The Student Room Group

GCSEs from home

I’m in year 11 and am starting homeschooling in a couple of days, with the aim being for me to sit as many of my GCSEs as possible in May as originally planned.

Does anyone have any tips on how to do this? I’ll list the specific subjects/exam boards below but I’ll be self-taught so I’m not convinced all of them will be possible. I’m particularly concerned about geography, science, and graphics.

Edexcel English Language
Edexcel English Literature (texts are An Inspector Calls, Romeo and Juliet, and A Christmas Carol; poems are a conflict anthology)
AQA Mathematics
AQA Trilogy Combined Science
OCR Business
AQA Spanish
Edexcel Geography
WJEC Graphic Communications
(edited 1 year ago)

Scroll to see replies

Here you go :smile:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7137122

My daughter did 8 I/GCSEs as a home educated student and is now in sixth form college studying A Levels.
I'm home educating my three sons still - two of them are taking I/GCSEs ongoing.

Feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll try to answer them.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
Here you go :smile:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7137122

My daughter did 8 I/GCSEs as a home educated student and is now in sixth form college studying A Levels.
I'm home educating my three sons still - two of them are taking I/GCSEs ongoing.

Feel free to ask any specific questions and I'll try to answer them.

Thank you, that’s really useful! :biggrin:

Now that I’ve left school, I’ve realised that if I could go back, I’d probably change most of my options (e.g. drop art and business, take psychology and sociology) - would it be a bad idea to do this now? I’m considering doing my maths, English, and science GCSEs this year and another maybe four next year, so I’m not sure if it’s too late to drop the ones I was doing given that I’m already most of the way through the content.

My school also made me take a humanities subject and a language - does this have any practical use to me, or was it for the school’s reputation? Because I’d probably drop geography if it’s not going to make me look better on post-16 applications.
Original post by RushingRiver
Thank you, that’s really useful! :biggrin:

Now that I’ve left school, I’ve realised that if I could go back, I’d probably change most of my options (e.g. drop art and business, take psychology and sociology) - would it be a bad idea to do this now? I’m considering doing my maths, English, and science GCSEs this year and another maybe four next year, so I’m not sure if it’s too late to drop the ones I was doing given that I’m already most of the way through the content.

My school also made me take a humanities subject and a language - does this have any practical use to me, or was it for the school’s reputation? Because I’d probably drop geography if it’s not going to make me look better on post-16 applications.


There's no real reason for taking a humanities subject or a language, no. Not unless you want to take a humanities subject or a language in sixth form / college afterwards.

It's not too late to drop subjects if you don't want to take them.

Now is the time to start thinking about booking your exams, so only book the ones you need.

First thing's first - what do you want to do for sixth form / college?
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
There's no real reason for taking a humanities subject or a language, no. Not unless you want to take a humanities subject or a language in sixth form / college afterwards.

It's not too late to drop subjects if you don't want to take them.

Now is the time to start thinking about booking your exams, so only book the ones you need.

First thing's first - what do you want to do for sixth form / college?

I don’t especially, no… I’ll ask my parents if I can drop them then, thank you :smile:

I’ll be going to college (won’t cope with sixth form) but the only thing that really appeals to me is music performance, so I’ll probably do that as an extended diploma. It doesn’t require GCSE music, just 5 GCSEs, an interview, and an audition, so I doubt I’ll study music as a GCSE, although I’ll aim to get up to a good level.

If my parents will let me, I’d love to pick four completely different GCSEs, now that I’m able to pick any subjects I want, but they seem keen to make me do the ones I’m already studying because I’m already most of the way through :s-smilie:
Original post by RushingRiver
I don’t especially, no… I’ll ask my parents if I can drop them then, thank you :smile:

I’ll be going to college (won’t cope with sixth form) but the only thing that really appeals to me is music performance, so I’ll probably do that as an extended diploma. It doesn’t require GCSE music, just 5 GCSEs, an interview, and an audition, so I doubt I’ll study music as a GCSE, although I’ll aim to get up to a good level.

