Difference between AS and A2

(22 Posts)
Startail Wed 20-Mar-13 01:46:42

I get the feeling there is a bit of that in GCSE chemistry too. DDs partner in crime keeps getting reined in and being taught scripted answers at the right level.

She's likes taking it beyond the sylabus.

I don't think there is that much difference. I did the whole of A Level Sociology in a year, so took both lots of classes at the same time, and I did pretty much as well on the A2 as I did on the AS, and that was obviously without the prior AS knowledge. There are of course subjects where this wouldn't be possible, but I didn't really think A2 was noticeably harder than AS in any of my A Levels, in fact I did considerably better in my A2 English Lit than my AS, and History I got similar marks both years.

out2lunch Wed 20-Mar-13 00:12:38

what is the point in having 4?
i would find out what ucas points/grades are needed for his uni choice and work towards that
i saw too many overstretch themselves last year and not get the grades they needed for the places they wanted

deleted203 Wed 20-Mar-13 00:08:25

I think shipwrecked has probably hit the nail on the head where Bio is concerned, Startail. I know our Bio teacher had said pretty much exactly the same thing - that the marking appeared to be based very strongly on specific language - if a student did not mention the exact term the examiner was looking for then they simply did not get the mark for that question. (Or so I believe - as I say, not my subject and I'm basing it purely on listening to folks grizzling in the staffroom smile).

Startail Tue 19-Mar-13 21:23:13

What have they been up to with biology, it was by far tbe easiest A level I did. I have a degree in it too, that wasnt very difficult either.

physics was vile all impossible maths, that's how come I became a biologist (I failed the first year of my physics degree)

Pluto Tue 19-Mar-13 21:19:13

OP...your DS only needs to do 3 A2s. Oxbridge, RG unis etc only require 3. Most schools do 4 AS courses in Y12.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Tue 19-Mar-13 21:13:02

I'm a Bio teacher and our marks seemed down by a grade (lots of B grades rather than A grades)

On analysis we found we were better than most centres (OCR do a comparison on line) and that the grade boundaries were similar to previous years.

We are left with the impression that the mark scheme was very tight indeed and that specificity of language has been key to doing well.

deleted203 Tue 19-Mar-13 17:07:11

Isthis I'm not sure, TBH, about the marking. I thought the History (my subject) marking was pretty realistic - most of my students got more or less what I expected them to achieve. Some were low, but they were students that I didn't feel were putting in the necessary effort, so I wasn't altogether surprised that their marks (probably) reflected this. I do know other depts have felt that it was very tough (Biology springs to mind as a subject where folks were getting very low grades - Us, Es etc as you say. I think they only got one pupil who got a 'B' grade - and this was an exceptionally able student. I know the Bio teacher at our school was shocked at how poorly his students had done and felt that the marking must have been very harsh). It's always pretty difficult to judge, TBH, as I have no more than hearsay from listening to other folks in staffroom.

mindgone Mon 18-Mar-13 23:34:18

Mychilddoesntneedsleep, they may have included General Studies, which none really takes any notice of, but it makes the stats look more impressive! :-)

Isthiscorrect Mon 18-Mar-13 02:44:10

Mychild (love the name) at our school (and others presumably) some uni offers for September 2013 are now for 4 A levels or 3 A levels and an AS level. This is my reason for asking. I would like ds to keep his options open and take 4 to A 2 but not to the detriment of the results, ie 3 good vs 4 not so good. Iyswim

Sowormout do you feel for the January modules some of the marking was a bit harsh? Our school has been shocked at the grades for some of the students who have knuckled down (as opposed to those who didn't make enough effort), Ds, Es and even one U!

MyChildDoesntNeedSleep Sun 17-Mar-13 21:56:57

shipwrecked I was asking because last year the school my DS is starting in September had quite a few students do 5 A levels. The grades achieved ranged from BBBBB to A*AAAA (well, the ones they highlighted in their newsletter did), and I was like WHY DO SO MANY?! It scared me that this is the norm now. I remember 3 A Levels being hard enough!

deleted203 Sun 17-Mar-13 20:39:35

the rest didnt attend enough classes, do enough work, work hard enough, do enough revision etc.

