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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 9:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:26 am
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Location: Watford, Herts
While the government and exam boards hold that all A levels are equally rigorous, some universities distinguish between them:
Most universities do not count General Studies in their tariff, and some also exclude Critical Thinking, or accept it only at AS level. An A-level in a foreign language that you already speak is often discounted. Particular courses will have more specific requirements. (thanks to mitasol for these links)

Comparison of subjects:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:59 am
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Article in the Guardian today - A-level subjects: what universities want
Guardian wrote:
We asked universities for information about their 'preferred' and 'non-preferred' A-level subjects for applicants. Their replies should be useful to pupils trying to decide what to study next


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
This makes for very shocking reading. This is vital information that parents and students need before selecting their GCSE's let alone their A levels. The data that three times as many students are taking the "non preferred" options than the desired ones is just breathtaking. Just how are you supposed to know this information? Every school should have someone trained to track this data. It makes me feel quite sick to think of all those students selecting subjects in good faith having no idea that these lists exist. DG


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 10:12 pm 
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The universities are of course then expected to make allowances for applicants without the right qualifications or who haven't studied the right subjects... :evil:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:53 pm
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I thought all this was something everybody knew? That soft options are just a cop out for doing real hard work at A level, introduced to get the lower achievers to a) stay on at school instead of joining the ranks of the unemployed and unemployable, and b) to give everyone a "qualification".
Of course loads of them are not worth the paper they're written on! Isn't it obvious that something that ends in "studies" is not going to be up to much! My mum retired from secondary teaching nearly thirty years ago, and it was known then!
It's not just up to the teachers - it's up to us as parents to help and advise our children, surely? I would never advise a child of mine to take a soft option. Total waste of time.
It all started going down hill when GCSEs were introduced (you can guess I am old, can't you?) and has never reveresed the downhill trend in all that time. Sad.
But the moral is, be aware as a parent what your child is doing in school.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:49 pm 
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Location: Herts
Flicka, you would be amazed how little research parents put into this. I was laughed at in primary school for focusing on getting my children into a good secondary school and now I am laughed at again for researching GCSE options for my dd in Y8 who will have to choose this time next year. Even parents on this forum with Y8 dc's have told me it is far too early to be thinking about this. I know that mistakes made with choices at GCSE at 14 will cost you the university place you are interested in at 18. I hear parents saying that dc should take subjects they like and whatever they want to do is fine by me. When I was at school, you were only allowed to take the soft options if you were not able to do the academic subjects. But I am surprised to see so many able students taking them. I hear the words "fun", must be able to do some fun subjects with the academic ones! DG


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:27 pm 
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I probably wouldn't be amazed. Mum was a secondary teacher, daughter is a primary teacher, went to teacher training college myself. I can fully agree that education seems to have to be "fun" nowadays, from age 5 upwards. Learn through play. What happened to learning by rote your times tables? I HE my son, and admittedly I live in France, but I have three older children and one step daughter, who all went through most of their education in the UK, aged from 27 to 21. So I know a bit about education. They've been to state primary, prep schools, state comprehensive and private secondaries, so I have a wide range of experience really.
I always thought that ANYTHING that ended with "studies" was a soft option. And as you say, back in the day, only the least able took the soft options. The bright did the hard stuff, but, nowadays, when not even the hard subjects are actually completely hard, what is the point when only an A* is worth anything? A grade C might as well not count, when you look at the mark you have to get to gain it.
I am continually saddened at the degrading of the UK state education system, saddened that a generation of politicians who got where they are today via the state grammar schools (not all of them, I know) thought it best to do away with them.
My mum was brought up in an incredibly poor part of Manchester in the 1930s and 1940s, her dad died when she was a teenager and she and her sisters all went to grammar school, which gave them a way out of their poverty. My mum went to Manchester Art School to study fashion and eventually became an art and needlework teacher who now sells her watercolours in her retirement for quite a lot of money, her older sister studied history in London, and became an upper primary teacher, and the youngest sister won a scholarship to Oxford, then Harvard, then became a Fellow at Somerville, and ended up writing the laws for the government and being awarded the Order of the Bath.
None of this could have been done if there had not been grammar schools. And hard, meaningful and worthwhile exams for them to do.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:57 am
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Location: Gloucestershire
We were told when making AS choices that if you are considering reading English at Uni then it is good to have a foreign language at least to AS if not A2. It also seems to apply to applications to read History. We followed this advice and it has paid off.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:04 pm
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WP wrote:
While the government and exam boards hold that all A levels are equally rigorous, some universities distinguish between them:
Most universities do not count General Studies in their tariff, and some also exclude Critical Thinking, or accept it only at AS level. An A-level in a foreign language that you already speak is often discounted. Particular courses will have more specific requirements. (thanks to mitasol for these links)

Comparison of subjects:


Very good post, and VERY important that this information is put out to schools. I would urge all parents to ensure that schools put together a pack or something with the information from these links, as it WILL make or break your child's chance at university.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:40 pm
Posts: 966
Thank you WP - brilliant reading.


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