If my parents will let me, I’d love to pick four completely different GCSEs, now that I’m able to pick any subjects I want, but they seem keen to make me do the ones I’m already studying because I’m already most of the way through :s-smilie:

You won't be able to do the same exam boards for Science, nor English Language, due to the practicals involved. Therefore there will be a few differences with what you have to learn there anyway.

Maths can remain the same exam board.
English Language you'll have to switch to IGCSE. You have a choice of either Edexcel Spec A, Edexcel Spec B, or CIE.
Sciences you'd have to switch to IGCSE. Most home educators choose Edexcel. You can do them as three separate sciences if you like, so Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. If you did that, you'd have your 5 subjects and wouldn't need another.
If you prefer to take it as dual science, then you could continue with, say, English Literature (same exam board is fine), and there's your five.

There's no real need to take more than that, but of course it's up to you.

By all means, there's no rush to go to college next year. If you prefer, you can stay home educated for an extra year, and split your GCSEs between two years, and then go to college a year "late" (there's no such thing as late really, but you know what I mean). That would give you more time to take up new subjects that you prefer without feeling a though you're rushing them all into this academic year.
For example, you could take English, Maths, and then three other subjects of your choice. Maybe do 2 of them this year, and 3 next year. Perfectly feasible.
It's worth talking it over with your parents.

If you want to read a bit more about taking exams, this site is a goldmine of information:
https://he-exams.fandom.com/wiki/HE_Exams_Wiki?fbclid=IwAR1rAVaZJGJvAtTCw4FaCAv7xk9W6hZXifZ0HBRmLLf7xsLf4SB6WQBXiXw
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
You won't be able to do the same exam boards for Science, nor English Language, due to the practicals involved. Therefore there will be a few differences with what you have to learn there anyway.

Maths can remain the same exam board.
English Language you'll have to switch to IGCSE. You have a choice of either Edexcel Spec A, Edexcel Spec B, or CIE.
Sciences you'd have to switch to IGCSE. Most home educators choose Edexcel. You can do them as three separate sciences if you like, so Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. If you did that, you'd have your 5 subjects and wouldn't need another.
If you prefer to take it as dual science, then you could continue with, say, English Literature (same exam board is fine), and there's your five.

There's no real need to take more than that, but of course it's up to you.

By all means, there's no rush to go to college next year. If you prefer, you can stay home educated for an extra year, and split your GCSEs between two years, and then go to college a year "late" (there's no such thing as late really, but you know what I mean). That would give you more time to take up new subjects that you prefer without feeling a though you're rushing them all into this academic year.
For example, you could take English, Maths, and then three other subjects of your choice. Maybe do 2 of them this year, and 3 next year. Perfectly feasible.
It's worth talking it over with your parents.

If you want to read a bit more about taking exams, this site is a goldmine of information:
https://he-exams.fandom.com/wiki/HE_Exams_Wiki?fbclid=IwAR1rAVaZJGJvAtTCw4FaCAv7xk9W6hZXifZ0HBRmLLf7xsLf4SB6WQBXiXw

Would it not be possible to continue with the same exam board for science? I’ve finished the full course for that already, so in lessons we were just doing revision and demos of the practicals (sometimes just videos - I know I can do that bit at home! :biggrin:)

I think I will probably split my GCSEs over two years if my parents let me. My mum wants me to do English Language with the resit students next month but I don’t think she understands how this whole thing works :s-smilie: I feel like the only one who’s actually trying to do research.
I notice that in your example you list English, maths, and three choices - are science and English literature not requirements?
Nothing is a "requirement" as such. You don't have to take any GCSEs at all. (Of course, if you are going to try to go back into formal education, and it sounds as if you are, you would then be unable to apply for any course which does have GCSEs as a requirement.)

You don't need a humanities subject and you don't need a language - however, at the point that you aren't taking any humanities subjects or any languages, you are limiting your options for the future.

