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Double vs triple science

(50 Posts)
swarskicat Tue 23-Feb-16 11:37:30

My DD is in the final stages of choosing her options for GCSE, with the form needing to be in on Friday.

We had always assumed that she would do triple science. She is top set for Science and Maths and wants to do science A levels. She is currently assessed as a 7b in science, with a 7A (86/90) in a their science test recently where they examined on all the science topics they have learnt to date.

We have had a letter from the school saying that they will not be put forward for triple science unless they are consistently above a 6a in their class work, the exam they have just sat and the end of year exam in June. They started the GCSE curriculum the week before half term and the end of year 9 exam is focused entirely on the GCSE work they will do between now and then.

So all good so far, DD is a 7b-7a and loves science - working hard in lessons and for tests. They had science yesterday and DD says that the teacher spent the whole lesson telling them how hard triple science was and that you should not consider doing it, even if you are on a 7, unless you are willing to join lunchtime science club and do 'loads' of extra work on your won - including watching science programmes and reading 'widely' on science current affairs. Teachers views was that it was better to do double and guarantee high grades, rather than get lower grades in triple.

DD is now considering doing double science as, much as she loves science, she spends her lunchtimes doing music and drama clubs (neither of which she is choosing for GCSE) and does not want to drop these.

We have options evening tonight and I will talk to the science teacher. What are peoples views on triple vs double - have your DC's done triple and how did they cope?

NetballHoop Tue 23-Feb-16 11:41:19

DS1 did triple and is now in first year of A levels. He says that the people who did double have a LOT of catching up to do.

SoupDragon Tue 23-Feb-16 11:41:39

DS did triple (independent school) and, IIRC, they sacrificed one maths lesson per week to fit it in. He didn't do any extra curricular stuff.

swarskicat Tue 23-Feb-16 11:44:31

DD will be doing further maths as well, so that is an extra maths lesson one lunchtime. I really don't want her doing science club in the others rather than drama club and orchestra….

Netball - thats my concern, at he moment she wants to be a vet so will be doing at least 2 science A levels and maths.

SoupDragon Tue 23-Feb-16 11:44:51

DS is doing physics and biology at A level and is finding is a lot of work, despite getting A*/A at GCSE, I imagine that the jump from double to A level is huge.

SoupDragon Tue 23-Feb-16 11:46:20

DS did further maths too. Again, no lunchtime stuff for that either although it may not be comparable given the school is independent.

TeenAndTween Tue 23-Feb-16 11:49:44

If she wants to be a vet, surely it would be crazy not to do triple science. In 6th form she will need excellent A level results, plus time for work experience. Catching up from double science would be daft (wouldn't it?)

Is their triple science 'accelerated' (i.e. done in same time as others do double) or does it use up an extra option? I think accelerated will be quite fast paced but for a hard working able scientist it shouldn't be an issue.

Would she be willing to do extra bits in the evening if they skim over stuff in class (as opposed to going to extra lunch sessions)?

swarskicat Tue 23-Feb-16 11:50:33

Soup - thats exactly my concerns about double science, but DD says that the teacher specifically says that it is not a problem doing science A levels from double and also that Universities are fine with double science - even for medicine.

I am hoping that the teacher is trying to scare them all into getting there heads down and working really hard this term. There are a few DC's in her class who, whilst really bright, are in DD's word 'pretty naughty and arrogant'.

NetballHoop Tue 23-Feb-16 11:51:29

DS1 also did further maths but at a state school. There was no lunchtime club though (there were revision clubs in the Easter holidays).

He's very glad he did triple as it means he's not playing catch up and can concentrate on maths which has become a lot harder.

swarskicat Tue 23-Feb-16 11:53:59

Teen - It does not use up another option, so assume is 'accelerated'. Both DH and I are capable of helping with science (both have doctorates in science/Engineering subjects), so she will have the support at home. She will work hard a home, not sure about the watching science programmes and reading autobiographies of scientists though! It is the thought of dropping music and drama clubs that I think is putting her off.

Hoping that the teacher will put my mind at rest tonight. We have never considered DD not doing triple…and nor has she until now.

swarskicat Tue 23-Feb-16 11:57:09

Netball -I was originally against the further maths as thought was too much work, but have been convinced on the argument that the step from GCSE to maths is really big and she will definitely do maths A level. DD is currently a 8c in maths and is doing a lot of the GCSE work already so don't think the further maths should be too hard. I think the thing with science is that it is not just about understanding and applying, a lot of it is simple learning of facts - which takes time.

We have been putting off the conversation about what outside of school extracurricular activities she may need to drop next year…but now may be the time to have that...

SoupDragon Tue 23-Feb-16 12:01:47

I know at least one of DS1s school friends is doing a science A level after doing double. He seems to be finding it harder than DS but I don't know if that is simply a difference in ability, the jump from double science or a mix of both.

I don't think it is a problem doing A level from double insofar as you can do it but it would just be more work.

allmycats Tue 23-Feb-16 12:06:50

My son did triple science - and also the same 3 sciences at A level - he had no
problems fitting in his athletics training (5 times a week) but it was hard work -. With your DD wanting to be a vet it would seem silly to go for double
instead of triple. It is hard work but it most certainly can be done.

chunkymum1 Tue 23-Feb-16 12:10:59

My experience is from quite a few years ago so things may have changed- perhaps check with school but:

I moved schools half way through GCSE work. The old school did double science, the new one triple. The difference was huge. When I went on to A levels, friends who had done double science really struggled with science A levels and the science teachers complained that the first term at least was spent trying to get them up to the level of knowledge assumed in A level. Having said that this was all in the first few years of schools in our area doing double science so maybe things are different now.

