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Choosing GCSE options for 2020

(23 Posts)
firstboard Wed 14-Feb-18 16:46:42

Hi,
DS is in Year 9 and we will be choosing GCSE options soon.

He has to do Maths, 3/2 Science , Eng lang and Lit, French ( as first MFL)
He has chosen German and Geography .

We are confused for one subject , choice is between - History, DT , Music and Computer Science.

DS has asked a few Year 11s and they all have discouraged him from taking Computer science as it is very "demanding" subject. Are they right? DS isn't keen on Programming and computing.

How is History as an option?
Are Music and DT "easy" ones?

Hoping to read some views on all subjects.

Thanks

HidingFromTheWorld Wed 14-Feb-18 17:14:09

My DD (16) took computer science on the advice of her ICT teacher in year 8 and is now regretting it massively. She enjoyed the content of year 9, but has found it increasingly more difficult to follow and really, really hates it as a subject even though her teachers are both lovely.

She's hoping to scrape '6' in her computing GCSE this year and she has been telling me frequently how she wishes she'd taken ICT instead. She enjoys coding to a certain extent, but finds the theory work to be her downfall. All of the practical work they'd done this academic year has been dismissed due to the realisation of elements of cheating having taken place. I've no idea therefore whether the practical side of the course will be included as part of the marking in the future.

History she loves and is hoping for a '7' or '8' as she's planning to take it at A level. It is however very essay based and she failed to complete the mock paper as a result of the amount of questions included in the paper. She achieved a '6' as her mock grade. She's attending numerous revision sessions during and after school to improve on this but this is a girl who is grade 8 and 7 for English and writes fan fiction in her spare time. History is most certainly not an easy option!

Best of luck!

BringOnTheScience Wed 14-Feb-18 17:14:24

All subjects are demanding and hard if they aren't what you enjoy doing!

Where do DS's interests lie?

Mysic - Does he play an instrument & to what level? How interested is he in performance and composition/song writing?

History - essay heavy. Great if he enjoys the topics he'll cover. Can you support with visits?

DT - has he practical skills? Find out about the course work requirements of their curriculum - will he manage his time well?

HidingFromTheWorld Wed 14-Feb-18 17:17:35

I should clarify with regards to computing - the cheating issue was discovered at a national level and therefore measures were put in place last month to dismiss the practical work. The cheating did, I believe, involve a number of students (and possibly staff) accessing information online that wouldn't have been authorised. During practical assessments, all online access was prohibited for this reason.

Hope that makes sense!

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 14-Feb-18 17:27:17

Hi, I recognise you from the other thread.

I have one in Y13, one in Y11, and two in Y9 (of of whom chose his options last year as they do a three-year GCSE course).

Computer Science: DS2 (Y11) enjoys this and is hopefully on track for a grade 7. DS3 (Y9) loves it and it's one of his favourite subjects. It helps if they're good at maths and have a logical brain. If he isn't keen on programming and computing then it would not be suitable.

History: DS1 (now Y13) loved it, has gone on to do A-level and has applied to study it at university. DS3 also likes it. It's one of those subjects where a good teacher can make a lot of difference. They need to be quite literate and articulate; good at structuring and writing long answers.

Music: DD is considering this as one of her options. I'm a bit concerned as she only plays one instrument (grade 5ish) and hasn't done much music theory (she can barely read music in the bass clef).

DT: none of mine have done this, but their friends say there's a fair bit of work involved and they've had to stay after school to complete it. One exam board puts their DT exam about a week after all the other exams have finished, which is a bit rubbish if all your friends have finished and are celebrating and you still have to work. Not in itself a reason not to choose it, but something to be aware of.

firstboard Wed 14-Feb-18 17:27:45

@Hiding.. - Thank you for your detailed answer. DS has been told similar issues about CS and people who took it are regretting it now. Thanks for confirming this.

@Bringon.. - DS is a Maths and numbers boy.

Music - He will be taking Grade 4 ABRSM this summer.

DT- He has ruled out as he thinks he isn't good at it. In his words, he enjoys it but is very bad at it

History - He enjoys History, he manages to write essays etc. I am not sure about his skill, but his confidence in History is great.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 14-Feb-18 17:29:16

None of them are easy options, they're just demanding in different ways.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 14-Feb-18 17:31:29

From what you have said about him, I would put History, with Music as a reserve.

JumpingFrogs Wed 14-Feb-18 17:34:27

I certainly wouldn't say music is an easy option. Two of mine have done it. They really need to play an instrument as (depending on the syllabus) there is a performance element. That said, mine have enjoyed it.

firstboard Wed 14-Feb-18 17:36:27

@TheSecond - Yes, I was in GCSE 2018 thread by mistake !!

Thanks for your detailed reply. I think DS will put History as option too.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 14-Feb-18 17:39:58

I'll keep an eye out for you when someone starts the GCSEs 2020 thread...

HidingFromTheWorld Wed 14-Feb-18 18:00:10

I agree with TheSecond's suggestion of choices and wish him every success!

clary Wed 14-Feb-18 21:05:48

Ds2 does computing - he says if you don't like programming you won't enjoy it. He says history is really interesting, a lot of writing. Check what topics your school does tho.

