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Triple Science BTEC or Science A Levels

(17 Posts)
Escarbonara Wed 29-Nov-17 11:18:17

From visiting local colleges the BTEC looks best for the practical elements and ongoing assessment rather than just exams at the end. Preferred Unis appear to accept it for the science degree DS wants to do.

Now his school teachers have told him that he absolutely shouldn’t do the BTEC and whilst Universities say they accept BTEC they actually will prefer students that have done A levels. The BTEC staff say that Universities prefer the lab based skills he would get through the BTEC.

I know A-levels are usually considered more highly but the BTEC sounded like it would suit DS better and as long as it got him into Uni but now we are worried that he wouldn’t get in even if he did well on the BTEC.

Does anyone have experience/advice about this?

knittingwithnettles Wed 29-Nov-17 22:59:45

Loughborough seem to have put the BTEC requirements in their entry criteria. You could try looking at their website to give you an idea

We are also looking into a BTEC Science because the grades you need to do a Science A level are much higher in our local sixth forms, and ds won't get a 6 or 7 in Maths (he is doing Foundation Maths) which seems to be the main hurdle.

Tbh we haven't got that far, still trying to find the right Sixth form let alone uni.

I would say that if he gets very good grades at GSCE in Science and Maths there is no reason not to do A levels. A Sixth Form college offering BTEC science will invariably want to tempt the best students onto the course if they possibly can.

knittingwithnettles Wed 29-Nov-17 23:06:55

Swansea University offers Materials Science Engineering with a Foundation Year (ie 4 year course) and ask for BBC or Distinction Distinction Distinction in a BTEC with Distinction in the Maths modules.

That gives you an idea. Materials Science Engineering without a foundation wants AAB at A level I think. It is worth just looking through a typical uni list of science courses and seeing what is on offer.

Personally I think it might be easier for your son to do the A levels if the school think he is capable of it. My son's school are recommending he takes the BTEC as a fallback plan instead of humanities A levels, he would never have suitable for science A level.

Escarbonara Thu 30-Nov-17 06:09:06

Thanks, I’ve looked at entry requirements for a few Unis offering the course and they all state the BTEC is accepted but I’m just concerned whether it would still put him at a disadvantage against A-level students when he applied if they don’t actually view it as equal.

The BTEC just sounds better and more relevant to me.

knittingwithnettles Thu 30-Nov-17 07:52:55

why don't you ring up the admissions department pretending to be a BTEC student and see what they say? I have rung a few departments re: my elder son's qualifications (doing a uni course application) to check what their minimum grades are notwithstanding what they say on website, and whether they have taken people recently with BTECs.

BigGreenOlives Thu 30-Nov-17 07:55:31

Will he be allowed to do a mix? A friend’s son did a BTEC and maths A level & is now on a traditional hard science degree.

Outbackshack Thu 30-Nov-17 08:00:11

I teach a science based btec and our students that want to go to uni have absolutely no problem getting a place. I've taught both a level in a school setting and btec in a college setting and honestly believe the btec is better for science students. Much more practical and a good mix of coursework and exams. Lots of school teachers have a very negative perception of btec (often only low level groups on it at school)

LEMtheoriginal Thu 30-Nov-17 08:03:44

A levels are far better I think for university entrance. Universities assess both on exams and assignments and I don't think the btec would prepare for the university exams. Which are quite tough.

Escarbonara Thu 30-Nov-17 11:18:53

I’ve phoned the Uni and they advise going to their open day to discuss it next year so will probably do that.

Outbackshack it’s good to know your students have got into Uni from the BTEC, to me the BTEC sounds more relevant for that type of course but I’m just worried that it will be looked on as not as good as A-levels

Escarbonara Thu 30-Nov-17 11:21:08

He could do a mix but he really doesn’t want to take maths at A-level so probably best all science

titchy Thu 30-Nov-17 11:30:15

It really depends on the course and university he wants, and as you haven't said either I don't think anyone can say with any certainty whether he will have any issues.

If he's looking at Imperial for example he doesn't stand a cats chance in hell of getting an offer with a BTEC Science. London Met on the other hand will welcome him with open arms.

Basically as long as he isn't applying to the very top universities a BTEC should be fine, although bear in mind high grade BTECs are now more difficult.

If the only reason he's choosing the BTEC is because you (he?) thinks universities prefer students to have lab skills please think again. A Levels have a fairly meaty lab component which is assessed separately now.

If he's a C/B grade GCSE kid then I'd recommend the BTEC route. If he's an A/Astar kid A levels every time to give a decent shot at a better university.

chocolateworshipper Thu 30-Nov-17 16:08:07

You also need to think about how well he copes with exams. DD suffered very badly with anxiety and only got 7 GCSEs at C or above when she was predicted to get 10 - because she fell apart in exams. She's doing 3 single BTECs at college and on track to get Distinction * (same UCAS points as an A* in A level) for all three. There is absolutely no way she would get 3 A*s in A levels.

So long as some universities will accept BTEC, I would suggest he's better getting Distinction * than low A level grades.

Escarbonara Thu 30-Nov-17 20:42:04

It wouldn’t be a top Uni, he’s predicted 7s/As but not sure he will get those as he’s not so confident about sitting exams which is mainly why he’d rather do the BTEC

titchy Fri 01-Dec-17 07:47:29

Check the syllabus of the BTEC - there is a significantly greater exam component than in previous iterations.

eatyourveg Fri 01-Dec-17 19:35:45

Another dc here who got distinction * who would never have got A*s at A level. He got so stressed with gcse exams, his eyebrows fell out (thankfully they re-grew when exams finished) - GP said it wasn't uncommon. Now at uni and whilst A level students have advantages in the essay writing theory side of the course, he very definitely has the advantage on the applied nature of some of the assessments eg presentations, infographics and some of the practicals.

Several BTECs have recently started to include exams now so check the syllabus before making any decision.

Mytimenow Fri 01-Dec-17 19:52:57

My DS did a 2 year applied science (forensics) and got Triple Distinction which led to getting his first choice Uni. He says doing the BTec helped at uni with independent learning and doing assignments and writing Essays etc.

Escarbonara Mon 04-Dec-17 16:22:03

Thanks it’s definitely good to know that the BTEC has been fine for getting into some Universities as that was my main worry

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