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 Post subject: A* grade for 2010 A1s?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:43 pm 
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Does anyone know if the new A-level A* grade is going to be used for the A1 exams being taken next summer? (i.e. current Year 12).
Thanks!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:25 pm 
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I believe the answer is yes, but in effect this is being applied now by schools as the UMS scores for this year's AS results are being used for the A2 predicted scores for UCAS University applications this year.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:36 pm 
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Thanks - does that mean that a good set of AS results (including one or more A*s) might compensate for less than perfect GCSEs if going for a highly competitive university course for 2011 entry? In other words are admissions officers going to start taking more notice of AS results than GCSEs now that the A* is an option for them? (...if you see what I mean...)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:50 pm 
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I think the answer is it depends on:-

The Unversity

The course they are applying for.

My daughter is applying for medicine courses this year and you seem to find a vast variety of approaches:

B/Ham and Cardiff tend to count the A*s at GCSE (the former requires 8 A*s for interview) but B/Ham doesn't use UKCAT

Whereas other Universities tend to focus on UKCAT and BMAT.

Most don't look at AS because these aren't cashed-in at UCAS application - however Oxbridge do require you to state you UMS AS scores on a supplemental form.

Most however simply take the AS UMS scores and use these to predict the A2 grades, so they are taken into account in that sense.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:28 pm 
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The A* will be awarded for the first time to the current year 13 (summer 2010)but it is only awarded at A2 not AS level.
From now on schools can predict A* at A2 based on AS results etc.
Some schools do cash in AS modules so these results do go on the UCAS form & Universities can see module results.
The schools can also draw attention to good AS results that haven't been cashed in by means of the reference, especially if GCSEs were less good than expected (eg. A* predicted because **** scored average 90% in AS units or although ****GCSE results were not quite as good as expected the recent AS results .....) So it might be worth contacting the school to discuss concerns at very beginning of Year 13?
If you dont think that the school are going to do this you can include something in the personal statement - putting positive slant on it :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:37 pm 
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Yes, it's what you said about some unis wanting a minimum no of A*s at GCSE that's bothering me, DD wants to do veterinary science but we're wondering if she has blown her chances already with only 5 A*s (even though these include Maths, Biology and Physics and a near miss for Chemistry :( ) - should she be thinking about retaking some, e.g. Eng Lang and Lit? There were also some bad choices made at options time, she chose practical over academic subjects (despite being more academically-oriented) and got Bs mainly because of shortcomings in coursework...

Conversely she is very good at BMAT-type tests...but her current favourite (Edinburgh) doesn't use it!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:45 pm 
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Thanks KB, that's an interesting point about modules. I'll have to ask the school about it. When all's said and done she got A* in the subjects that matter (apart from Chemistry, the most important one!) and almost 100% for Physics!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:28 pm 
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Hi Marylou

I don't think 5 A*s is necessarily a problem, the key thing is to be predicted to get good grades at A2 and good AS UMS scores will help.

It's only B/Ham in medicine that uses the number of A*s at GCSE as the main interview criteria. Cardiff does a similar points system A*=3, A=2, B=1 and you add up the points total for 9 GCSEs subjects. Last year you had to achieve a min 22/27 points for an interview - so for example 5 Grade A*s, 3 Grade As, and 1 Grade B would be ok. However this was for medicine - obviously the number of Universities offering Veterinary Medicine is very limited.

I've done a big of exploration regarding Veterinary Medicine as my son wants to apply for that although he's only in Year 10 at the moment. By far the most important thing in the work experience.

He's actually heard some very good reports about Nottingham which is a new Veterinary Medicine dep't - only opened since 2006.

If you look at the stated requirements these would seem to be ok.


Quote:
Required subjects: grade A in chemistry and biology (or human biology) and grade B in a third subject (excluding general studies and critical thinking) at A2 level; minimum of five grade As at GCSE to include chemistry, biology and physics (or double science), minimum of grade B in maths and English language; grade A at AS level physics can compensate for achieving grade B at GCSE
IB score: a minimum total score of 36 overall (6 + 7 in chemistry and biology at Higher Level - 7 can be in either subject)


Regarding retaking GCSE's - I don't think it's worth it as UCAS only count the Grades achieved in year 11 or earlier I think.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:34 pm 
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Might be worth checking if its even worth re-taking any GCSEs because the Unis may not 'count' them if they are re-sits. Plus, I think it may be too late to register for Jan resits & it would add alot of work to do them in the Summer. Maybe best to focus on getting really good AS grades?
Only have second hand knowledge but I think the 'work experience' side is very important as well so perhaps that could be another area that would increase the 'chances'.
It sounds like you are pretty well up on admissions policies of the different Universities so guess its only a few that might not be worth applying for because of the GCSE 'issue'.
Hope year 12 goes well


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:22 am 
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Thanks Ken and KB. TBH we haven't yet analyzed in detail the entrance requirements for all universities offering veterinary science, but it won't take long as there aren't many! I had the idea that the GCSE thing was "unofficial", i.e. they don't openly state a requirement (apart from the usual C for English Language) but for such a competitive course would expect applicants to have a veritable ream of A*s to even be considered. From what we've seen so far the minimum A-level requirements for most courses are certainly within DD's grasp, but then most applicants will be offering well over the minimum.

At any rate, DD has just secured a place on the Edinburgh vet school's open day next March, so that's a first step at least. :D

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