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 Post subject: Relative value of GCSEs
PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:56 pm 
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Does anyone know where I can find information on which GCSEs are valued by universities and which are not? DD starts her GCSE courses in September and as well as the usual suspects, is signed up to do several 'extras'. I am sceptical about the value of one in particular that she has chosen; she says if I can convince her it is a waste of time then she will drop it. (Additional hassle because it is part of the G&T programme, with the added kudos that attracts, so I am fighting her over her reputation as a boff too!). I am trying to weigh up the relative value of some of her off-curriculum stuff (county sport, choir, music) versus this extra qualification. I favour the former, and some free time to boot, whereas she thinks a couple of 'different' subjects will make her stand out. I seem to remember that someone once posted a link on the usefulness of various options, and would love to be able to look at it.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:22 pm 
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This?

http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/images ... _Truth.pdf

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:39 pm 
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Thank you sherry_d. I am not sure whether this was 'it' but it is very interesting. I thought there was one somewhere about GCSEs (this is about A levels).


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Think it depends alot on future plans re degree course but from pat experience I will not be encoraging youngest to do any 'extra' subjects. Better to concentrate on a good number of solid academic ones.
The extra curricular activities are good in so far as they develop 'transferable skills' & help the children grow & maturebut they are not hugely important re Uni entry which just requires evidence of time management skills really (they have to show interest & ability in the subject & that they will be capable of coping with the course).
If the 'extras' are academically demanding or really helpful re future plans then might be worth considering but the main requirement is A*/A grades & good AS UMS marks. The personal statement is where many think all the music/sport etc can be used but in reality unless its relevant to the course it wont make much odds.

I agree that free time to have fun is important as it only gets more stressful from year 10 onwards so don't make it harder than it needs to be!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:09 pm 
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"If the 'extras' are academically demanding or really helpful re future plans then might be worth considering but the main requirement is A*/A grades & good AS UMS marks"

Or they could just be something the person concerned is interested in doing for its own sake - or is that no longer allowed?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:27 am 
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The music element can make a difference. The following is taken from ABRSM's website:

l) Following government accreditation of ABRSM graded music examinations, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (visit the UCAS website) includes Grades 6–8 in the tariff for UK university and college entrance. At the discretion of individual institutions, students may benefit from the following points recommendations:

Practical

Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
Pass 25 40 55
Merit 40 55 70
Distinction 45 60 75

Theory

Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
Pass 5 10 20
Merit 10 15 25
Distinction 15 20 30

All results for candidates at these grades are passed on to UCAS in strict confidence in order to allow them to verify UCAS applications.

m) The UK government requires examination data from ABRSM for all candidates between the ages of 11 and 18. Results for candidates between these ages are therefore passed on to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in strict confidence.


So, it looks like at least one of the 'extras' is useful - I'll certainly be encouraging my dd to continue with her studies. If the only difference between her and another candidate is that she plays piano and can get, at the very least, an extra 25 points (practical only) for it, surely it's got to be worth it?

Link to ABRSM website from which the extract was taken: http://www.abrsm.org/?page=exams/regs/ukIreland/2008/resultsCertificates.html

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:05 am 
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Yes, but a lot of qualifications both academic and vocational are accredited points by UCAS. It doesn't mean that universities accept all points are equal or valid.

http://www.ucas.ac.uk/students/ucas_tar ... ifftables/


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:21 am 
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It depends on which courses you are interested in but for academic courses at the established Universities the offers will be on specific grades in specified subjects not UCAS points.


As far as studying an additional GCSE subject because it is an area of interest I would say that GCSE study is not the best way to develop a general interest in a area as they tend to be rather limited & prescriptive.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:02 pm 
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KB wrote:
It depends on which courses you are interested in but for academic courses at the established Universities the offers will be on specific grades in specified subjects not UCAS points.


As far as studying an additional GCSE subject because it is an area of interest I would say that GCSE study is not the best way to develop a general interest in a area as they tend to be rather limited & prescriptive.


Yes, I agree, and am opposed to her doing it. However, I need hard evidence to suggest that the subject is a WOT and will not be valued by universities. Because it is a science, and she is interested in sciences, she feels it will be worthwhile whatever. No words from mother can persuade her; but something on an official website just might.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:38 pm 
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What science is it? Surely none of the three main sciences would be a WOT? I don't think one additional subject should be a huge problem, especially if the remaining subjects are all very "solid". After a few weeks she may decide to drop the extra, or it may provide a welcome contrast to the rest of the curriculum.


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