Is there much of a jump from AS to A2?

(10 Posts)
longingforsomesleep Sun 03-Feb-13 22:39:08

Desperately trying to pin DS down on which A levels he's going to do - he has a week to decide.

I've been reading the separate thread about the jump required from GCSE maths to AS maths. DS is currently doing AS maths having got an A in GCSE at the start of year 10. He sat C1 at the end of year 10 and got a D and is redoing it this year with the option of completing the AS in year 12. He's not a maths whizz but thinks he should do this (and won't be moved). He doesn't think he'll do it to A2 which means that he has to be sure of his other 3 choices as he will have to continue with them to A2.

He's definite about geography and has been talking about physics. But he said this evening that he thinks he'll be OK at AS physics but people have told him A2 is much harder. Can anyone tell me if that is correct? I know there's a leap from GCSE to AS in most subjects but I assumed A2 was just an extension of AS rather than a 'next level'. When I did my A levels in the olden days I don't remember bits of the 2 year course being harder than others.

He thinks he might like to do geography at university - can anyone tell me which would be good A level subjects to take with it? I thought Biology but he's doing better in physics at the moment which is swaying his mind.

He's also thinking of doing English which I'm a bit worried about as he NEVER reads at home. He's predicted A* in Eng Lang and A in Eng Lit but I worry that A level might be a step too far.....

DialMforMummy Mon 04-Feb-13 14:09:31

Hi, I don't teach any of the subjects you have listed there but I must agree that there is quite a leap from AS to A2, certainly in my subject. Not quite such a leap between GCSE and AS.
I don't think I am necessarily the right person to advise on the other matters so I won't. Good luck.

prettydaisies Mon 04-Feb-13 14:25:51

I think physics without maths could be quite tricky.
My DD wants to do geography or earth sciences at university. She's currently doing maths, geography, physics and English lit in the lower sixth. However, geography is such a broad subject. When she looked at some prospectuses, some courses for geography didn't even ask that geography a'level was a prerequisite.

Most students do 4 subjects in Y12 and drop to 3 in Y13. So drop one after AS level. I would have thought it sensible to choose four subjects and see how they go at AS level before making a firm decision on which to take to A level.
All I would say is that I'm not sure doing physics without maths is a good idea.

LadyLech Mon 04-Feb-13 17:10:18

I think it really does depend on the subject. I teach two subjects (at A level) and I would say that one of them has a really big jump from GCSE to AS, but then the jump is not very big from AS to A2, and in the other the jump from GCSE to AS does not seem as much, but then the students do seem to notice the jump far more when they get to A2.

Tigerstripes Mon 04-Feb-13 19:12:28

English is a HUGE jump from GCSE to AS but not so much from AS to A2 (unless they find Shakespeare prohibitively difficult). But we say don't do English if you don't read as wider reading in their own time is very important.

longingforsomesleep Tue 05-Feb-13 00:03:57

Tigerstripes - we are still thinking about English but I am concerned about his lack of reading (although, to be fair, I didn't read huge amounts at his age and ended up with a degree in English). I don't want to force it but it's such a shame as he clearly engages with the texts he does at school and is happy to talk to me about them in depth. I wondered whether he should do English Language but I don't have much feel for what it involves and how it is viewed by universities as it wasn't available at A level in my day!

He does write well and is happy doing essay-based subjects. He's in top set for English and got the highest marks in his class in the mock Eng Lang and Eng Lit exams before Xmas. But the unwillingness to read outside of school does bother me.

DazR Tue 05-Feb-13 00:23:48

I was discussing college exams tonight with some students part way through their AS and A2 years. The AS students seemed to think that next year (their A2 year) would alter in that there would be no modular exams during the year - only a final exam in the summer. I think this would have a big impact on how students do in their exams in the future.

deleted203 Tue 05-Feb-13 00:30:55

I would say that the jump from GCSE to AS is a huge one in most subjects - I generally find my AS students reeling in shock for most of the year, having been able to cruise idly through GCSE without stirring themselves over much with any real revision or hard work. AS nearly kills them! And yes, it does get harder at A2 - but somehow it isn't as bad and they have (if they have worked hard at AS) got into the swing of it, and are used to the level of work required.

What I would say is that they really, really have to work their socks off in their AS year at practically every subject. If they don't they will never cope with A2 as they will have missed out on the grounding and the understanding of the basics that they need, particularly in subjects such as Physics and Maths.

BackforGood Wed 06-Feb-13 00:10:35

I agree with sowornout. I don't teach A-levels, but just from talking with lots of teens of that age, and their parents over last 3 - 4 years, all from different schools and doing different subject. Everyone says what a difficult jump it is from GCSEs to AS levels. After that, they say it's not nearly so hard. Don't know if that's in comparison, or if as suggested above, they've changed and got more into the idea of studying, or if it really is a continuation from AS at much the same level, or maybe a little harder, but usually with one less subject to study. I do know a lot of youngsters who got good GCSEs, then really struggled in Yr12, and did fine with their end results.

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