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Difficulty choosing GCSE options

(19 Posts)
Halfbakedpie Fri 13-Jan-17 20:24:05

Has anyone got any advice or know any sites advising on the best mix of GCSEs or how to choose GCSE options? DD has to choose hers in just over a month and is really torn - we don't have the finalised options columns yet but just trying to get some sort of idea.

DD wants to go into biochemistry in future (or be an archeologist or journalist or work in a theatre, not cast the net wide or anything! grin ) so is determined to take triple science and is at school in Wales where they do compulsory full REP GCSE and Welsh Baccalaureate so after the triple science she only has two option choices left. DD is trying to choose from;

History (a nice 'traditional' subject?)
Computer Science (supposedly going to be vital to everything soon and don't want her missing out)
Spanish (still good to have a MFL under your belt if poss?)
Drama (loves this, would be a break from the more academic stuff and build her confidence?)

DD's predicted grades for these are all the same so she can't even use that to help sway her. Plus she really enjoys all of them too, so think she needs some sort of hint about what might be better for college/uni or just what would be good paired together?

I thought Drama might be the easiest to strike out because it's maybe the 'softest' of the choices and I didn't think DD was that strong at it based on what she says but spoke to her drama teacher at parents evening and he said she's great and he'd like to see her take the GCSE so now no clue how to help her narrow it down!

TheSecondOfHerName Fri 13-Jan-17 20:50:38

DS3 is currently choosing GCSE options. Like your daughter, most of the subjects are fixed. having had two children go through this process already, I'm encouraging him to choose subjects he enjoys and is good at.

She is already doing the core subjects she'll need for the next stage of her education, so let her choose those that interest her, not those that you think will be useful.

In my opinion:
History: yes, if she enjoys it and is good at it.
Computer Science: yes, but only if she loves coding and programming.
Spanish: perhaps, but she will already have a MFL (Welsh)
Drama: definitely; it sounds as though she loves it and is good at it.

1st choice: drama
2nd choice: any of the others, whichever one she enjoys most

lljkk Fri 13-Jan-17 20:56:14

12yo DS has to start choosing soon, too, eek. I believe he'll have 6 choices by end of yr11, btw, it's really hard to choose so many!! And DS is not very organised. We may look at some BTECs instead.

DD is currently doing computing GCSE... I suspect all DC will take it (DH can help a lot). It's very techie. DD is only girl in the class. DD is also taking history: fact filled & huge lots of regurgitating facts. (I would hate it). MFL is like verbal math, I find, with some memorising.

@Halfbakedpie: I honestly think let her choose, you just be a sounding board about all the things she might want to think about in making her decision. Drama is a good choice for kids who love it.

MyWineTime Fri 13-Jan-17 23:07:55

She should do the one she loves the most.
None of those are any better than any other, none will give her more of an advantage than any other.

Halfbakedpie Sat 14-Jan-17 19:56:16

Thanks for all the advice - we're definitely leaving it up to DD, not hoping to push her into a certain direction but she's really struggling to choose so looking to us to give some sort of pros/cons she hasn't thought of. Really seeing the point now of DD seriously considering the drama seeing as she does enjoy it so much even if it's not 'uber-academic'.

Didn't realise Welsh counted as a proper MFL, thought it was just a second 'home' language, like Gaelic in Ireland? DD's trying to narrow it down anyway by saying she could carry on Spanish online or evening classes later on so that might be out anyway. Least that would only leave her History and Computer Science to choose from.

TeenAndTween Sun 15-Jan-17 20:13:59

Drama is reliant on other people to turn up to practices etc.
But is an active, moving around subject and a nice break from sitting at a desk.

Check the syllabus for History, make sure she thinks it is interesting. Some do 20Century, some do American West / Medicine through the Ages.

Computer Science (assuming programming), she won't be 'missing out' if she doesn't do it, but might possibly be a useful skill alongside a biochem degree later. Only do if strong at maths.

Spanish easy to do at night school later if keen.

Sadik Mon 16-Jan-17 08:28:36

DD's in yr 10 in Wales, so was in exactly the same place last year. Have a look at the new spec WJEC Drama GCSE. I've been impressed by the work DD's been doing - they're studying Brecht and Stanislavsky, they do lots of written work, and as well as being an interesting subject in it's own right, I think it's a very good combination with English lit.

I don't think Welsh does really count as an MFL. Is your dd taking iaith cyntaf or 2nd language? If 2nd language guess it's a fair point that it does give the experience /skills for future language learning.

DD quizzed all her older friends about what they were enjoying most - history didn't generally come out well, but that could just be the school / department not being especially dynamic.

