Two language GCSEs?

(44 Posts)
Onelanguageortwo Thu 13-Feb-20 22:25:50

Has anyone's dc studied two languages for GCSEs? If so how did they find it, in particular the workload?

OP’s posts: |
AlexaShutUp Thu 13-Feb-20 22:33:18

My dd seriously thought about it but didn't have enough space in her options in the end. The language that she is doing seems to be relatively low in workload compared to the other subjects that she is doing, so I don't see why two should be particularly challenging. The biggest concern would be mixing them up, but that wouldn't be a problem for everyone - does your dc have a tendency to get the two languages confused at the moment?

FWIW, I did three languages at GCSE! No regrets about combining them, though I do wish that I had chosen a slightly broader range of subjects in order to keep my options open for a bit longer.

Pipandmum Thu 13-Feb-20 22:34:32

It depends if it's one of their options or an extra GCSE on top. I know several who have but I'd say almost all of them were native speakers in one of the languages. Our school is limited to nine GCSEs plus an extra subject, which could be a second language, but otherwise you can sit it at the school but need to do the coursework pretty much on your own. Often they do it in Y10.

ConstantlyCooking Thu 13-Feb-20 22:38:13

DS did 3- it was good for him because the actual revision burden before the exams was far less than sciences or history. However, he did have to learn grammar and vocabulary as he went along.

Onelanguageortwo Thu 13-Feb-20 22:41:35

Ds finds it easy to keep them separate, he is doing french and german. He also enjoys both and is naturally good at both. His teachers have said he's more than capable to do each of the subjects.

He can chose one language as an option or can add an extra language on before school twice a week.

OP’s posts: |
houselikeashed Thu 13-Feb-20 22:49:33

DS did French and Spanish without too much problem.
I guess you have to consider how your dc learns and what other subjects they're doing regarding the workload.

caringcarer Thu 13-Feb-20 22:49:44

My dd did GCSE German, French and Spanish. She had 6 German lessons and French lessons each week but due to timetable clash she had to choose between attending German or Spanish for 2 lessons. So only did 4 Spanish lessons. Her friend did all 6 Spanish as not studying German so my dd copied up the notes every week. My dd got A* for German and Spanish and A for French. She coped very well but she was very organised and motivated. She did 3 languages as did not want Music, Art or Drama. She went on to do Spanish at A level and then Business with Spanish for degree.

alohamore Thu 13-Feb-20 22:50:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlexaShutUp Thu 13-Feb-20 22:53:55

OK, French and German are probably less likely to get mixed up, and he clearly hasn't got a problem with this aspect, so that's good.

DD kind of had the option of doing her second language as an additional subject, insofar as her language teacher said that they would put her in for the exam and support her if she was willing to do a lot of self study - she's a gifted linguist and probably could have managed this, but she chose not to, and I'm glad she didn't as she has quite a lot of extra-curricular commitments on top of her academic work and it would have been too much.

For those who have a natural talent, languages are a relatively stress-free option, so I think it's worth considering doing it an additional subject, but it depends how much other stuff your ds is juggling. I wouldn't have any qualms about doing two languages within the usual options, as long as it doesn't get in the way of a good balance of other stuff too.

cantkeepawayforever Thu 13-Feb-20 22:54:21

Both my DCs did two language GCSEs, one DC the old spec (much easier), one the new spec. In their case, it was two very dissimilar languages, which helped in some ways and hindered in others. Languages are a strength of their school, so both chose the second language in an option block that would otherwise have had a less well-taught subject.

Workload, even for the new specs, was fine for those willing to work continuously, rather than cramming into a 'revision' period at the end.

The only thing to be aware of is that the possibility of the very highest grade (9s) is reduced for languages for an equally able pupil, compared with other subjects, because the same exams are taken by native speakers, skewing the marks at the very top end.

cantkeepawayforever Thu 13-Feb-20 22:56:21

(Their school had 5 true option blocks, so doing 2 languages, 2 humanities + an arts subject / 2 languages, 1 humanity and 2 arts/DT subjects worked out fine in giving a balanced programme within the normal school day. 2 more languages were available as after school courses, for the very keen!

I might have encouraged both to choose just 1 labnguage had they had fewer option blocks, just to keep the scope of GCSEs wide)

20Newnames Thu 13-Feb-20 22:58:35

French and German are easy to keep separate. I did both at GCSE and A level.

If he likes them both, no reason not to do them both.

