Homeschooler asks: Why so many GCSE's? Watch

MKRIAM
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Hey there, I started homeschooling two years before giving IGCSE's and so didn't quite understand the reason why normally students give so many GCSE's when they only have to carry forward three of those subjects at A-Level. As such, I found extra subjects an unnecessary chore and have ended up giving only five. I don't exactly see that as a bad thing, but when I ask my school-going friends why they spend so much time and effort on GCSE subjects they have no interest in, they don't know the answer, just that it's the norm to do so.

Is it because unis prefer more? Or is there another extremely obvious reason school students are aware of that I'm not? Should I be worried about the lack of my GCSE subjects? Thanks.

Edit: It seems some people are misunderstanding my confusion into laziness. I'd like to clarify that I'm not looking for admission into sixth form/colleges. I'll be doing A-Levels by HS too. It's just the unis I'm worried about. Since I'm going into Physics/Mathematics, what's the point of giving a Geography or English Lit GCSE? Hope it's clearer now.
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Laurence863
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(Original post by MKRIAM)
Hey there, I started homeschooling two years before giving IGCSE's and so didn't quite understand the reason why normally students give so many GCSE's when they only have to carry forward three of those subjects at A-Level. As such, I found extra subjects an unnecessary chore and have ended up giving only five. I don't exactly see that as a bad thing, but when I ask my school-going friends why they spend so much time and effort on GCSE subjects they have no interest in, they don't know the answer, just that it's the norm to do so.

Is it because unis prefer more? Or is there another extremely obvious reason school students are aware of that I'm not? Should I be worried about the lack of my GCSE subjects? Thanks.
Because gcses are basic and general knowledge, considering you're homeschooled and only doing 5 gcses you'll be at a severe disadvantage for sixth form applications. generally most sudents do 10 gcses, of those it is pretty essential to have maths, triple science, english language and literature, also humanities... 5 gcses is nothing. Just shows you put in 50% of the work and are lazy, you've really made a mistake, I'd do atleast 8 if I were you
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Obolinda
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(Original post by Laurence863)
Because gcses are basic and general knowledge, considering you're homeschooled and only doing 5 gcses you'll be at a severe disadvantage for sixth form applications. generally most sudents do 10 gcses, of those it is pretty essential to have maths, triple science, english language and literature, also humanities... 5 gcses is nothing. Just shows you put in 50% of the work and are lazy, you've really made a mistake, I'd do atleast 8 if I were you
There are so many things wrong with this. Most people DO NOT do 10 GCSE's. The only essential GCSE's are English Language and Maths. The entry requirements are usually 5-8 GCSE's. All the extra GCSE's are quite unnecessary but they do show a lot of hard work, multitasking, etc.
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Laurence863
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(Original post by Obolinda)
There are so many things wrong with this. Most people DO NOT do 10 GCSE's. The only essential GCSE's are English Language and Maths. The entry requirements are usually 5-8 GCSE's. All the extra GCSE's are quite unnecessary but they do show a lot of hard work, multitasking, etc.
are you sure about that? idk of a single person whos done less than 8.

I mean if you wanna do drama, sociology and btec dance at your local college then sure eng lang and maths are plenty, but if you want to apply to a atleast decent sixth form and do decent subjects then no, they arent.

You're not taking into account that OP is homeschooled meaning more is expected of them. Doing only 5 gcses will be seen as lazy and a cop out, especially in any sort of even remotely competitive application. OP doesnt already attend a school either so there is no preferential treatment if they had decided to stay on...

Think of it like this:

You're looking through applications to your school lets say theres 5 places avainable for a subject and 10 have applied, who gets put to the bottom of the pile first? homeschooler with 5 gcses out of choice or a regular student with 9?

I'm just saying, OP should maybe pick up more gcses or be at a quite substantial disadvantage...

You certainly wouldn't make oxford with 5 gcses even if they were all 9's
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UmamiPiñapple
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You often need to have a wide variety of background knowledge for the a levels you pick though, and from 5 GCSEs that won’t be enough. For example, geography gcse has made physics a level a lot easier, as has chemistry gcse.
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LeapingLucy
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It's because you need to show that you have reached a certain level in a broad range of subjects.

GCSEs and A-levels aren't the same.

GCSEs are about breadth, A-levels are about depth. Having only 5 is likely to disadvantage you if you're seeking admission to top universities.
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Obolinda
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(Original post by Laurence863)
are you sure about that? idk of a single person whos done less than 8.

I mean if you wanna do drama, sociology and btec dance at your local college then sure eng lang and maths are plenty, but if you want to apply to a atleast decent sixth form and do decent subjects then no, they arent.

