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    If you encounter anybody who took O Levels before the mid 1980s then the chances are that they have no more than 8 of them. If they have a 9th then it's most likely going to be in Latin or statistics. This was at a time when biology, chemistry, and physics counted as 3 separate subjects. Most students would also have taken English language, English literature, and mathematics. This means that if they took three sciences then they would only have two other subjects to choose from. Of course, many students only took one or two science subjects which enabled them to take a larger number of non-science subjects.

    In more recent years it has become commonplace for students to take around 12 GCSE subjects.

    Do employers from the 8 O Level era:

    1. Give credit to applicants with 12 or 13 GCSEs or is 8 GCSEs enough to satisfy them?

    2. Have any interest in GCSE subjects which did not exist (or were very obscure) back in the era when they took their O Levels?

    3. Care much about any GCSEs apart from English, mathematics, science, and anything else relevant for the job?
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    Not many answers yet...

    What I'm wondering is are many youngsters 'sleepwalking' into GCSEs without asking themselves about which factors really matter?

    I was verbally informed that students should put more effort into getting good grades in English language, mathematics, science, a foreign language, plus two subjects of their choice than anything else and 8 GCSEs is no worse than 12 GCSEs in the eyes of employers. Anything more is overkill and 'EBacc' subjects cannot be substituted by large numbers of soft subjects.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Not many answers yet...

    What I'm wondering is are many youngsters 'sleepwalking' into GCSEs without asking themselves about which factors really matter?

    I was verbally informed that students should put more effort into getting good grades in English language, mathematics, science, a foreign language, plus two subjects of their choice than anything else and 8 GCSEs is no worse than 12 GCSEs in the eyes of employers. Anything more is overkill and 'EBacc' subjects cannot be substituted by large numbers of soft subjects.
    Ebacc is a load of rubbish and only a way to get students to do them subjects, it does nothing for them.
    I think 12 GCSEs is a good amount of GCSEs for students to do as it allows for compensating for other subjects if not done too well. This is because a lot of universities now have high entry requirements and they're going to be higher this year due to the spec change of Alevels. That means they could easily want at least 8As-A*s and if students are only doing 8 then they have no room for error.
    It also allows for a wider variety of subjects to decide Alevels choices on.

    In theory for university applications, the quantity of A*s and the fundamental subjects are all that matter.

    If a student wanted to opt out of Universities then GCSEs aren't particularly valuable in other areas of higher education. Excluding some cases.

    However if, like most students, a student went for a degree then GCSEs are only important for getting into the university and then after that all that matters is their CV and degree.
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    Information that I have from university engineering departments is that the GCSEs that admissions tutors are most interested in are mathematics and science / physics - they want A grades in both. This is followed by English language where they expect at least a grade C and they have preference for a foreign language at least at grade C. Geography, history, chemistry, biology, and Latin at grade C or above are value added but far from essential. ICT doesn't count at all and surprisingly few admissions tutors give any credit for electronics or systems and control. Any other subject rarely - if ever - counts. I'm not too sure what the situation is with Computer Science because it is a new subject.

    Remember that admissions tutors also deal with overseas students who may have fewer than 12 subjects or a restricted choice of IGCSEs or O Levels. In some foreign countries it's still convention to take 8 IGCSEs or O Levels rather than 12.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Information that I have from university engineering departments is that the GCSEs that admissions tutors are most interested in are mathematics and science / physics - they want A grades in both. This is followed by English language where they expect at least a grade C and they have preference for a foreign language at least at grade C. Geography, history, chemistry, biology, and Latin at grade C or above are value added but far from essential. ICT doesn't count at all and surprisingly few admissions tutors give any credit for electronics or systems and control. Any other subject rarely - if ever - counts. I'm not too sure what the situation is with Computer Science because it is a new subject.

    Remember that admissions tutors also deal with overseas students who may have fewer than 12 subjects or a restricted choice of IGCSEs or O Levels. In some foreign countries it's still convention to take 8 IGCSEs or O Levels rather than 12.
    Well this is only for engineering. As I said before the fundamental subjects count alongside the quantity of a specific grade for instance: 8A*s at GCSE to include English math and double science. This would mean that the ftraditional subjects are the ones looked for and as long as the other grades are made up from whatever GCSEs then you meet he entry requirements.

    I'm not really sure what you are saying to be honest their seem to be a lot of tangents.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Information that I have from university engineering departments is that the GCSEs that admissions tutors are most interested in are mathematics and science / physics - they want A grades in both. This is followed by English language where they expect at least a grade C and they have preference for a foreign language at least at grade C. Geography, history, chemistry, biology, and Latin at grade C or above are value added but far from essential. ICT doesn't count at all and surprisingly few admissions tutors give any credit for electronics or systems and control. Any other subject rarely - if ever - counts. I'm not too sure what the situation is with Computer Science because it is a new subject.

