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acharris77

Finished My GCSE Astronomy Course

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Hey all, I mentioned a while back that I was doing a GCSE Astronomy course. When it has now finished as I had my exam Friday before last. I have to wait till August for the results but am hopeful I have done ok.

I passed my 2 courseworks which were observing 3 constellation and submitting 3 images of DSO's. The course was really fun and learning stuff like Equation of Time, how to calculate apparent and absolute magnitudes using formulas were interesting.

Also loads of other stuff I would recommend the course for anyone wanting to learn Astronomy in more detail.

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Well done on finishing it, whatever the outcome; fingers crossed.

I've looked at it a few times and I agree it looks good, but my worry has always been finding the time [making the time] to sit down and study each week.

How many hours a week do you think you devoted to it?

James

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I have applied to UCLAN to start an entry level module (uni cert) in Astronomy that will lead me into a BSc (Hon) in the subject.

I'm worried about the same thing - time available to study, my current understanding of maths etc.

I have often thought about perhaps trying a GCSE as a marker of my own capacity and time to learn.

Rick

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I have applied to UCLAN to start an entry level module (uni cert) in Astronomy that will lead me into a BSc (Hon) in the subject.

I'm worried about the same thing - time available to study, my current understanding of maths etc.

I have often thought about perhaps trying a GCSE as a marker of my own capacity and time to learn.

Rick

Hi, I did this course a couple of years ago. I would advise 5-6 hours per week, I started it at the same time as my OU degree studies so it wasn't a priority. When I finish the degree (3 years to go), I'll resume Astro studies probably with UCLAN as I think the courses are pretty good.

Roy

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Oddly enough, last week I was reading a (past/expired) GCSE paper on Astronomy (Edexcel/Pearson) to see how far I could get without any teaching & learning whatsoever...lol. Well its longer than I expected, and it covers quite a large range (beyond my area of interest) so there were a few questions where I kinda guessed :D

These spent papers are publicly available, and are often used to give candidates a taste of what to expect in the live exam.

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/astronomy-2009.coursematerials.html##filterQuery=Pearson-UK:Category%2FExam-materials

PS: Might seem daft... but dont forget to read the front of the paper, and use a black ballpoint unless otherwise allowed/instructed, and know your candidate number and centre number (should be on your statement of entry). The amount of kids I have turn up without a pen/pencil/ruler/ID/brain never fails to amaze me, this year Im thinking of setting up a shop outside the exam hall charging a tenner for stuff like that... (apart from brains, im all out of those im afraid!). 

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The actually lessons were 2 hours a week every Thursday. This included going through lots of hand outs that was relevant to the course subject. Then I would say a month before the exam I spent an average of 4 - 5 hours a week just going over the notes to refresh.

The exam questions are not bad and if any formulas were needed they were provided in the question. The practical took the longest, but something like the constellation observations included picking 3 of them, make an observation log and sketch the shape and then in the log make note of what you think the magnification and colour of each star is and do a table to compare them to the absolute magnitudes are.

I enjoyed learning about the The Hertzsprung–Russell diagram and classification of Red Dwarfs, White Dwarfs etc. It brought a lot of understanding to what is already a wonder and amazing hobby as it is.

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Gcse Astronomy is not all that challenging. Get gcse Astronomy by Nigel Marshall; learn it and you should be fine. Do 4 or 5 past papers and you would be an expert. The questions are relatively straightforward, geared at yr9 to yr10 students.

The snag is people learn in different ways. You have to identify how best you learn.

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I have past GCSE papers here and for me they are straightforward compared to my Coursera Intro to Astro course. I passed the latter 87.5% but I struggled with the Maths. Interestingly my daughter's school is adopting GCSE Astronomy for Lower 6th due to the new rules regarding number of A levels they can study. I have offered and they have accepted an invite to use my obsy.

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I've never known any schools to offer GCSE astronomy, is this mainly for logistical reasons in terms of observing at night do we think?  I think some kids would love to do something like this.

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I agree smoggy. As unit welfare officer in the military I know the families (children) would love to have this on the curriculum at school.

I'm in an enviable position that I can get funds to build an astro observatory on our patch. If I could get the local schools to support this venture I could get the project up and running ASAP.

The observatory would be open to nearby Astro Clubs etc if they wanted to make use and perhaps they could take the kids on board

Not GCSE's but a good start!

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I think this Is a great idea hands on science at its best and as you say I think.kids would love it I don't think night time would be a problem as you remember they do over night stays at museums now

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I've never known any schools to offer GCSE astronomy, is this mainly for logistical reasons in terms of observing at night do we think?  I think some kids would love to do something like this.

It's more common than you think.  Next year's curriculum review change by many schools i believe has progressed this initiative.

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gcse Astronomy could be more popular at schools, but it may interfere with curriculum time for yr10 students.

Ideal time to do it is in year 9, but it is challenging to complete the course in one year.

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I have my final exam in astrophysics next week for my BSc hons. Its been a hard slog, but glad it is coming to an end. Masters next year....maybe...

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I have my final exam in astrophysics next week for my BSc hons. Its been a hard slog, but glad it is coming to an end. Masters next year....maybe...

Is it true that Astrophysics is very popular with girls

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Hi Luna,

Yeah, there is a reasonable number of girls on the course; particularly for a science subject. I think more may have been lured over by Prof Brian Cox!

I'd guess that a bit over 1/3 are female. My last two turors have been female too.

Kind regards,

Andrew

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Is it true that Astrophysics is very popular with girls

Hi luna, I met my wife on an astro degree, she was one of many girls on the course :)

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