You're not taking into account that OP is homeschooled meaning more is expected of them. Doing only 5 gcses will be seen as lazy and a cop out, especially in any sort of even remotely competitive application. OP doesnt already attend a school either so there is no preferential treatment if they had decided to stay on...

Think of it like this:

You're looking through applications to your school lets say theres 5 places avainable for a subject and 10 have applied, who gets put to the bottom of the pile first? homeschooler with 5 gcses out of choice or a regular student with 9?

I'm just saying, OP should maybe pick up more gcses or be at a quite substantial disadvantage...

You certainly wouldn't make oxford with 5 gcses even if they were all 9's
Most ppl dont do 10 GCSE's they do around 8. Doing less than 8 will not mean you can't pursue higher education, especially if you meet the entry requirements for A-levels. English Lang & Maths are necessary, nowhere did I say this is what you solely get into colleges with, I said 5-8. Being homeschooled does not put you at a disadvantage or mean they expect more from you. On Oxford, when did OP express an interest in going there anyway? If OP has a higher proportion of 7, 8,9 and good A-level predictions, OP still has a chance. Even if she may be disadvantaged.
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Laurence863
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(Original post by Obolinda)
Most ppl dont do 10 GCSE's they do around 8. Doing less than 8 will not mean you can't pursue higher education, especially if you meet the entry requirements for A-levels. English Lang & Maths are necessary, nowhere did I say this is what you solely get into colleges with, I said 5-8. Being homeschooled does not put you at a disadvantage or mean they expect more from you. On Oxford, when did OP express an interest in going there anyway? If OP has a higher proportion of 7, 8,9 and good A-level predictions, OP still has a chance.
Okay sure, lets say most people do 8 thats the mean average then... OP is doing 5, 3 full less gcses, meaning they have to put in 3 gcses less work, do you genuinley think OP wont be disadvantaged by this?

Your gcses are about showing a wide range of knowledge, not doing the bare minimum, OP will be unprepared for the workload of 3 A levels aswell as this.

OP is showing laziness, sorry but it has to be said, pick up some extra gcses like normal secondary students do, you're homeschooled meaning you have the choice, dont choose laziness.
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Emma:-)
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(Original post by Laurence863)
are you sure about that? idk of a single person whos done less than 8.

I mean if you wanna do drama, sociology and btec dance at your local college then sure eng lang and maths are plenty, but if you want to apply to a atleast decent sixth form and do decent subjects then no, they arent.

You're not taking into account that OP is homeschooled meaning more is expected of them. Doing only 5 gcses will be seen as lazy and a cop out, especially in any sort of even remotely competitive application. OP doesnt already attend a school either so there is no preferential treatment if they had decided to stay on...

Think of it like this:

You're looking through applications to your school lets say theres 5 places avainable for a subject and 10 have applied, who gets put to the bottom of the pile first? homeschooler with 5 gcses out of choice or a regular student with 9?

I'm just saying, OP should maybe pick up more gcses or be at a quite substantial disadvantage...

You certainly wouldn't make oxford with 5 gcses even if they were all 9's
I agree.
Subjects like english language and literature, maths, science etc are the core subjects that everyone pretty much needs.
Then there other subjects- where if you want to do a subject at a-level (e.g. geography) you 6th forms/colleges usually require you to have done that subject at GCSE. There are the odd exceptions but this is the norm with a lot of subjects.
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Obolinda
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(Original post by Laurence863)
Okay sure, lets say most people do 8 thats the mean average then... OP is doing 5, 3 full less gcses, meaning they have to put in 3 gcses less work, do you genuinley think OP wont be disadvantaged by this?

Your gcses are about showing a wide range of knowledge, not doing the bare minimum, OP will be unprepared for the workload of 3 A levels aswell as this.

OP is showing laziness, sorry but it has to be said, pick up some extra gcses like normal secondary students do, you're homeschooled meaning you have the choice, dont choose laziness.
Of course she may be disadvantaged, I stated this already. I don't think it shows laziness, rather OP choose subjects out of necessity. Doing 5 GCSE'S are enough.
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Laurence863
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(Original post by Emma:-))
I agree.
Subjects like english language and literature, maths, science etc are the core subjects that everyone pretty much needs.
Then there other subjects- where if you want to do a subject at a-level (e.g. geography) you 6th forms/colleges usually require you to have done that subject at GCSE. There are the odd exceptions but this is the norm with a lot of subjects.
Exactly... 5 is a total cop out... you need a good broad set of gcses
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Laurence863
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(Original post by Obolinda)
Of course she may be disadvantaged, I stated this already. I don't think it shows laziness, rather OP choose subjects out of necessity. Doing 5 GCSE'S are enough.
You think anybody is genuinley gonna look at a homeschoolers epic set of 5 gcses and assume they did it out of necessity rather than laziness? 5 gcses is enough to say you did gcses.

quoting: "I'm not silly, I've got 4 gcses"
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MKRIAM
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I'd like to clarify that I'm not looking for admission into sixth form/colleges. I'll be doing A-Levels by HS too. It's just the unis I'm worried about. Since I'm going into Physics/Mathematics, what's the point of giving a Geography or English Lit GCSE?

