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 Post subject: A level General Studies
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:33 am 
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DS's current school insist that all sixth formers take A level General Studies. DS struggles with essay based subjects and so this subject will not play to his strengths. Most universities do not seem interested in General studies but will a poor result in it detract from an otherwise good set of A levels?
My thought is that he would be better off not taking it than getting a low grade, but we have been told that it is not an option at his school.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 8:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Having had DS just sit the AS it suits pupils taking philosophy, politics, etc. the science paper was pseudoscience in DS' opinion. Not very general anymore. When I took it in the dark ages it was very broad.

The boy next door said that Cambridge said they didn't care what he got in general studies. Most pupils have barely any lessons. It does add to ucas points though, which of course helps the schools in the league tables. Hoping I'm not being too cynical.

On the plus side DS enjoyed the lessons.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 8:15 am 
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I agree with Moved - the unis don't care about the result of it, just probably adds to the school UCAS points and it (well AS) is needed for the AQA Bacc (if they want to do that)

Some kids do v well, usually as they have wide general interests and broad A levels - (for 2/4 in this household it was the best A level score :oops: #dustbinbrains )


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 9:22 am 
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Everyone does it at DS1's school as well - 'lessons' are mainly talks during tutor time (some outside speakers) rather than timetabled. The head of sixth form put it to us that although it's not a 'mainstream' A level, it has been the salvation of the few students who do less well than expected in their main subjects but have found an acceptable degree course at a university which does count General Studies as a third A level.

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 12:44 pm 
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I can't see how anyone can be made to do this! Sixth form study as A2 is optional .... you should be able to insist he is not entered and copy your request to the Chair of Governors.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 3:24 pm 
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I have no problem with him attending the timetabled lessons, but I dont want him to take the exam if it will be detrimental to his university application or for him to have to spend a lot of time on the subject. Unfortunately he is not taking a wide spread of subjects and is not particularly well read outside of science/technology. The unis he is interested in all state they will not accept it as part of their offer so does this mean that they will not discriminate against it?
Guest55 it is this school's policy that all sixth formers take general studies. Only overseas borders can be except.
Fingers crossed for first choice of sixth form, if necessary I will complain a lot in September.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 4:08 pm 
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I would save your energy. Many have tried before you and all have failed :)

After some very poor results it is being taken more seriously now by the school but very little is required out of school time.

By sixth form its not a bad thing to get them to be engaging in wider topics and there are lots of ways to do it now beyond wading through hard copy of the broadsheets.

Even if he is going to do a science degree he will still need to be able to argue his point and probably write essays/write up projects/research and certainly read and criticise academic papers so the skills won't be wasted.

The school won't be happy with letting him drop out of the exam if he is doing badly because many have done this deliberately in the past.

I do see your point but there has been a real change by the school this year to tighten up and I think you might be better encouraging DS to take it seriously and do his best to start with. If he is struggling then the school will give him extra help.

If it still looks like he is heading for disaster then contact the Headmaster to make your case. I really wouldn't go to the Governors on this one as a general issue as they will back the Head.

Anecdotal evidence is that poor GS AS grades didn't have a negative impact on top flight offers.

Sorry, not meaning to be unsupportive. I do understand your perspective and have sympathy. Just giving the advice I believe to be most helpful.


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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:12 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
From what I have seen all of the Essex grammars require this as part of their wider studies.

I wouldn't worry about it. All DS did prior to the AS, which was the week before anything proper, was to go through last year's paper. He's hoping for a B/C this year.

Plenty of KEGS pupils got AAAAE last year, guess where the E was. None of them, that I have heard of, was deprived of a uni offer because of this.


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