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Any experience of Physics Pre U?

(17 Posts)
NoTimetoStopnStare Sat 07-Jan-17 10:53:18

DS in yr11, has to choose A'level subjects. His strongest subjects are Physics and and Maths, he's predicted A's in both, so we thought, great! Just choose one more subject and he'll be sorted. What weird thing know is that school doesn't offer A'level physics, only a Pre U. School have said only those predicted an A* will be allowed to do Physics.

My worry is, I've heard all kinds of horror stories about the Pre U and how hard it is. Even if DS manages to get accepted onto the Pre U, will this potentially be a big stumbling block for him? Should we just shelve physics altogether?

InTheDessert Sat 07-Jan-17 11:00:28

Can he go to a different 6th form or college and get the a levels he wants?? Biased here. Bio, Phy, Chem and Maths A levels. Science degree.

NoTimetoStopnStare Sat 07-Jan-17 12:50:19

I'm afraid transferring to another school at the moment is not on the cards. DS very happy st his present school and always planned to spend 5yrs there. He joined this senior school in year 9 as its an Indy. We just never realised they didn't offer Physics A'level at the time.

rightsofwomen Sat 07-Jan-17 12:58:51

What do you want to know?

If they won't let him do preU without and A* then that's that.

My yr13 son does the preU and did get A* at GCSE. I can check with him whether that was a prerequisite. I can ask him whether he thinks students with "only" an A would struggle.

NoTimetoStopnStare Sat 07-Jan-17 13:14:43

Rightsofwomen - I want to know what the challenge or for want of a better word difficulty would be for someone who got at A at GCSE to pass the Pre U. Also how different is it from A'level Physics? I'm not expecting someone to explain the entire syllabus but just a rough idea of how it differs. Thank you.

rightsofwomen Sat 07-Jan-17 13:42:10

I will ask my son and let you know.

happygardening Sat 07-Jan-17 17:33:55

DS2 did Pre U physics (with an A* at GCSE), he was described by his teacher in yr 11 as being exceptionally good at physics (in a super selective school). It's significantly harder than A level (he compared it to his friends A level physics papers he could easily answer all the questions on all the A Level papers correctly in yr 12) and loads of work. He really struggled at times and he's a genuinely brilliant mathematician (he did math Pre U as well and walked it with literally zero effort on his part). Is he doing math as well? I think he'll need too.
He really liked physics when he started it but now wouldn't touch it with a barge pole, apparently lots of stuff about pendulums, and not enough theoretical physics (his only area of interest in physics).
Frankly I think he's going to struggle without an A*.

happygardening Sat 07-Jan-17 17:35:31

I think his school wouldn't let you do it unless you had an A* but then they only do Pre U's for all subjects and I think that applied to all subjects.

NoTimetoStopnStare Sat 07-Jan-17 22:13:32

He will be doing maths but at A'level not Pre U. It's a shame they're not offering A'level Physics as Not doing it closes some doors to him, e.g. Engineering.

rightsofwomen Sat 07-Jan-17 22:28:32

DS says whereas A level teaches you more to pass the exam, the preU (as the name suggests) requires more thinking and applying that knowledge.

He said it would be hard to do without A*

If your DS really wants to do engineering then I think you might need to think about changing 6th form.

rightsofwomen Sat 07-Jan-17 22:29:25

The engineering degrees will likely want very high A level or PreU grades.

rightsofwomen Sat 07-Jan-17 22:29:49

The engineering degrees will likely want very high A level or PreU grades.

rightsofwomen Sat 07-Jan-17 23:07:21

The engineering degrees will likely want very high A level or PreU grades.

rightsofwomen Sat 07-Jan-17 23:07:55

Sorry about multi posts!

sendsummer Sun 08-Jan-17 01:09:19

rightsofwomen I would echo what PPs have said. I have heard of DCs who easily achieved A* at GCSE but certainly found the preU hard and needed to put in a lot of work initially although apparently it did click after a bit. I suppose the advantage is makes the transition easier for physics based courses at university. If your DS is heading for an A for GCSE due to struggling with physics concepts at GCSE level then he is going to find the step-up to pre-U but also for A level taxing. However I get the impression that if lab work, maths and solving problems are his forte he might actually enjoy the pre U more despite it being hard work.

5notrumps Sun 08-Jan-17 08:04:03

DC2 did physics and maths pre-U and went on to Imperial. He said it was different to A level but not necessarily harder - just a different approach. They practiced A level papers as well. Most students who are really good at physics will be able to do both. But the majority of British students doing physics/engineering degrees will have done A level so there is no disadvantage in not having done pre U.

If your DS is struggling to get an A* at GCSE because he has difficulties with the concepts and/ or the maths then preU and A level are probably not for him. If he is not getting top marks because he is bored out of his mind by teachers teaching to the test it might be a different story....

NoTimetoStopnStare Sun 08-Jan-17 16:35:57

Thanks for all your comments, taken it all on board. DS has managed to get straight A's in Physics since year 9 but never had an A*. We will wait till the next parents meeting to see what his teachers think, I think that will carry more weight and then he can decide his final options.

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