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GCSE Options.....feel sorry for DD

(89 Posts)
Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 09:23:06

DD is in year 9 and we have their options evening tonight. We've already had the literature for each subject along with the form and DD is so anxious and stressed about it all now.

So their form says choose one from option A (geog, hist or triple science) and three from option B and a reserve. Bless her, she just doesn't know what she really wants to do with her life but if she chooses one path (relating to zoos), she would need A level biology and to take triple science. If she doesn't go down the zoo route, she won't need to take triple. But how on earth, aged 13, are they supposed to know.

We are telling her to try and keep it as broad as possible but it's very hard to choose which GCSE path to take unless you pretty much choose your career now!

ifonly4 Wed 11-Nov-15 10:05:30

My DD's school told them to choose subjects they enjoy or are good out, but with variety. We found options evening a great help and were there the full two hours. We talked to teachers about courses, looked at students work, looked at old GCSE papers in some subjects and GCSE text books. It really did help DD. Teachers made it clear DCs could go and talk to them privately in the week as well. There are some subjects DD flatly refused to go and check out, so we let that go.

Whatever she chooses, I'd say try to have some variety, ie science, something like history or geography, maybe a language and a practical or art subject.

I don't think many of them know what they really want to do. My niece has just started doing her A levels and is having a total re-think about what she though she'd like to do.

I don't know if they all do it, but after option choices were confirmed, students were still able to go back to the school and change subjects befor Year 10. DD is in Year 10 and two of her friends have been allowed to change subjects this half term, even at this late date.

Millymollymama Wed 11-Nov-15 10:34:38

Is she good enough to do triple science? It is more work and schools only expect their better scientists to do it - top set or top two sets for example. Is she good at science? My DD1 did it and still had a broad spectrum of GCSEs, including triple science and she did languages at University. Breadth and keeping options open is what you want to aim for. Doing triple science in lots of schools is an extra GCSE and does not take away from the range of other subjects to be studied. Surely they are not saying she cannot do History and triple Science, or Geography and triple Science? This clearly makes no sense at all and, if this is the case, I would fight it because she would end up without a Humanity (or the English Bacc for that matter). What subjects are in Option B? Ofsted would not approve of children being denied the English Bacc subjects by the way. If she is interested in Zoos (animals) and the environment, then Geography should go with the Triple Science.

However, young people absolutely do not need to choose a career at GCSE stage! Stop worrying about that. The golden rule is academic breadth - and the best possible grades. Therefore, Maths, English x 2, Sciences x 2/3, History or Geography, MFL, an Art, plus another one or two (another Art, PE, Humanity, MFL, something fun) to make 10 subjects. No more are needed.

Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 10:35:44

Thank you smile.
she is thinking triple science, French, geography and art.....all great subjects but she isn't keen on physics and chemistry. But she needs biology for Animal Sciences at uni....if that's the route she goes down. But the school don't let you choose just biology. It's such a shame and it hasn't changed since I chose mine......I wanted to do A Level biology but because I didn't want to do maths or chemistry, they would t let me. I wanted to go to uni to study midwifery and so then couldn't. It ruined my career because was the only thing I wanted to do. I'm not saying that will happen to her but by the school narrowing down options, it makes it difficult.

Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 10:41:37

Yes Millymolly she is very able in all her subjects and that actually makes it even harder because she is both talented at arts and academics. She has discounted music because she is studying her voice and piano grades anyway and doesn't like performing in front of people.

They have to take GCSE Media Studies as a third English GCSE and also GCSE Philosoophy and Ethics and I think an IT GCSE at the end of this year 9.

I thought the triple science was counted as three GCSEs no?

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 11-Nov-15 13:10:38

I think she needs to have a close look at Animal Science the better degree courses require chemistry as well as biology at A-level and physics at GCSE is really helpful for studying physiology.

Angelto5 Wed 11-Nov-15 13:24:31

Agree with other posters about having a good mix of subjects.

My ds(17) chose triple science,history,French & art (visual communication instead of fine art).
His dad talked him into doing art instead of electronic because he thought it was too heavy a work load & art would give him more freedom for expression & less to study & memorise for gcse's.

The best advice we were given was if your child had an idea what they wanted to do was to look up the career then work backwards to find out qualifications that were needed.

