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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:05 pm 
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We have A level option evening looming and some important decisions to make
My dc is very confident in choosing their favourite and strongest subjects- Geography,Economics (A*predictions); Government and Politics would be a new subject choice Looking ahead at University courses it would seem to be a good fourth option to choose Mathematics with Statistics .However although predicted A grade at GCSE it is not a subject that dc is confident in and is not in a top set ;so therefore is not doing the statistic GCSE module (Edexcel Linear ).
My question is how big a gap is there between GCSE and AS level Mathematics? How hard will it be to do statistics when you have not covered it at GCSE level ? My dc is keen to explore the possibility of a Maths tutor to teach Statistics but I think the school may say you have A* predictions in English,RS and History, and it would be wiser to choose one of these .
Any advice welcome please!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:29 am 
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What university courses and careers is your child looking at?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:04 am 
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Gather there IS a big gap between GCSE and AS level - they have to hit the ground running - have heard of many A grade GCSE candidates who get poor marks on early AS modules.
DS did the FSMQ after early GCSE and that has helped the "gap" ..... not fazed by the squiggly stuff in calculus and variable accelarations etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:09 am 
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Location: East Kent
hermanmunster wrote:
..... not fazed by the squiggly stuff in calculus and variable accelarations etc.

:lol: :lol: :lol:

brilliant description


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:59 am 
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My dc has no calling to any specific career at the moment . Most career ideas I suggest result in a wrinkled up nose of disapproval and so we are encouraging,rightly or wrongly?,sticking to subjects that they have a real interest and talent in;Geography seems to be their passion, closely followed by Economics.
Having looked at Universities that do Geography there are a few courses that combine both Geography and Economics.This appeals to dc but they do ask for Mathematics with statistics, hence the dilemma of choosing a subject that dc is not strong in at GCSE level (despite A grade prediction) never mind A level; I think the school will be surprised at this choice.
I have no experience of Government and Politics A level but having read the curriculum details I get the impression that it isn't particularly academically demanding,unlike History for example,and so may give dc extra time to concentrate on the Maths.
I am struggling to understand the nuances of AS/A2 level? Do you get any acceptable qualification from acquiring a grade at AS level if you then decide not to continue it at A2? or does this just highlight weakness by not completing to A2 Level?
Given the highly competitiveness of university places is it worth taking a risk at a weaker but more desirable subject in the knowledge that a Maths tutor will be essential ?
Any advice or experience from other weary parents or teachers welcome !


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:03 am 
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Maths A level is always useful for university applications - for many subjects. Economics usually requires it.

AS level is the first year of A level and many kids do 4 AS and then drop one to do 3 A levels , the AS result is quite valid in itself. - however you need to look at the specific universities as to what level they require - sometime they will quote AABb which means AAB at A2 level and a B at AS level or that sort of thing.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:12 am 
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It is also worth knowing that the AS grades will get 'cashed in' at some point and contribute to the overall A2 grade. It does mean that if one paper is weak you might have the option of not declaring it. There are implications though - resits, while not necessarily having to be declared, will be visible because the uni will know when the modules have been taken. Also, with the introduction of the new A* grade at A2 level, you need an A in all papers at AS to get it. Be a little bit wary about Economics: if your DC wanted to study it at uni, it would not have been necessary to take the A level; but if s/he did take it, they would be looking for a high grade. This very issue is in the process of scuppering the aspirations of someone I know very well, and who 'only' managed a B at AS.

Remember too, if Geography is the ultimate aim, there are 2 routes to a degree - BA and BSc. They have different entry requirements (maths more likely to be needed for the second) and different profiles.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:15 am 
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I liken Maths to my child eating vegetables when very young! in that if you disguise them in a favourite food they have no problem eating them.
Dc quite happily applies maths/statistics within a Geography or Economics lesson with no problems, but if you gave the same "raw" maths in a maths lesson they would adopt a perceived problem; if I could disguise the AS/A2 Mathematics in with their favourite lessons ...........easy!!
Would acquiring GCSE Statistics as an independent i.e.: outside of school ,help?

Hermanmunster
Quote:
DS did the FSMQ after early GCSE and that has helped the "gap"


Please can you explain what FSMQ is and was this taken within school?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:28 am 
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Free standing maths qualification - can be done at different levels (was done in school) - in this case bridged GCSE and AS level.

GCSE was done in November of year 11 and then - exam in June.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:11 pm 
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Its really difficult to advise on subject combinations when Dc isn't sure about Uni course. It also makes a huge difference whether they are looking at one of the 'top 10' Universities or something a little less competitive.
It sounds from what you say that DC is more inclined to the Humanities than the Sciences so would be looking at this sort of Geography course at Uni rathger than a science based one.
Geography & Economics seems a good combination but as previously mentioned, few degree courses require A level Economics so if Dc is very good at another subject but you aren't sure how they would get on with Econoimcs then it might be better to go with the 'known' option.
I would check about whether Government & Politics is considered an suitable 3rd A level by the standard of Unis your DC would be looking at. It would probably be fine as a 4th but if they take maths AS & then drop it at A2 so are only left with the 3 A2s it might be that G/P is seen as too soft an option.
My advice on what you have said would be to look for something that widens the range a bit more. Unis might see too much overlap between Geography,Economics & G/P.
As to Maths A level - I would say that while like most A level subjects there is a big jump it is actually considered a reasonaby easy option & most 'real' mathematicians take at least AS & often A2 Further Maths as well.
Maths is taken in modules - the Core modules & then various options, including Statistics. Many students wont have done seperate Statistics GCSE so while those that have may have a bit of a head start it isn't a big deal.
If Dc is taking 3 other stong A levels they would have the option of dropping Maths after AS but if they did well at AS they could then get away with lower marks on the (harder) A2 papers & still get an A grade.
RE- A* grade at A level. You do not have to get an A grade in all the AS papers. You need to get an A (ie 80% average) over all papers & average 90% over the A2 papers.
Few students would be expecting to get A* in all their subjects so I wouldn't see a problem with taking Maths & 'only' getting an A :)


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