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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:32 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
At my son's school they do Maths A2 at the end of the lower sixth and A2 FM at the end of upper sixth.
Is this normal practice? Would it not be better to both together at the end of upper sixth?

What are the pros/con?

(He is also doing linear Computer Science and Physics and the youngest in his year group )


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:54 pm 
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Quite a few schools do this but personally I'm not a fan of this approach.

Pros: a real A level grade for uni application

Cons: All the harder modules in Year 13, need to re-certify to get 'best' grade [the applied modules can be combined in different ways when both are taken], will unis set offers on the Year 13 subjects and 'ignore' the Maths?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:56 pm 
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Catseye wrote:
At my son's school they do Maths A2 at the end of the lower sixth and A2 FM at the end of upper sixth.
Is this normal practice? Would it not be better to both together at the end of upper sixth?

What are the pros/con?

(He is also doing linear Computer Science and Physics and the youngest in his year group )


Cannot help with the question Catseye as I have not had a DC go through 6th Form yet but I suspect my dd may be looking to do same list of subjects at A level - Hope you don't mind me asking -how is your DS getting on and what is he hoping to do beyond 6th form?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:15 pm 
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Location: Cheshire
He wants to do CS Masters degree with industrial experience with an ambition of Oxbridge or Imperial(probably unrealistic) or Manchester or St Andrews(realistic and should be attainable).

He should be able to get A*AAA - A*A*AA (at the upper end) it will the STEP ,MAT or CSAT that will be his undoing w.r.t Oxbridge imho :roll:

I wish he had half the brains of my DD and she had half of his ambition, but that's life,but I wouldn't change them one bit for all tea in China :D


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:18 pm 
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It's only Cambridge that require STEP and they want high UMS in Year 12 [approx 95 average].

I would also look at other unis for CS ...


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:41 pm 
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STEP is now only required for those doing the combined degrees of Maths and Computing at Cambridge for those just doing CS they have do the new CSAT -(Computer Science Assessment Test-details of which can be found in the rehab-section{ the thread about "anyone want a job?" by HM-for members only})

Oxford still require MAT(Maths Aptitude Test)

Birmingham Uni looks good to me also and not too far away?

ps I only say St Andrews not only because it is a brilliant uni for CS but his girlfriend is almost certainly going there this September :oops:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:42 pm 
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Location: Essex
Catseye wrote:
STEP is now only required for those doing the combined degrees of Maths and Computing at Cambridge for those just doing CS they have do the new CSAT -(Computer Science Assessment Test-details of which can be found in the rehab-section{ the thread about "anyone want a job?" by HM-for members only})

Oxford still require MAT(Maths Aptitude Test)

Birmingham Uni looks good to me also and not too far away?

ps I only say St Andrews not only because it is a brilliant uni for CS but his girlfriend is almost certainly going there this September :oops:


DS1 is doing Biochemistry at Birmingham and seems very happy with his choice of university. One of the other lads from his old school who are also there is doing Computer Science. He got 10A*A at GCSE and, like DS1, all As at A level, so Birmingham was definitely a deliberate choice, not 'second best'.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:58 pm 
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Catseye - I don't think Oxbridge offer a year in industry ... unless it is new for next year.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:17 pm 
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Wow -did not know about any of these STEP/ CSAT tests - all change since my day :shock:
DD already thinking about a higher level software engineering apprenticeship with a local company which leads to a BSc in Computer Science. She seems to be really blossoming at school - came home today excited by her physics lesson :lol: and looks to be on track to have potential for A/A*s in all her GCSE subjects so interesting to see what other options she could consider. Birmingham would be a good option logistically for us so nice to know it is a good option.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
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Location: Birmingham
Catseye wrote:
He wants to do CS Masters degree with industrial experience with an ambition of Oxbridge or Imperial(probably unrealistic) or Manchester or St Andrews(realistic and should be attainable).

He should be able to get A*AAA - A*A*AA (at the upper end) it will the STEP ,MAT or CSAT that will be his undoing w.r.t Oxbridge imho :roll:

I wish he had half the brains of my DD and she had half of his ambition, but that's life,but I wouldn't change them one bit for all tea in China :D


If the intention is to get a good graduate job in industry then it worthwhile looking very careful at the various course modules. I have come across a number of CS academics who are so in favour of free open source technology platforms that they refuse to include even the mention of any propriety software technology (e.g. Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco etc) in their degree curriculum. There are one or 2 exceptions such as Reading and Cardiff which include Oracle Database methods in their CS course. Most do now at least cover Java programming (although not all)

Some universities will actively encourage undergrad to take supplemental external commercial technical certifications in their own time (e.g. Microsoft, Cisco or Oracle technical exams) - others will actively discourage this. Worth asking the question on open days

Other universities may cover commercial software components but only as a separate postgrad M.Sc masters (rather than an undergrad M.Si). - something definitely to consider - it's also cheaper

In terms of reputations in Industry (having been involved in graduate computing recruitment over many years) I know that the CS courses at Manchester, Bath & Warwick always had a good following and student feedback. Interestingly, the University of Kent always had a historical reputation of finding fantastic Industrial placement for the year out - don't know if this is still the case (they used to arrange a lot of placements with the old Sun Microsystems in the US - which was taken over by Oracle)


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