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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:56 am 
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My daughter did her IGCSE (Edexcel) at the end of Year 10, and having managed an A star, is now being prepared for FSMQ next May. She is finding it extremely tough. Does any one with personal or anecdotal experience know how the FSMQ compares to AS/A Level Maths? She was always sure she would choose A Level Maths but now is having misgivings and reconsidering that decision given she is finding FSMQ so hard.

Many thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:11 am 
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DS did it at the end of year 11 having got A* in the GCSE in the November. It was quite hard and the teacher reckoned a C would be a really good mark. In the end he was stunned to get an A and went on to do the A level - it was much was much easier going into A level with the background of FSMQ as some stuff had already been covered and although those who had done the FSMQ had to effectively re do some of the topics (as not all the A level students had done FSMQ) they found found that the reinforcement was very useful.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:18 am 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
My daughter (and most of her maths group) also found this course very hard, despite having achieved A* in GCSE maths in yr 10. Most of the top maths set didn't take the final exam having done very badly in the January mock exam. (the only exceptions being those such as the really keen mathematician who went on to get 4 A* at A level and a place at Cambridge...) However they were reassured by talking to those in the year above, who said that just having studied these more advanced topics would give them a head start at A level, and sure enough my daughter (who is off to Manchester University TODAY!! (help) with AAA in Maths, Chemistry & Biology) in her first term of AS Maths found that the difficult topics (such as calculus) from the FSMQ suddenly clicked into place and made sense when re-taught as part of Core 1 (or whatever module it was). It seems the content is presented in a more structured / logical way at A level, while the FSMQ needs more conceptual leaps which maybe only the few "natural" mathematicians are ready for? Or maybe the teacher hadn't taken on board the difference in style between the FSMQ and GCSEs? In any case, please don't let your daughter be discouraged from taking A Level Maths, there is every chance she will find it perfectly doable


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:53 am 
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I would endorse what Herman says here. DD also did early GCSE with A* in Year 10. She and her top set colleagues found the FSMQ really challenging and downright hard at times, and 2 decided not to sit it. DD plugged on though, and like Herman's DS, DD was pretty amazed to get an A. She is now 2 weeks into an AS Maths course and says the FSMQ has helped 'masses' - she feels really confident in a subject which was probably her weakest at the start of secondary school, and is really enjoying it now. While I am sure there are others who didn't do it and feel just as comfortable, for my DD this has been a really good thing to have done, if only for her own confidence. So though I can't advise your DD Asha, my hunch is to say go with it - you and she might be surprised.

ETA - well done to your DD solimum and good luck to you when she goes away today. :)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:16 am 
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Sorry I think the FSMQ is not a good course - in my opinion it's better to enrich the teaching of GCSE/iGCSE as much of C1 is A* stuff anyway.

It can seriously dent the confidence of able mathematicians and is not a good fit with A level. I'm a teacher by the way and a parent of a student who's off to Uni soon after studying Maths in a different school to where I teach.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:22 am 
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Interesting that you say that about the course G55, I really never looked at what was beiing done although fairly lively calculus appeared on the scribble board in the kitchen. -

The trouble is with any of these courses is that as parents we have relatively little control over the courses the kids do!

DS was in set 1 for GCSE maths so they did the GCSE in the Nov altogether (personally i would have preferred them to wait until the summer) then they started the FSMQ... very tricky for parents to march in and say I don't want them to do the course / exam when that is what the whole set is doing!


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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Oh I agree - but parents do have a lot of power if they complain!

The only new stuff in C1 should be calculus so in Y12 you have ages to explore where it comes from and what its for rather than 'this is how you differentiate' which FSMQ encourages.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:32 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm
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Location: caversham
It is a funny animal!

Positives a good introduction to A level maths, the grade boundaries are low, IIRC the top grade A is about 62%?

Negatives, as above it can put you off maths.

We had a bad experience with it but it helped finalize the decision not to do double maths in a single teaching slot (which DS1 was being pushed towards) but to do and enjoy single maths and three other subjects.

Sometimes the "enjoy" bit gets lost on the conveyor belt education system.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:36 am 
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oooo calculus ..... memories of agony in the lower 6th ... I should never have done A level maths :lol: :lol:

Agreed re parents complaining - or at least "asking questions".... DD's school will regret the easy access they gave parents to teachers via a messaging system :oops: :oops: never changes much but at least they hear the concerns :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:57 am 
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I know you don't like it G55; and like Herman I have little idea of what it covered. What I do know, however, is it is that course which has turned DD from someone who thought she 'couldn't do' Maths, to someone who now loves it and is confidently walking into AS classes at a new, far more high achieving and competitive school, and feeling she is more than able to cope. So for me, that has to be good. Time will tell whether there is any lasting benefit but I will take it for now. And FWIW, when she was looking at new schools, all the Maths teachers she met considered it A Good Thing that she was doing it.

None of this lessens my opposition to early GCSEs though, despite DD being one of the 'successes' of that particular adventure.


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