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 Post subject: Sitting Private A-level?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:23 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:12 pm
Posts: 55
Good morning all,

My daughter, currently in year 11, is in the process of choosing A-levels. A language that she desperately wants to take (which she does at GCSE) is not available at her school. Nowhere else locally, or even within a reasonable distance, does this subject and I can't find anywhere for her to sit the exam, which she wants to study herself.

Please could anybody advise me on how I can find somewhere for her to take the exam? I've tried ringing the exam board, Pearson, but get stuck in a loop...press this and that...then a long message...then get cut off! I can't find an email address on their website, unless I'm really dumb and and I just can't see it!

Also, does anybody know the rough cost of sitting an A-level? And if we find a centre that is miles away, what happens if the exam date happens to clash with another subject she's taking at school?

I really don't understand how the whole system works.

Any advise will be greatly appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:29 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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Looking at the Pearson fees list it would seem that A level language is about £110 though they do vary by language - which one is she planning to do?

Would say that unless she wants to do it at Uni then sometimes better to concentrate on the school A levels and study the language more informally + continue at Uni (many have language centres open to all students).

Don't think either side (Pearson or school) would be very helpful if there was a clash :?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:46 am 
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People sit private GCSEs and A levels all the time, but you need to get someone on board who will be able to assist your dd and help her work out exactly how to approach the course. which language is it? which board would you sit? how would marks for orals and spoken tasks be recorded? how will you manage the workload, given that she will be taking a full set of A levels at school? If she 's going to do this she will need - IMO - a good language teacher who knows the exam system.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:03 am 
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I would agree that there is a real danger of this distracting from reaching potential in the core A levels. Its not only time taken studying but also as above, the organisation and planning in dealing with how to study what and actually sitting exams.

If it is what she intends to study at university but it's a niche subject then I'd suggest contacting relevant uni departments for advice. It may be that an A level in the subject isn't necessary and other subjects may be specified plus maybe time spent in the appropriate country.

Its a shame that there is such an exam culture in this country that people feel the need to take exams in everything instead of bring able to explore interests and develop skills without that pressure.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:17 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:12 pm
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Hello, and thanks very much for your replies.

She would like to study Japanese. The sixth form she would like to get into has agreed that she can do just 3 A levels without studying the EPQ, so I think she may cope OK as she is extremely self motivated.

We are planning on finding a tutor, perhaps for 1 1/2 hour session once a week, and will look for somebody familiar with the A-level curriculum, but not sure this will be so easy.

Perhaps she could study for the JLPT instead, but I don't think that counts towards UCAS points (don't really understand if this even matters, as she and her twin will be the first in our family to go to uni!). Or maybe she could just do an AS-level Japanese so there would be no clashes.

If she does do the JLPT then I don't think she will be excused from doing the EPQ, therefore I can't see her having much time to study a language.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:47 am 
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Is she interested in continuing Japanese at Uni? If so it may not be necessary to do the A level - lots of people apply to do joint courses in languages / linguistics / history / business etc + a language without actually having done the language before - they usually need to do another language A level but when they get to Uni they are with others with say GCSE and make quite a bit of progress - they usually have a year in Japan too.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:50 am 
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UCAS points are pretty much irrelevant.
If she is doing 3 A levels that is quite sufficient.
Its worth checking that the subjects she has chosen will be suitable for entry to her chosen university course.

With a bit of imagination and support from school could she combine the Japanese and the EPQ?

If she is doing any kind of extra studying then there's no reason to have to do an EPQ beyond school policy so she needs to make the case for what she wants to do being of more use to her than an EPQ.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
Chococat wrote:
Hello, and thanks very much for your replies.

She would like to study Japanese. The sixth form she would like to get into has agreed that she can do just 3 A levels without studying the EPQ, so I think she may cope OK as she is extremely self motivated.

We are planning on finding a tutor, perhaps for 1 1/2 hour session once a week, and will look for somebody familiar with the A-level curriculum, but not sure this will be so easy.

Perhaps she could study for the JLPT instead, but I don't think that counts towards UCAS points (don't really understand if this even matters, as she and her twin will be the first in our family to go to uni!). Or maybe she could just do an AS-level Japanese so there would be no clashes.

If she does do the JLPT then I don't think she will be excused from doing the EPQ, therefore I can't see her having much time to study a language.


Re the UCAS points issue, this is a bit if a red herring. I hesitate to use the term 'top universities', but... 'top universities' will quote academic requirements in terms of A level grades, not UCAS points - they won't say, 'AAB - but if you only get BBC, it's okay, you've got another 24 points' worth of Grade 8 music exams etc'. However, some universities quote their requirements as the UCAS point equivalent (AAB would total 136 points, for example), which can include certain other qualifications, e.g.2 A levels, an AS in a subject not taken to A level plus a level 1 or 2 BTEC or whatever.

Your DD should have a look on somewhere like WhatUni for universities that offer the subject she wants to do and look at the way that, say Manchester and Anglia Ruskin state their entry requirements. (Not dissing ARU here, just trying to think of smewhere which quotes UCAS points rather than grades :) ).

X-posted :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
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KB wrote:
With a bit of imagination and support from school could she combine the Japanese and the EPQ?

.



good idea


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
DD has applied for the 'and International Relations' version of this course, with French, which requires A level French at grade A, but Japanese is an ab initio language and just requires a GCSE in any language.

https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/languages-cultures

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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