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GCSE options

(34 Posts)
pisspants Thu 16-Jan-20 08:30:25

Hi there, My daughter has to decide her options by the end of the month and we have been talking about it a lot. She has a choice of doing double or triple science and this is our main issue. So I was hoping to get some opinions of people more knowledgeable than us!
She took a CAT test and is on the edge of being allowed to take triple science as they are not allowed to do it if below the score (state comp).
If she does double science she would then probably do geography, history,PE and music as her free choices.
If triple science it would probably be the music she dropped.
She is doing ok at science but says herself she has to work quite hard as I think she has some gaps in her knowledge from her schooling up to now (new school this year due to the school system here).
She is not sure what she would like to do when she is older but something sports related seems to be the main idea and she is very good at sport, playing football for a local club and another sport at county level.
For this reason I think triple science could be good as she would then have GCSE biology but I worry that the extra work involved in doing triple science may mean she doesnt do as well in her other subjects.
For A level her school will take children with the double science to do A level biology so it wouldnt cut her off from that option in the future if she didnt do the triple.
I guess my main concern is that her GCSEs wouldnt be seen as "as good" without the triple science. Would any uni take a look and make the assumption she is less academic without the triple science?
Sorry this is a bit of a ramble with my thoughts but any opinions very welcome! thank you

OP’s posts: |
TeenPlusTwenties Thu 16-Jan-20 08:59:58

(Opinion only based on reading boards)
No they wouldn't discount people with double science.
If she goes on to do biology A level and does well in that they will be looking at her A level grade, not nit-picking about which individual GCSEs she did or didn't do.

How much does she 'love' science? At our school double does 10 hours per fortnight, triple does 14 hours per fortnight which is a lot.
My DD2 is in y10 doing double. There is a lot of content in double (noticeably more than in the unreformed GCSEs).

Triple science, geography and history is one hell of a revision load for summer of year 11. I would think you need someone pretty academic and hard working to pull that off successfully.

Please don't push her into doing triple just because you think it 'looks better'. But if she is really thinking about science A levels she must like science so also think hard before not doing it. smile

Seeline Thu 16-Jan-20 09:18:11

Many schools don't offer triple science so unis aren't going to worry about that.

Triple is a lot of work.

The step up to A level is huge and it may be a struggle from having only done double. If your DD loves biology and is prepared to work, she should be OK.

Agree the geography/history mix is a big workload just in its own.

BigusBumus Thu 16-Jan-20 09:24:17

My son did both History and Geography GCSE last year. He had 3 two hour exams for both subjects and the workload/revision was MASSIVE. My less bright Year 8 boy has just chosen his options and i suggested to him to only do one or the other not both of those subjects.

Sorry, thats not about Science, but relevant.

pisspants Thu 16-Jan-20 14:33:24

thanks guys I will read your responses to her tonight so we can discuss it more. If anyone else has any thoughts I would really appreciate it, thank you

OP’s posts: |
halcyondays Thu 16-Jan-20 14:42:19

I wouldn’t do triple unless you are very keen on it and good at it.
School should have something that explains exactly what’s involved in each subject, so you’ll know how much coursework is involved.

There was a lot of work involved in history and geography when I did them although that was many years ago.

Is she not doing a language?

pisspants Thu 16-Jan-20 14:44:00

they have a choice of doing a language but she doesnt want to do one

OP’s posts: |
MurielTheCamel Thu 16-Jan-20 15:00:58

Universities will not assume anything from double science. Friend's DD did double science as that was the only way at her school that she could do the other options she wanted. Now in her last year at Cambridge doing a non science subject.

If it's going to make life more enjoyable and less stressful and not actually prevent her from doing any A levels she might choose, I would go for double.

Wejustdontknow Thu 16-Jan-20 16:11:27

Sorry to hijack the thread slightly but I also have a question regarding options. My sons school put each pupil on a pathway depending on their predicted grades and the options they can choose vary on each pathway,
They have been given there pathways today and my son has come home very upset, the pathway he has been put on gives him all the core subjects, a language and history or geography. He then has 2 free options. The problem he has is that he hates languages, is not very good at it but would I imagine get a pass at gcse but having only 2 free choices stops him doing a gcse in what he is passionate about. He has friends on a different pathway which don’t have to take a language and get 3 option choices which is what he also wants.
Does anybody know if the school can pick and choose which students have to take a language?
I will obviously speak to the school but the office is closed for today and wondered if anyone had any insights?
Thanks and sorry for the hijack

TeenPlusTwenties Thu 16-Jan-20 16:22:54

So they obviously think he is 'bright' as they have put him on the 'Ebacc' pathway.

If he gets 2 free choices how come he is stopped from doing something he is 'passionate' about? Can it not be one of his 2 free choices? Or are you saying that with that pathway that subject is just not permitted?

How flexible they will be depends on the school. Our school said everyone choosing to do triple science had to do a language, but it doesn't mandate pathways.

lanthanum Thu 16-Jan-20 16:31:05

One of the things schools are measured on is the percentage of pupils who get the "EBacc" - which is good grades in Math/English/Science/a language/a humanity. Some schools therefore put a bit of pressure on those who are capable of getting it to do both a language and a humanity.

Do challenge it. If they try and tell you it's advisable for his sake, take that with a very large pinch of salt. I know a youngster whose school allowed her not to do it, because at the time she wanted to go into musical theatre, so she wanted to do drama and music. She changed her mind later, but Cambridge were happy to take her for law without the EBacc.

The only thing you might want to check is whether the pathway will affect the sets he ends up in for maths/science/etc. Hopefully not, but worth checking.

Tulipvase Thu 16-Jan-20 16:34:32

Sorry to jump in but I’m a bit worried now, my daughter is doing triple science, a MFL, geography and history as well as the usual.

