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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:25 pm 
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I am looking to enter my home educated DC for some GCSE's privately, but would like to select the subjects without an essay element or at least with only a small essay section (for a starter - we'll become more ambitious later). Maths is the obvious first choice. Please could you give me a few ideas of subject, syllabus and examining board?
Thank you very much.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:49 am 
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I can only go by our experience with DD1 who did her GCSEs at school last year. To be honest not many subjects apart from english require great amounts of essay writing - just looking at the length of the actual exams gives a good clue!
Anecdotal evidence always seems to suggeat that edexcel papers are easier than some other boards ( easier to cheat as well because the same exams are sat all round the world so if you know anyone in the far east they can email you the questions!!).
If you get on to the exam board websites you can look at the past papers, model answers and examiners reports to give you a better idea.
By the by you might also wany to look at Open University courses


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:14 am 
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My son has just sat his first modules in AQA Science and they were multiple choice.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:19 pm 
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I'm probably completely wrong, but I was under the impression good essay writing skills were needed for history and RS?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:27 pm 
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I was under that impression as well Snowdrops, and was concerned when my very bad essay writing dyslexic son said he wanted to do GCSE History, unfortunately he also has to do GCSE RS. When I asked his history teacher she said that the most marks any one question carries in History is 10. You would be expected to write a longish paragraph for this, but as long as you had the correct information in it, it'll be fine. Well that's how I understood it anyway. I think his school do the OCR paper for History.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:15 pm 
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No not at all - GCSE RS required the level of debate you might have in the pub with a selection of Mirror and Sun readers and you only need to keep that up for fairly short paragraphs.
Actually that kind of debate smacks a bit of freedom of speech - amend the newspapers to the Mirror and Guardian.
Just do not imagine for one second that you can stray from the mark scheme or have any ideas of your own or that there is any point in reading round the subject!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:36 pm 
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Have you tried contacting the HEAS (Home Ed advisory service)? They have lots of ideas about GCSEs and will help you with centres to sit exams and, therefore, boards. Science GCSEs are all modular nowadays and many initial papers are multiple choice; there are, as far as I am aware, no essays in any of them. History and English are the big essay ones; and yes, most RE papers will require some element of continuous writing. The latter might also not be the most obviously useful GCSE to take. What about the ECDL (computer driving licence)? More useful than GCSE ICT because it is skills-based.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:40 am 
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Thank you all for your ideas. We'd already ruled out history because of the essay element. The AQA site comes up with lots of error messages so is tedious to use. I've now looked at the Edexcel website, which looks more promising in terms of paper layout and greater choice of subjects outside the summer session. I think we'll stick with Maths first and then work towards perhaps Psychology and Astronomy before the main Sciences.
I want to be careful not to do too many 'school' subjects, in case he's well enough to go back into school at some point, but need some easy ones to boost self esteem, hence the Maths.
I'll try the HEAS and look at ECDL, but any more thoughts are welcome.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:40 am 
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http://web.aqa.org.uk/admin/qp-ms_library.php

I must say I have never had any problems at all with the AQA site: try the link above.
Psychology does, I think, have quite a bit of continuous writing but of course worth checking. I think you can do GCSE Geology if rocks are his thing? Or what about some practical music exams - when my lot were home educated I always thought it would be good to get music lessons because you could go when no-one else was there.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:18 pm 
The good thing about the AQA exams is that, if you're home educating, the past papers are free. Edexcel will charge, although not a great deal (about £2 a paper plus more if you need answers).

If he likes science, I would suggest AQA core science which some of the grammar schools do in Year 9 now. There are two options--one a mutliple choice route and one written answers but they don't have to be especially long or essay like. I think you'll find he could do very well in this area and the work is divided into very manageable chunks which will be less stressful for a child who isn't too well. If he then rejoined mainstream education he would be able resit for a better pass or just reinforce his knowledge.

Magwich: You clearly think it reprehensible that people can cheat on Edexcel by contacting people in another part of the world so why would you advertise such on open forum? I certainly didn't know that this was possible and I would imagine most other posters were as ignorant as I was (and I tutor for some Edexcel exams). Wouldn't discretion be a wiser route rather than advertising such weaknesses in the system?


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