More girls than boys choose basic variant of science subjects

Just as many boys as girls choose not to include a science subject in their exam clusters, both at pre-university (vwo) and senior secondary general (havo) level. Boys who do choose science subjects generally choose more of these subjects than girls. More girls do the basic variant of the science subjects.

More than half of havo exams with no science subjects

Half of the pupils - boys and girls - who sat their havo exams in 2005 did not do exams in the subjects physics, chemistry or biology. For those doing vwo exams this was true for just over a third of boys and girls. Mathematics is compulsory at both havo and vwo level.

Physics, chemistry and biology in exam year 2005

Physics, chemistry and biology in exam year 2005

Difference partly caused by choice of subject cluster

Boys are more likely to do two science subjects, girls one. The share of pupils with three science subjects is about the same. Girls often choose the subject cluster Nature and Health, which includes three science subjects. Boys more often choose Nature and Technology, in which only physics and chemistry are compulsory, although many of these pupils also choose biology.

Havo girls more often do basic maths

At havo level, girls are much more likely to do the basic variant of the science subjects. In the case of maths, 64 percent of girls did the basic variant, compared with 27 percent of boys. Only 12 percent of the girls who did physics did the complete variant, compared with 60 percent of the boys who did physics. There are no alternative variants for chemistry and biology at havo level.

Science subjects of havo exam candidates, 2005

At vwo, too, girls do basic versions of science subjects

The picture for vwo exam candidates is similar to that for the havo candidates. In 2005, 59 percent of girls sat the  basic variant maths exam, compared with 29 percent of the boys.
Girls sitting exams in physics and chemistry, too, were more likely to do the basic variants of these subjects: for physics five out of six girls, for chemistry two out of three. Less than half of the boys doing exams in these subjects did the basic variant. Just as at havo level, biology was more popular among girls than among boys.

Science subjects of vwo exam candidates, 2005

Science subjects of vwo exam candidates, 2005

Rob Kapel