Advice re 'A' levels over 3 years please

(23 Posts)
hellsbells99 Tue 18-Jun-13 22:12:52

DD is just finishing yr10. She has taken her maths gcse this year. Year11 have previously done additional maths but DD thinks she will be doing C1 during year11 - a year early, and then rest of AS modules in yr12. Is this going to cause a problem with university applications? DD is hoping to do medicine. Thanks for any advice.

mummytime Tue 18-Jun-13 22:28:46

I don't think that will happen, as A'levels are becoming non-modular, Mr Gove even wants to get rid of ASs altogether.

rightsaidfrederick Wed 19-Jun-13 01:27:37

I'm not entirely au fait with the current state of A Levels, but she's likely to need to do three full A Levels in Y13, to show that she can deal with the workload. Essentially, this will probably just work out as
Y11 = AS Maths + GCSEs
Y12 = A2 Maths (optional) + 3 AS
Y13 = 3 A2

LittleFrieda Wed 19-Jun-13 09:03:40

Why are her school doing this?

My son did AS level Maths in the fifth form and A2 maths in the lower sixth and his UCL medicine offer AAAa specifically excluded his already achieved Maths as a full A level. So no benefit at all.

Much better to do all A levels within the same two year window.

Besides, I would have thought year 11 would be much better spent securing as many GCSE A* grades as possible as these are very very important.

hellsbells99 Wed 19-Jun-13 11:14:21

Thank you for your replies. Thought that would be the case LittleFrieda. Quite happy for DD to study the work in year 11 but wait until year 12 to do the exams. I will email school.

LittleFrieda Wed 19-Jun-13 23:16:30

Hellbells - studying for the AS level in yr 11 then taking the exams in yr12 and 13 is not a two year window. Really much better to o a FSMQ in yr 11.

glaurung Wed 19-Jun-13 23:40:37

Its semantics though littlefrieda, FSMQ and AS maths are broadly equivalent so studying for either in yr 11 whether or not you take any exams would give the same headstart. As long as you don't sit any AS exams in yr 11 as far as I'm aware you shouldn't fall foul of university 3-year rules. The one thing that is important is to continue doing some pure maths of some sort so as not to get out of practice - this is where students who sit GCSE statistics in yr 11 (after GCSE maths in yr 10) are disadvantaged.

TheEarlOf Wed 19-Jun-13 23:48:34

I know some people do GCSE addiitonal maths in year 11 when they've finished their normal maths GCSE in yr 10.

I agree with glaurung though that you have to keep some form of pure maths up otherwise you do lose it

LittleFrieda Thu 20-Jun-13 08:37:23

Following DS1's experience with his UCL med offer specifically excluding Maths, DS2 did IGCSE in yr10, FSMQ in yr11 and is now doing Maths and further Maths, physics and economics in yr 12. This will mean he isn't disadvantaged when it comes to university admissions. Ds1 did IGCSE Maths in yr 10, AS level maths (along with some more IGCSEs)in yr 11 and A2 level Maths along with 3 other subjects at AS level, then three further A2 levels in year 13

FSMQ is a separate qualification to AS/A2 Maths, it isn't semantics Glaurung.

Universities want to know their applicants are capable of a certain workload. So they really need to be studying 4 AS levels simultaneously and ontinuing a minimum of 3 through to A2 simuktaneously so as not to close down options.

LittleFrieda Thu 20-Jun-13 08:38:32

Yes additional Maths (which is another GCSE) is also a sensible option.

hellsbells99 Thu 20-Jun-13 09:50:49

Thanks for all your replies. School have not emailed me back yet. It may be that DD has got the wrong end of the stick - not sure. The current year 11's had a choice between Additional Maths or an Algebra qualification for those planning on A level (both of which covered a lot of AS C1 and some C2 material) or those not planning on doing A level maths could do statistics or finance.

glaurung Thu 20-Jun-13 19:01:58

FSMQ covers A level topics drawn from several AS modules that broadly equates to a third of an AS. So aside from the fact that the topics are drawn from different AS modules and that you get an extra certificate it's not different in terms of AS syllabus coverage to doing a single AS module.