ChalkHearts Tue 23-Feb-16 12:11:01

I hate this attitude from the teachers.

Triple science isn't harder than double. There's just more to learn. I.e triple science is double science + 3 extra modules. But the extra modules aren't harder.

jaguar67 Tue 23-Feb-16 12:42:07

Absolutely agree with ChalkHearts ! I have elder DD doing Triple right now, about to take GCSEs and younger DD doing Double in Year 10. The work is NOT harder for Triple, but as there is a (quite significant) amount more, the pace of lessons is faster and I suspect this is where the not so natural scientists struggle a little and the perception of harder creeps in.
Yes, the catch-up work to A level from Double Science will impact her summer holiday before starting 6th form and probably into Autumn Term. It can be done though and in fact I know personally of DCs who have recently gone on to Oxbridge & other top RGs to read Science/ Medicine, from Double at GCSE. But why make life harder in the long run if she knows what path she wants now?

redskytonight Tue 23-Feb-16 12:46:45

The harder bit is learning them in the same time as double science (sounds from OP's description as though her school runs triple science in the same time as double science). Which means they will move through the material more quickly and DC will need to grasp concepts straight away as there wont' be so much time to sit and digest.

cestlavielife Tue 23-Feb-16 12:52:10

They trying to weed out the not committed.
Dd1 doing triple she wants to do life sciences
Dd2 chose double but she doesn't want tk be a vet. She may do nursing or medicine but options still there and she may choose another direction

If your dd is set on being a vet she shoukd choose triple and if need be sacrifice drama clubs in year 11.

CrotchetQuaverMinim Tue 23-Feb-16 13:00:30

It often means that the triple science classes in schools that do it in the space of double are very much top set classes, willing to work hard and go at quite a good pace, without lots of re-explanation etc. It also means that there is often a lot less mucking around, which many good students really appreciate! I don't know any who have had to read widely on current science etc in order to pass the exams, though some choose to do so in order to further their knowledge or work on projects for science fairs etc. - but it doesn't seem to be required (well for the old curriculum, anyway). It doesn't mean the work is harder in triple science either, as other people have said, just more of it - many schools round here put almost everyone in for triple, though they can spread it out over more lessons. But they consider everyone basically capable of learning it. (there are some options of single or double for students who are struggling with it). So it's just the pace of learning, and many higher ability students quite enjoy being in a fast paced class that just gets on with stuff. So I'd encourage her to do it, if at all possible - she can always drop down later, if needed (depending on timetable). But if she wants to be a vet, she might as well get used to working hard and making sacrifices (and giving up other things if she has to). It's so competitive to get in, and she needs excellent A-levels, so she might as well start sixth form off in the best position possible, as that's where she will be starting to do work experience and wider reading and so on that will take up lots of time.

PirateSmile Tue 23-Feb-16 13:05:57

Ds1 will do double science but I would never let him do the same if he wanted a science based career in the future. I think that's madness.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 23-Feb-16 13:23:47

As a vet actively involved in supporting students applying to vet school. I would say keeping her extra-curricular activities up is hugely important for vet school applications. As sadly we have a truly appalling suicide rate in the profession vet schools actively look for rounded individuals who have other interests enabling to make friends when they move away from home and friends for their first job.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 23-Feb-16 13:24:48

Double v. Triple science you do the work at some point if you go on and do A-levels whether it is through the two year GCSE course or at the start of A-levels you take your pick.

Balletgirlmum Tue 23-Feb-16 13:35:12

I think the problem is that it doesn't take up an extra option.

Dd also has to choose by Friday. If she chooses double science she can choose 3 free choice subjects, if she chooses triple she can only choose 2.

In your dds case I would be seriously considering whether triple is a good idea.

I contacted the head of chemistry at ds's school as that's where dd wants to go for 6th form & he said that some of their best a level results came from double scientists as as long as she got whatever the new grade B equivalent is going to be she could do A level no problem (it's a selective school)

aginghippy Tue 23-Feb-16 13:50:19

My dd did triple, did very well, now doing maths and science A levels. She didn't do science club, her extracurricular stuff was all music and dance. Never watched science programmes (unless I happened to be watching them) and didn't do any extra reading on science current affairs.

Don't let the teacher put her off! Dd enjoyed doing triple partly because she was in a class with like-minded kids and, as pp said, there was less mucking about.

About further maths - dd did the after school club and learned the material, but did not sit the exam. She reckoned she didn't need another GCSE and didn't want the extra pressure at exam time.

PurpleDaisies Tue 23-Feb-16 13:57:08

I'm a science teacher. There is absolutely no difference in a level grades between candidates who have done double and triple science (unless they were made to do double because they were in a lower set for science).

You do have to go at quite a pace to cover triple in the time allocated for double but if your dd wants to do science a levels and is good at science and maths she'd be better doing triple than double. The teacher is trying to scare them into working hard right from the start of GCSE because there's very little time to sort out problems before you move on to the next topic.

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