What are the advantage / disadvatages of taking GCSEs early ?(13 Posts)
My Ds1's school don't offer early GCSEs at all.Everyone does 10 GCSE s ( plus extra Maths one if in the top 2/3 for Maths or if you choose to do something unusual like Latin or Greek after school)all sat together at the normal time It is a grammar school but don't see why that would make a difference . So what are the implications of this ?
It's nice for them to have one under their belts a year early. They can get used to the process of doing mocks, revising properly and going through with the actual exams, and know what to expect the following year.
My DS did RS and French a year early and got A* in both. The really good thing about doing French early is that he went on to do AS French in Y11, getting an A. He would not otherwise have continued with French, but he was able to gain valuable skills by the route he took.
At DS1's school the half the pupils took Maths GCSE one year early for the top two sets so that they could then do an Extension Award in Maths in Y11, which then prepared them better for AS - especially for those who were doing Maths, Additional Maths and Further Maths AS. It is an advantage for Maths and probably for foreign languages, not certain about some other subjects.
need to check what they do in Y11 in place of the second GCSE year. DD1 is doing an extra Maths qualification which will make Maths A level that bit easier as they'll have covered part of the course a year early.
If they fill the time with "non subjects" then it's better not to bother.
Academic children need to make sure that the majority of their GCSEs are done at the same time, as universities are increasingly looking at GCSE results in order to differentiate between applications, and academics like to see you can handle the pressure of 10+ GCSEs at once (used to be just A levels they wanted you to do at the same time, but has moved down to GCSEs in some cases as well now).
They don't do any early at my dc's school either - the argument is that it's only worth doing if you will almost certainly achieve an A* & the top sets won't all do that.
so better to leave it until they're a year older and wiser & will get better grades.
I did some O-levels a year early back in the age of dinosaurs and thought it was quite a good idea to spread the load a little and to gain exam experience. But the load spreading can also be a two edged sword - if you are sitting just the usual 9 or 10 GCSEs then apparently some universities prefer tham all done at once, so if your school isn't a GCSE exam factory that could be another argument for doing them all in year 11.
I agree with scienceteacher - the odd one or two early to help them understand the process can be a good thing.
I also agree for MFL. Many students want to do pure sciences at A Level, but have shown good aptitude for languages. If they have the chance to take GCSE early and then go on to AS level when just 15 or 15 and take it to a higher level; then later on in their life they might be able to utilise those languages further.
DD's school do enrichment subjects early such as astronomy and psychology so it doesn't interfere with the mainstream subjects which universities like at one sitting (the classes are after school) and the triple science students also do the core science papers in year 10 (they do both the multi choice and the short answer papers)
The students who do this seem to thrive on the challenge (it is a large state comprehensive btw)
My DS has done 3 GCSE's early He did French when aged 13, Law (studied at home) at age 14 and Maths last November when aged 15. He got A grades in all of them. When he did his French and got the A he did say that maybe if he'd waited and done it 2 years later he'd have got an A* but to be honest, I'm not sure it makes that much difference and by doing the French early it enabled him to study arabic GCSE which he will be sitting this spring/summer with the remainder of his GCSE's.
My only slight concern is that he is doing French A level from September and hasn't studied it for 2 years. We are therefore going to France in the summer in the hope that he will brush up his skills a bit.
Like scienceteacher says, I think it is good to get a few out of the way early as it can be treated almost as a trial run and teaches them the discipline that they need. I believe my DS is much more relaxed about the rest of his GCSE's having got some under his belt already.
our school doesnt do any a year early, when i asked about it they told me looks better to have done all at once and can be looked at as though chidren who might struggle doing them all at once get some out of the way early to lighthen the load.
ds did 2 in year 8
dd did 5 in year 10
all a bit weird, but there you go
Disadvantage - your child could find they can't apply for certain courses (or have some exam results discounted), as the university may decide your childs exams have been too spread out (they want them sat in one "exam diet" to show the child can handle the typical school workload, and have not been given an advantage by sitting fewer exams in the main GCSE/Standard Grade exam year). If you look on some Uni websites, you will see this is true. I think this is particularly the case for highly competitive courses such as Medicine.
The OP has probably worked out the implications already - the thread is over 2 years old.
It's still useful to have old threads resurrected if the issues are still relevant though. My ds will have the option of taking French GCSE early next year (he will be 13) so I'll be making sure he isn't at a disadvantage doing this.
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