Triple science - how useful is it really?(17 Posts)
DD1 is in Year 9 and her GCSE options are due in next month. She has a rough idea of what she wants to do but needs help with science.
She's top set for science, always has been. It's not compulsory for the top set to do triple science but it but it is advised. Triple science takes up 9/30 lessons a week so nearly a third of the timetable.
DD does enjoy science and she is very good at it. Her issue really is that while she likes it she isn't sure that she loves it enough that she wants to do it in that quantity. If she doesn't do it she will opt for History, which she borderline loves and is also very good at.
My question really is how useful is triple science? Is it actually very helpful in the world, or does it simply take up more space that its worth (I did not take triple and neither did DH)? Thanks
It takes up more space than its worth UNLESS you want to do science A levels and then a science related degree and career. History is a beter choice if you don't want to do science A levels and follow that path. Especially if you love history. Mad not to do it,in that case.
I would say that if she would like to do science A levels, then consider it, the gap between GCSE core & additional, and A Level physics is wide, in my opinion.
I did triple science about 75 million years ago (I was the last year of O levels and did all three separately, rather than the "Double Science" option which was all physics, chemistry and maths all mixed up and cut down into 2/3 the time), but I knew then that whatever field I went into, it would be scientific. I went on to do a joint honours degree in 2 sciences, so I have always had trouble picking my favourite science! I'd say 9/30 lessons a week is an awful lot of science for someone if they do not want to go into science as a career, but very useful, if not essential, if they do.
It is still possible to take Science subjects at A level with the double award, but a bit more work is needed at the start of the course.
Having said that there is a new Science specification for GCSE that will taught from this September and I understand that the new courses are supposed to be better preparation for A level.
If she really loves History and is good at it, then that's the subject to take as it would be much more difficult to take A level History without studying it at GCSE.
In day to day life, I like that I have Physics and Chemistry O level. I like that I can understand the scientific issues in the world around me.
Until recently I felt that my lack of Biology O level made me very ignorant on that topic. I have partly remedied that now by helping DD1 revise for double science GCSE last year. But I still feel weak in that area.
So in the world I think triple is quite useful. Especially as things like climate change are becoming more and more important issues. Also for understanding about immunisations, seeing through pseudo science etc.
But then, I'm interested in science and my knowledge of e.g. music is lacking. It doesn't bother me, but other people might be shocked at my ignorance.
My yr11 and yr10 dds are both top set science and Dp and I both work in science fields. But they both chose double science. They wanted to study humanities, MFLs, creative arts etc and neither wants to be a medic, or do a straight hard science degree (i.e. Physics, they might do social sciences or applied science subjects).
The nice thing about double science is you do get to study all 3 (unlike the old O level system), so you don't miss very much.
They'll probably each continue with at least one science in 6th form. And meanwhile they've had a broader set of GCSEs so it seems to make sense.
Definitely take the triple science - it's difficult to take any A-level science subject without the relevant at GCSE, and not really possible to do A-levels in the "hard sciences" well (physics, chemistry) without separate sciences at GCSE. Double science doesn't give enough of a conceptual foundation for future science or social science subjects (and modular science isn't worth the paper it's written on IMO). Much better to take separate science if she is good at it, even if she wants to change course towards the arts later. If she is aiming at a good university, triple science GCSEs are a much better foundation and show a better training in academic skills. Separate sciences are a much better foundation for social sciences, economics and law, too. Remember that it isn't just the subject knowledge that students are getting at GCSE, but they are learning habits of thought and the way academic disciplines work.
FWIW I am a university lecturer in a social/humanities subject, and I took triple sciences not just at GCSE but also at A-level to keep my options open for the future. They have been more useful than just about anything else and continue to be useful to me in lots of ways.
Can't she take triple sciences and history at the same time? It's not an unusual combination at all, and the school should be able to offer it or a retimetable so that she can take both - they should be looking at what combinations they offer to more academic pupils as a matter of course.
and modular science isn't worth the paper it's written on IMO
You are out of date georgetteheyersbonne
I'm glad to hear it! I've been on mat leave and research leave since then!
I'm a Science teacher and I strongly believe that students should have a broad and balanced curriculum, therefore two slots for science.
The problem with most state schools is that the top sets are triple and the remainder double, eg 2 triple and 6 double. The double sets, even top of the double, is where most of the behaviour problems are, and this can make life a total misery for a motivated student.
Avoiding disruption is more important to me than a broad curriculum.
DS was top set science and chose to do triple science, he's now dropped chemistry and physics for A level but is doing Biology, he's glad that he did triple science as he's got that science background; the chemistry was useful for biology and the physics was interesting.
Useful but not essential. We recommend it for those who think they are are going to take Science A levels but we have many go on from double science to A levels who cope fine. i have to admit by the end of the A level I wouldn't be able to say who took double and who took triple so for Biology A level I don't think triple gives you an enormous advantage. It is probably more useful for Chemistry A level.
If it is being offered as an option subject, if it means dropping a subject that the student really wants to do at GCSE, I would go for the double.
If being taken in double time (not as an extra option), only very able students should take this as its a lot more work.
DS is good at Science but chose Double. He loves all 4 of his other choices and is still undecided about A Levels - he now has more options to choose from. In this respect it was the right decision to make. But, he did end up in a science class where there were a lot of students with no interest in Science which resulted in behaviour issues and a lack of challenge. He also had a succession of supply teachers for some science subjects. Luckily, in Year 11, he has had excellent teachers who have been able to challenge him and deal with the disruption. So, teacher dependent.... the current Year 10s are now having the same problem with cover and supply teachers for some science lessons. With hindsight, I am still 50/50 as to whether or not it was the right decision. He is also now facing far fewer exams than the triple students.
I wrote this several days ago, and got an error message which I'm trying to replicate!
I have a degree in a scientific discipline, and hence triple science FOR ME was essential.
If your daughter is even contemplating scientific A levels or science / engineering degree subjects/ jobs triple science all the way.
If science (inc medicine) is out of the window due to her preferences and strengths, go for double and an extra subject which she enjoys.
Another consideration - if somewhere down the line it will matter how many As your dc has got at GCSE, and they will find it easier to get the A in a science subject, then triple science is obviously better.
With the demise of AS, it's likely more unis will look at GCSE results when assessing an applicants potential.
After much deliberation, my daughter is handing in her options form today, with a request for triple science. I hope we've made the right decision....she isn't sure yet about A level subjects or future career, although has expressed interest in social sciences. I think it's unlikely she'll choose chemistry/physics A levels. However, at her school, the only alternative to triple science was to choose another "health option", namely BTEC PE/health and social care/dance etc, so if she hadn't chosen triple science it's not as if she could have done any other GCSE in its place. This way she'll sit 10 GCSEs rather than 9 GCSEs and a BTEC. Just hope it's not going to be too much work for her...she is academically strong rather than sporty.
Join the discussion
Please login first.