(Original post by Laurence863)
You're looking through applications to your school lets say theres 5 places avainable for a subject and 10 have applied, who gets put to the bottom of the pile first? homeschooler with 5 gcses out of choice or a regular student with 9?
Why do you say that? Is being a homeschooler a disadvantage against a regular student? What if I had 9 GCSE's, would a regular student still be preferred?
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Obolinda
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(Original post by Laurence863)
You think anybody is genuinley gonna look at a homeschoolers epic set of 5 gcses and assume they did it out of necessity rather than laziness? 5 gcses is enough to say you did gcses.
Who knows? Especially when entry requirements are 5 GCSE'S anyway. I could say the same for people who do 8 GCSE's, instead of 10. You keep of referring to homeschoolers like institutions expect more from them or something, I don't know any evidence of that. OP's not doomed if they take 5 but will be disadvantaged. I don't think calling OP lazy is helpful at all.
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Laurence863
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(Original post by MKRIAM)
I'd like to clarify that I'm not looking for admission into sixth form/colleges. I'll be doing A-Levels by HS too. It's just the unis I'm worried about. Since I'm going into Physics/Mathematics, what's the point of giving a Geography or English Lit GCSE?

Why do you say that? Is being a homeschooler a disadvantage against a regular student? What if I had 9 GCSE's, would a regular student still be preferred?
no im just saying you have more choice so it'd be looked upon negatively... gcses are about showing a broad range of subjects and subject knowledge
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Laurence863
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(Original post by Obolinda)
Who knows? Especially when entry requirements are 5 GCSE'S anyway. I could say the same for people who do 8 GCSE's, instead of 10. You keep of referring to homeschoolers like institutions expect more from them or something, I don't know any evidence of that. OP's not doomed if they take 5 but will be disadvantaged. I don't think calling OP lazy is helpful at all.
im not, im saying it looks lazy... if OP went to a school where they only allow 5 gcses then fair enough but because OP is homeschooled they have choice in number of gcses..
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2childmum
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It is much harder to take GCSE as a home schooler - you have to find all the resources, understand the specification, mark your own exam questions etc. Also it is expensive - all the resources to study have to be paid for, and taking the exams is expensive too - most exam centres not only charge the exam board fee but expensive admin fees on top. That's why home educated students usually take fewer GCSEs than those at school - and sometimes spread them out over a couple of years.

Home educated students often study whatever they are interested in outside of their GCSE studies too - you don't have to take an exam to study something that interests you and many home educated students know loads about subjects which those who have been restricted to GCSE specifications don't. They also often play instruments to a high standard, or play sports, or build amazing models, or volunteer for a day everyweek - there is a lot more to being well educated than having a long list of GCSEs.

There are sixth forms who are happy to take home ed students with fewer GCSEs as they understand the above points. Others are less flexible.

Many home educated students go onto university - in fact unis like the fact that they are so self-motivated and can often show a real interest in the subject they want to study due to being able to spend time developing their interest.

OP - have a look at the entry requirements for some unis you might be interested in. Durham, for example, doesn't seem to mention GCSE requirements at all. Reading generally asks for a 'good level of general education , including maths and english at grade C (obviously not been updated!) and some subjects require certain GCSEs. Make sure you refer to the benefits of being home educated in your personal statement, and include stuff about how you have studied beyond the A level spec. It might be worth asking your academic referee to mention why you have fewer GCSEs than other candidates. (It's worth thinking about who you are going to ask to do this for you)
It is worth taking Maths and English Language (I)GCSEs if you havent already as most employers will ask for these.
Also - make sure you know how you are going to do the practical requirements for physics A level - it's difficult to do as a home educated student, and expensive
In case you haven't seen it, this is a useful website for home educated students taking exams -http://he-exams.wikia.com/wiki/HE_Exams_Wiki
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Okaythenhi
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Completely agree with 2childmum.

