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 Post subject: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:41 pm 
Hello all. My daughter is in Year 6 and we have to put in the LEA schools preference form by end of Oct. Aside from grammars, there are 2 comprehensives we are going to put down. One offers the 3 separate sciences at GCSE (biology chemistry physics), the other offers only a combined GCSE in "Science". When we went around the school, they told us that the Science GCSE was "worth" 2 GSCE's and would not be any bar to doing science A levels / a science based degree e.g. medicine.

I hail from the days of O levels, GCSE's are a bit of an unknown to me.

Can anyone advise, if she goes to the comp where they do Science GCSE, will that in any way cause difficulties, should she wish to do specific sciences at A level, or go on to do a science based degree? Do universities (and we would hope that she would go to a top university, maybe Oxbridge if the fees have not made it unaffordable to us by 2018!!) discriminate against those with mere science GCSE's?

She prefers the "feel" of the comp which offers the combined science GCSE, but I am wondering if we may be setting her up for difficulty, if we put that comp above the other comp, on her preferences form. She does also lean more towards the arts and humanities rather than the sciences, but she is pretty good at everything, and goodness knows what GCSE's she will want to do, when she chooses GCSE's in 3 years' time

Any advice gratefully received.


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
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Universities do not discriminate against applicants with just a dual-award science GCSE, largely because they are not allowed to as so many state schools simply do not offer separate sciences. However, it is now becoming recognized that the separate science GCSEs offer better preparation for science A-levels (as if we haven't been saying that for years! :roll: ) and therefore anyone who has taken them could be better placed to get the A-level grades needed for university. More schools are offering separate science GCSEs now - in fact I think it is classed as an "entitlement" for reasonably high-achieving children. However, this entitlement used to be based on the score achieved in the KS3 Science SAT, and now that these exams have been scrapped I don't know whether the situation has changed.

It might be worth checking it out with the dual-science comprehensive, as they might be planning to introduce separate sciences by the time your DD makes her GCSE choices. If she is more inclined towards arts and languages etc. it shouldn't be a problem, but I do think that a school which only offers dual-award science is narrowing opportunities for its pupils.

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Marylou


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:19 pm
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Location: bucks
my dd's school only offers double science gcse and has a thriving 6th form and they seem to get 2 or 3 kids each year going to oxbridge to study various science based subjects and a few doing medicine and they have always told us that they don't think it's a problem also for a level my nephew got AAB in phys math and chem from this school and said he didn't find the jump to alevel chem and phys particularly hard, also i'm helping my daughter with her gscse science currently and it seems pretty vigorous to me certainly not easy the higher tier mcq's are quite tough so i'm not sure it's that big a problem


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:50 am 
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Location: High Wycombe
Are the results at science gcse any different between the two schools?


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:18 am 
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Suspect they are tricky to compare at GCSE - nationally the percentage getting A* is as follows:

Chem 17%
Biol 19%
Phys 21%
Science 3%

I asked a science teacher why and he suggested that in schools where this is a choice the more able pupils do single science hence get higher scores. If you are looking at schools where they ALL do single science or combined science then the score range will look different


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:24 am 
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I think I would be quite worried about the thinking behind only offering double science. If your DD is very intelligent it would seem to be storing up trouble to send her to a school which only cares about the average or less than average.
Why on earth wouldn't a school worthy of the name offer triple science?
DH recently retrained as a teacher and now teaches maths but he did consider physics. He would not have been prepared to teach in a school which did not offer proper science so I would also be worried about the quality of the science teaching in general at a school which only offers double science.
Slightly off-topic but Miss Magwich did triple science and says that none of it is especially difficult so obtaining the three GCSEs is not much more work than the double award anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:19 pm
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Location: bucks
Quote:
Miss Magwich did triple science and says that none of it is especially difficult so obtaining the three GCSEs is not much more work than the double award anyway


Exactly i dont think the difference is that significant , physics is my subject and i have been looking at the syllabus (or specification or whatever is called now) and i don't think there is much difference between the physics in double science and in single physics i suspect that at Alevel the spread of abilities across all kids (both single physics and double science) will be much wider than the difference between the groups based on their gcse experience.


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:07 pm 
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Location: bucks
so specifically for aqa the extra study for physics gcse over the physics in double award science is the physics 3 which is rotational dynamics and a bit more optics sound and elctromagnatism some of which has already been covered in ks3 i would think this is soemthing that could easily be covered over the summer from year 11 to 12 or added on to the alevel syllabus i suppose for my dd's school this would be easy cos all the alevel students would need to do these extra topics and you would just make it part of the a level course i really do not see this a a big issue


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:38 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
DD is at a school which did not do the separate sciences, just Science in year 10 then Additional Science in year 11. DS at another school is doing separate sciences, but when we asked teachers about the advantages/disadvantages we were told at both schools that separate sciences do not add any depth or difficulty - they just cover a couple more "topics". I am more concerned about the fact that it seems to be quite possible to get 100% across all the exams and in coursework as well and then find that the leap up to AS and A2 level is a tough one.


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 Post subject: Re: "Science" GCSE
PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1300
Location: Birmingham
Hi All

I think the real issue with the combined science is the teaching and the ability of the teachers to be able to field questions beyond the narrow combined science curriculum or to generate interest in specific subject areas.

Most teachers are specialists in a particular subject and not trained to teach general science. In addition most schools can't afford to have specialists for the different part of the curriculum.


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