The Student Room Group

Astronomy GCSE - ???

Hi :smile:
I'm really happy to be part of a school that's offering the Astronomy GCSE right now, and I've been seriously thinking about it. I am sorta worrying though - will it be too much to juggle with my other GCSEs? I'm going to be taking triple science and fm + stats, so that with my other 4 and cores will be 13. Whilst it's a large number to take, I don't want it to be the downfall of my other grades. I'm estimated to be doing really well at GCSE level in pretty much all the subjects I'm taking, grades 7-9 in most. But apparently, astronomy is really time-consuming and difficult. I do have an interest in the subject and what it offers, but is it worth it, and if i did bad in just that one subject would anyone bat an eye? Just on the chance that I did terribly in it but good in all my others. Keep in mind that if I was to take any science later after GCSE, physics would not be it. Idk if that affects anything, just let me know on your thoughts of the whole situation :smile:
Reply 1
Original post by gruezome
Hi :smile:
I'm really happy to be part of a school that's offering the Astronomy GCSE right now, and I've been seriously thinking about it. I am sorta worrying though - will it be too much to juggle with my other GCSEs? I'm going to be taking triple science and fm + stats, so that with my other 4 and cores will be 13. Whilst it's a large number to take, I don't want it to be the downfall of my other grades. I'm estimated to be doing really well at GCSE level in pretty much all the subjects I'm taking, grades 7-9 in most. But apparently, astronomy is really time-consuming and difficult. I do have an interest in the subject and what it offers, but is it worth it, and if i did bad in just that one subject would anyone bat an eye? Just on the chance that I did terribly in it but good in all my others. Keep in mind that if I was to take any science later after GCSE, physics would not be it. Idk if that affects anything, just let me know on your thoughts of the whole situation :smile:

Btw my school offers it in lessons across the week, totalling 2 hrs each week after schl. Also, my schl stressed that if you dont have a big passion or interest for it, astronomy might not be the best idea. I don't really have as strong of an interest as they seem to want, just very worried on the situation as a whole..
If you're interested in doing astronomy, I'd give it a go and see. There is nothing to lose at the moment, especially if you are doing well with your other GCSE subjects. If you find it too challenging alongside your other GCSEs or if you expect that your final grade would be significantly worse than your others, you'll probably be able to drop it.
Reply 3
Original post by gruezome
Btw my school offers it in lessons across the week, totalling 2 hrs each week after schl. Also, my schl stressed that if you dont have a big passion or interest for it, astronomy might not be the best idea. I don't really have as strong of an interest as they seem to want, just very worried on the situation as a whole..

Just because it's something your school offers; doesn't mean you should take it. I'm doing 11 GCSEs and finding the workload to fit all of them in insane as it is. Also, would you really want to spend 2 hours of your own time every week after school to get an at best mediocre grade in a subject you're neither passionate about nor want to do after GCSEs? Maybe you can try it out for a few weeks to get a feel for it and see if it's something that you like, but my advice is to just focus on your others. 12 is a really high amount of GCSEs already!! Adding more work on top of that seems a bit unnecessary to me especially as you don't seem to be extremely interested in it.

Also, could be completely wrong about this, but astronomy GCSE seems like a really rare one. It might be really hard to find revision materials / other students you can relate to for it.

My advice: Just go with it for a few weeks because you never know, it might be something that you love doing, but, if it turns out not to be, you can always drop it and no one would bat an eye that early on into the course.
Original post by gruezome
Hi :smile:
I'm really happy to be part of a school that's offering the Astronomy GCSE right now, and I've been seriously thinking about it. I am sorta worrying though - will it be too much to juggle with my other GCSEs? I'm going to be taking triple science and fm + stats, so that with my other 4 and cores will be 13. Whilst it's a large number to take, I don't want it to be the downfall of my other grades. I'm estimated to be doing really well at GCSE level in pretty much all the subjects I'm taking, grades 7-9 in most. But apparently, astronomy is really time-consuming and difficult. I do have an interest in the subject and what it offers, but is it worth it, and if i did bad in just that one subject would anyone bat an eye? Just on the chance that I did terribly in it but good in all my others. Keep in mind that if I was to take any science later after GCSE, physics would not be it. Idk if that affects anything, just let me know on your thoughts of the whole situation :smile:

