GCSE Options(27 Posts)
DS who luckily is very bright and predicted to get all 8/9s (old A/A*) at GCSE is having trouble choosing his options. He has to take Maths, 2 English and 3 Science. He is then also choosing French and History. Then he has to choose 2 from Geography, Music, PE and Business Studies. My initial reaction is choose Geography (because he is a bright boy), but he is thinking of Music and PE because they are both subjects he will enjoy and are less essay writing than Geography. My only worry is that are Music and PE still seen as 'easier' GCSEs? Looking at the syllabus I'm not sure that they are, both involve plenty of theory and studying, but will he be judged as having taken 2 'softer' options?
Music and PE are actually hard subjects to get a top grade in - at least an A* as was. Or, perhaps, less academic pupils choose them which results in fewer top grades.
Ds got an A* in Music. He did not find it hard, as he had Grade 8 in two instruments and grade 5 theory. But it was not for the slacker. He had to perform two pieces and there was quite a bit of composition. I don't think Music is seen as a soft option at all.
IMO, music is not seen as 'soft'. PE might be, but that won't matter because it's only one in a set of 'hard' academic subjects.
I'd be a bit wary of choosing two GCSEs with performance elements, simply because of the demands on his time. But if he is already spending time practising and training, then perhaps that's not a drawback for him.
I think it's quite important for teens to be happy with the subjects they are doing. So unless their choices were going to be limiting (which his are not) then I'd leave it to them.
(PS: I'm two down, one to go. So far the 'one for fun' has been DT, and I suspect it might be PE for the youngest).
We've been told that the new PE syllabus is much more science heavy and not viewed at all as a light option.
DD1 is in the middle of her performance exams just now for music, and with that, and the amount of work she put into composition, I'd say that's not light either if you are aiming for A/A*.
He's already got eight academic subjects. Even if some might view music and PE as less academic I don't think it matters. It's good to have a coup,e which are subjects he's interested in.
It matters more about the grade than the subject! Music and PE are very technical subjects and whilst enjoyable, they are no easier than any other!
What does your DS want to study? Hes got the 'academic' subjects, but he's going to be more successful in something he wants to do
There is a lot if human biology in PE. I don't think it's a soft option.
With 8 academic subjects (and I would dispute that Music is not academic if playing instruments and reading music have been studied to a high level, taking many years of work) it is normal to have an "arts" subject in the final group and one you just like! PE would be fine. My DD got to Oxford with Drama and RE GCSE as part of her portfolio of GCSE subjects. Also, some Universities are very happy to consider PE A level for entrance to Medical courses, so it is definitely not a waste of time if he likes it. A few years ago, Geography was not essay heavy, unlike History. I would check the syllabus.
To get the highest grade in PE a student is required to be graded at the highest level accross 4 disciplines and sit a written exam, it is not an easy option and is not academic.
Music also requires a lot of work to get the highest grades, what shame that folk still see fit to decided that no essays mean not academic, last time i looked neither maths nor science include a lot of essays but these are still considered academic!
imho, take what he likes best.
Lots of Essays in DD's GCSE geography class.
I think it's much harder to get A* in PE than in geography.
I have a bright year 9 boy and the only exam we've been warned against is PE (he is very sporty, medals all over the shop in one sport and county squad for another)! There is a lot of essay content, human anatomy, sports science as well as the being good at actual sport bit. I was quite surprised. Also made me keener for him to do the subject because it sounds really interesting.
He's already got a well rounded selection, so I wouldn't deter him from doing one or two subjects he enjoys. If he enjoys his choices, he's more likely to do well in them, although I appreciate he is likely to get high grades. Does he have any ideas about possible job choices in the future?
If he wants to do music, then ideally he needs to already be playing an instrument or have a good understanding of music. My DD is doing it as she enjoys music anyway - they occasionally have to prefer in front of class and also are expected to take part in an extra curricular music activity - this is good for building their confidence in front of an audience and working with others, all of which are good skills for any future job.
We tried not to influence our DD over choices (easier said than done though!) but in the end she chose a good mix herself. She's in Year 10 which is hard work, but is thoroughly enjoying her options and happy to stay on at school to get things finished.
I've known several choose pe believing it to be easy and performance based but finding the biology hard.
Always a good idea to add in at least one subject they really like, preferably less 'classroom based' and creative, if that's their thing. The 'soft' thing is irrelevant to university applications, certainly when you're looking at the subjects he's thinking of taking.
My ds has been doing GCSE pe since September,I would say so far it's been 90% classroom work with 2/3 controlled assessments
Under the old system, music was much harder than Geography to get a great grade in (DD1 took both at GCSE and AS (she has dropped Geog for A2 despite getting full UMS in one paper)). Who knows under the new system coming in now.
My DD2 also has to select her options - as far as we know (but we don't know much - there is a meeting on Thursday) she will have 2 'free' choices. Which is sad for her because given a real free choice she would do music, Drama and history. We fear that she will be forced to choose between music and drama which is outrageous really - sciencey mathsy kids aren't forced to choose between the subjects that interest them/they are good at/will further their future career plans. It's a world gone mad.
Uhtred, I totally agree with your post above. I said on another thread that I was really fed up with the way Triple Science is now being seen as for the "academic" child and Double for the "Less Clever". What's so "unacademic" about music, history,geography, etc?
PE is academic. There is a lot of essay writing and biology. It isn't the soft option that people think it is.
Music is definitely not an easy option. It's always been seen as a traditional, academic GCSE. Being good at music is also linked to being good at maths, surprisingly.
At GCSE, nobody really cares what subjects theyve taken once you've got the core subjects covered. Grades are more important than subject, so pick ones he enjoys and will put the effort into.
DS is considered academic and choosing music as one of his options. I think if you're taking a range of GCSEs, it's good to show you have varied interests so either music or pe (or both) would be fine. There is a more vocational PE qualification, as opposed to the GCSE, and my understanding is the GCSE has a lot of theory.
In my day, you could take one science and still be thought of as academic. You didn't have to do three sciences to prove anything! Even then, if you were good at science you could automatically take three. I had to take one of my three languages (Latin) as a crash course in the lower sixth! I would have been so happy to have taken it earlier instead of chemistry! So, no system is perfect but if your DS has a chance to take a subject for the love of it, he should go for it!
Being good at music is also linked to being good at maths, surprisingly
I remember my music teacher telling us that - she said she did Maths A level (as well as music).
I'm quite good at math & awful at music, very terrible sense of rhythm & easily confused about pitch. Plus I hate anything remotely 'public performance' related. 100% set up for fail.
I read somewhere that music and maths ability go together for some people, but for others it was music and languages. I don't know if learning music young actually helps your maths as it didn't seem to work for me!
Well it doesn't apply to me! I'm good at maths but have got no aptitude for music.
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