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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 8:25 am 
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I would like some advice,dc is due to sit edexcel statistics higher tier gcse in june however during year 10 and 11 there has been several changes of maths teacher so much disruption and the group did not manage to finish the maths syllabus let alone cover any statistics work.My question is can dc possibly sit this exam without any formal teaching of statistics?I am considering withdrawing dc in case of a very poor result but it is gcse number 10 for dc so am concerned that it will have an effect on uni entry later.Predicted a B in maths and no time to teach themself due to all other exams!!


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 9:58 am 
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My feeling (and other opinions are available) is that stats won't add to her appeal to universities (indeed focussing on the maths and trying to push for an A would be a better use of her time). 9 good GCSEs would be much better than 10 mediocre ones. Of course it partly depends on what other subjects she is doing, but if they are mainly the traditional ones, my advice would be to drop the statistics. Have you spoken to the school? I'm no expert by the way :D


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 10:04 am 
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thanks for that.I have spoken to the school who just keep repeating that the maths and statistics syllabus overlaps so they do not see it as a problem that no teaching of stats took place


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 10:22 am 
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Location: Herts
Students should not be doing subjects with overlapping syllabuses. There is so much choice this should not be necessary. I would download a paper and do a mock to see if she really can do it. Unless she gets at least a B and is prepared to do more revision I would drop it and focus on getting the Maths B to an A. I spent some time with Oxbridge admissions tutors recently and the message was very clear. A bad GCSE result is worse than no GCSE at all and 8 fab GCSE's is far better than 10 average ones. DG


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 10:47 am 
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thanks.Thats what I am concerned about,the fact that a bad grade will be on the results sheet.I assume if the school agree to withdraw there will be no reference to it on the results sheet even though the controlled assesment has already been submitted (which was a really low mark that we have literally just found out about)?I will definitely get dc to do a mock and some past papers and see how that goes


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 11:13 am 
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Hi Pollyanna! Sorry to hear about your dc’s troubles with Statistics GCSE.

Many years ago, I sat Maths in the June and Statistics the following November. There was no teaching for the Statistics. Even then, Statistics was considered very easy if you were at all mathematical. Nowadays, under the pressure of League Tables combined with the additional pressure of shrinking budgets, many schools will encourage GCSE entries for subjects which are ‘easy’ and which require less teaching or no separate teaching. Content overlaps are especially attractive in this real-world context.

Clearly, your dc’s school should have had a proper dialogue with you. Nevertheless, they may well be right in what they have planned. I have taught Maths and, frankly, there is very little to statistics, either as part of Maths GCSE or separately in Statistics GCSE.

As for university entrance, it depends on the course and the university. Some faculties will count the number of GCSEs, bearing in mind the school’s norm and how many were sat in one go. Others, especially Oxbridge colleges, have separate entrance exams to consider. If a candidate sails through these entrance exams, a college will love them and not worry too much about GCSEs. Exactly this happened to my daughter’s Maths Teacher at Henrietta Barnett School, who endearingly describes himself as having been ‘hopeless’ at GCSEs and yet went on to graduate from Oxford, doing his PhD at Warwick.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
Yes, I knew people when I was at school who did not do well at GCSE's , just got into sixth form then put their head down and got great A levels. I am afraid this would not work now. Oxford does use entrance exams but I have never heard of anyone today getting a spot from school with weak GCSEs, mature students maybe. Cambridge does not use entrance exams in Arts subjects, perhaps they do in some others. So all they care about are A grades at GCSE's and A levels. Nobody with weak GCSE's would be considered. DG


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 2:42 pm 
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My DD has an unconditional Cambridge place, and is studying an Arts subject. She had an essay test, unseen, 3 interviews and had to send work in from school too. It varies from college to college. Cambridge less interested in GCSE than Oxford, much more in the AS UMS points, which will now be more difficult, and in the interview and testing procedure.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 3:21 pm 
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Course work is a significant part of the GCSE grade so it will pull down what she can get on the paper. While statistics isn't difficult I would say it does need to be taught as there is a required way of answering the question. To suggest they should be sitting a GCSE without any teaching is ludicrous.

The best way to be sure is to do a mock paper but assuming this is as poor as expected I would go down the pull out route and try to get some help to push the B in maths to an A. Get her to do a couple of mocks and mark them then see if you can discern where the problems are.

Can she get an appointment with a different maths teacher in school?

Can you manage a couple of a sessions with a tutor. Maths is one of those subjects where little but focussed good quality support can make a massive difference.

8 GCSEs tends to be the minimum required ( although students from schools known to take many more might need to explain in their personal statement) and some Unis look at proportion of A/A* in total taken.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 4:06 pm 
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OP can I just point out that Tiffin Girls' school, one of the more successful with Oxbridge applicants have dropped GCSE stats altogether as has the comprehensive school my younger child attends. The teacher I spoke to thought it was a GCSE too far and distracted some kids from better maths results. Most just sat the exam to bump up their total. I agree 8 good GCSEs are a lot better than more with poor results.


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