A Level Choices - Russell Group guide

(75 Posts)
Lilymaid Fri 04-Feb-11 10:47:40

The Russell Group has published its guide to making A Level (and other qualifications) choices. It is available here.

thekidsmom Fri 04-Feb-11 14:45:09

But its not all about the facilitating subjects - it then specifically says that RG unis regard both Economics and Politics as 'hard' subjects and that any of the RG unis would accept one soft subject....

It is still on the RG website - its 14.44 now and I've just looked at it.....

MrsTrelliss Fri 04-Feb-11 14:47:38

AMumInScotland says, "...but I think they only intend that as an example, not a list."

I would tend to disagree with that. The way I read what the Russel Group are saying is that they are being very, very presciptive - it's the A levels in the list and nothing else (apart from art and music for appropriate degrees).

webwiz Fri 04-Feb-11 14:55:53

It isn't saying that at all MrsTrelliss - its saying that the facilitating A levels are those that are most commonly specified as a required subject for particular university courses so if you want to keep your choices open choose at least a couple from the list.

WorldsSlowestTypist Fri 04-Feb-11 14:56:15

It depends what you want to study at Uni. Did you look at the list of useful and required A levels for each subject? Many courses ranked RE and psychology as useful for example.

Any one worked out whether English Lang and Lit both count as F A Levels (smirk)

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Fri 04-Feb-11 14:58:22

I've copied it. Why would it be removed?? confused

webwiz Fri 04-Feb-11 15:00:39

English Literature is a facilitating A level and English Language isn't but the combined Literature/Language A level may be useful for some courses.

eatyourveg Fri 04-Feb-11 15:02:01

I was surprised to se that it states that Law is a useful A level to have for a Politics degree. I always thought RG were very anti A level Law.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Fri 04-Feb-11 15:02:17

lol @ FA Levels

The booklet says avoid subjects that are too similar - so maybe best to do one of those

"all the facilitating subjects listed earlier can be considered 'hard' with the addition of others such as Economics and Politics"

It seems clear enough

1. Have at least 2 of the "facilitating subjects"
2. Pick other 'hard' subjects next
3. Avoid more than one 'soft' subject
4. Don't expect Critical Thinking or General Studies to count

Lilymaid Fri 04-Feb-11 15:12:28

AMIS - I read it like that too. Basically,a student should take the traditional academic subjects if they want to have a good chance of offers at RG universities.

WorldsSlowestTypist Fri 04-Feb-11 15:12:50

If you don't want to study Maths and Science the choice is very limited. They seem a bit stuck in a rut to me - Sure, point out the less academic courses but this list seems to be unneccessarily narrow.

MrsTrelliss Fri 04-Feb-11 15:18:35

Yes you were right. I have seen it on page 22. I think that perhaps LSE and other RG decision not to insist on Economics A level for an economics degree had confused the issue (for me at least) - into thinking it's included in the "soft" list.

The point I was trying to make is that RG are being as prescriptive as they can over what is and what isn't a "hard" A level. At the end of the day it's their call, regardless of what anyone else feels about the worth of any particular subject

webwiz Fri 04-Feb-11 15:18:37

The list is the subjects that will give the most choice of university courses so the narrow "academic" A levels are those that are most likely to be required subjects. If you don't want to study Maths and Sciences there is English Literature, History and Languages as a starting point to add other choices to.

empirestateofmind Fri 04-Feb-11 15:22:46

A very useful link. Thanks Lily.

My DDs' school has changed its policy this year. It says that all the A levels taken in Y12 must be carried on to Y13 and A2 level.

I haven't heard the reasoning behind the school's decision and will be asking them about this as the info from the RG here suggests 4 at AS and 3 at A2 is the norm.

Lilymaid Fri 04-Feb-11 15:27:30

"I think that perhaps LSE and other RG decision not to insist on Economics A level for an economics degree had confused the issue (for me at least) - into thinking it's included in the "soft" list."
Very few universities require Economics A Level as a requisite for an Economics degree course. However, it is an acceptable A level for an Economics degree - and for many other subjects - and a good proportion of Economics undergraduates will have taken it at A Level. Both my DSs have studied Economics at university so the first term/semester was easy for them as it largely repeated the A Level syllabus.

Renniehorta Fri 04-Feb-11 16:56:32

My ds got into his rg uni without doing any A2 and with indifferent grades in irrelevant subjects at AS. How? He did 3 OU courses instead,

lazymumofteenagesons Fri 04-Feb-11 18:35:53

Thenevernever, sorry not to reply, I was otherwise engaged! He did do sciences, he did Maths, Biology, RS and History.

However, a friends duaghter is doing very well at UCL studying Anthropology with English, RS and Psychology. Going by the lists this should not be so!

I think if you go for an Economics degree where you are interviewed you may be at a disadvantage if not done the A level. However, maths is often a prerequisite for economics degrees. A friend of DS1 who is doing it at Bristol is finding the first year very easy with A levels in maths, further maths, economics and another.

lazymumofteenagesons Fri 04-Feb-11 18:37:30

Sorry, that did not make sense. She is doing an Anthropolgy degree and has English, RS and Psychology A levels.

eatyourveg Fri 04-Feb-11 18:58:38

So do you read it as you should do only the Facilitating subject but if you don't, then these subjects are what we'd prefer you to offer if you want to apply for these particular courses?

TheFallenMadonna Fri 04-Feb-11 19:05:49

I teach one 'facilitating' subject and one 'other' at A level. I found it made heartening reading after all the comments about the non-traditional subjects being practically worthless. Clearly not what this group of universities is preaching, nor IME what they are practising. In fact, my subjects go rather well together for a lot of students who have gone on to make successful apllications to good universities.

cory Sat 05-Feb-11 09:42:57

What I would say as a teacher at a Russell Group university is that, for the humanities at least, any course that gets you used to reading is worthwhile. Remember, it's not just a case of getting in, you've got to get out at the other end, too. What we do notice more and more is that students find it difficult to cope with large quantities of written material. If they do not read voraciously as a leisure recreation (and lots of young people don't), then they really need to have done an A-level that forces them to read. Which is why everybody likes to see a History A-level, or an English Literature, but are somewhat less enthused by English Language.

So I'd look on the facilitating languages in that light: they prove to the admissions people that you have a certain type of skill. If you have studied other subjects, you need to demonstrate in interview that you have those skills anyway.

sieglinde Sat 05-Feb-11 13:07:32

On RS, I am an RG admissions tutor; it's not ideal, actually. I mean, it's not down there with media studies, but I wouldn't encourage people to take it. There can be a prejudice... and yes, I know RS can be great, but there just can be, whereas the facilitating list will arouse nobody's negative feelings, and therefore hose subjects are safer bets unless your dcs want to do RS/theology...

onimolap Sat 05-Feb-11 13:22:28

To supplement the RG list, here's a link to the Trinity College list. In that, RS is included as generally acceptable for humanities subjects.

pointylug Sat 05-Feb-11 13:46:03

Wow, thanks lily. I never realised such a thing existed. That is incrediby useful.

missymousie Mon 07-Feb-11 21:25:24

This is really interesting I went to a VERY Russell Group Uni and had English Lit, Maths, Physics and Chemistry at Alevel.

20 years later, I teach ICT at Alevel and the requirements are certainly more demanding for ICT than either English or Chemistry.

Maybe teenagers are getting smarter, the exams are getting harder or my brain cells have been decimated under the weight of age and the hedonism of student life. wine

Thanks for posting the link!

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