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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:50 am 
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Location: Bexley
I've heard that some universities want A level exams to be taken in one sitting and am worried about whether ds may fall foul of this.

DS is only in year 10 but is currently doing 2 AS subjects which he will complete at the end of year 11. He's sort of drifted into this as he got an A* in maths gcse at the start of year 10 so had to start AS maths straight away and also was desperate to take computing as one of his year 10/11 options which was only offered as an early AS.

This should mean that he will complete A2s in maths and computing at the end of year 12. During year 12 he will presumably have to do at least one other subject which he will complete in year 13. If he stays on track he plans to do Further Maths in Year 13. This means he would complete 2 A levels in year 12 and 2 A levels in year 13. Is this likely to be a problem when applying to university?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:57 am 
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Suspect it varies by Uni - you need to ask them directly - this is from edinburgh:

Quote:
‘One sitting’ and resits
It is essential that applicants are able to demonstrate the ability to cope with the
breadth, depth and volume of study that will be expected of them in their first
and subsequent years at Edinburgh. Therefore entry qualifications are typically
phrased in terms of ‘one sitting’. This means that we expect applicants to achieve
the required grades in one examination diet.
• SQA candidates taking the qualifications required for entry across more
than one examination diet will be expected to achieve at a higher level than
applicants achieving in one examination diet.
• SQA candidates for Medicine and Veterinary Medicine however, will be
expected to take 5 Higher and/or Advanced Higher subjects in one
examination diet.
A Level applicants will be expected to complete three A2 examinations in
one examination diet. It is acceptable for applicants to retake some modules
within the two years it normally takes to complete an A Level. Please contact
the relevant admissions office for more information.

• Candidates retaking A Levels or the IB Diploma will not normally be
considered for selection.
Early presentation for examinations may not always be in the best interest of
an applicant, e
specially if it leads them to achieve lower grades than they
might otherwise achieve if examinations were to be taken later.


I have heard of people who had got good A2 results in year 12 but still doing 3 subjects in year 13, alarmingly finding subjects they really weren't focussing on had to be got up to a much higher grade as the Uni wanted 3 subjects


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:26 am 
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The short answer is 'yes' it could well be an issue.
I would start by contacting the school to see if they have thought this through.
Many Universities have a similar approach to the one quoted above.
One way around this is for the school not to cash in the grades until the following year so officially they get all the subjects together but Universities are becoming wise to it.
Where a supplementary form is required (eg Cambridge) they actually ask for all modules sat and marks obtained.
One of my DC had an offer from Cambridge that specifically excluded the A2 sat at end Year 12 - so the grades had to be obtained in the subjects being taken in Year 13.
As stated, your DS will almost certainly be expected to take 3 A2s in year 13 and any offer will be based on these grades.
Any advantage of taking the A2s early will be in having these on his UCAS form and possibly lead to Universities being more likely to make an offer if he is seen as a strong applicant.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:27 am 
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For Maths and FM you have to do 12 modules altogether. Some have an order in which to do them, some aren't dependent on all the others. What I am getting at is that the schedule you're currently describing is 3 modules over y10 and y11 for AS maths, 3 modules in y12 for A2 maths, and then 6 modules in y13 for FM. It might well be that he can spread these out better, e.g. doing 4 at the end of y11, 4-5 in y12, and then just having 3-4 left in y13 - which is all perfectly doable.

Then he spends y12 in an AS double maths class, finishes A2 computing, and starts 2 new ASs in whatever. Y13 is finish off FM and the other two A2s in a normal fashion. He ends up with 5 A levels and shouldn't have an unreasonable workload in y13?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:40 am 
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Location: Herts
Students should take at least three A2's in Y13 to give themselves the best chance of offers from good universities. You would hope that all sixth form staff would be giving that advice. DG


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:47 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
Students should take at least three A2's in Y13 to give themselves the best chance of offers from good universities. You would hope that all sixth form staff would be giving that advice. DG


Too many don't.

And of course, less selective universities aren't as fussy, so it only relates to particularly selective courses at particularly selective universities.

The requirement to do three A2s at the end of Y13 on which the offer is based is, however, almost universal in medicine.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:02 pm 
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And of course, less selective universities aren't as fussy, so it only relates to particularly selective courses at particularly selective universities.



From the details given by the OP I would imagine that a more selective course was in mind?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:34 pm 
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Location: Bexley
At the moment he is very keen to do Computing at University. His Computing teacher recommended Imperial which, in his view, is the best place to study Computing and advised that he needs to make sure he does Further Maths. We have checked with admissions there and they don't have an issue with early entries but it sounds like other places will.

I am quite cross that more advice hasn't been given by the school about potential pitfalls re early entry.

Another issue is that he has, this week, had to choose a further option to study in Year 11 (to replace DT and RE which he finishes this year) and he has chosen to do AS Electronics. He was adamant this is what he wanted to do (thinks it will complement his Computing) and couldn't be persuaded to go for one of the GCSE options. He could of course just do the AS Electronics and leave it at that, but I suppose it might be worth continuing with it so he can do 3 A2s in one sitting, albeit in year 12? I know FM is taught as a double subject in Year 13 but don't know if there is any flexibility with that.

He is so clear about what he wants to do and is much, much more energised by his 2 AS subjects that his GCSEs so I am torn between wanting to capitalise on this enthusiasm and not wanting him to bite off more than he can chew or end up with lower grades than he would have done a year later.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:35 pm 
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I am surprised that Imperial don't stipulate 3 A2 grades in the final year.
They are highly competitive and may well stipulate at least one A* in a specific subject, so as you say it is important that he gets the best possible marks.
I would contact admissions officers at other top ranked departments and then discuss the options with the school.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 4:05 pm 
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Interesting comments on doing physics at Imperial - looks like they have come across the problem before:

Quote:
A Levels taken a year early
We often receive applications where at least one A Level (usually Mathematics) has been completed a year early in Year 12. Where an A* in Mathematics has been achieved this will definitely count towards satisfying that condition in our entry requirements. However, we want to be sure that applicants are undertaking a full programme of studies in their final year at school as a lightly loaded year would not be a good preparation for the demands on your time that you will face at university. Thus we may decide to make an offer requiring three A Levels from your final year at school. Each such application is assessed individually. We will not automatically reject an application where an A in Mathematics has been achieved in Year 12 provided all other aspects of the application are strong. Such applicants should plan to resit necessary modules or, if successful at interview, we may consider an offer requiring an A* in Further Mathematics.


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