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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 7:38 pm
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Hi all

Looking for some help with A Level options.

Is General Paper a compulsory subject for all Sixth Form students (year 12) in addition to the 3/4 other subjects they choose to take? I am assuming General Paper is taken at AS and dropped at A2?

Wondering how this ties in with Critical Thinking - (which I have noticed some schools do not take at all - how useful has your DC found it?). If a child takes General Paper in addition to their choices of Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Critical Thinking for instance, this would mean 5 subjects in all (a lot, I think). Not forgetting the EPQ if they decided to take that on as well. Can one take Critical Thinking and not General Paper?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:23 pm 
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General Studies is taken by quite a lot of schools - not sure how uesful it is as most Unis seem to exclude it from the subjects they accept. TBH it isn't huge amounts of work - the is AS is 2 exams and I presume the A2 is the same.
No revision & no stress


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:12 pm 
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DDs school offered critical thinking for a couple of years but has now dropped it in favour of a non-examined set of cultural studies (far better and infinitely more interesting!). My Dd didn't bother sitting for the AS (was just before her GCSEs and she felt she'd gained minimal benefit from it). I'm sure it wouldn't have stood against her, but the school was quite happy for her not to take it in the end. And I would far rather she had spent the time reading Greek and English literature.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:15 pm 
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nigs - sorry just noticed the EPQ is an option.
Again the unis are very cautious about saying how much they value it or not. But it clearly has more cachet than Critical Thinking with some, and is more valuable just as an education in itself. DD is doing it - really interesting but a HUGE extra load - she also doing 4 ASs and an extra GCSE. Be very careful to focus down the question if your DC opts for it!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:54 pm 
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At DD's school there seem to be some very random results from Critical Thinking - one girl who is amazing at english did rather badly and one gifted scientist who had Bs in both gcse english exams got nearly full marks!
DD avoided it for this reason and because school went on and on about how it would help when applying to uni - well it isn't very likely to help if every man and his dog are doing it!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:50 pm 
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General Studies doesnt take any work outside of school but results can be unpredictable & really a waste of time unless it is compulsory or DC is applying to one of the very few Universities who accept it as part of an offer.

Critical thinking is not a 'doss' subject and does require some work. Most of the 'top' Universities do not accept it as an 'offer' subject but an A grade at AS could help an application. It is certainly not taken by everyone so if Dc has some spare capacity & enjoys it could be worthwhile. If it is taught well the skill can be applied to other subjects. I would endorse that it probably suits scientific rather than literate minds.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:12 am 
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DD has just about recovered from oxford interviews (for history) and says that the A-level subject which was the most helpful (apart from history itself of course!) was Philosophy and Ethics - better than critical thinking and certainly better than general studies. P and E also has the advantage of not being on the "soft" A-level list and being a subject unis will offer on.


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