hi! I take astronomy gcse and honestly it depends on who is teaching you. If your teacher is very reliable and provides you with enough information and practice papers i think you would be able to cope, but you have to be sure they can help you because it isn't a subject you can learn from home. There are hardly any reliable sources out there to use for revision (edexcel doesn't even provide a textbook to refer to, there is no CGP book or anything similar and even BBC doesn't even list it as a topic). A lot of the content is also really hard to understand so you have to be very dedicated in your learning to get a good score. there is also a lot of physics and maths involved which go past gcse level so only take it if your willing to spend a lot of time studying.
My honest advice is to give it a miss, 13 subjects is a LOT, i take 12 and you will miss out on a lot of free time and potentially get lower grades in other subjects because of it. I personally really regret taking it (even though I love space) - it just isnt worth the time and effort you will put in. It IS interesting but really up to you! :smile:
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 5
I did it at GCSE with the royal astronomical society!
It’s so interesting and I’d really recommend it.
I don’t remember it being too challenging.
Reply 6
Original post by xAspect
Just because it's something your school offers; doesn't mean you should take it. I'm doing 11 GCSEs and finding the workload to fit all of them in insane as it is. Also, would you really want to spend 2 hours of your own time every week after school to get an at best mediocre grade in a subject you're neither passionate about nor want to do after GCSEs? Maybe you can try it out for a few weeks to get a feel for it and see if it's something that you like, but my advice is to just focus on your others. 12 is a really high amount of GCSEs already!! Adding more work on top of that seems a bit unnecessary to me especially as you don't seem to be extremely interested in it.
Also, could be completely wrong about this, but astronomy GCSE seems like a really rare one. It might be really hard to find revision materials / other students you can relate to for it.
My advice: Just go with it for a few weeks because you never know, it might be something that you love doing, but, if it turns out not to be, you can always drop it and no one would bat an eye that early on into the course.

Thanks for telling me about the workload, I was hoping to find a response with these sorts of details.. I'm starting to lean away from it now, especially after finding out I can't withdraw from it once I sign up.
Reply 7
Original post by student83837
hi! I take astronomy gcse and honestly it depends on who is teaching you. If your teacher is very reliable and provides you with enough information and practice papers i think you would be able to cope, but you have to be sure they can help you because it isn't a subject you can learn from home. There are hardly any reliable sources out there to use for revision (edexcel doesn't even provide a textbook to refer to, there is no CGP book or anything similar and even BBC doesn't even list it as a topic). A lot of the content is also really hard to understand so you have to be very dedicated in your learning to get a good score. there is also a lot of physics and maths involved which go past gcse level so only take it if your willing to spend a lot of time studying.
My honest advice is to give it a miss, 13 subjects is a LOT, i take 12 and you will miss out on a lot of free time and potentially get lower grades in other subjects because of it. I personally really regret taking it (even though I love space) - it just isnt worth the time and effort you will put in. It IS interesting but really up to you! :smile:

One of the teachers is not very good and the other is very good, done a phD in it and everything. But considering the 50/50 and the previous comments etc, I don't think I will take it.
Heyy,
I do GCSE astronomy and I'm actually sitting paper 1 for the GCSE tomorrow! I took Sunday morning classes at the Royal Observatory Greenwich which was cool because we got to watch live planetarium shows on a few of the topics we were learning. Having astronomy as part of your school timetable will be less time-consuming and advantageous in the sense that you'll likely have access to your teacher throughout the week. Mine was not a full-time worker at the observatory so we could only speak to him during our once-a-week lessons and he wouldn't even respond to emails loll. Either way, it's not necessarily a problem as (despite it being a rare option for GCSEs) the many online resources can help guide you through the course - I'll link them below. That brings me to the subject of difficulty. In my opinion, astronomy isn't crazy difficult or hard to understand. I find it quite interesting. Plus, if you don't get something you can simply research it. It's also worth noting that the grade boundaries in this subject are relatively low- I'm pretty sure last year you could get a grade 6 with just over half marks. No one would bat an eye if you didn't do as well in astronomy as the other 12 GCSEs (?!) you're sitting. The whole point of astronomy as a GCSE is that you will be credited regardless since you did more than what the average UK student did. Aiming high is always great but don't let the idea of GCSEs and grades stop you if it's something you want to learn.
BUT
I would not recommend doing Astronomy if:
1) you've looked over the content and decided it doesn't interest you at all (no point doing something you don't care about!)
2) there are more enjoyable or beneficial things you could be doing with your time (you already have a lot going for you academically so instead of sitting another GCSE, consider ways you can branch out: you could take an online course in an area your interested in to help boost your employability, do some work experience, volunteer somewhere, try out a few extra-curricular activities or a new hobby, you could even use the time for some extra rest and relaxation)
3) you will be starting the course in year 11 and sitting the GCSE that same year (maybe I'm biased because I'm a year 10 who started the course in Sep'23 and am sitting the GCSE in June'24, but year 10 really is the best year to do it as there's less pressure from the other subjects at that time. if you're entering year 11 it's much better to focus on the things you already have on your plate.)
4) you are sitting the GCSE in year 10 but have other early entry subjects (you will still be expected to attend classes, complete homework and revise for exams in other subjects while you revise for actual GCSEs, plus there are two mandatory pieces of coursework for astronomy. if you're anything like me your attendance may drop- I frequently have to take days off school to revise, complete unfinished tasks, stay sane etc. I didn't go to school today for all the reasons listed above!)

Those are just my personal takes so consider them but don't let them stop you if it's something you really want to do!! Good luck :smile:)

GCSE astronomy links:
Abingdon Science Partnership
Newton's Notepad
Space FM
Physics with Keith
GCSE Astronomy Help
Study Onion
Lawrence Smallman
Specification (I've assumed your exam board is Edexcel)
Textbook (most learning centres provide this for free but just in case!)

