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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:21 am 
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My ds is about to go into year 9 and will be thinking about GCSE choices over the next few months.
He is very different from dd who knew exactly what she wanted to do.
The other day we sat down and he wrote his list of "definitely", "definitely not" and "maybe". The "definitely not" list is huge!
He is going to do History and French. He has to pick two more and his maybe list has only 4 subjects - PE, Music, Geography and Economics.
(Fwiw, he has had very fixed views about what he wants to do in the future for years and he has not changed that recently - I know it can still happen - but he wants to study some sort of History/Politics at a European University).
Also fwiw, I would quite like it if one of his GCSEs was a bit more relaxed in terms of homework etc than the others - if that's possible.
Dd is doing Music and Geography so he understands what they entail.
We don't know many people doing PE/Economics so would be grateful for insight as to how your children have found them?
PE - he plays rugby for the school which he loves (they consistently lose), he plays football for the school (mostly as a sub) and also trains out of school but not competitively, just for fun. He plays a very niche team sport - he plays in national competitions (and about to start international next year) but it's very difficult to assess his skills because so few people play it - however, older team members have used it for their PE GCSE. He does no individual sports. He cycles but is not remotely interested in doing so competitively and he has no time to start any other sports. He hates biology (possibly due to his teacher last year) but part of me wonders whether any PE/biology overlap might be an advantage in terms of fewer things to remember?! (might be over-optimistic!)
Economics - he's good at maths though can lack confidence, he likes "sums" and is less keen on more complicated stuff like algebra. I have literally no idea what Economics entails at GCSE.
I know we will get a lot more information from school over the next few months but would still be interested in anyone else's perspectives so I can pass them onto ds.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:33 am 
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Economics is a subject you do not need at GCSE to study at A level...(and can still do in some Unis without the A level, I believe)...make of that what you will but fundamentally it is a subject created from popularity rather than necessity.

If I had my way I would make everyone study Geography - and I say this from the point of view of someone who gave it up for O level and has regretted it (and did Economics at A level and disliked it!) Geography is such an interesting subject covering so much variety of themes - environmental issues, (which are so much more pertinent to this generation than ours), town planning, countries, disasters and so much more in between. It "fits" so well with so many other subjects, helping understanding in them, has science, essay writing, maths involved, for example, and is not difficult per se.

It is also a well respected subject (I mean, not that any subject at GCSE is particularly well respected) but in terms of A levels/degree it is. Economics at GCSE tends to fall into the Business Studies type camp - a bit "meh".


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:35 am 
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My advice is to read the relevant [correct board] specifications.

For PE check the sports he wants to use are named on the list.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... for_PE.pdf

Economics GCSE does not seem to have many supporters and few schools offer it.

Most schools offer an Options evening but remember this is a 'sales pitch' and some teachers need to recruit to keep their subject on the curriculum. Also do look at the style of exam papers too; does he prefer lots of short questions or longer essay style?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 11:51 am 
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Guest55 wrote:
My advice is to read the relevant [correct board] specifications.

For PE check the sports he wants to use are named on the list.
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.u ... for_PE.pdf

Economics GCSE does not seem to have many supporters and few schools offer it.

Most schools offer an Options evening but remember this is a 'sales pitch' and some teachers need to recruit to keep their subject on the curriculum. Also do look at the style of exam papers too; does he prefer lots of short questions or longer essay style?

Yes I'm very aware of the "sales pitch" element. DS is the sort of pupil that most teachers will be happy to have on their class so he needs to be sure he really wants to do it.
I'll look at that pe website thank you.
I think he prefers short answers rather than essays on the whole.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:46 pm 
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kenyancowgirl wrote:
If I had my way I would make everyone study Geography - and I say this from the point of view of someone who gave it up for O level and has regretted it (and did Economics at A level and disliked it!) Geography is such an interesting subject covering so much variety of themes - environmental issues, (which are so much more pertinent to this generation than ours), town planning, countries, disasters and so much more in between. It "fits" so well with so many other subjects, helping understanding in them, has science, essay writing, maths involved, for example, and is not difficult per se.
I do agree (but then I have 3 geographers!). I have been amazed at what a Geography degree entails and can encompass - so much of it is overlap with social sciences like sociology and politics; with chemistry and physics; and with just what I would call a really good education. It has been much maligned but I would always say do Geography now - it is a fascinating subject with so many possibilities far beyond town planning and disaster management - lots of charity and third sector organisations use geographers to help manage their space (both real and metaphorical); there are opportunities in music and the arts for specialist geographers and things like rural geography and historical geography as well as Geopolitics are fascinating fields. Looby, with your son's ambitions I would say Geography is a 'must' to be honest.

As for the others, I would say forget Economics as it is not a highly regarded GCSE and can be picked up at any stage, right through to undergraduate. I heard someone say recently that it is a dying subject - once viable alternative models to capitalism are being seriously sought (oh, I wish!) the whole subject will crumble. That may be untrue or the stuff of dreams (or nightmares, depending on your point of view) but it is a very niche subject for a 14 year old and the syllabus reflects that. After that - let him choose between the other two which one he is likely to enjoy most.

Other advice is of course available - just my personal views!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:47 pm 
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I would go for Music OR geog, and then P.E.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 3:23 pm 
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Out of that list...geography is going to be most useful..DS picked it as an easy one to do well in and it worked out well for him...I’d only do music if you really enjoy it and play an instrument or sing...or both...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:29 pm 
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Thank you all for your advice.
He plays an instrument reasonably well (grade 6 level) but doesn't love it. I'd like to think that he could be enthused by doing music but I suspect that wouldn't be the case.
His sport is not specifically mentioned on that list but one element of it is. Skiing is on the list which he's very good at. That might be a fun one to do though I imagine it's hard to assess? He's not going on a school ski trip and dry slopes are not permitted. The indoor ski places are not exactly big enough to show many skills!
That's interesting about economics. In a way I don't mind that it's not well regarded in the sense that he'll have plenty of GCSEs hopefully and is probably not going to be applying for very competitive university places. But it's a very popular subject at their school so it's interesting to hear that it's so poorly thought of.
Hopefully he'll go for geography and PE!


Last edited by loobylou on Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:59 pm 
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If he is happy with the exam style for geography ( or at least it's not awful for him!) then I'd think it would be most useful for his probable future studies.

From other feedback here it seems that music is maybe not a good idea if he's only luke warm about it.

With regard to PE, I would get him to make a list of specific questions that have arisen from looking at the specification and go through it all in detail with the head of department to see if there is a match for his skills and interests.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:46 pm 
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Another vote here for Geography.
We know no one who regretted doing the GCSE.
I know others will disagree but over half my sons cohort bitterly regretted doing Music.
The feeling was it was very time consuming and boring.
I’m sure for really talented musicians the feeling would be different but for the rest of them it wasn’t a pleasure.
It doesn’t keep as many doors open as Geography.
I wouldn’t do music unless it’s a real passion.
Neither of mine have done PE but it’s another subject I don’t hear of people regretting doing.
No economics GCSE at either of the schools mine go to so notable to give any feedback on that.


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