Onelanguageortwo Thu 13-Feb-20 23:06:37

His other options are History (required), hospitality and catering and media studies.

He is on the fence with the language option as he wants to make an informed decision to make sure he can cope with workload and it's the best choice for him. It's also helpful having opinions of those who have been through it as his teachers were all saying he should pick their subject.

OP’s posts: |
Bakedpotatoandgin Thu 13-Feb-20 23:10:05

I did French and Spanish at gcse, it's very useful especially if he decides to do anything with languages later on. Will probably make him more employable than media studies etc. I didn't find the workload any more than any other subject, although languages are my "thing" so maybe not the same for everyone. If he's good at languages and enjoys though, I'd say go for it!

clary Thu 13-Feb-20 23:14:04

If he is interested and can cope with the linguistic load, another MFL is a good choice. Certainly if it's a choice between German, catering or media, and he's not planning to go into catering, then he loses nothing by doing German.

CherryPavlova Thu 13-Feb-20 23:14:24

Eldest did both Latin and French. She’s taught herself passable German and is reasonably fluent in French.

Youngest did Latin French and Spanish.
They both learned French from nursery age though. Youngest is doing two languages at university now. She speaks French, Spanish, Italian and some German. I think once your brain turns on to languages, it becomes easier to do more.

If he likes languages he should go for them.

SisterVanHelsing Thu 13-Feb-20 23:15:02

I really wish my dc had had the option to do 2 languages. It pisses me off that 3 sciences are compulsory, regardless of your natural talents, but MFL is slowly being whittled away as 'too difficult'.

I was shit at maths and science but excellent at MFL. I was lucky enough to be able to do French and German at A-Level and I found it easy because I loved it and had natural aptitude. The workload was nothing in comparison to English and History (my other subjects).

If he's naturally able and passionate about learning languages, he won't have any problem imo.

Poppyfields21 Thu 13-Feb-20 23:17:12

French and German- wasn’t an issue at all. Language students at university very often do 3 or possibly even more.

Do you think languages come fairly naturally to him or is he working pretty hard at it? If it’s natural then I’d say go for it, but if not then perhaps rethink and just go with one. They aren’t quite the same as other subjects in terms of being able to cram last minute.

Onelanguageortwo Thu 13-Feb-20 23:26:48

It definitely comes naturally. I will show him all the replies and hopefully it will give him to boost he needs to make the decision. He really struggles with having confidence in his abilities which hasn't helped.

OP’s posts: |
bitheby Thu 13-Feb-20 23:49:25

I did French and German at GCSE many moons ago. So did my sister and then she went on to do both at A Level and started both at university before dropping German.

Definitely doable.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 13-Feb-20 23:56:47

If he's naturally good at languages, then may be less workload than a language and a different subject - and if he's interested in hospitality that could end up being a very good combination I'd have thought?

june2007 Fri 14-Feb-20 00:04:07

My sisters Did and one got straight A,s the other A,s and two B,s . (Before A+ came about.)

BubblesBuddy Fri 14-Feb-20 00:07:13

The vast majority of MFL courses are certainly not three languages. Again, this is a course offered and suits those who are already brought up with a MFL and have a native language. Most students do joint or single honours and these are the courses widely offered at universities. The year abroad works best with one of two. Three means a third semester (usually summer holidays) cramming it all in. Jack of all trades comes to mind.

To answer the question: if he can do two, he should. They are a distinct academic notch above media and catering. However if he wants to be a chef then clearly catering wins out. Media studies isn’t required at GCSE by anyone but he might like it so do well in it.

Should he find he is great at languages and goes on to A level and beyond he would find most universities keen to have him! Such is the lack of talent in this area of study, the door is fairly open if you have half decent A levels. Also, even adding a language to another subject can help with entry and even grades required. Language departments are threatened by a lack of students.

BackforGood Fri 14-Feb-20 00:31:55

Both my dds did both French and German.
Not heavy workloads compared with some other subjects. I'd agree with BubblesBuddy that MFLs are recognised as being more academic than either media or catering and hospitality. I'm assuming your ds is academic if all the subject teachers want him to sign up for their subjects, and they are offering him the opportunity to do an extra GCSE in his 'spare time' smile

nancy75 Fri 14-Feb-20 00:45:02

I did French, Spanish & Italian GCSE & went in to do French & Spanish A level - I found languages easy compared to other subjects (got A for all)
Agree with previous poster about the science, my Dd is in year 10, only allowed 1 language but is stuck doing an awful lot of science (which she hates)

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