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 Post subject: GCSE Business Studies
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:32 am 
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My DS is keen to do a GCSE in Business Studies and possibly also Statistics. These are not taught at school so he would have to study on his own which he is very happy to do.

Which exam board do we choose - or is it up to the school to choose?

Are there any controlled assessments or is it just one big test at the end? He is currently in y9, so he'll experience the "new" gcse.

Thanks in advance


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:37 am 
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Sorry, this really is not a good idea. Business Studies is not highly regarded and Statistics would need help with the controlled assessment.

He will be studying enough GCSEs and it is important he gets lots of A/A* grades rather than more GCSEs.

Why does he feel he needs to do this?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:23 pm 
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Agree with G55.
There is no value in an academic child doing GCSE Business Studies and a non-academic child should be focussing on subjects in school rather than taking extras.
There are mixed views about the value of GCSE Statistics but it certainly isn't necessary and as G55 says there is a large CA segment which would be tricky to do out of school.
If DC wants to do extra maths there are better things to study independently and no need to take exams.
If DC has an interest in Business Studies they could get involved in practical activities.

Again agreeing with G55 - assuming DC is undertaking a normal number of GCSEs at school its much more important to be getting best possible grades in these than trying to do more independently. Some admissions officers look at proportion of top grades acheived.

If DC does have spare time on top of studying school subjects then in terms of university applications they are better following a favourite subject in depth beyond curriculum - not for exams but developing investigative skills and an enquiring mind.

Having had several very bright DCs go through the education system I would also recommend remembering that it is a marathon and not a sprint. Studying gets more intense as they get older and there are years of exams ahead. If DC can get a clutch of top grades at GCSE and not be pushed to the limit then let them enjoy some of their free time while they can.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Thank you for your advice, G55 and KB. I very much value your input.

He came home very excited yesterday; keen on studying Business. It sounded very exciting to him to get an overview of the subject in a GCSE course. At his GS he can do Business Studies for Alevels, but I think (given that he'll only pick 3-5 subjects) his aim is to choose other subjects then.
He's very academic and does well. I think he is at the age when he wants to broaden his horizon and is very keen to study many things to see what will interest him the most. An after school club would probably have been great.

I've read on the forum that 9-11 subjects seems to be the norm. Are all these GCSE's taken within 2-3 weeks?
One option could be to take extra subjects a year early/late(?)

He has decided to do classical studies, latin and ancient Greek. He has already taken Modern Greek. Is classical studies also considered non-academic and of less interest? I was very keen on teaching him German, but I realise that this is not wise since he might get less percentage of high grades. Very sad, but one has to play the game - given that one grasps the rules first!

Is there any difference how Geography and History are regarded? He enjoys them both at this stage.

The information from his school has been very limited and not having experienced the English school system myself makes it very hard to make informed decisions.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:12 pm 
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With the changes to GCSEs all the exams are terminal so will be taken over about 4 weeks.
There isn't much point taking extra subjects a year early or late for University admissions so better to use his time to broaden his horizons more generally. Has he looked at Duke of Edinburgh award for example?
Or develop business studies skills through charity fund raising activities?
I certainly wouldn't take classical studies as well as Greek & Latin - it won't add anything significant and uses up a slot if he is trying to keep a broad spectrum.
Could you just study German together for fun? To have an extra foreign language to conversational level is never wasted.
With regard to History & Geography there isn't anything to choose in terms of their academic standing at GCSE. Maybe look at what's involved in the syllubus and assessment methods to help choose.

As far as post GCSE goes I would recommend Economics rather than Business Studies if he wants to do one or the other as it is considered more academic but neither is necessary for degree level Economics anyway.

If he still has broad talents and interests by A level and is not going down the very science focussed route then it might be worth exploring the Bac instead of A levels. Depending what happens with the changes going through atm he could be limited to 3 subjects at A level.

More generally, it is the school's responsibility to ensure students and parents are provided with the information they need to make GCSE choices. There are many changes going on atm so even those parents who previously understood may not be familiar now.
Don't be afraid of asking the school for more information if necessary ( having thoroughly checked their web site and if DS has failed to bring home any other literature - I speak from experience of teenage boys!) You could email the Head of Year and ask for them to call you for example. (I find it helpful to have a written list of questions for such ocasions so I can scribble notes as I go).

I would focus on making wise choices for GCSE at school and see how he gets on in year 10. If he has spare capacity then let him learn without constraints of exams. There is a tendency to want everything certificated these days but developing maturity and a passion for learning will stand him in good stead for University applications and beyond.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:18 pm 
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I would have thought the school would produce as Options Booklet so you could see which syllabuses are being offered and which subjects are 'core' ie not optional.

You need to know the syllabus so you can see what is involved and help him later with past papers etc.

I agree with KB that Economics is much more highly regarded than Business Studies; but maths is a more important A level if that is a career path.

Do ask because there are quite a few of us teachers on here and we can point you to information.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:07 pm 
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but maths is a more important A level if that is a career path"

Absolutely - apologies, didn't intend to mislead. I was just focussing on the avoiding of Business Studies as an academic option.

And of course there are some students for who Business Studies is a useful way of accessing appropriate GCSE material and learning. For a chap who is choosing Ancient Greek and Latin though it isn't a wise option.

You could just try calling the school office - if its a small school like ours they would know if an options booklet had been produced / circulated.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:45 pm 
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Do they have a parents information evening about options at your dc's school. I am sure they will have one at your dc's school. We had one recently for my DS in y9. We were told that the school would not accommodate any exams other than the ones studied in school unless it was for a language or cultural exam. So if there is a clash in exams they will not support the child to fit it in at some other point in the day. They were clear that 10 exams are enough as life is not just about academic pursuit and children need to have time to relax and do other things. Also universities as said above already want to see exams taken at the same time.

My Ds has been excited by the new subjects he can study but I think it is also our role to inject some realism and help to manage their excitement. Speak to your school before you think about looking outside of the school for other subjects to take.


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