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 Post subject: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
Posts: 4608
Does anyone know very much about this? I am just getting to grips with how things work in the 6th form (aargh - deadline soon) and I think that they routinely do 3 A levels, can do 4 if they do well enough at GCSE and if they don't do 4 they do critical thinking (can also do it all the way through as a 4th A level). DD is thinking of doing a bit of a mixture with English and some sciences. Would she be better off doing one year of maths (not a strength of hers at all) or would critical thinking be genuinely useful? Or is it seen a bit like general studies? I really have no idea how to advise her.

Thanks for your help - I feel as if I will be settling in here for a while to come!


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:11 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:12 pm
Posts: 52
Hi Scarey mum

English and sciences are a good choice, english literature is supposed to be the better one to take than english language, although at my sons school it is a combined Alevel english lit/language. With regards to Maths A level, I've heard that this is a huge step up from GCSE, you probably need a GCSE A or A* to have a chance with Maths A level. I have heard of quite a few people who take this and end up dropping it because it is sooooo hard, so if you are saying Maths is not your DD's strong point then it's probably best to choose a different subject. I think critical thinking is given the same credit as general studies - not a lot by Unis!!! As I have posted on here before, my son has to take General Studies as a compulsory fifth A level, if it is not compulsory for your DD, then it is probably best to stick with three or four core subjects. This will give here more university or career choices. This is of course just my experiences/opinion.

I know it's a difficult decision to help you DC with A Level choices, it has been taking my son a while to decide on his subjects, but I think we are nearly there now!! Good luck helping your DD.


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:45 pm
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It seems like such a big decision, doesn't it? Yes, it is English Lit, they don't do language at her school. Her maths tutor seemed to think she could cope with AS maths, but that A2 was step up (hmm, maybe thinking of more tutoring :lol: :lol: ). if Guest%% is reading, maybe she could comment on that.

All other comments on critical thinking gratefully received. Her tutor seems to think it would be useful, and I think maybe she has to do it, at least for a year if she doesn't do a 4th A level (I think, I need to check again, it's all so complicated!!) <tearing out hair emoticon> :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:54 pm 
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Posts: 316
Hi Scary Mum,

Critical thinking is compulsory for my DD (at grammar) for AS level, in conjunction with four other AS. She can then drop critical thinking for A2, but then must do an extended project instead :shock:

There have been many complaints at the school that critical thinking shouldn't be compulsory but the school insists that it is a useful subject to have as an addition to your core qualifications. You are very unlikely to get an offer at university based on your critical thinking results but some universities look on it favourably as an additional qualification. I think the extended project is more useful however.

I think if you have a choice in the matter, I would concentrate on the core A Level subjects and give critical thinking a miss. The extended project might be worth considering or another type of "enrichment qualification" such as Sports Leadership.

Just my views FWIW :D


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:57 pm
Posts: 1167
.


Last edited by Belinda on Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 3:23 pm
Posts: 140
Location: Warwickshire
What I have heard of as the most usual combination is 4 AS subjects dropping to 3 for A2. In these cases Critical Thinking is a 5th AS subject. It is valued by unis but only as an "extra" subject not as an "instead".
I understand that it is definitely much more highly regarded than GS. Students can struggle with it as it is about learning a way of "thinking" and then presenting your thoughts. I believe it can be particulalry useful for Law at uni but also for those that debate and needless to say enjoy thinking critically.
At DD's school it is taken as a 5th subject - by invitation only (I think minimum of 6 GCSE A*s). Some do struggle as the thought patterns don't come easily to them - they are then given the option to drop it pre-exam. I think it is probably only worthwhile if you are going to get a good grade in it ... otherwise more harm than good. I seem to remember saying a similar thing about the Extended Project not long ago. DD1 did it CT and did very well - with near full UMS. DD2 isn't doing it, nor Extended Project!


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 3758
Location: Berkshire
At mine's grammar, they get to do four ASs plus General Studies as long as they have 6 A*s to As at GCSE, otherwise they do 3 plus General Studies....2 of mine have done the four and one only three plus GS.

I don't have anything to say about Critical Thinking except that it is one of those subjects that is not always considered for University applications, in the same way as GS - so I wouldn't lose any sleep over it to be honest :D

I would also say that Eng Lit is the better of the two or the combined A level English, that plus Sciences will be a good and varied mix, so she should be fine. Good luck


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:04 pm
Posts: 1055
My friend's daughter did Critical Thinking at AS and went to Cambridge for her first degree. She said that while at school she did not think much of Critical Thinking but was glad she did it when she went for her interview. She felt that Critical Thinking had prepared her well.


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
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Location: Berkshire
bromley mum wrote:
She felt that Critical Thinking had prepared her well.


yes and they do prepare you well, they just don't count in terms of UCAS points :D


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 Post subject: Re: Critical thinking?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:19 am 
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I researched the school website again last night and the situation is as follows:
360 point or greater at GCSE (top 8 subjects) to do 3 A levels plus critical thinking
390 points or greater to do 4 A levels (not critical thinking).

It seems to me she will be better opting for a fourth and then if she doesn't get the points doing CT, or at least delaying the decision a little! I'd still be interested in Guest 55's views on A2/AS maths - I'll start a separate thread if she doesn't see this.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts - it's so hard when they don't really know what they want to do.


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