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GCSE option decisions....

(32 Posts)
AdventureTravelDreamer Wed 15-Jan-20 22:15:10

DD is about to choose her options. She has 7 subjects that she has no choice over (Maths, English x 2, Science x 3 & RE as faith school) so she has three choices. But she is struggling to decide between French, Art, Geography and Music. French is pretty much a definite so really it's between the other 3.

I have told her that it's her decision but not to rule out doing both Art & Music. Anyone got any experience of DC doing two creative subjects? For what it's worth she is very good at Art (teacher keeps talking about Art college to her) and is working towards Grade 5 violin at the moment.

OP’s posts: |
BeBraveAndBeKind Wed 15-Jan-20 22:19:24

My friend's daughter chose art and it's very intensive and takes a lot of time especially when doing her portfolio of pieces for the exam. My son did music and that was the same with composition and practical work so I'd check with the head of year exactly what's involved or she may become quite swamped with work that has to be completed to similar timescales.

PatriciaHolm Wed 15-Jan-20 22:20:53

As above - there is an awful lot of writing involved with art too, it's a very time intensive subject, much more so than many people think.

YeOldeTrout Wed 15-Jan-20 22:22:12

Art is a notorious time suck.
DD often gushed about how relieved she was she had not done art, watching her BF exhausted by GCSE art.

Stillabitemo Wed 15-Jan-20 22:25:47

I definitely wouldn’t suggest art and music together unless she is likely to want to carry them both on, just because of the work load.

Geography is a really solid wide ranging subject which adds breadth to her other choices and builds a lot of different contrasting skills.

clary Wed 15-Jan-20 22:30:22

Dd did music and drama and it went well (old style GCSE tho so don't know about the new ones).

Art is a lot of work tho. For dd drama was her release - would art be like that for your dd? If so, then it's a good plan. If not it can just become a hated slog. Geography might be better choice than music - if she is on grade five that's a similar level to GCSE anyway.

lanthanum Wed 15-Jan-20 22:32:54

She's presumably going to continue with violin, so she'll be doing music anyway. My DD doesn't actually much fancy the stuff they do in music GCSE. She'll be doing 75mins music lessons and 4 hours of band/orchestra rehearsals a week out of school, so that seems plenty to satisfy her musical interests.

We've checked the local sixth form prospectus and they'll let them do A-level if they have grade 5 theory and instrument/voice, so she's not ruling anything out by not doing music GCSE.

AdventureTravelDreamer Wed 15-Jan-20 22:33:52

I have heard lots about Art being very time consuming but she really enjoys it and finds drawing & painting very relaxing. She will regularly do it for pleasure, unrelated to school projects. Likewise for music, she will learn pieces that she hasn't looked at with her violin teacher. This is the reason I have suggested not ruling out doing both, as alongside 8 academic / non-creative subjects I thought it was important to use the few choices she has on things she enjoys! But maybe we need to chat it through with school a bit more given the comments...

OP’s posts: |
lanthanum Wed 15-Jan-20 22:34:36

(Grade 6+ on an instrument actually counts for UCAS points, by the way.)

RedskyAtnight Thu 16-Jan-20 07:54:59

DD is doing art and drama and DS is doing music.
Actually, at their school you are forced to do 2 creative subjects if you're not taking triple science.

I'd say if your DD is already grade 5 standard the performance should be straightforward. If she's naturally musical the music coursework shouldn't be much more than she does normally. DS was not good at composing, so the composing elements have taken ages, and he's procrastinated over his pieces so that's taken ages too. Other students in his group completed the composition in normal lessons and the performance as normal music practice.

Art is notororiously a time sucker but I think the key is to keep on top of it and not be too much of a perfectionist. DD can easily spent 2-3 hours on art homework every week, but she says she enjoys it so wants to (and she could get away with less than this)! But your child might feel if they took another subject, they would have 30 minutes homework and 2 hours free time.

RedskyAtnight Thu 16-Jan-20 07:59:37

You might also be interested in looking at this thread which I started last year. Not the same situation as you (DD was thinking of taking 3 creative subjects; it ended up that the option blocks didn't allow it) but was an interesting discussion on the merit or otherwise of taking multiple non-academic subjects.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/3438726-GCSE-Options-academic-child-picking-multiple-creative-options

Johnathonripples Thu 16-Jan-20 08:30:39

Dd did 3 creative gcses ( out of 11).
Photography, Music and Art. She did the music gcse early and got an A* and the others were grade 9s. She also did music grades alongside (7&8)
Art was the one that ate up the most time. The time she could have spent on it was endless. In the end it was often me telling her she’d done enough and to stop . Tbh , I did this a lot with Art. It was so time consuming. Looking back, I reckon she still did more than she needed to.
Pros to doing 2 or more is that they fed into each other a bit. Some of her art work was based on music. Some of the thinking was being done in other subjects and then linked across and she came on leaps and bounds creatively.
Also, she was part of a lovely group of artsy kids who had a base they could use at all times. She also got involved in lots of extracurricular stuff in school via gcse level music and art.
She’s in yr12 now and although doing extra curricular artsy things, she is not pursuing any of them to A level! grin

gigglingHyena Thu 16-Jan-20 12:07:34

Dd is y11, doing both music and art. Up until recently she has enjoyed both, although she has said a few times she wishes shed chosen one or the other. Right now with both sets of coursework deadlines very soon, she's really regretting it.