Hope this helps :smile:)
Reply 9
Hi! I take Astronomy gcse this year as well and I am currently in year 11. I am doing 14 GCSEs in total and self teaching 3 of them, including Astronomy. I find it quite challenging and time consuming but if you’re able to juggle everything else, then it is a very fun gcse to do (also because I love physics). You can always just sign up for it and learn it, and then withdraw before the exam if you don’t feel that you are ready for the exam. It is also very good on a uni application especially if you’re going to do physics/engineering related course because it shows your interest for the subject.
Original post by academ!cweapon
Heyy,
I do GCSE astronomy and I'm actually sitting paper 1 for the GCSE tomorrow! I took Sunday morning classes at the Royal Observatory Greenwich which was cool because we got to watch live planetarium shows on a few of the topics we were learning. Having astronomy as part of your school timetable will be less time-consuming and advantageous in the sense that you'll likely have access to your teacher throughout the week. Mine was not a full-time worker at the observatory so we could only speak to him during our once-a-week lessons and he wouldn't even respond to emails loll. Either way, it's not necessarily a problem as (despite it being a rare option for GCSEs) the many online resources can help guide you through the course - I'll link them below. That brings me to the subject of difficulty. In my opinion, astronomy isn't crazy difficult or hard to understand. I find it quite interesting. Plus, if you don't get something you can simply research it. It's also worth noting that the grade boundaries in this subject are relatively low- I'm pretty sure last year you could get a grade 6 with just over half marks. No one would bat an eye if you didn't do as well in astronomy as the other 12 GCSEs (?!) you're sitting. The whole point of astronomy as a GCSE is that you will be credited regardless since you did more than what the average UK student did. Aiming high is always great but don't let the idea of GCSEs and grades stop you if it's something you want to learn.
BUT
I would not recommend doing Astronomy if:
1) you've looked over the content and decided it doesn't interest you at all (no point doing something you don't care about!)
2) there are more enjoyable or beneficial things you could be doing with your time (you already have a lot going for you academically so instead of sitting another GCSE, consider ways you can branch out: you could take an online course in an area your interested in to help boost your employability, do some work experience, volunteer somewhere, try out a few extra-curricular activities or a new hobby, you could even use the time for some extra rest and relaxation)
3) you will be starting the course in year 11 and sitting the GCSE that same year (maybe I'm biased because I'm a year 10 who started the course in Sep'23 and am sitting the GCSE in June'24, but year 10 really is the best year to do it as there's less pressure from the other subjects at that time. if you're entering year 11 it's much better to focus on the things you already have on your plate.)
4) you are sitting the GCSE in year 10 but have other early entry subjects (you will still be expected to attend classes, complete homework and revise for exams in other subjects while you revise for actual GCSEs, plus there are two mandatory pieces of coursework for astronomy. if you're anything like me your attendance may drop- I frequently have to take days off school to revise, complete unfinished tasks, stay sane etc. I didn't go to school today for all the reasons listed above!)
Those are just my personal takes so consider them but don't let them stop you if it's something you really want to do!! Good luck :smile:)
GCSE astronomy links:
Abingdon Science Partnership
Newton's Notepad
Space FM
Physics with Keith
GCSE Astronomy Help
Study Onion
Lawrence Smallman
Specification (I've assumed your exam board is Edexcel)
Textbook (most learning centres provide this for free but just in case!)
Hope this helps :smile:)

Hey! How did you take the classes at Royal Observatory Greenwich?
Original post by gruezome
Hi :smile:
I'm really happy to be part of a school that's offering the Astronomy GCSE right now, and I've been seriously thinking about it. I am sorta worrying though - will it be too much to juggle with my other GCSEs? I'm going to be taking triple science and fm + stats, so that with my other 4 and cores will be 13. Whilst it's a large number to take, I don't want it to be the downfall of my other grades. I'm estimated to be doing really well at GCSE level in pretty much all the subjects I'm taking, grades 7-9 in most. But apparently, astronomy is really time-consuming and difficult. I do have an interest in the subject and what it offers, but is it worth it, and if i did bad in just that one subject would anyone bat an eye? Just on the chance that I did terribly in it but good in all my others. Keep in mind that if I was to take any science later after GCSE, physics would not be it. Idk if that affects anything, just let me know on your thoughts of the whole situation :smile:

Hi, I'm currently in a similar situation, with 12 GCSEs (including triple science, maths, stats and FM), and personally I find that 12 is a good number already. I would recommend not surpassing it, as 12 is already very much superfluous but having weaker grades for the sake of taking one extra GCSE (which is a topic in GCSE physics anyways!!!) is not worth it imo. Good luck!
Original post by soulk1m
Hey! How did you take the classes at Royal Observatory Greenwich?

Hi! My school just asked if i would be interested and got me signed up for it. I'm pretty sure the offer is made to all schools in the borough as there were students from loads of schools including a few private institutions.

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