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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:19 am 
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My DD has to submit her options and still cannot decide between history and geography. She had chosen history but now not sure. Geography teacher said the GCSE is less essay heavy and is taken in sections rather than all at once. DDs marks are good for both but although she is thoughtful and writes well, she is not a fast essay writer although I suppose this could speed up. At the end of Y8 history exam DD scored very highly for the first essay but didn't finish the second thus bringing her overall mark down. The teacher was fine about this and said most Dcs speed up with practise but it still worries me a bit. Geog GCSE has shorter questions so might this be more suitable. DD did not have the same problem in English though so perhaps she just needed to know the historical facts better?

DD is looking for an art career and will most likely do Art and Textiles A levels plus one extra and then foundation art and apply for a degree course in art or textiles. This means her hist/geog choice probably wont affect her future but I would like her to get the best GCSEs possible.

Anyone have experience of both hist and geog and what the GCSEs are like?
Thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:36 am 
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Two Dcs who studied both at GCSE & one just made option choices:
Agree that they do seem to speed up with essay writing over time but there are more long answers in History.
Geog. has advantage of splitting the exam pressure but does mean they have to be comitted from the start.
Thankfully the 'course work' element has been replaced so it takes place mostly in the classroom - this was a huge time issue before.
Geog has less abstract facts to learn - slightly more of a scientific emphasis. Information has to be memorised but most of it 'fits' together unlike series of dates/names in history (although there is not really a huge amount of this at GCSE)
Dont imagine that a History GCSE is required for Art History but it might be worth checking, if this is a route your DC might be interested in at some point.
Other than that I would go with what DC prefers - but is worth checking which elements of History will be studied as that might influence how interesting they will find the course.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:43 am 
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KB

yes, the course content must be a factor. Luckily the history and geog teachers are great and DD likes them.

The history GCSE seems to be quite focussed on war. How have your DCs found it? Really interesting or heavy going for a 14 year old?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:06 pm 
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My DS (Y10) also doing both and I would echo what KB has said.

History is his favourite subject and I wouldn’t say he’s finding it heavy going at all, but that said he is enjoying the Geography more than he thought he would. He does seem to do quite a lot of war too, including the period between the two World Wars, plus the Cold War but then he’s at an all-boys school so maybe this is deliberate on the teachers’ part? :lol:

My advice would be to find out in detail what each subject involves and let her choose the one which she thinks she’ll find the most interesting.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:13 pm 
My eldest had loved history from a young age. This certainly did not come from me. She was also good at essays.

She knew the course was modern world history but had not realised it would largely be confined to 1900 to 1914, a period which she found not in the least bit interesting. She did end up with a B but it was her poorest mark as she could not face studying it to any extent.

I would look at the contents of both courses (google AQA if that is the exam board and look at previous exams) and see which one she is likely to enjoy the most. I was certainly relieved when my youngest chose geography as she isn't a great essay writer, being of the philosophy of why write a page on something if you can get away with the token gesture of half a page.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:21 pm 
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Does the school publish the grades it gets in each subject? That can sometimes be enlightening if, say, one subject gets higher grades on average than the other.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:43 pm 
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Rob I have looked at the course on the school website and I think it is the same as the one your DS is doing. It mentions WWI and II, cold war and Russia -Stalin and Lenin. I am wondering if fm is right though and it might not appeal. Although I think having an overview of this period might be useful when linked to art and the changes of the 20th C and obviously valuable on it's own merit I still think the Geog might be "easier" as in perhaps less reading and essay writing. That said DD has been doing life in the trenches recently and seems to have found it interesting, but 2 years of it...???

I think both depts get decent results but will have a look.

Decision has to be made and submitted tomorrow so we will have a look at the exam board and course content and I will let DD make the final decision.

I would love to hear more thoughts on this as the answers so far have really got me thinking. Thanks everyone.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:50 pm 
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WWI had quite a few artists (as well as poets and writers) so it would be worthwhile in that respect. I expect there'd also be some field trips to France.

There are some great websites wrt the world wars which would be an immmense help to anyone embarking upon exams - indeed we quite often get the youngsters coming on asking questions to which there is a flurry of activity and fantastic responses to them :D

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:11 pm 
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fm wrote:
She knew the course was modern world history but had not realised it would largely be confined to 1900 to 1914, a period which she found not in the least bit interesting. .

IMO this part of history and 1939-45 should be compulsory at secondary school. Perhaps they should cover it in key stage 3 instead of all the "harolds" :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:29 pm 
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Not instead of, as well as!!

All the Harolds are just as important as all the Churchills. We need to know where we came from and how we got to be here. History isn't just about the last 100 years, it's about all the years, the whole shebang!

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