There are several different options/syllabuses for FSMQ, so maybe there are paths you can choose to minimise the overlap with AS, but usually it is doing work that will be done at A level again - in my view the difference between doing this and eg C1 is semantics.

LittleFrieda Sat 22-Jun-13 21:33:23

Glaurung - confused but a FSMQ isn't an AS level, it's a separate qualification, widely accepted as being an intermediate step between GCSE and AS level Maths. It's not semantics. if admissions tutors ask you to sit all your A levels within the same 2 year window if you want them to consider all your A levels, you do have to adhere to the rules.

glaurung Sun 23-Jun-13 00:07:09

of course, which is why you shouldn't sit C1 in yr 11, but no reason not to do the work for it then.

The usual starting point for A levels is GCSE, the intention of the 2 year rule is to level the field so that everyone starts from the same point and covers the same work in 2 years. To achieve this fairly you would need to rule out FSMQ as well as teaching beyond the GCSE syllabus before taking GCSE as well, but clearly they can't police this, so when exams are taken is all that can be monitored. Doing C1 work in y11 is morally no different to doing FSMQ work in yr11, both are bridging the gap and giving a child about the same amount of advantage over someone going into A level straight from GCSE (arguably FSMQ gives a bigger advantage).

The FSMQ qualification itself is of no value if A level is to be taken as A level superceeds it.

LittleFrieda Mon 24-Jun-13 08:36:11

Glaurung - doing the work for A level Maths but not sitting it, would NOT be completing your A levels within a 2 year window. Not sticking to the rules is cheating.

The reason for the two year rule is one of volume of work, not to equalise prior attainment. Med schools are happy for their students to sit FSMQ in year 11.

LittleFrieda Mon 24-Jun-13 08:38:43

Med schools want students who can complete thei course and that means handling a heavy workload.

alreadytaken Mon 24-Jun-13 09:08:39

For medicine taking A levels over more than 3 years is a problem as English universities want proof you can handle a heavy workload (discovered this year how little I really know about Scotland/Ireland). Barts and Keele are very strict over this so her choice of school would be restricted. Barts may accept the A level taken a year early as meeting their requirement for a 4th AS but they are so strict you'd be wise to check that before applying. Other medical schools may be more flexible if it is something the student couldn't control but was forced on them by the school. The school would have to confirm this.

Medical schools wont always accept maths and further maths as 2 A levels, again you need to check with schools if considering those A levels.

If the dates of the exams are only spread over 2 years the university software probably wont pick it up as studied over 3 years.

Although I have a child hopefully starting medical school this year I don't consider it a family friendly career. Those who apply to medicine are very able and could have a better work/life balance and earn more money elsewhere. Students are often attracted by surgery and ignore the statistics showing most will become gps. Make sure she takes a hard look at the disadvantages, it will help her at interview if she must choose medicine.

glaurung Mon 24-Jun-13 10:32:59

Studying A level topics prior to taking GCSE in yr 11 is not taking 3 years over A level work, and neither is studying A level topics as part of a fairly useless additional qualification taking 3 years over A level work either littlefrieda. It's all a very grey area.

glaurung Mon 24-Jun-13 10:33:27

and one which individual children usually have very little choice over

LittleFrieda Mon 24-Jun-13 10:53:28
glaurung Mon 24-Jun-13 14:11:25

Exactly! "An FSMQ Unit at Advanced level is a rough equivalent of an AS or A-level module"

PiratePanda Mon 24-Jun-13 18:28:38

Look, the only essential A Level for medicine is Chemistry. As long as she takes 3 A Levels at once (and they are "facilitating" subjects) it really won't matter that she took Maths early.

LittleFrieda Mon 24-Jun-13 20:02:38

chemistry to A2 isn't essential for medicine at Barts, for example.

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