Music performance is cool, but, to be blunt, are you any good? It's an area where, possibly more than any other, nobody could care less whether you did a diploma in it at college. You just need to be a really, really good performer. I saw your other thread and you are absolutely right, it's not a stable form of income for a lot of people. You may want to consider what you would do to keep a roof over your head while trying to make your name, and what qualifications you would need for that (for instance, I know several people who are semi-pro musicians and also music teachers, both instrumental and as a school subject.)
Original post by skylark2
Nothing is a "requirement" as such. You don't have to take any GCSEs at all. (Of course, if you are going to try to go back into formal education, and it sounds as if you are, you would then be unable to apply for any course which does have GCSEs as a requirement.)

You don't need a humanities subject and you don't need a language - however, at the point that you aren't taking any humanities subjects or any languages, you are limiting your options for the future.

Music performance is cool, but, to be blunt, are you any good? It's an area where, possibly more than any other, nobody could care less whether you did a diploma in it at college. You just need to be a really, really good performer. I saw your other thread and you are absolutely right, it's not a stable form of income for a lot of people. You may want to consider what you would do to keep a roof over your head while trying to make your name, and what qualifications you would need for that (for instance, I know several people who are semi-pro musicians and also music teachers, both instrumental and as a school subject.)

I do want to go back to formal education next year or the year after, yeah, so I’ll take at least 5 GCSEs for that :smile:

I adore languages anyway so I’ll probably take Spanish or German (I think Spanish, that’s what I did at school) as that’s another option I’d like to consider post-16.

I’m a natural at playing, but not the most confident, which I’m hoping will come with time. I’d like to pursue languages as well, the only issue is that I can only find languages available as A-Levels, and I have a lot of health issues that would make A-Levels incredibly difficult for me. I’d have to take three different subjects and I think that would drain me.
With music, it’s something I can take on its own and that I’m passionate about, so my mental health would be mostly fine and I’d only have to think about my physical health. I’m not sure about my options at university with a music qualification (other than music obviously) but I’m wondering if a foundation year would be an option if I make a huge mistake picking music and wish to go to uni?
i use the adapt app to track what I need to learn for the entire spec :smile:
Original post by pen_to_paper
i use the adapt app to track what I need to learn for the entire spec :smile:

Thanks! I’ll take a look at that :smile:
Original post by RushingRiver
Would it not be possible to continue with the same exam board for science? I’ve finished the full course for that already, so in lessons we were just doing revision and demos of the practicals (sometimes just videos - I know I can do that bit at home! :biggrin:)

I think I will probably split my GCSEs over two years if my parents let me. My mum wants me to do English Language with the resit students next month but I don’t think she understands how this whole thing works :s-smilie: I feel like the only one who’s actually trying to do research.
I notice that in your example you list English, maths, and three choices - are science and English literature not requirements?


No science is not a necessary requirement. Two of my sons have flat our decided they don't want to do any sciences at all.
Unfortunately taking GCSE Science as a private candidate is almost impossible as the exam centres almost always don't have the means to assess the practicals. The science IGCSEs on the other hand are purely exam paper based.
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
No science is not a necessary requirement. Two of my sons have flat our decided they don't want to do any sciences at all.
Unfortunately taking GCSE Science as a private candidate is almost impossible as the exam centres almost always don't have the means to assess the practicals. The science IGCSEs on the other hand are purely exam paper based.

Wait- there are practical assessments in science? My school hasn’t ever mentioned that - the exam papers have things like “describe a method to …”
I’ll bear that in mind then, thank you :smile: I’ve tried telling my parents that English language and science will have to be IGCSEs and they don’t believe me :s-smilie:
Original post by RushingRiver
Wait- there are practical assessments in science? My school hasn’t ever mentioned that - the exam papers have things like “describe a method to …”
I’ll bear that in mind then, thank you :smile: I’ve tried telling my parents that English language and science will have to be IGCSEs and they don’t believe me :s-smilie:

l.JPG
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
l.JPG

Thank you! :smile:
Don't worry about having IGCSEs - they are accepted completely interchangeably with GCSEs. My kids have a mixture of GCSEs and IGCSEs because that's what their schools offered.
Original post by skylark2
Don't worry about having IGCSEs - they are accepted completely interchangeably with GCSEs. My kids have a mixture of GCSEs and IGCSEs because that's what their schools offered.