Would they have said if it was too much? I would say she is fairly academic.

Tulipvase Thu 16-Jan-20 16:39:15

And psychology.

hellypad Thu 16-Jan-20 16:42:27

My daughter had to make a similar decision and in the end went with double science, she is doing really well in it and is predicted a 7-7 but is working above at the moment. This gave her the opportunity to choose more options and she is glad she did as she is enjoying all of them, I think if she had chose triple it would have been too much science for her.

Pipandmum Thu 16-Jan-20 16:46:08

Op I think unless she loves science do the double. If she is thinking of a degree in sport science she will need a science A level most likely, but that is a major step up from GCSE. What sports related career is she thinking of? Google the subject and see what A levels they are looking for.
However, as much sense it makes to be mindful of eventual degrees and careers, she should do what she loves - does she love music? Universities like diversity too.
My daughter will most likely do art at degree level, but has a passion for science too and is doing triple science, but she had to forego computer science to do it. Also taking history, German, Art and Art Award as well as the math and English courses. I think she figured what interested her in computers might be covered in her Art Award (animation project).

Wejustdontknow Thu 16-Jan-20 16:52:40

Yes he is very bright but has grades already off the chart in computer science, engineering and business studies, all the teachers at parents evening where saying how it would be stupid to not take these subjects but now it seems unless I can get them to change his pathway that he will have to choose two of the three he lives to do a language he really hates. It seems a shame if that’s the case, I have already told him I will speak to the school to ask but personally I don’t think they will let him not do a language

Musmerian Thu 16-Jan-20 17:28:29

I teach at Avery academic school and lots of bright kids choose dual science to free up an extra choice. Really not an issue for uni either.

BSA2 Thu 16-Jan-20 17:58:16

Hi there! I sat my GCSEs in June and got a 98 in combined science. Universities and colleges will not discriminate against double vs triple at GCSE and most unis don't consider GCSEs at all (some top unis may use maths and English grades if they're not taken at A Level). My school didn't offer it - I'm sure I wouldn't have picked it anyway as I would have preferred to broaden my options a bit more by choosing another subject. If she is significantly worse at a particular science then perhaps triple would be good, she'd only need to do well in biology as opposed to all three sciences to get into college.

Whatever she decides, just make sure you're both aware of how stressful GCSEs can be and how much content there is in all the subjects so you can plan ahead.

Good luck!

BSA2 Thu 16-Jan-20 18:04:13

Hi! Definitely talk to the school - it'll be in his best interest to pick subjects he enjoys so that he'll be more likely to study and get good grades. I don't think it is particularly fair to dictate what choices each child has but some schools do. I'd be shocked if the school doesn't change their minds about his option choices if you make a good case as to why he shouldn't take a language. The only restrictions we had (I did GCSEs in June) was history or geography and then a BTEC option.

Hope everything works out!

BubblesBuddy Thu 16-Jan-20 18:21:39

Another thread with DC hating languages. How do we get to this regrettable position? Everyone should take a language. We are ridiculously insular. How is any child doing Business Studies and Engineering pre GCSE? I am confused. GCSEs should be broad. I understand no one cares about languages but it is perfectly possible to study them if you work at them.

pisspants Thu 16-Jan-20 18:43:28

bubbles my dd has had issues with language learning as we have a 3 tier system in my county. She did Spanish at lower school, then to French at middle where almost everyone else had been doing it at lower so were ahead of her and she has struggled to catch up. So I am not going to force her to do one.
And I dont think she is insular, her dad is from a different country and we have been abroad quite a few times to a variety if countries so dont worry I am not raising a mini bigot!

OP’s posts: |
Formkat Thu 16-Jan-20 18:52:53

A lot of people say GCSE'S don't matter when applying for uni but i am certainly aware of a fair few who lost out on their first choice; the course was over-subscribed so the uni looked at their GCSE'S and offered places only to those who had a language even though it wasn't a requirement. Also know someone who didn't meet the required grades but was accepted because they had a language at GCSE. If she is capable she should do it - learning a language is a great skill which will help in later life.

Formkat Thu 16-Jan-20 18:56:10

As for triple or double science - if she is not very strong academically i would go for the double. The jump to GCSE is huge. My twins are academically very strong and can't believe the difference!

MoosiMum Thu 16-Jan-20 19:57:12

Science teacher here. If she enjoys music and wants to do it she should. Triple science is more work than double, but if she's still undecided about what she wants to do then keeping her options open is great. Completing double science instead of triple won't stop her continuing with science at a higher level in the future if that's what she decides.

KRi4 Thu 16-Jan-20 20:38:20

Student here. I did triple science, art, and French alongside Further Mathematics as my non-compulsory subjects. I went in to the GCSE years hating all my sciences, but my family insisted that I did them. Despite this, I still ended up really enjoying my GCSE Triple Science years, even if there was a lot of time spent in the classroom.
Personally, and from what I've heard of my peers, there isn't THAT much of a work gap in between Double and Triple. Triple isn't necessarily easy, but if you have a decent work ethic, it's not difficult to come out with three good grades. Most of my peers only did Double because they really wanted to do something else; but unless she has a desire to do something really badly, I'd do Triple Science. It looks good on UCAS forms, and it's easier to jump from GCSE Biology to A Level Biology than from Double Award to A Level.
But, unis don't really look at GCSEs as much they do A-Levels, which is something to keep in mind. You can easily do Double Award and still go down a sport science career path. I just think not having the GCSE Biology may make it harder when she hits A-Level (happens a lot in my school - DA kids do A-Levels in science and then drop out because they can't handle the workload due to gaps in their knowledge from GCSE).

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