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Is 12 GCSEs in one sitting madness?

(83 Posts)
montenana Mon 22-Jan-18 09:44:31

DD is setting herself to be sitting 12 GCSEs plus a higher level Maths qualification all to be sat in one sitting.

I don't think the school have quite realised...
DD is "up for it" and laughs when i say it's going to be too much. She is bright and hard working and certainly is taking it all in her stride at the moment.

Those of you who have been there - should I put a stop to it before she starts?

Anasnake Mon 22-Jan-18 09:47:51

It's much tougher than it used to be. Has she looked at how many individual exams she will have as some subjects have 3 papers now ?

Couchpotato3 Mon 22-Jan-18 09:51:57

Doable, but only if she's truly bright and hard-working and school are confident she will get good grades. Presumably she is doing extras off-timetable? If you are worried, speak to the school. Extras can always be dropped later if her grades start to slip.

What are you hoping to achieve by stopping her?

My older DCs' school was always worried they were doing too much extra-curricular stuff and didn't believe me when I said it was up to them. If I had stopped them, I don't think it would have made any difference to their academic effort.

DC3 took 12 in a sitting. He was offered another that he could have done, but said no as he knew his limits. He managed it with no problems, started 4 A levels, but has dropped one now as it isn't going to give him any particular advantage with uni applications. He enjoyed the breadth of all the different subjects at GCSE.

Trust your DD and roll with it, would be my advice!

montenana Mon 22-Jan-18 09:58:46

thank you, i'm veering towards letting her get on with it. if she's not coping i'm sure she can drop them mid course.

she is doing one extra off timetable after school
she is top group Latin so is doing Greek & Latin in that timeslot.
she is top group Maths so they are doing an additional maths qualification in addition to the GCSE (they used to do maths a year early but this has been changed)

she isn't doing any creative subjects... which i am not sure if it makes it better or not. at least she won't be spending days and weeks on Art projects.

she's yr9 so has no idea re number of papers. Her exams have very little coursework afaik.

montenana Mon 22-Jan-18 10:01:34

She doesn't want me to talk to the school as she thinks the obvious solution would be to move her down in either Latin or Maths if i say i dont want her doing the extra maths or Greek...

I think keeping a close eye on her grades / stress levels / workload is the answer.

Anasnake Mon 22-Jan-18 10:08:47

My dc sat 10 last year - so only English and maths were the new spec - but still had 23 papers. The new ones will be more. He did well but it took its toll.

TheSecondOfHerName Mon 22-Jan-18 10:11:20

DS2 is only doing 10 GCSEs plus the further maths qualification, and even that is 27 exams.

Seeline Mon 22-Jan-18 10:15:02

Also it's not just the final papers.
It depends what other subjects she is doing, but with no creative subjects, that is an awful lot of essay/writing based subjects which are heavy going throughout the two years.
Under the new spec, there is very little/if any course work so it will all depend on the final exams. Things like art/DT (even if there is a written paper) the practical exam tends to be timetabled before the main exams so freeing up some space during the final assessment period.

BubblesBuddy Mon 22-Jan-18 10:15:25

12 is not needed by anyone. 10 is normal. Top grades in 10 is better than dropping grades with 12. She’s obviously doing them over 3 years so I assume that’s why there are more. It’s silly though. Art subjects do not have to take up too much time and do show all round talent! Both of my DDs did drama and got high A*s. It has helped enormously with future careers and confidence too! Don’t dismiss creative subjects.

montenana Mon 22-Jan-18 10:25:23

Top grades in 10 is better than dropping grades with 12. yes that's my main concern

no she's not doing them over 3 years. she is yr9 so choosing final options now.

it's not that what she wants to drop the creative subjects (music & drama she likes and is good) it's just she can only choose 3 and her favourite subjects take up the 3 option slots.

montenana Mon 22-Jan-18 10:26:12

maybe i'll speak to the head of academic studies and raise the issue. The number of papers is a key one.

Anasnake Mon 22-Jan-18 10:29:30

You need to speak to school, your daughter is only Year 9 so probably doesn't realise what's really involved and just wants to do everything she likes.

TheDrsDocMartens Mon 22-Jan-18 12:14:18

I’m surprised school allows that many. Most seem to be sticking at 10 now

ReelingLush18 Mon 22-Jan-18 13:43:34

DS did 11 in one go at his school and truth be told I think it was too much. He's bright but was quite lazy until Year 11. He found eleven subjects in one sitting overwhelming with the amount of revision required (not someone who can naturally ace exams), particularly as his subjects were all 'academic' (nothing creative to vary the workload or type of revision required). And it didn't help that he had 12/29 exams in the last week when he was beyond knackered. He definitely sacrificed (some) quality for quantity. He would have been better to 'sacrifice' one of his weaker subjects to the benefit of his stronger ones IME.

