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more A level talk; are government/politics and music 'soft' or 'hard' as far as Russell group is concerned?

(46 Posts)
Majorca Sun 21-Aug-11 20:07:40

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Theas18 Sun 21-Aug-11 20:39:19

No idea re politics but dd1 has just been through all this with music A but applying for history at Russell group uni and didn't seem an issue at all.
Great for her , as she is an extremely talented and capable girl and music wasn't ever hard work (A* and 120/120 in practical- really think shell end up doing it but suspect she's scared of being pigeonholed and is reading history!)

Majorca Sun 21-Aug-11 20:58:34

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Milliways Sun 21-Aug-11 21:10:09

Have you seen the Cambridge list that is often referred to in these debates?

They have Government & Politics on list "B", as suitable for Arts courses only.

What course is being considered?

Majorca Sun 21-Aug-11 21:42:28

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Ponders Sun 21-Aug-11 21:47:52

I was always under the impression that music rated very highly.

Politics probably a bit less so esp for a student looking to do something scientific. DS2 did it, along with History & Economics, but he is going to do Politics at uni anyway so not an issue!

(FWIW one of his fellow students is going to Oxford to do PPE & his A levels were History, Music, English & one other - Maths, I think)

Majorca Sun 21-Aug-11 22:09:59

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Ponders Sun 21-Aug-11 22:49:11

His was called Gov & Pol, Majorca; another 6th form centre here seems to call theirs just Pol - it does have a different syllabus, but I don't think there's a distinction in terms of rigour.

Just asked him & he said they are different boards (but I couldn't tell you which ones!) The other centre covers US politics too, his doesn't.

Anyway I should think your DD's intended choice of subjects would be fine for getting in for a History degree!

Majorca Sun 21-Aug-11 22:56:05

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Ponders Sun 21-Aug-11 23:13:16

Thank you, Majorca - & good luck to your DD smile

Majorca Mon 22-Aug-11 09:10:15

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Lilymaid Mon 22-Aug-11 09:23:29

I thought that the gist of the Russell Group Informed Choices document was that two subjects at A2 should be facilitating subjects. Basically, it is saying that you can't go wrong if you study those subjects (providing they fulfill the course requirements and you are capable of getting a decent grade in those subjects).
But it must depend what subject the student wishes to study?

Majorca Mon 22-Aug-11 09:31:44

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Lilymaid Mon 22-Aug-11 09:40:06

There's a thread from earlier this year about the Russell Group document which you may find interesting.

Majorca Mon 22-Aug-11 10:00:49

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happilyconfused Mon 22-Aug-11 11:24:38

Music - ok no issues. The admissions peeps I have spoken to still rate music highly because students who take it tend to be learning two instruments and have other musical commitments so it shows good time management skills. ('Stickability' was the term used) Music Tech def on soft list along with Media.

Our G&P candidates had no problem getting to uni, but they tend to do G&P with a mix of Eng Lit/History/Philosophy/Economics.

Majorca Mon 22-Aug-11 12:28:22

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Yellowstone Mon 22-Aug-11 12:42:49

Majorca DD2 is reading History at Oxford and did Art, English and History. No fourth subject. They not only didn't seem to mind Art at her interview, they seemed to actively like it.

She got offers from Durham, St. Andrews, Warwick and Manchester as well.

If Philosophy is 'soft' as well, then DD3 has just got into Oxford with two hard and a soft. Again, no fourth subject.

I don't think RG tutors are as blinkered as to dismiss talent out of hand and very talented musicians tend to be very clever on the whole, don't they?

happilyconfused Mon 22-Aug-11 12:53:44

Being Head of Sixth Form I deal with lots of different admissions tutors at guidance days and on the phone. The Informed Choices booklet is meant to be a guideline doc. Just whizzed down my destination list and can say that I have pupils going to Leeds, Sheffield and Southampton this year with 2 of their 3 A2s being listed as soft, and two of them even had a BTEC shock. G&P, History & Phil did get into RG.

Grades are important though.

Does she enjoy History? Does she like writing? Has she done anything extra curricular that can show her passion for History? eg Subject mentor, reading History books, visits etc Is there a particular era/topic that she is keen on? (need to be careful with that and make sure it is covered)

Majorca Mon 22-Aug-11 13:11:29

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Ponders Mon 22-Aug-11 13:16:58

Yellowstone - nosy question, you don't have to answer grin

but I have gathered, from various posts of yours on various threads, that you have 5 children in consecutive school years - is that right? So you've had 3 at a time doing exams every year for the last 3 years? How on earth did you cope? shock

Yellowstone Mon 22-Aug-11 15:38:23

No Ponders it's not that bad! It currently goes (from Sept): 4th Year uni, 2nd Year uni, 1st Year uni, Y13, Y11, Y10, Y8 and Y5. It's confused by our school doing their GCSE's in Y10 and having a three year Sixth Form. Lots of exams though and UCAS forms and PS's and stuff though so I do say a bit on the threads.

I'd only use the term 'coping' in the broadest possible sense.... smile Luckily I do like wine.

Xenia Mon 22-Aug-11 17:21:10

The schools should be better at telling parents this. Some schools just aren't doing their job. Now it's fine to say most people in this school are not very bright and soft A levels are best for them and may well be definitely the right advice for those children but it's wrong to con them into thinking A level French is treated like A level needlework.

On the music issue I think it's not too bad but it's relatively easy and if you can avoid it do as it's not quite as impressive as your maths A level. i was pretty good at music, 4 grade 8s etc but I didn't do music A level as I wanted ones slight better regarded. Obviously it depends where you're going and if you're going to study music at degree level you must do it.

(This is our first year for 10 years without a child doing GCSEs, A level, university or post grad exams and three have graduated although there are more to come.)

Also don't forget employers. Many still regard A levels as the gold standard and even someone who manages to pull off a 2/1 but with not too good A levels is going to have trouble and if teh CV shows A levels in all the studies things it will look bad even if they went to a good university (for some but by no means all careers). Employers often have an old fashioned perspectiev too and might want to see the sorts of A levels they did in their day and might be 20 years out of date so plan your A levels around outdated perceptions as much as what the best universities want.

Yellowstone Mon 22-Aug-11 19:25:09

I may be out of synch here but I encourage mine to do whatever interests them most out of the range on offer and not to get too wound up about these various tedious lists, once the minimum essentials are met (chemisrt for medicine etc.).

So far, so good.

Yellowstone Mon 22-Aug-11 19:31:02

Don't know how that got sent confused. Chemistry.

I don't want mine to get bogged down down doing a subject they find dull simply for some perceived marginal advantage in the job market years later. Not worth it. The grades are likely to be affected which is probably worse than the subject choice.

We do the EP though, which helps.

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