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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:55 pm
Posts: 47
Hi all

We now have to start looking at options for GCSE ;(

My DD’s school has an option for Combined science vs taking 3 science individually.
We are confused ;( - She is not excellent in Science but not bad too (obviously, I would say so :)) – Mostly A, B, B+

Our confusion -
1. She might want to be a dr, physio …
2. She is keen on STEM too

We would like to keep these options open.

What we are unclear on -
1. Whether taking combine science stops her from further options in future (like STEM, Doctor, physio …)
2. Is separate science for the “top rankers” (A*,A+) ?

Any help on this is appreciated.

Thanks in advance for reading and posting


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 2:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:01 pm
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Location: Herts
I would recommend the 3 separately as they cover more material. At my dd's old school most of the year did the Triple Sciences.

It was assumed that students would do it unless it was advised otherwise.

They really enjoyed it and there are some great free resources online that you can use. DG


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 2:18 pm 
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Just to add, that while most would recommend 3 separate sciences for someone who might go down the STEM route, it would not preclude her from doing so (some "catching up" might be required at A level). Some schools do not offer separate sciences so universities are used to seeing this, besides which, she would have covered the same subjects at A level as anyone who had studied separate sciences.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:32 pm 
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thanks Daogroupie and @Scary mum :) (rather helpful mum i would say)


Last edited by pish on Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:21 pm 
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Hi Pish,

I don't visit here much any more as my children are all grown up, but I do remember in the past there being several discussions about this, and quite a few scientists and science teachers came on to say that it isn't essential to study triple science for a possible future in medicine/STEM subjects.

As scary says, not all schools even offer this option so universities, in general, do not make it a requirement. That said, it's probably recommended unless your daughter is desperate to study an alternative option.

FWIW your DD sounds very similar to mine, who also was good but not stellar at science GCSE. She got similar grades to what you are talking about, and went on to take biology and chemistry at A level. She now has a STEM BSc and is currently in the middle of a STEM MSc. Feel free to PM me if you want more info.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2021 9:29 am 
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Pesh,
My daughter did combined science at GCSE and is now doing an engineering degree having done chemistry and physics at A-level. There is no doubt there were a few holes to fill for her but she didn’t find it a massive task, and on the other hand it allowed her to keep her options broader for longer.
I have a slightly different angle to the same question, what would those in the know advise someone who was significantly weaker at one science do?
Take the combined and potentialy bring both marks down or separate and only the one be affected, albeit then sacrificing an option?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2021 11:31 am 
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Location: Essex
stroudydad wrote:
Pesh,
My daughter did combined science at GCSE and is now doing an engineering degree having done chemistry and physics at A-level. There is no doubt there were a few holes to fill for her but she didn’t find it a massive task, and on the other hand it allowed her to keep her options broader for longer.
I have a slightly different angle to the same question, what would those in the know advise someone who was significantly weaker at one science do?
Take the combined and potentialy bring both marks down or separate and only the one be affected, albeit then sacrificing an option?


If they are really good at the other two and not very good at the third (so 'significantly weaker' from a high bar, so to speak), then I would be tempted to go for triple - throw the separate weaker science to the wolves and get good grades in the other two. As you say, doing combined risks the weakest pulling down both grades, although that could be partly balanced if they can do really well in the other subject they would then be free to do.

What does the school advise?

Looking ahead, having a rogue 4 or whatever in the GCSE profile may rule out e.g. Oxford or LSE, but almost certainly very few other places (and ne assumes that the applicant wouldn't be applying to take a degree in the one subject they had struggled with at GCSE level).

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2021 1:47 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:39 am
Posts: 1054
Edexcel 2019
Total 9 8 7 6 5
Biology 200, 157, 141, 126, 103, 80
Chemistry 200, 160, 142, 124, 101, 78
Physics 200, 154, 137, 121, 98, 75
Combined 360, 264, 249, 234, 219, 204

AQA 2019
Total 9 8 7 6 5
Biology 200, 134, 120, 107, 89, 72
Chemistry 200, 144, 125, 107, 88, 69
Physics 200, 143, 125, 108, 89, 70
Combined 420, 269, 251, 233, 216, 199

I'd agree with TM and suggest the triple though it does probably depend on how much weaker/stronger your DD is. Looking at the data above, it seems that the boundaries at the lower end, say a grade 5 or 6, are higher for the combined than the individual sciences. Being weaker in 1 subject might still allow your DD to pull out a respectable grade in that subject without risking dragging down 2 combined grades. Besides, 2 high grades might be enough when considering top 8 GCSE results, allowing the lowest science to be masked. Again, probably best to consult the school.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2021 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 2:25 pm
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Thanks all, school basically have said it’s a tough call. We’re inclined to go with the triple, he’s more likely to be applying to RADA than Oxford/LSE, so one lower science mark shouldn’t be too much of an issue it will also give a better balance as he wants to do drama, food and psychology as well as his cores. Obviously they get extra hours teaching for the triple so that should help too.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2021 9:13 pm 
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thanks @stroudydad , NYR and ToadMum

Good point - I missed that aspect.


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