I’m hoping to take two IGCSEs (if I can convince my parents to trust that I know what I’m talking about) but I’m a little worried about the change in syllabus, especially as looking at an English Language IGCSE paper, it’s a completely different layout to what I’ve been learning so far.
Would you say they’re about the same level? I know they’re equivalent but I’m just wondering if it’ll take me long to adjust or if it’s a fairly similar difficulty.
Original post by RushingRiver
I’m hoping to take two IGCSEs (if I can convince my parents to trust that I know what I’m talking about) but I’m a little worried about the change in syllabus, especially as looking at an English Language IGCSE paper, it’s a completely different layout to what I’ve been learning so far.
Would you say they’re about the same level? I know they’re equivalent but I’m just wondering if it’ll take me long to adjust or if it’s a fairly similar difficulty.

I've always opted for Edexcel IGCSE English Language Spec B for my kids because there is no anthology to study.

It's a pretty straightforward type of paper. It's a single paper, 3 hours long, split into 3 sections (so you spend roughly an hour on each section).

Section A is comprehension type questions based on two unseen texts that you get given in a separate booklet.

Section B is where you have to write your own non-fiction piece using ideas that you picked up from the aforementioned unseen texts. So you might get a question like: "write a letter to a newspaper about xyz" or "write a letter to a friend about xyz" or "write an application for a job" and you have to write in that particular style, but incorporate some of the ideas from section A's texts into your writing.

Section C is prose essay style writing. You get three choices, you only pick one. One of which is always "write a story entitled xyz" so that's usually the one I encourage my kids to go for as they can go a bit wild with their imagination.
You have to remember to use all literary devices like alliteration, metaphors, similes, and so on and so forth.
(edited 1 year ago)
Honestly, just reading the way you write here, I can't imagine you having a great deal of difficulty with Eng Lang :smile:

They're supposed to be the same difficulty, and they're considered to be the same difficulty at the level that universities don't treat them differently in any way. Obviously different people find different things easier/harder, but unless you've massively been "taught to the test" it should be fine.
Original post by PinkMobilePhone
I've always opted for Edexcel IGCSE English Language Spec B for my kids because there is no anthology to study.

It's a pretty straightforward type of paper. It's a single paper, 3 hours long, split into 3 sections (so you spend roughly an hour on each section).

Section A is comprehension type questions based on two unseen texts that you get given in a separate booklet.

Section B is where you have to write your own non-fiction piece using ideas that you picked up from the aforementioned unseen texts. So you might get a question like: "write a letter to a newspaper about xyz" or "write a letter to a friend about xyz" or "write an application for a job" and you have to write in that particular style, but incorporate some of the ideas from section A's texts into your writing.

Section C is prose essay style writing. You get three choices, you only pick one. One of which is always "write a story entitled xyz" so that's usually the one I encourage my kids to go for as they can go a bit wild with their imagination.
You have to remember to use all literary devices like alliteration, metaphors, similes, and so on and so forth.

Ah thank you! Is there no poetry?! That’d be heaven for me, I’m autistic and struggle with all the metaphors in poetry :lol:
I’ll have a look at some past papers and the exam board, I think I was looking at CIE earlier and got a little freaked out by the layout.

Original post by skylark2
Honestly, just reading the way you write here, I can't imagine you having a great deal of difficulty with Eng Lang :smile:

They're supposed to be the same difficulty, and they're considered to be the same difficulty at the level that universities don't treat them differently in any way. Obviously different people find different things easier/harder, but unless you've massively been "taught to the test" it should be fine.

Aww thanks :tongue:
I was getting 9s in year 10, but they did very much teach to the test. Our lessons consisted of looking at what each question would be, memorising the answer structure for said question, and just going over it continuously. So it would be like “question 2 will ask you to analyse a text, so here’s how many paragraphs you need and here’s what each sentence in the paragraph should be about” which really isn’t very useful now I’m looking at papers with completely different layouts :s-smilie:

Quick Reply

Latest