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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:02 pm 
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Hello all. We are in a difficult situation and wondering what out next step should be. DD has taken 4 subjects - Maths, F.Maths, Physics and Economics. She was doing well but then her grades started dropping from January onwards as she opened up to us about having depression and anxiety. She says she just can't concentrate and would just blank out in classes also. The result was that she got A, A, C, C in her year 12 exams.
She is very upset and we have informed the school and also have spoken to a private counsellor. I'm wondering if her chances of a good University are now slim so what we should do? Her Economics teacher has given her another chance and she's taking my the test in September. Even if she manages a B, still it will be A, A, B, C. C being in Further Maths. What would you do ? Will these be her final predicted grades. Are might do better in her year 13 exams as they are still 10 months away so ....should she drop a year? Can someobe please advice ?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:11 pm 
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Those aren't particularly poor grades, so I wouldn't worry too much, there is plenty of time to pull the grades up (although there isn't much room for improvement with the As!). If she is suffering with anxiety & depression I would imagine the main thing will be to not put her under pressure, which making her repeat a year might do.
Could she drop the further maths? There is no need to do 4 and she might feel less under pressure with 3? Is she someone who puts herself under pressure to do well. What is the school's position regarding exam pressure & mental health?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:14 pm 
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Location: Reading
For a start, I’d get her to consider dropping an A level. My DD started with 4. She took the AS in one and then dropped it, and felt a lot better about the work load. They only need three for uni offers so no point stressing about a fourth. Their well-being is more important. The grades look good anyway.

Hopefully she can continue seeing the counsellor, who can help give her coping techniques etc.

Thirdly has she started looking at unis? Get her to check the admissions requirements for what she wants to do at a range of them. She (and you) might be surprised. The current year 12s are probably the lowest birth rate year for some years, so there’s a little less competition. One uni DD is looking at has dropped their grade offer this year, despite being a very popular subject at a reasonably well though of uni.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:45 pm 
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Ditto with the advice above. Get her to drop FM. She doesn’t need 4 and pretty certainly doesn’t need FM and doesn’t need the pressure 4 A levels confers. No university asks for 4 A levels but if you offer 4 your offer may we’ll be based on 4 - she is effectively setting herself up for stress by taking 4.

Get her to look at uni courses/unis - forget about “good” unis - the “best” uni is the right one for her - just because a uni is “good” in some ((flawed)) league table, it doesn’t mean she will be happy there. Perhaps she could consider taking a year out and applying with her results - use the year to work on improving her mental health, getting experience and having a bit of a break.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:41 am
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Location: Essex
What does she actually want to study at university? If she pulls up the remaining C (another vote for dropping FM here, btw) on the resit, her predicted grades are likely to be somewhere between A*A*A and AAB, depending on the school's policy (and assuming that even if her class grades dipped during the year, the school accept that there was a specific reason for this, which is now being dealt with). So fine for lots of places for many courses. And another vote here, too, for not getting hung up on the best universities; she should look for the course which most interests her and best suits what she wants to do later (or at least, props open plenty of doors for potential career paths), then look at where that is offered and, of those places, where she thinks she would feel happiest spending the next 3/4 /5 years of her life.

(Unless she hankers after Investment Banking or possibly a legal career, where apparently the name of your university may be more important than what you studied there or what skills you have personally acquired along the way).

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:17 pm
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Thank you for the replies. It's true that DD has high expectations of herself and is very hard on herself. We, as parents never put pressure on her and are now tired of her mood swings and tearful flare ups. She wishes to do Economics and has her sights on the London Universities. Her Economics teacher has told her that her chances of London Unis are slim.
I totally agree with the whole idea of dropping F.Maths or even Economics but she's been adamant. We will talk to her again patiently that given her present state of mind, she cannot cope. It's sad that the problems are caused not by a lack of knowledge but because of her mental health.
There is little time now as the Ucas will open in Sept ... I know she can achieve an A* in maths but don't know if the school will agree. They might under predict her.
We tell her that Maths and Physics degrees are also very good and can open lots of possibilities but she's stuck on Economics :/


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:50 pm 
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Clueless_mum I will pm you when I get a bit of time. We were once in a very similar position.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:57 pm 
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Location: Essex
UCAS may open in September, but the deadline for on-time applications is January 15th for everywhere except Oxbridge (and some courses not relevant to your DD); the school may request that students have their applications ready to go rather earlier, though to allow for tutors to check them and the referee to add the reference.

Why, specifically, has her Economics tutor said that she won't get into a London university?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:24 am 
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Another vote for dropping FM.
We have been through this and I would strongly advise reducing the pressure now.
Getting help with coping is essential but making practical changes is also important.

Given her mental health condition I would also strongly advise not applying to University this coming year but instead plan to take a year out to give herself some breathing space.

That way she can just focus on getting the best grades she can and apply once she has them. Predicted grades become irrelevant, UCAS pressures dont add to year 13 stress and she has time to get stronger before going off to University.

It will also give her time to think carefully about and research which University will suit her best.
Given her propensity for anxiety I wouldn't advise being in London. Its not an easy place to be a student.

It sounds like your DC is very determined and may not be keen on taking a year out but I would "sell it' as giving her a better chance of getting offers at the places she wants to go. The time could be spent working to get some savings to help with ( London) living costs and possibly studying some more maths ( not necessarily for an exam but just to be more prepared for the Uni course of she feels it would be helpful).


Sending very best wishes clueless mum, to you and your DD.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:28 am 
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Another vote here for a gap year. Best thing my DS ever did even though he had to be "persuaded" of its benefits by us. However, he did have a job lined up for the year working in a school, so he didn't just "drift" but had a plan. A year without the pressure of school, a chance to re-visit the uni's she liked knowing her grades can only ease her anxiety.

Good luck.

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