Poor AS results - am i giving dd the right advice?

(37 Posts)
Mosschops30 Sun 18-Aug-13 19:58:31

Dd wants to do a history degree, she knows everything there is to know about history and really enjoys studying it.

She has spent most of the AS year fannying about on FB and twitter, talking about sherlock or dr who and enjoying life with her friends. So despite getting As and Bs at GCSE she got 2 Us 1E and 1D at AS level

I was furious, having just done a degree and a pgdip i know about how hard you have to work and for a year i spent one day of my weekend in the library on top of lectures and day study or i would never have got through it, but she just cant seem to grasp it. Weve had lots of tears but i know the same will happen this time next year. Also she had to change school for Alevel and i dont think theyre that supportive.

So i think she should leave and do 3 fastrack A levels at college at work her arse off for the year so she can get into Uni. Shes picked 2 different subjects to do at college but obviously wants to do history and says their course looks great.
Is this a good idea or not? I cant see any point in her staying in the school and wasting time

IForgotMyPencil Wed 21-Aug-13 08:38:31

I was in a similar position to your daughter last year! I did well in my AS year, but I missed my UNi offer quite spectacularly because I was basically not working in the second year. I then repeated the year when all my friends went off to Uni. And it really wasn't that bad! It really made me want to pull my socks off, and I made lots of new friends in my new classes. I don't feel behind my peers - repeating a year is more common than you think!

If she hasn't worked hard enough this year, then fast track a levels would be a disaster - she would have to do double the work in the same year. Half the a level in a year is hard enough!

chickydoo Wed 21-Aug-13 07:11:06

Thank you rummikub....I hope she can do it

Rummikub Wed 21-Aug-13 02:40:40

Chickydoo, there's a good chance your dd will be able to pull up to c grades from d's. if the college has learning mentors then get your dd to see them straightaway. They should be able to help her get on track and advise on study and revision skills.

fancyanother Tue 20-Aug-13 22:50:48

I don't teach history A level, but in the 2 subjects I do teach, (both essay based) the AS level is fairly straightforward- eg facts plus simple for and against points. The A2 is much, much harder. There is a lot more analysis and critical thinking involved, which would mean she would really have to put the work in reading around the subjects and developing her own views. As others have said, doing a 2 year course in a year is a big ask, even for a motivated student. In my experience, resits are for students trying to get their D grades up to a C. Maybe not being in the same group as her friends will be one less distraction? In the long term, going to uni at 19 instead of 18 is no big deal and may mean she is more mature and committed.

tiggytape Tue 20-Aug-13 22:36:12

History at university is competitive. It is a hugely popular subject - one that has always been hard to get accepted on. Even in the olden days, unis asked for a mixture of A and B grades to study History (back in the days when C's and D's were perfectly acceptable grades for other subjects and the world was young!).

The ideal scenario of course is that DD has learnt a valuable lesson, has picked manageable subjects and is fired up to work her socks off to achieve brilliant grades in just one year. But I agree with littlemisswise, assuming History is going to be one of these subjects, I just don't see it would be possible to get a decent grade in one year. The volume of work in terms of essays and wider reading is just too immense. The same is true of related subjects too - English, Humanities, Politics.... I am not sure which A Levels could be done successfully in a year by a non genius student but I am guessing it isn't any of the essay based ones.

She seems keen to stay on track and in step with her peers but the real danger is that she finishes Year 13 no better off than she is now and unable to get onto any of the university courses she's interested in. At that stage she'd have to try again to do A Levels from scratch in one year or redo the whole lot which would perhaps feel even more of a backwards step.
I am very surprised suspicious about a college who would advise this for a student in her position hoping to study a subject she will need very high grades for. It is up to her though, if she is determined to do it all you can do is support her and hope the college are right.

chickydoo Tue 20-Aug-13 22:29:15

My DD also did badly in her As levels this year DDEE
She wants to go in to nursing and needs a minimum of CCC next year. I wanted her to re start yr 12 again, but the college say no, they are 100% full for September and anyway only take re-starters under very exceptional circumstances. There are no other FE colleges in our area. Only option is to send her to a private 6th form (we can't really afford it) or let her continue to A2, and hope to God she puts the work in and turns her DDEE in to the 3 c's she needs.

forehead Tue 20-Aug-13 22:17:17

I agree with starting the course again, She is very young fgs and there is no rush.
I went to uni a year later than my peers . Many of the students were mature students. From what you say, i am not sure that your dd realizes how difficult it is going to be. However, if she wants to do the course in one year that is up to her.

littlemisswise Tue 20-Aug-13 22:05:18

I honestly don't think she knows just how much work is involved, tbh. And to say "she knows everything there is to know about History" is incredibly arrogant, IMO.

DS1 got 100% in his History GCSE. He worked like a train through Year 12, he got 1 UMS mark off an A. He worked really, really hard through Year 13 and got his A. He didn't go out more than once every 3 or 4 months. It was books, books, books, practice papers and essays all the time. There was nothing else. That was doing it over 2 years.

Rummikub Tue 20-Aug-13 22:01:43

I would listen to the college carefully. Do you get the impression that they want to fill courses or want your dd to achieve? 3 new subjects in a year is a tall order. Does the college offer a 2 year option? Your dd must monitor herself and if she finds that she is struggling with 3 or 4 subjects, then consider dropping 1 to give her a better chance of grade improvement.

