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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:09 pm 
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A friend of mine wants to register her son to take GCSE Spanish and Geography privately.

Not sure if such a thing exists but she wants to know which are the "easiest" exam boards for each subject. Easiest as in "easier to pass". :)

My DD seems to think AQA is easier than Edexcel or OCR.

Any ideas?


Last edited by nigs on Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:33 pm 
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Who will be teaching the child? If your friend is using a teacher then they will presumably have the materials and syllabus for a particular board.

If friend is planning to tutor alone- a bit fraught as she will need to get somewhere to agree for her child to sit the exam. Schools and colleges are usually the only places authorised to be exam centres and again, they will probably have a view on which boards they will have if she wants to branch out from what they offer. This is particularly the case with controlled assessments- you can't just sit your child down at home and let them do it. And the Spanish oral- has your friend thought about the practicalities of doing this?
I doubt anyone is going to stick their neck out and tell you one exam board is easier than another- suggest your friend looks at the specifications on the exam board websites and decides which one she likes he look of.
I would advise your friend to contact the Home education advisors at her LEA. This is not something very easy just to decide to do alone. I am assuming that the child is not at school: if he is, then I would very strongly suggest liaising with the school before embarking on this, as it might be a lot more complex than it first appears.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:51 pm 
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Thanks for your reply, Amber.

I suspect that she will use a private tutor. He won't be home tutored. Her son is in school in the UK at the moment as an international student taking a few science subjects but he wants to add on Spanish and Geography. I will let her know what you have said and get some more details.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:47 pm 
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It is**very** difficult to be a private candidate for those GCSEs which have controlled assessment. I made enquiries about this for a modern language, and the board themselves put me off. I do have a friend whose child is home educated for medical reasons, and his GCSEs are managed through official channels - the supervising teacher (approved by the exam board) has to sit and supervise while the child does the assessments. Has your friend considered IGCSE, which I believe does not have controlled assessment?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:20 am 
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Thanks Y. I will speak to my friend about the IGCSE.

Would "Controlled assessments" be the same as "Coursework" - to be completed in-school? I believe they are different, just remembered my daughter completing some Coursework at home.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:45 am 
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Controlled assessment has replaced coursework in many subjects. You can do your research etc at school and home, but can only write it up at school and in a set time limit eg. 3 hours for an English essay, 1 hour for a French essay. There are strict rules about what notes you can take in with you to aid the write-up.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:42 pm 
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IGCSEs will definitely be easier, as long as she can find an exam centre. There's a Home Educators' exams mailing list at HE-Exams-GCSE-A_AS_Levels-OU-Others.yahoogroups.com which might be useful :)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:47 pm 
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aliportico wrote:
IGCSEs will definitely be easier, as long as she can find an exam centre. There's a Home Educators' exams mailing list at HE-Exams-GCSE-A_AS_Levels-OU-Others.yahoogroups.com which might be useful :)


Easier in the sense of the logistics, yes. But the original question was about easier to pass; and the iGCSE has a reputation for greater academic rigour than 'ordinary' exams, partly because it is linear in nature and does not have controlled assessments (which have replaced coursework completely).


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:06 pm 
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Lol, yeah, forgot that bit! :) I do think Spanish and Geography GCSEs are going to be very difficult to arrange though, unless his current school are helpful. There is still fieldwork involved in Geography IGCSE as far as I know, but with at least one of the IGCSE boards (CIE or Edexcel) the oral component of the Spanish is optional.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:41 pm 
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aliportico wrote:
with at least one of the IGCSE boards (CIE or Edexcel) the oral component of the Spanish is optional.

Is it just me, or is the thought of an optional oral exam for a language GCSE just a little terrifying? Like, you don't actually have to be able to speak the language!


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