    Remember that admissions tutors also deal with overseas students who may have fewer than 12 subjects or a restricted choice of IGCSEs or O Levels. In some foreign countries it's still convention to take 8 IGCSEs or O Levels rather than 12.
    Well this is only for engineering. As I said before the fundamental subjects count alongside the quantity of a specific grade for instance: 8A*s at GCSE to include English math and double science. This would mean that the ftraditional subjects are the ones looked for and as long as the other grades are made up from whatever GCSEs then you meet he entry requirements.

    I'm not really sure what you are saying to be honest their seem to be a lot of tangents.
    Could you please specify?
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    Take into account that admissions tutors have hundreds of applications to process and they have to try to put students from different countries on a reasonably level footing with each other.

    I'm interested to know of instances where university departments demand or have a strong liking for high grades in GCSEs apart from English language, mathematics, or those directly related to the course, with the exception of medicine that often wants a minimum number of A* grades which will include irrelevant subjects. Even degree courses in geography, history, biological sciences, and foreign languages rarely have requirements above and beyond those for engineering in terms of the number of GCSE subjects that they are interested in.
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    (Original post by Arran90)
    Take into account that admissions tutors have hundreds of applications to process and they have to try to put students from different countries on a reasonably level footing with each other.

    I'm interested to know of instances where university departments demand or have a strong liking for high grades in GCSEs apart from English language, mathematics, or those directly related to the course, with the exception of medicine that often wants a minimum number of A* grades which will include irrelevant subjects. Even degree courses in geography, history, biological sciences, and foreign languages rarely have requirements above and beyond those for engineering in terms of the number of GCSE subjects that they are interested in.
    They're of course going to need the subjects relevant to the university course. As i said before there are only a limited amount of subjects relevant to one specific course so they'll set a standard of certain grades where the subjects in the other grades aren't necessarily bothered about, just the quantity.

    The way they'll deal with international students is that they have different entry requirements for them. So it doesn't mean that 8As at gcse means 8As at IGCSE, they'll adapt it for them and in most cases treat people individually via them contacting them and explaining their situation. Take Chemistry, or something along those lines; many want 5A-B grades. And at least C in english, math and science. So that means that as long as they have 5 As-Bs in other subjects and Cs in traditional ones then they'll still meet entry requirements. The amount of courses that have this sort of thing is way too much to mention.

    As i said before the advantage of doing 12 GCSEs makes it easier to allow for room for mistake and still meet entry requirements. Also it's more respectable and provides an advantage. I like to remind you that not everyone does this many and the average is around 9.
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    (Original post by Squishy•)
    They're of course going to need the subjects relevant to the university course. As i said before there are only a limited amount of subjects relevant to one specific course so they'll set a standard of certain grades where the subjects in the other grades aren't necessarily bothered about, just the quantity.

    The way they'll deal with international students is that they have different entry requirements for them. So it doesn't mean that 8As at gcse means 8As at IGCSE, they'll adapt it for them and in most cases treat people individually via them contacting them and explaining their situation. Take Chemistry, or something along those lines; many want 5A-B grades. And at least C in english, math and science. So that means that as long as they have 5 As-Bs in other subjects and Cs in traditional ones then they'll still meet entry requirements. The amount of courses that have this sort of thing is way too much to mention.

    As i said before the advantage of doing 12 GCSEs makes it easier to allow for room for mistake and still meet entry requirements. Also it's more respectable and provides an advantage. I like to remind you that not everyone does this many and the average is around 9.
    I have been involved in home education for many years and the findings are that university admissions tutors are usually only interested in GCSEs in English Language, mathematics, and subjects relevant to the degree course plus a foreign language. The advantage of having GCSEs - at any grade - in other subjects of limited relevance is of marginal benefit. It's quite commonplace for home educated children to only have 5 GCSEs and this doesn't appear to disadvantage them over applicants with 12 GCSEs. There are a few interesting findings like ICT doesn't count (unless it's to make up 5 GCSEs) and D&T subjects and business studies are not highly rated even for courses where they are relevant such as engineering or business. RE is also a very marginal subject although I haven't checkout out religion or theology degree requirements in detail yet.

    There is some anecdotal evidence that employers still think in terms of what they studied at school as the benchmark when it comes to hiring job applicants. This probably explains why so many middle aged engineers still go round thinking that physics is a separate independent subject at school despite state schools having all taught science since the late 1980s, and the mathematics GCSE contains logarithms. I also suspect that they do not rate newer subjects or subjects that they are unfamiliar with very highly but I can't prove this.
 
 
 
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