For both she is looking forward to being able to do them on her own terms again soon. She used yo do a lot of drawing for enjoyment but has found it hard feeling that all her art time should be devoted to her portfolio. It's been ok for the topics she liked but really hard when shes had a term long topic that shes not enjoying.

Music has been slightly less of a issue in that regard, but ther has still be the element of not feeling able to play just for fun.

roisinagusniamh Thu 16-Jan-20 12:09:15

Has she asked the advice of her Form tutor yet?

Trewser Thu 16-Jan-20 12:14:28

I have just advised dd3 NOT to take art GCSE as it is a complete time sink.

She is doing eng x 2, maths, science x 2, French, History, Geography and RS.

Chaotica Thu 16-Jan-20 12:18:41

DD is doing music and drama which is fine. I agree about the time art takes up.

Pipandmum Thu 16-Jan-20 12:23:34

As she's doing grades in violin anyway I would recommend geography (you haven't mentioned history). At our school it is English x2, language, science x 2 or 3, history or geography, math. Options were music, drama, DT, computer science, academic PE (so 9 in total). Then they also have to do an extra which could be a second language, RE, global studies (businesss) or Art Award or similar.
I think to keep her options open geography (or history instead if they offer it).

Trewser Thu 16-Jan-20 12:25:24

I never understand why people have to choose either History OR Geography. They are completely different subjects.

Trewser Thu 16-Jan-20 12:26:39

Also dd is keen to drop French and do Drama instead. Not sure how I feel about that.

TeenPlusTwenties Thu 16-Jan-20 12:28:37

Trewser Normally when people say 'history or geography' on options threads, they mean their child is mandated to do one of them (for Progress8/Ebacc reasons usually). It doesn't mean they can't also choose the other one as part of their free choices.

BlackBlueBell Thu 16-Jan-20 12:30:49

I really wouldn’t recommend gcse art, I took it and it was the worst decision, it was completely different to the art subject we had been doing which was mostly creating art and little writing or research (what you imagine art would be) and instead gcse version was so much writing and very little art. I created an amazing final piece which was backed up by other good sketchbook drawings etc, but I got an E because I flunked the writing side of it.

Trewser Thu 16-Jan-20 12:34:42

Dd1 did Art gcse and got an A but it was completely at the expense of other subjects because she spent so so much time on it. I wouldn't recommend it at all unless you truly think your dc might want to go to art college.

I don't mind dd3 not doing any creative subjects, she loves music and sport as hobbies so that's fine. Occasionally gets dragged round art galleries.

ScribblyGum Thu 16-Jan-20 12:53:57

Both my dds are doing art GCSE (years 10 and 11). They both want to go into some sort of art/design careers so it was a no brainer that they would do it.
As many previous posters have said it is probably one of the time/homework heavy subjects and so if your daughter wants to do well in it then it will take up many many hours of work at home.
If your daughter is bright, conscientious, disciplined and organised it’s perfectly achievable to do well in art and all the other too. Dd1 just had her mocks and she’s got 7s, 8s and 9s in all her subjects but she has had to work really hard for those grades as well as putting in all the hours for her art coursework.

I think if I had a coaster, or a child that struggled academically knowing what I know now I would steer them away from GCSE art.

tarheelbaby Thu 16-Jan-20 13:19:47

I agree with all pp's that GCSE Art is a notorious time sink, eating up hours and hours.

On other MN discussions about Art, people have also pointed out that if what your child enjoys about art is creativity, GCSE Art sucks that out of the air too. Like any other subject, Art has a syllabus and requirements - it's not just 'draw anything you like and hand it in for a mark'. Coursework will involve being told to use a particular medium/topic/subject/technique.

A music teacher colleague also clarified for tutors giving advice that GCSE Music is not just listening to a few pieces and saying why you like them. It is technical and specific. Since your DD is working towards Grade 5, she may have a lot of musical knowledge which would make the course easier for her. Again, if the thing she likes is playing the instrument, learning about the theory of music might not appeal.

You could always check the exam boards' websites for past papers to see how much your DD already knows and/or if the questions look like things she'd want to be able to answer.

Fifthtimelucky Thu 16-Jan-20 14:09:27

I hate the term 'creative subject' because it implies that other subjects are not creative, but one of my daughters did 3: music, drama and DT.

None of them had the time of commitment of art, but I think doing art and music would be fine, especially given that the OP's is already grade 5 standard on the violin.

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