My ds is now doing the three sciences at a level in the hopes of getting into university & getting a degree to get into the field of forensic science.

TheNumberfaker Wed 11-Nov-15 13:29:24

Sciences will keep her options open.

OddBoots Wed 11-Nov-15 13:38:08

It is a worry at the time but try not to over think it, there is very little she could do now that would close any doors for her.

My ds is at sixth form and is studying physics alongside students who took double and triple science gcse last year - he himself took triple but did physics in y10 so had been away from it a year. It isn't a problem as they had a huge holiday between gcse and a level to study/revise to make sure they had the right foundation.

BertrandRussell Wed 11-Nov-15 13:41:43

Can she do double science and so give herself another choice while keeping her options fully open?

ConesOfDunshire Wed 11-Nov-15 13:42:47

Even if they wanted to, the school couldn't let her drop chemistry and physics. The programme of study specifies that all three elements of science must be studied, and rightly so. No decent university will admit a student to a science degree who hasn't studied chemistry or physics since Year 9. It's not just a question of content, but of the skills of scientific enquiry which they need to develop.

She'll need science A Levels for a science degree but bear in mind that you can do this with just dual award science.

titchy Wed 11-Nov-15 13:44:41

She has to do Physics and Chemistry regardless of whether she does triple or double science. And yes Biology A Level on its own not much use, she'd need Chemistry too. Maybe she can learn to love Chem?!

Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 13:47:45

conesofdunshire.... I meant could she not just do biology at a level? I realise that they must learn all three sciences....but they still do that in core science GCSE. They just do six hrs extra by doing triple science as well.

M4blues Wed 11-Nov-15 13:50:19

When I did my GCSEs (we were the first GCSE yr) you could chose 1,2 or 3. That was so much more flexible.

Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 13:50:30

She does like all three's just if she wanted to go down another career route, then triple science might be a waste Iyswim?

However, I think her other potential career path choices, are more swayed to her hobbies than what she would be happy with career wise....e.g. Photography.

PurpleDaisies Wed 11-Nov-15 13:52:10

She should still be able do A level biology if she does double award science. I've never heard of a sixth form not letting students do A level biology because they aren't doing chemistry or maths as well. It is really common to do biology as a single science.

If she's an able student thinking of a sciency course afterwards I'd recommend doing triple sciences but as others have said there is almost nothing she can choose or not choose that will completely wreck her career forever more.

PurpleDaisies Wed 11-Nov-15 13:53:16

Triple science is never a waste-they're well respected GCSE subjects and if she can do well in them that's always going up be a positive regardless of what she ends up doing.

Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 13:54:56

When I was at the same school, they said I couldn't study just A Level biology (and not chem or maths), with geography and French so in the end I did German instead of biology.

Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 13:55:39

That's the Purple daisies.

howabout Wed 11-Nov-15 13:56:29

We went through this process last year with DD1. The stress reduced considerably once we discounted all the subjects she definitely didn't want to do. This made the selection in most columns much more intuitive.

Column B cover arts, humanities, and mfl? Art, geography and French sounds like a well balanced mix next to triple science. Based on what you say about her interests a second humanity from column A sounds like it will be less useful than triple science.

We made the same decision re music and art.

PurpleDaisies Wed 11-Nov-15 13:56:56

Your school was very much the exception verbena. Ask around the local sixth forms. I tutor A level biology and almost all my pupils are doing it as a single science a level.

hufflebottom Wed 11-Nov-15 13:57:30

Erm, might be getting old. But surely if they are taking science as the core GCSE why is triple science an option?

When I picked (10 years ago, so it has probably changed) we were told that we had to do eng Lang, eng lit, maths and science-double award

Then we had the option blocks a) a language b)humanities c) design technology d) another subject

As long as you got a c or above in the science then you take any of be sciences for A level

Verbena37 Wed 11-Nov-15 13:57:44

Thank you howabout.

PurpleDaisies Wed 11-Nov-15 13:58:34

Are you sure it wasn't a timetable clash than a policy not to let people do biology on it's own?

PurpleDaisies Wed 11-Nov-15 14:00:26

But surely if they are taking science as the core GCSE why is triple science an option?

They have to do double award, the option is to upgrade to three GCSEs of science.

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