I was also homeschooled and took 5 GCSEs in 2014. I have to say it hasn't held me back in regards to university. I'm at a good university and had offers from all when I applied. For most universities it appears they really focus on your maths and English GCSE, and A level results.

That being said, if you're looking to go somewhere such as Oxford, a lot more emphisis is put on GCSEs so you really need more.

BUT if you're just looking for one in the top 10, you'll be fine provided your English and maths GCSEs were good and your A level results are high. I can only speak from my experience.
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MKRIAM
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(Original post by 2childmum)
It is much harder to take GCSE as a home schooler - you have to find all the resources, understand the specification, mark your own exam questions etc. Also it is expensive - all the resources to study have to be paid for, and taking the exams is expensive too - most exam centres not only charge the exam board fee but expensive admin fees on top. That's why home educated students usually take fewer GCSEs than those at school - and sometimes spread them out over a couple of years.

Home educated students often study whatever they are interested in outside of their GCSE studies too - you don't have to take an exam to study something that interests you and many home educated students know loads about subjects which those who have been restricted to GCSE specifications don't. They also often play instruments to a high standard, or play sports, or build amazing models, or volunteer for a day everyweek - there is a lot more to being well educated than having a long list of GCSEs.

There are sixth forms who are happy to take home ed students with fewer GCSEs as they understand the above points. Others are less flexible.

Many home educated students go onto university - in fact unis like the fact that they are so self-motivated and can often show a real interest in the subject they want to study due to being able to spend time developing their interest.

OP - have a look at the entry requirements for some unis you might be interested in. Durham, for example, doesn't seem to mention GCSE requirements at all. Reading generally asks for a 'good level of general education , including maths and english at grade C (obviously not been updated!) and some subjects require certain GCSEs. Make sure you refer to the benefits of being home educated in your personal statement, and include stuff about how you have studied beyond the A level spec. It might be worth asking your academic referee to mention why you have fewer GCSEs than other candidates. (It's worth thinking about who you are going to ask to do this for you)
It is worth taking Maths and English Language (I)GCSEs if you havent already as most employers will ask for these.
Also - make sure you know how you are going to do the practical requirements for physics A level - it's difficult to do as a home educated student, and expensive
In case you haven't seen it, this is a useful website for home educated students taking exams -http://he-exams.wikia.com/wiki/HE_Exams_Wiki
Wow. That really helped a lot! Thanks!
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Hippychickness
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As a home educating parent and a qualified maths teacher, I think that it is naive to think that HE students can actually sit as many GCSEs as children who are on roll at a school. Firstly, the parent(s) have to choose a suitable curriculum (many GCSEs are unavailable to private candidates). My DD cannot sit Art, any Design and Technology, PE, Drama, Dance etc - as they have a large proportion of practical elements. Secondly, the parent/ carer(s) must find an exam centre where their child can sit the exams - incredibly difficult to do, as most schools do not accept private candidates, or do not have space for English, Maths and Science! Thirdly, the HE parents have to pay for all teaching and learning materials: textbooks, revision materials, science equipment and chemicals etc, exam entry fees, administration fees, invigilation costs(if additional exam invigilators are required). Additionally, even when a qualification is available to private candidates, there may be Non-Examination Assessment or certification which has to be completed by the Exam centre - involving further time and financial cost.My DD is fortunate to be academically able, motivated and have a fantastic support system. However, she and I both find it incredibly frustrating that she probably cannot sit Science GCSEs (certification needed that required practicals have been carried out), or French (speaking assessments cannot be undertaken at our chosen exam centre), despite them being 'open to private candidates'. We can, of course, film her doing the science experiments (where we can buy the necessary chemicals, equipment etc) and hope that showing these videos is sufficient to qualify her to sit the written exams - where practical skills are actually assessed through specific questions. The easier route is for her to study Biology at a local college (alongside the vocational course she wishes to do) after her 'year 11' compulsory education is completed. They don't even offer Chemistry or Physics. Neither do any of the local facilities, which offer courses to EHE learners, provide teaching up to higher standard. Had she remained in a school (where she was under-performing, and actually regressed from year 6), she would have sat 10 or more GCSEs. However, she wouldn't have achieved suitably-high grades in these, and would have hated the entire process of learning.As it stands, she is sitting 2 GCSEs this summer, with a further 4 or 5 planned for next summer. She will then sit her Biology GCSE alongside the vocational qualification she wishes to study at college (with no charge for this). These 6 or 7 GCSEs alone will end up costing upwards of £1400, without any tuition costs (given that she is self teaching, with my support where required). I am a working solo parent, so any support I can provide is outside of normal school hours.
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