Sadik Mon 16-Jan-17 08:30:16

Should say she ended up choosing Drama and French and is happy with her choices.

Crumbs1 Mon 16-Jan-17 08:37:33

GCSE subject choices aren't that important as not really much choice nowadays. The subjects chosen don't matter that much except for specific courses - so you make some A levels harder /rule out if you don't take to GCSE. If you are looking to do medicine or vets (and probably biochem/chemistry/biomedical sciences) then you need triple science (but would usually be wanting those anyway). If you want languages as uni then MFL is essential. Otherwise choose your preferred subjects. Drama is quite a good confidence builder and useful for interview/ communication skills. Spanish is a good one to show all round skills.

Bensyster Mon 16-Jan-17 10:48:04

The History of Medicine through the Ages was very dry despite having an excellent history teacher and nearly 30 years later that is the thing I remember most about history GCSE - how bloody awful that topic was and I see it's back again or have they stuck with it for 30 years, oh the torture!

agapanthii Mon 16-Jan-17 11:17:19

We are in the same boat. I am very keen for my dd to do computer science, I agree they will all need it. But ultimately it's up to her. People will have several jobs and move around in a way we don't currently and they will need strong tech skills. See this article on jobs of the future.

I thought a MFL was compulsory - Spanish is an excellent one. Much more useful than French or German if you ask me. I have never come across a French or German person in business who did not speak fluent English - but often need to converse with Spanish or Portuguese speakers ( Europe and S America) who lack fluency in English.

MyWineTime Mon 16-Jan-17 22:07:54

People do not all need computer science. At GCSE level it teaches very little in the way of coding skills. I would only recommend it to people who are really interested in the subject.

jennybluetree Mon 16-Jan-17 22:11:11

I teach in a sixth form. Biology, Chemistry and English looking at the career choices.

RhodaBull Tue 17-Jan-17 12:02:38

Trying to second-guess jobs of the future is difficult, to say the least. All you can do is not choose a career path which is already obsolete - eg magazine journalism. So many girls (and it is girls) say they want to be a journalist - but in the same breath say they don't buy magazines! The days of each magazine employing a big dedicated staff are long gone.

Foolproof careers are things machines can't do, eg hairdressing.

Re GCSEs, as long as you've got the core ones, the outsiders really don't matter.

leonardthelemming Tue 17-Jan-17 12:17:31

I used to be a physics teacher. I agree with those who support drama. It's very much a confidence-building subject and if she enjoys it it will give her a break from sitting at a desk (although there will be practical work in the sciences, of course).

I had a student once who wanted to be an archeologist until she found out how little they get paid. She then decided to become a history teacher instead. But I suspect whether history is interesting or not depends very much on the individual teacher.

DS2 is a solution architect. It's an IT job (and he earns much more than I ever did as a teacher) yet he didn't do computer science GCSE. Nor A level (maths, physics, music tech). So on that basis it might be a waste of time.

I have a friend who teaches Spanish. Apparently it's relatively easy to learn and more useful than French.

bojorojo Tue 17-Jan-17 12:23:07

Drama is excellent with Englishand really boosts confidence. I know peope withDrama A level who have gone to Cambridge and any thought of Theatre work puts it up there!

History - yes if there is no Geography.
Spanish - yes as Welsh is a bit limited in value
Computer Science - not really unless you must keep this door open. Lots of careers do not need it at all. You are not ruled out of much by not having it.

Best GCSE portfolios include a Humanity (History) and Art (Drama) and a MFL (Spanish). All doors will stay open.

Halfbakedpie Thu 02-Mar-17 06:40:20

Sorry not to update - life got in the way! DD finally managed to choose and chose Triple Science, Computer Science and Drama in the end after she was torn between History and Computer Science and we told her to go with whichever she was mos enthusiastic about.

Having given her the free choice I'm now panicking it's too science based, even though that what her heart is set on? She's got no language beside Welsh and no humanities besides the mandatory REP, are we letting her narrow her choices too much?

Ladydepp Thu 02-Mar-17 16:16:05

Does anyone have an opinion on or experience of whether History, Geography and Religious studies is too much reading/writing?

My ds doesn't want to do any creative subjects unfortunately but he could potentially do Latin instead of RS..

sashh Fri 03-Mar-17 06:24:05

People do not all need computer science. At GCSE level it teaches very little in the way of coding

Depends on the teacher and whether you think things like learning HOW to code are important rather than lots of coding.


COmputer Science is a good choice, it also counts towards the science bit of the ebacc and progress 8.

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