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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:45 pm 
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Hi lovely people,

I am hoping someone can give me advice as to whether or not taking an extra 'A' level outside of school is a good idea or not.

My DS had a bit of a nightmare choosing his A level options. He finally decided on History, Ancient History, German and Economics and was very happy with these.

However the day before the Easter holidays he was told he probably would not be able to take both Ancient History and german together as time tabling clashed. This week DS. Has had it confirmed that he will have to choose between them and find another subject for a 4th A level.

My question is if he just took 3 A levels at school - History, Ancient History and Economics - would it be feasible to take German outside school as the 4 th subject ?

Have no idea where to start looking, either at evening classes or a tutor but equally I am unsure if it is a good idea or not.

Was wondering if anyone had any experience and could offer some advice.

Many thanks


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:53 pm 
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Why does he have to do 4? If not, I would say don't bother!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:56 pm 
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Why have they left it so late to tell them?

On the face of it his choices look a bit limiting - it is not normally recommended to take both Ancient History and History.

I would not recommend taking an additional A level outside school - we've sometimes had a student doing one in school by distance learning but not completely outside.

The new linear A levels are different and still 'bedding in' so caution is advised.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:04 pm 
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Not sure that there is any benefit doing 2 history A levels - unis will only expect one. can he do Hist Ger Econ?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:19 pm 
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Well it is possible - one of mine is self-teaching an A level and is sitting at a school which they aren't attending - a school or college needs to act as an exam centre.

I agree with others though - why? You don't need 4, especially now.

I think German would be very hard to do that for.

Herman's post offers a very sensible solution.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:21 pm 
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Thanks for your replies.

Scary mum - I would much rather he did 3 A levels, more than enough work involved !
But as he can't do the two which were top of his list I was just thinking of ways to get round it.
Because of his GCSE predictions he will be expected to do 4. But I don't know how flexible the school are on this.

Guest 55 - I have no idea why they have left it so late, apparently all other boys who couldn't do the choices they wanted were called in to discuss it. DS just got a slip on the last day of term crossing out German. He went at break to speak to the lady concerned and she said it was a timetabling issue but would confirm after the holidays and he would need another subject to take. It's now been confirmed and he's got until Monday to make a decision.

Hermanmunster - while I agree perhaps taking both histories is not ideal (though I have to admit my A levels were History, Classical civilisation, Economics and Art so the apple doesn't fall far from the tree ! ) it is what he wants to do. He also refuses to give up Ancient History so he would be left with 2 histories, economics and who knows what else which is even less ideal.

The last thing I want to do is make life harder for DS. And if taking German out of school would do this then I won't consider it but I was just trying to find a way for him to do the subjects that he wants.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:28 pm 
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as someone who took an O level out of school (not nearly as much commitment as an A level) during A levels I would not be keen for my DD to do anything like this. The centre hosting the course wasn't that close and so travel plus the learning time took a whole evening every week. That really reduced my flexibility for getting school work done. I did it as I really wanted to do a subject not offered by my school - technical drawing and I was planning to study engineering - but it was hard to fit it in.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:36 pm 
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logic32 wrote:
Thanks for your replies.

Scary mum - I would much rather he did 3 A levels, more than enough work involved !
But as he can't do the two which were top of his list I was just thinking of ways to get round it.
Because of his GCSE predictions he will be expected to do 4. But I don't know how flexible the school are on this.

Guest 55 - I have no idea why they have left it so late, apparently all other boys who couldn't do the choices they wanted were called in to discuss it. DS just got a slip on the last day of term crossing out German. He went at break to speak to the lady concerned and she said it was a timetabling issue but would confirm after the holidays and he would need another subject to take. It's now been confirmed and he's got until Monday to make a decision.

Hermanmunster - while I agree perhaps taking both histories is not ideal (though I have to admit my A levels were History, Classical civilisation, Economics and Art so the apple doesn't fall far from the tree ! ) it is what he wants to do. He also refuses to give up Ancient History so he would be left with 2 histories, economics and who knows what else which is even less ideal.

The last thing I want to do is make life harder for DS. And if taking German out of school would do this then I won't consider it but I was just trying to find a way for him to do the subjects that he wants.


The point is, as you say, the school expect him to do 4...therefore, if they cannot timetable him German, they will expect him to pick up another one in school - so if he is then doing German out of school, that will be 5....If the school are happy for him to just do 3 in school because he might pick up German outside of school, then just let him do the 3 in school...But I would add to the general consensus that two histories are not ideal and dropping one of those in favour of German would show more breadth.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:42 pm 
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Is taking History and Ancient History really so much worse than Maths, Further Maths and Physics, a fairly common combination amongst those applying for, say, Computer Science, it would seem? logic32, what is the fourth A level choice your DS has at school (presumably this will be pretty much hamstrung by timetabling constrictions by now)?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:48 pm 
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ToadMum wrote:
Is taking History and Ancient History really so much worse than Maths, Further Maths and Physics, a fairly common combination amongst those applying for, say, Computer Science, it would seem?


Maths and Further Maths are treated as two separate A levels - History and Ancient History aren't.

Only three A levels are needed for university entrance - I think to just give him over the weekend is ridiculous - you need to demand time to go in and discuss this properly.

Is there another school that could offer what he wants?


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