will matter which he goes for, unless getting only As and above is particularly important to him, then he should pick the one that he most likely to get a high grade in.

campion Mon 09-Mar-15 18:26:52

This may give pause for thought if your DS is thinking Mandarin is the language of the future.
mandarin v spanish

With a strong core, he should go with the subject that excites/interests him the most.

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