Implications for giving up/postponing AS level exams

(12 Posts)
RoseWei Sat 04-May-13 17:06:45

DS is finding AS Maths really hard - some areas he simply doesn't understand. Is down to re-take all his January AS modules, including maths. So an awful lot on his plate and he's very anxious.

Have tried hard to find a tutor to help him through the maths in particular but, so far, no success. School pretty uncommunicative.

Wondering at this 11th hour, if he'd be able to ditch the maths completely this Summer (exams imminent) and concentrate on the raft of other re-takes and new modules. Then, with tutoring over the Summer (bound to find someone by then), take the various AS modules in November/January either at school, if they allowed it, or as a private candidate elsewhere. Would ease the pressure for now and, honestly, if he takes the AS now (apart from stats - stronger on that), he might well end up with another U or a grade above.

I don't know if all results, including fails, have to be recorded on UCAS forms. If so, what successive 'U's would look. Above all, I want him to be able to focus on the other 3 subjects which include re-takes and be less worried. I really have tried talking to the maths people at school - and they really have hopeless about getting back to me, even to letting me know what the problems areas are so that we could help DS tackle them.

Anyone been or going through similar angst? Thoughts about the practical implications of all this? Many thanks!

Topazandpearl Sat 04-May-13 17:15:17

How many subjects is he doing? A lot drop their fourth subject after Y12 anyway and just take 3 on to A2 (and still get offers from top unis). If Maths is his weakest subject that would be the one to drop. As far as I know, there are no more Jan exams so anything he wants to resit after this summer would have to wait til next summer.
Does he have a form teacher/personal tutor/head of sixth form you could talk to?
Do you think he has messed up his subject choices entirely? I have known students resit Y12 in such circumstances.
It is a stressful time, my thoughts are with you.

Anthracite Sat 04-May-13 17:19:22

You can't do January modules any more, OP. He will have to wait until next summer to sit his exams.

Will he be able to take AS Maths classes next year in school? You need to have this discussion with the school. I don't think he is likely to do well without regular classes.

RoseWei Sat 04-May-13 17:24:17

Thanks for your supportive reply, Topazandpearl.
Aside from maths, DS is taking 3 subjects including two sciences.
I think he'd want to end up with an AS Maths to widen his career choices but really am worried about him coping with it this Summer.

You are right about January exams from 2014 but I was wondering if re-sits may still run - not sure.

And wondering if UCAS insist on all scores being recorded if a fail is superseded by a pass.

Actually, the school is really quite uncommunicative - been to see Head of Sixth Form who promised this and that but hasn't delivered and doesnt return emails. Try to keep communication to a minium cos of how busy teachers are but am surprised that the school is this slow to respond - bad situation.

DS hates the thought of re-taking year 12 at present school - may be slightly more amenable to doing so elsewhere, perhaps at a college. Is this widespread (ish)?

RoseWei Sat 04-May-13 17:26:49

Thanks Anthracite -
Take your point about January -
I think DS really find the thought of studying AS maths all year, as well as A2 subjects, pretty awful. I just wish we could sit down with him and the school and talk this through but he hates us contacting school and school is incredibly unresponsive. I have a sneaking feeling that they have decided to focus on who they perceive as high fliers - to the detriment of the others.

Agree with Do you think he has messed up his subject choices entirely? I have known students resit Y12 in such circumstances.

School sound particularly unhelpful. Have you been in to see anyone?

Yes Mr Gove has stopped mid year resits.
It seems a lot of students do unexpectedly badly in the January modules. Some because they have underestimated how much more work is required than GCSE, some have become too distracted by the social life and others have taken on more than they are capable of. The chance to take stock and resit just once seems be fair to me.

As to whether all grades have to be recorded it depends what and where you are applying. To do Maths at a top uni they ask for the marks achieved in every unit taken. I don't think it goes on the UCAS form though.

Sorry cross posted. I am guessing this is a school sixth form. I have heard similar reports before from Grammar schools.
How about going to look round a sixth form college? Fresh start and all that?

RoseWei Sat 04-May-13 17:57:15

Thanks all - good ideas here, especially taking stock.
Yes, secret - this is a school sixth form. Short of making a nuisance of ourselves, we've done just about all we can to talk through DS's worries and to date very poor performance in sixth form with the school - head of sixth form, his line manager, subject teachers - really and truly, no joy.

Next step is to see the Head in confidence who may be helpful. Seems a nice person - we'll see. Reluctant to take this step but the reasonable approach has got us no-where.

From what you're all saying, it isn't unusual to start afresh at 17, coming on 18 -

again - thanks.

creamteas Sat 04-May-13 18:06:02

In is not uncommon for students to retake year 12 or 13, and some also change school/college.

It is also not unusual for students to just have 3 A levels with no additional AS.

As an admissions tutor, I would only be worried about repeated low grades in a subject that was needed for the degree course. So, for example, doing badly at Maths could be see as a problem for STEM subjects, but it shouldn't be a barrier to humanities and social science subjects.

Topazandpearl Sat 04-May-13 18:21:08

If you both want to consider a change of sixth form, try to get in contact asap. You may have passed the application deadlines, but this isn't necessarily a problem unless the sixth form is heavily oversubscribed. Even then, many students make multiple applications so the colleges can't assume that everyone who applies will end up enrolling.
You would have to explain your reasons, but even in the case of a student who had messed about for all of Y12 (not saying that is what happened with your son, just giving the example), as long as they could convince that they had seen the error of their ways, it shouldn't be a barrier.

Also, on the subject of AS Maths, it is a completely different beast to GCSE. My DD, who had A at GCSE swapped to another subject after a few weeks as she couldn't "get" it, whereas my DS found it relativley easy and is now studying it at uni. Unless he needs it for his career choice, it might be wiser for him to play to his strengths.

The main thing is that he knows of your support and that he realises it isn't an irrecoverable situation. Good luck!

Mutteroo Sun 05-May-13 23:12:41

There's no reason why your son couldn't join another school in September, but if I recall rightly, you have to apply for many by December. Your local college might have places though. My DD will be starting her forth different 'sixth form' in September (long story) & has only just applied.

I'd be extremely unhappy if I was being ignored by my children's college. I appreciate they need to stand on their own two feet, however most sixth forms seem to embrace parents when the DCs are screwing up! My son's sixth form have a warning light system & write to you as soon as there's a slight worry. DD went to the same sixth form (college no.2 on her list) & managed to go through to the red warning light & consequently walked before she was pushed! Anyway, back to the point in question. Does DS need maths for university & does he have an idea of where he would like to go? If he's aiming for the top unis then he may well need a top grade &/or retakes may not be accepted? I don't see the point in him not taking the exam because its only a week away now & there's not much that can be changed in that time. Maybe he will get a U grade, but he might get a B grade? He's got nothing to lose surely? I'll ask my DS about UCAS as he might know more about the retake situation when applying to uni.

Whatever happens, I wish your DS the best of luck with all his exams. My DS is also doing sciences & is looking forward to getting the exams out of the way!

speedology Fri 05-Jul-13 20:08:25

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