Yep. This exactly! This is why lots of mine are reeling in shock. They are mostly capable students who have cruised through GCSE getting A and B grades in every subject, basically without really opening a book or bothering to put in a great deal of effort. They found it easy enough to rely on being bright enough to cope without over-straining themselves.

They have now found that AS is a completely different matter altogether - and despite teachers telling them, 'you will have to really work hard this year' have mentally gone, 'Yeah, yeah, I'll be fine with a bit of half hearted effort'. Only to discover that A levels is a big jump from GCSE and they are going to really have to do a considerable amount of work themselves and really focus on their studies!

Your son sounds smart enough to have discovered that putting in the time doing the research and having the self discipline to work by himself DOES pay the dividends that his teachers are (presumably) telling him it will.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 17-Mar-13 19:58:25

About 4 or 5 depending on the school and also how academic they are. They then drop to 3 or 4 in the second year (hence this thread).

although, as I suggested up thread, I have known one loon very academic student keep all five and walk away with A and A* grades. I don't think it helped him get onto his medicine course though, any more than doing three would have done. but studying was his thing..

MyChildDoesntNeedSleep Sun 17-Mar-13 19:27:59

Thanks shipwrecked. So how many AS levels does the average student take on in the first year?

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 17-Mar-13 17:29:58

A2 is the second year of A level, after As levels. You can either cash in your AS after one year or continue to convert it to a full A level, by completing the A2 part.

the original intention was to encourage students to take a broader range of subjects in the sixth form, which they narrow down and specialise in the second year, into the ones they are likely to take forward at Uni.

MyChildDoesntNeedSleep Sun 17-Mar-13 15:16:18

What is an A2? My kids aren't that age yet, and when I did them it was just AS and A Levels.

Isthiscorrect Sun 17-Mar-13 13:29:14

Thanks everyone. Interesting sowornout, some of DS friends didnt do so well but he thinks only 2 of them were really swizzed on their grades as the rest didnt attend enough classes, do enough work, work hard enough, do enough revision etc.

deleted203 Sat 16-Mar-13 19:27:08

If he hasn't found it too much of a jump from GCSE to AS then he should cope. Most of my AS students are reeling in shock at the expectations on them this year. No real jump in History from AS to A2. Nor in Gov & Politics. I think 4 A levels is perfectly possible by the sound of it.

kritur Sat 16-Mar-13 19:20:54

One thing to consider is there will be no January modules from now on so he would need to be confident about taking all that material through to a summer exam.

I did 4 A levels (in what are now called 'enabling' subjects, back in the day when all exams were at the end of 2 years study. It's perfectly possible to do well in 4 if he's bright and hard working

Knowsabitabouteducation Sat 16-Mar-13 16:37:31

In my subject (Physics), there is not a particularly high jump between AS and A2 (for a student who copes well). Some A2 topics are hard, some are easier.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sat 16-Mar-13 11:14:13

There is a jump (in OCR Biology anyway!!) and some schools do not allow you to continue unless the students gets at least a D grade at AS on the basis that they will struggle to pass (I think). it's not something we specify, though.

we do allow students to continue with 4 and sometimes 5, if they can handle the extra work and reduced study periods.

UCAS tends to only a consider 3 grades so it's only worth doing 4 if the grades won't suffer from the extra work load.

Isthiscorrect Sat 16-Mar-13 09:56:27

Just as the title says really. Everyone talks about the jump from GCSE to AS levels and how big it is. What is the jump from AS to A2? DS really wants to continue with 4 A2's, we are saying hang fire till the results and think about it then. But I like to be prepared (and yes I know it isnt about me) and if the work will be much harder then I feel I can reliably tell him this. Obviously he and I both know 3 good A2's is much better than 4 average one's.

He hasnt found the jump so far too hard, he enjoys the research and working by yourself method and used this effectively for GCSE's and is very keen to continue. He is predicted A's for AS levels in History, Philosphy, Gov & Pol and a B for Economics although they think he can get this up to an A with more practise on the OT section. In his 2 exams this January (Philosophy and Gov &Pol) he got 98/100 and 96/100. How realistic would 4 A2's be?

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