When I was at school even the really bright pupils (the top set Oxbridge types) didn't do that many in one go. They would do eleven in total, but having already got Eng. Lang. (we all did it at the end of Year 10) and Maths (they took it in November of Year 11) out of the way. And I think nine was standard for most pupils (and this was at a grammar school).

Is there really any 'added value' in getting eleven in one go other than to prove that you can?

areyoubeingserviced Mon 22-Jan-18 13:46:20

Twelve is far too many.
My dd is taking 10 and I think that this should be the maximum

montenana Mon 22-Jan-18 14:16:49

To be clear I don't want her to do 12 - i don't see any "glory" in going for 12.

When she signed up for the off curricular GCSE (Mandarin) last year - it's a 3 year course so she's a year in- i had no idea that would mean she would be doing 12 GCSEs. I thought she could maybe do it instead of an MFL, but no it has to be an extra.

Up til this year the top set at her school did Maths a year early.

I didn't know she would be in the top set for Latin and therefore doing Greek & Latin in one timeslot - and i didn't think she'd carry on with latin to GCSE. Apparently she finds it very "relaxing".

So what do i do? She's right if i go to the school and say she's not doing Greek and the extra Maths, they'll have to move her down out of the top set for Latin & Maths. They are not streamed for any other subjects so she will hate that.

I'll talk to the academic deputy head. I don't think there's many (or indeed any others) who are in top set for Latin, Maths and doing Mandarin so it only affects her.

Soursprout Mon 22-Jan-18 14:26:19

Blimey .. that IS a lot in one go !
Dd doing 11 but not all one sitting (1 in year 9.. 2 in yr 10 .. 8 in year 11)
I guess in your position , I’d just see how it went and be ready to jump in and ask the school if she can drop something if it all goes a bit wonky

Iamagreyhoundhearmeroar Mon 22-Jan-18 14:28:00

What additional Maths qualification is she doing in addition to GCSE?

howabout Mon 22-Jan-18 14:28:17

Why don't you seek to defer the Mandarin exam till next year?

321namechange Mon 22-Jan-18 14:33:48

DS is yr9, and looking at options now, it seems 10 is the norm at his school plus extra/further maths if top set.

LIZS Mon 22-Jan-18 14:34:55

Dd did similar but of those took one in the preceding summer, another in the January. We kind of got swept along and I wish in retrospect we had reconsidered. It would have been better to have slightly fewer more solid grades than a few borderline which took the shine off her achievement overall and has affected confidence. Having said that the extra maths ones have proved useful as she is taking A level but be aware that these tend to be the first and last exams , so she may well be having a longer exam timetable than her friends and it is difficult to sustain enthusiasm and revision techniques throughout. I definitely would not have agreed to her taking all in one sitting.

montenana Mon 22-Jan-18 14:47:35

Thanks all.
I'm going to have to raise it now rather than just wait and see I think.

She'll be allowed to drop Greek and Mandarin at any time - and I'm sure if she's struggling she can forget the extra Maths, but from your feedback the risk is that she is fine through the course but then the actual exam period is far too intensive with a huge number of papers.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 22-Jan-18 16:54:45

I am wondering if she is at my DS's school as what you have described is quite usual for his school too. We too have stopped doing Maths a year early while the 9-1 grades bed in so they end up doing Maths and add maths in year 11 rather than one in yr 10 and the add maths in yr 11. They will have finished the regular curriculum for Maths by the end of year 10 but still make them take the gcse in year 11.

Greek/Latin is easily fitted into the timetable for the sessions for one and most pupils get A*s in both.

Mandarin/Italian and Russian is extracurricular and can be taken in either year 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13 depending on when the student is ready.

It is a super-selective and the students are very self motivated.

I would let her do them but on the proviso if the grades seem to be slipping that something will have to go.

MargoLovebutter Mon 22-Jan-18 17:00:15

What are other pupils at her school doing?

For some schools 11 or 12 is the norm, so the school is geared up to that & provides an adequate level of support and timetabling.

Julie8008 Mon 22-Jan-18 17:35:05

DC is sitting 11 in one go this year, not finding it to much of a burden and am sure he could have managed 12.

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