Music certainly not easy! DT is a new GCSE for ds2's year (yr 10; most GCSEs changed for current yr 11) - you now have to do textiles or graphics as well I think. Anyway he didn't like the sound of it, his mates that do it quite enjoy it but it can attract messers about.

kitnkaboodle Wed 14-Feb-18 21:14:45

DT is quite coursework-heavy. It's hitting home now. A lot to do/make/finish off before Easter, when the more academic subjects will take over

ShortandAnnoying Wed 14-Feb-18 21:25:41

My dd is also choosing GCSEs can I ask more about music. Dd has a lovely music teacher this year who has really encouraged her and she is teaching herself to play the guitar via an app on her phone. I think she's quite musical as she has picked it up easily. She hasn't had any music lessons though and can't read music. She's also very shy and I'm not sure how she would feel about performing, which I see is part of the marks. In her current lessons they all play together in groups which she does and the teacher is pleased with her. I don't want to put her off as she loves it and practices her guitar every day with no input from me. But does she have a chance at a reasonable mark?

gillybeanz Wed 14-Feb-18 21:39:22

An ABRSM grade 5 practical and theory is about the level of a GCSE.
A grade 4 when just starting the course would be a good level.
I've known kids pass who have only done 1 or 2 exams, or none at all.
I agree it's not an easy option, I'm not sure there are any.

I have gathered all the information and will present it to mine, have a chat and then she'll choose one or two of these: extra lang (French), Drama, Art, or Citizenship. History or Geography, or additional Science.

No idea what she'll go for, perhaps extra language and Drama.
In dd case I'm glad she has little choice tbh and will only do 8 at the most.

I still think Drama should be compulsory for all girls at GCSE. grin
They'd all get 9's.

ShortandAnnoying Wed 14-Feb-18 21:47:22

The other subjects dd is thinking apart from the compulsory ones are; computer science, art and engineering. She is great at creative and practical things, her drawing is excellent and she's thinking of a career in computer game designing focusing on the art and design. So I think the subjects she has chosen will be a good mix and the Engineering teacher is really encouraging girls which is good. There is quite a lot of coursework in some of these subjects from what I've heard, but she does enjoy them so I'm hoping she will get through it.

Northumberlandlass Thu 15-Feb-18 08:10:56

DS is currently making his GCSE choices, so will sit them in 2020.

He has to do Maths, Eng Lit, Eng Lang, Science (2 or 3 - there isn't a choice the school will choose) - there was a then a list of varying subjects to choose 3 of - a language is not compulsory.

He has gone for Latin, Geography and PE GCSE. His History teacher was really shocked he wasn't going to do it as she said he had a natural flair & seemed to really enjoy it.

DS school encouraged students to take at least one GCSE with a practical or course work as otherwise it would be too demanding!

Soursprout Thu 15-Feb-18 09:03:22

Dd ( yr 10 ) has just chosen another 2 GCSEs for next year ( they spread them out at her school and have 3 pops at choosing options)
She has chosen History and Photography this time and looking forward to starting them in June (school yr runs June-June when year 11s leave and everyone moves up a year)
Dd has been keen to choose a practical subject when she has had the opportunity to do so.. just to make a good balance in terms of work
She’s already done gcse music in year 9 and really enjoyed it .. but it’s not something you can do without lots of spare time input / prior instrument experience imo. Definitely not an easy choice but if it’s your passion then it would be like doing your hobby at school so no hardship iyswim
She’s sitting Art and French this year and loving both. Art has been pretty full on but again, it’s something she spends free time on anyway. French has been a 2 year course and it’s the first of the new style exam so it’s all a bit unknown atm but she’s enjoyed the challenge and there seems to have been some very intensive vocabulary/ grammar learning in the last few months so hopefully she’ll do ok in the exam.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 15-Feb-18 17:14:10

Your son's choices are pretty much the same as my current year 11 son's choices. He chose history pretty much as a last GCSE option and is now going to be doing A level next year (with Maths, Economics and Geography).

I would ask the school what syllabus they follow and if there is a choice of topics which topics too to see whether they inspire your child. Music is not an "easy" option and is well regarded. He already has a well rounded set of subjects so if he enjoys music that would be a great choice too.

firstboard Thu 15-Feb-18 18:36:18

@Clary - DS doesn't like programming, so we ruled out Computer Science.

@Kitnaka.... DT is the type of hard work that son hates. So DT is out for him.

@Shortnannoying - From what I have read, if your DD enjoys Music , discuss with her teacher and decide. I hope someone replies in detail to you.
I haven't seen Engineering as an option in our school.

@Gilly... - I have read somewhere that Drama is a lot of hardwork and one should take it only if they are serious about it. I guess, this is true for any subject !!

@North.... DS didn't do Latin or Greek in past years, so he isn't allowed those subjects. Even if he was allowed, I am sure he would drop them pronto.

@Soursp... - Photography as GCSE option sounds good. We don't have it in our school.

@Allthebest... - I have seen the syllabus, it is 20th Century oriented, so it isn't boring for a lad. DH feels by studying History, he will develop awareness of what's happening around the world.

ShortandAnnoying Thu 15-Feb-18 22:08:43

@Firstboard I think Engineering might be very similar to DT but they are focusing on the future career you might get studying this sort of thing. I think there is a lot of drawing involved which dd is very good at.
I am definitely going to talk to her music teacher before dd chooses this option.

Soursprout Thu 15-Feb-18 23:18:48

Short there is quite a lot of music theory and composition involved in the gcse music as well as the practical side. She sounds like she’s picking up the practical side really well .. is she interested in the theory as well?
You could find out the schools chosen exam board for music and take a look at the syllabus?
Have a chat with her teacher and see if it’s a good choice for her because if she loves it, she’s going to put lots of effort in isn’t she smile

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