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Is taking a GCSE early still disliked by some unis?

(42 Posts)
Zazedonia Wed 13-Jan-16 18:01:01

My DD has to choose GCSE options. She is a good musician and may well want to do music for A'level and just possibly at uni. She has the choice of taking an accelerated music GCSE in one year with a group of talented musicians. If she does that, she can take an extra GCSE, which would be nice. Or she can take the music GCSE with the not so talented group, in 2 years, and then won't be allowed to do the extra GCSE.
I've read that Russell Group unis discount a GCSE that is taken early. Does anyone know whether that's still the case?

titchy Wed 13-Jan-16 18:06:47

They won't give two hoots.....

MoreGilmoreGirls Wed 13-Jan-16 18:11:34

I have never heard of this. I took my maths gcse a year early and was accepted to Leeds Uni.

Zazedonia Wed 13-Jan-16 18:13:36

I've read somewhere that some unis (top ones) literally don't count a GCSE if you've taken it early. Obviously a massive problem if that's the subject you want to study at uni, and quite a problem even if it isn't.

Zazedonia Wed 13-Jan-16 18:18:17

I've managed to track it down. It's in the Russell Group guidance on what exams to take pre-uni ("Informed Choices"). It says that some Russell Group unis only count GCSEs that are all taken at one sitting. Bother. Not sure what to advise DD.

MoreGilmoreGirls Wed 13-Jan-16 18:34:43

Well Leeds Uni are in the russel group. Can you get some guidance from the school or phone the admissions people for the uni in question.

Needmoresleep Wed 13-Jan-16 18:43:04

I doubt it matters if she takes one early, as long as she does 8 GCSEs together. From my experience it is mainly very competitive courses like medicine where some do thier first sift using GCSE results. But they only ever expect 8 and so others taken at different times won't bother them.

I would be more cautious if the early ones include core subjects like English, Maths and Science. But even then it will be a minority of Universities for a minority of subjects.

Seashell70 Wed 13-Jan-16 18:43:12

My daughter is at a Russell Group uni and did a GCSE in year nine followed by an AS level in year 11. No issue at all, no interview, not mentioned.

meditrina Wed 13-Jan-16 18:47:01

If she goes on to do another GCSE, then the number in the second year will be exactly the same. Plus she'll have the music.

So it'll be the same for those who count it that way, and more for the ones that don't.

So unless you're worried that she'd do badly in the the additional GCSE she'd take with early entrance music, I think it's worth doing. Especially if your DD is musical and will therefore really benefit from being in the advanced group.

Zazedonia Wed 13-Jan-16 18:51:27

The concern is really that she may want to study music at university, so how would that work if some universities discount her music GCSE, which would obviously be the one GCSE she will need to have in order to study music at uni. They might also worry that she had had a whole year, pre A'level, not studying music (though will be performing it).
I think that from now on unis will be putting more emphasis on gcses, as AS levels are disappearing.

TeenAndTween Wed 13-Jan-16 18:58:40

But if she has done music A level, they won't give two hoots about when she did the GCSE, surely?

The main time I have heard this kind of thing as an issue is kids doing maths in y10, then no maths at all in y11 then trying to do maths A level after a year off.

Or also kids doing say 2 GCSEs in y9, 4 in y10 and 4 in y11. Yes they have 10 in total, but have never shown they can cope with the volume required to do them in one go.

seven201 Wed 13-Jan-16 19:03:39

Doesn't the 'one sitting' bit mean they don't like it if they re-sit it in year 11 to get motive their grade?

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Jan-16 19:05:34

Yes, some universities do this.

The thing to do is ring the universities she might want to try for and ask. Don't take advice from anyone on here who hasn't got really recent experience. Like last year/this year.

LongHardStare Wed 13-Jan-16 19:11:57

DS goes to a very highly regarded public school and many of them take French GCSE early. The difference I see with your DD's situation, is that in the second year, they carry on with French but take it to a higher level alongside their other GCSEs. I think they may do something similar with maths.

Doing a GCSE early to cram in an extra one later or make the other GCSEs easier due to less pressure from other subjects, is what I imagine the unis might object to. Also if it means they stop studying the subect for a year. If your daughter wants to do music A level won't she feel rusty and at a disadvantage if she has a one year break from studying it academically?

Zazedonia Wed 13-Jan-16 19:22:15

Yes, I'm a bit concerned about the rusty aspect, especially as the academic side of the subject is not her strength. But of course all the good musicians will have been creamed off to the accelerated class, and she might be bored in the slow class.
Am trying to track down the music teacher.

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Jan-16 19:24:48

You need to talk to university admissions officers. Schools are not always right about this sort of thing.

BackforGood Wed 13-Jan-16 19:26:47

I would like to hope that the University admissions people would not penalise anyone for taking early, as they are bright enough to realise this isn't the dcs' choice, it is the schools', and to penalise a dc for being forced to take an exam in Yr10 would be bonkers.

I would also presume that if you want to study music at University, then you will have qualifications that far exceed a GCSE anyway - I would presume you would need to have a couple of instruments (at least) to a very high level. GCSE isn't very challenging for a very good musician.

Zazedonia Wed 13-Jan-16 19:31:44

I can't really talk to universities at this stage - she's only 13.

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Jan-16 19:38:46

Yes you can! Just ring them up.

bojorojo Wed 13-Jan-16 19:40:37

Although my DD did not study Music A level, she did do the Music Theory exams (I forget which board set them) to Grade 6. I assume they went to Grade 8. She did however get a choral scholarship to Oxford. No music GCSE or A level, but nailed grade 8 singing exams. Obviously to get on their Music undergrad course, she wood have needed more.

I would say that if your DD continues her instruments and makes a start with her music theory exams then this would be just as good as doing slower stream music GCSE, probably better. If she is less good on the academic side, (theory or written questions?) then try to improve in that too. Also, music is not ridiculously over subscribed at very many Russell Group universities so she stands a really good chance, even with an early GCSE!

Zazedonia Wed 13-Jan-16 19:46:26

So you don't think that it will matter very much either way, bojorojo? She has grade 5 theory (took a very long time though), and a grade 6 and grade 7 practical. Only grade 3 piano so far though (also a painful process).

titchy Wed 13-Jan-16 20:10:56

No RG university will care about her doing Music GCSE a year early. They WILL possibly care about her predicted A level Music grade, and definitely her other predicted A level grades, and her performance standard.

Seriously don't worry about it. Universities generally don't give a toss about GCSEs (Oxford and some medic/dentistry are the exception) as long as Maths and English are there.

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Jan-16 20:11:53

Zazadonia- please talk to the universities. For some this is an issue- for some it isn't- but only they can tell you.

BertrandRussell Wed 13-Jan-16 20:12:28

Sooooo much potEntially dodgy advice!

titchy Wed 13-Jan-16 20:13:00

Bert for Music NONE will consider this an issue I can guarantee.

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