Mosschops30 Tue 20-Aug-13 21:55:47

Well a mixture of all those, she didn't want to take 3 out of the 4 subjects and the one she liked the best she didn't get on with the teacher

There is greater choice at college, and she has picked 3 subjects she really wants to do.
She has admitted that she didn't work hard enough last year and wasn't motivated at all.
She is adamant she wants to do these in a year, I have given her the options of repeating yr 12 but she says this will de-motivate her hmm

She knows she will have no life for a year and says she's willing to work

Rummikub Tue 20-Aug-13 21:45:59

Hi, I suggest your dd speaks to the tutor and student adviser at the college. If you can go with her that might be useful. This is what I advise students, that sometimes to guarantee success they will need to repeat a year. It all depends on reasons for the low grades. Did she work? What revision techniques did she use? Were the subjects suited to your dd?

creamteas Tue 20-Aug-13 18:18:34

It is not up to the college to get her to change her mind, it is pointless trying to make her repeat the year if she is against it.

What alternatives has she come up with? At this age, it has to be her decision. It is hard standing back especially if you think they are making a mistake but you are going to have to.

In your position I would be making it clear that she had a choice of carrying on with A levels, switching to something different at college or getting an apprenticeship or other work (with prospects). You will support her in whatever she chooses, but doing nothing is not an option.

Mosschops30 Tue 20-Aug-13 17:34:10

Thanks all, I agree you're right with the repeating of year 12 but dd does not agree
I am hoping the college will make her see sense

creamteas Tue 20-Aug-13 13:12:21

Moving institution and having a fresh start is probably a good idea. But there really is no need to do the fast-track route, and this could end up as another disaster. As others have pointed out, lots of students need to retake Y12 or 13, other take a gap year. She won't be behind by doing the two years, and has a much better chance of good results that way.

MrsHowardRoark Tue 20-Aug-13 11:17:28

Remember too that lots of students take a year out before starting university so she won't be left behind and will still be with many of her peers.

I went as a mature student and was included by everyone 10 years younger than me. University is very different to school.

primroseyellow Tue 20-Aug-13 11:12:00

Agree with others that fast track very unlikely to be successful. She's in danger of another set of disastrous results next year.

tallulah Mon 19-Aug-13 16:21:52

My DC did A levels a long time ago now but all had a shock with the A2s. Like you say, going from As at GCSE to D/E/U at A2. My DN did the same, and actually redid Y12, which with hindsight is what 2 of mine should have done.

I agree with the other posters though that trying to do them fast-track would be a disaster, and that she needs to start again and redo Y12.

It probably seems a really big deal to her now to go to uni with her year group, but actually she will find if/when she gets there that her year group won't just be students her age. There will be lots who have had a year out for whatever reason, those who've repeated a year at 6th form, as well as mature students. Once you've left school being with people only your own school year ceases to be relevant. (But I'm sure you know that anyway grin)

Can you persuade her that she is going to move apart from her friends when everyone goes to uni anyway? It's inevitable.

Not sure what you mean by "college"? Is it a 6th form college or a private one?
DS is at a 6th form college and several of his friends fell into the trap of having fun at the expense of work. At least three of them are starting again and repeating year 12 after getting dismal AS results. One wants to be a vet and she got A*s galore at GCSE but Cs and Ds at AS.

celticclan Mon 19-Aug-13 14:47:06

Can she carry on with the subjects she obtained Ds and Es in and do one A level by distance learning?

Not ideal by any means but she if pulls her socks up she could get good grades and apply for uni after her results. She could have a gap year and include some voluntary work at museums etc and some travelling.

tiggytape Sun 18-Aug-13 23:42:29

If her main aim is not to fall behind her peers then that may not be enough to keep her motivated for a year which will be tough by anyone's standards. I don't think it should really form part of her decision making at all.
Even her peers who did well this year and are on track so far won't necessarily go off to uni at the 'correct' time either. If they don't do as well next year or have a change of direction, many take a year out at some stage - there is no shame in that. It isn't a race and it is best to get to where you want to be than to get anywhere you can quickly.

There is also the commitment to study that would be involved and your post sounds (and I may be wrong) that the motivation is coming more from you than her right now. Even if she is very academic, the sheer hard slog involved would be tough for anyone - it doesn't sound as if her heart is in it enough at the moment to put herself through something like that and come out the other side with decent grades. I may be wrong but, unless she has had a real wake-up call and is totally fired up and able to keep up that momentum, she may need the full 2 years to do the courses at a more natural pace.

I only ask as the majority of people I knew at uni did history. None of them have good jobs. It might be worth a conversation about careers. I wish I had been more focused towards a career than just a subject I enjoyed at the time.

I agree with others saying start the 2 years again.

Rummikub Sun 18-Aug-13 23:25:23

Is the college course a 2 year course in 1 year? Or the a2 year your dd will be joining?

I think that opting for the full 2 year course at college might be the more sensible option, esp as she has picked 2 new subjects. Doing the course over 2 years will hopefully give her the better chance of getting good grades. Going to uni at the same time as her peers shouldn't inform her decision. I do realise that for your dd this is a big thing, however, her aim must be to give herself the best chance to get to uni.

Mosschops30 Sun 18-Aug-13 23:17:29

I don't know crazy but it's her passion and what she wants to do.

What does she hope to get from a history degree? What's the career plan?

littlemisswise Sun 18-Aug-13 23:14:13

I don't think she'll do it tbh, I'm not being harsh I am just being honest.

DS1 has just done his A2's. He did History, English Lang/Lit and Psychology. He got AAB. Last year he was on BBC. He had to work his arse off this past year. He has always had the right attitude, but there was no lazing around, a night out was seldom, his head was always in his books. He loves History, he got 100% in his GCSE and he still found it a lot of work.

I think that the best thing would be to completely restart the 2 year course.

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