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Help decision needed to be made this evening whether to drop subject in 6th form

(20 Posts)
Ladyemem Tue 02-Oct-12 20:36:45

My daughter started 6th form last month. Study A Level Biology, A Level Art and double Business (btec diploma 2 A Level equivalent)
Shes had a great start to Art and Business but just had first short test after only 3/4 weeks and she got an E. Teachers are advising her to maybe drop biology and concentrate on art and business as they think she will struggle with biology. (she got a b and c grade at gcse science) They suggested she do business and Art over the next 2 years and then if she wishes to do biology in her 3rd year? She wanted to do physiotherapy at uni so needs the biology.
so should she drop it or try and stick with it?? Help please. Would a destinction in Btec business and a good grade in art get her into university???

webwiz Tue 02-Oct-12 20:56:57

It seems very quick to decide she is going to struggle with biology and I would be inclined to let her carry on a bit longer (with a good revision guide to help out). Her GCSEs would indicate that she won't be a top performer at biology but if it isn't affecting the other subjects then putting off the decision for a bit won't hurt.

HeathRobinson Tue 02-Oct-12 21:27:19

I'd say get a good revision guide and get her to study it every night. So she reads over stuff they've already done in class and reads over stuff they are about to do in class. Really try to consolidate the study.

Can't they give her till Christmas to pick up her marks?

Ladyemem Tue 02-Oct-12 22:18:20

yeah i thought its a bit quick to kick her out of the course. (There are a few in her class that have been told the same) based on a short test. I think they are keen to get rid of the weeker students and concentrate or the more able. Shouldnt they be offering her more support? I have already bought her study/revision books and she has been going over the material they have already learnt. Problem is Art is taking up alot of her time and i think the school are aware of that. Difficult decision. If she gave it up she could get better grades in art and business.

JustGettingByMum Tue 02-Oct-12 22:55:04

Does she need Biology for Physiotherapy?

I think if she wants to do physio she has to keep the biology. Having said that, Biology is a tough subject unless she is a natural, and to be honest if she didn't get an A at GCSE she IS likely to struggle.

Both of my girls did Biology A level..one found it easy (but was an A grade A level student all the way) The other didn't. She had an A* at GCSE but found the leap to A level hard and did badly in her AS level..got an E sad

However we got her a tutor, who works online via skype and it made a massive difference..took her from an E to a B (and final paper was an A) at her A2 exams...PM me if you would like her details..I shout her praises to everyone.

Biology at A level needs both understanding and the ability to process a massive amount of information and also(and this is where the tutor really helped) the ability to answer weird questions in the right way! it may well be that it is too early to say whether your DD will be ok at it, but I know my DDs' school also did the early tests and suggested that pupils drop it. At 6th form they just don't have the time to give extra support to pupils who are perceived as 'weak' My DD2 had a fight to be allowed to continue to A2 (they only allowed it as she had had Glandular Fever during her AS exams) and as a result her final B grade was very satisfying..

Does she have any other ideas than physio? If it's her only desire, then get her extra support and fight for her to continue, but if there are other degrees that interest her it might be better to concentrate on the subjects that she has natural talent for.

Ladyemem Wed 03-Oct-12 13:24:49

Thankyou everyone especially Medusa for your advice. Im going to see the 6th form teacher in a few hours to discuss.. Tutor online via skype sounds great but how much does she charge. Otherr than physio she is also interested in the Interior/digital media design route. Im thinking that biology will be really hard for her and am worried that it may effect her business and art results. I will find out what their resullts were this year. Wish we luck.

The tutor is £25 a session (we did once a week but had a couple extra just before the exam) ..nice thing is you have no travel costs or time and DD studied from her own bedroom/kitchen/computer room!

Your daughter does sound as though she has an artistic flair tho.. that and business might be a happier way to go!!smile

orangeandlemons Wed 03-Oct-12 16:16:47

I teach 6th form.

She has to make the decision now beacuse of recent governmnet changes. Any child who continues with a course of AS/A level study after the end of October and then gets a U incurs a financial penalty for the school. Not saying this is your dd, but we have had to evaluate each child for their subject suitabiity for the first time this year. This means schools arevery jumpy about who carries on which subject and are looking for really concrete evidence.

However 2 subjects isn't really enough to get into university, she should be doing 3

Ladyemem Wed 03-Oct-12 16:56:28

School told us she scored low in first biology test after only 3 weeks so she has dropped Biology now so she can concentrate on getting excellent grades in business and art. There was concern that if she did all 3 her grades would suffer. If she still wants to go the physio route she will do A level Biology after this. They told us if she would still be able to 50% of university courses if she changes her mind as long as she gets at least a B in A Level Art and a distinction in Btec diploma Business (a A level equivelent). B and DDD would give ger 460 ucas points or a C and a MMM would give her 320 points. Obviously she is aiming for the higher.

webwiz Wed 03-Oct-12 18:40:34

I didn't realise that orangeandlemons no wonder they were quick off the mark.

Ladyemem glad you got it sorted.

petal2008 Fri 05-Oct-12 11:35:44

My DS started 6th form in September. He is taking Further Maths,Maths,Physics and Biology. His plan was to drop biology after AS level and continue with the other three.

He came home on Monday and said he was considering dropping biology now as although he was coping he found it tough. His thoughts were that if he did this he would be able to concentrate more on the other three and maybe get better marks for them rather than doing four and possibly getting lower marks all round.

It seems to be a bit of a "catch 22" situation as if he did do the four and got decent grades for them (he feels he would probably get a C for biology, B at a push) it would at least get points towards his university application but if he dropped biology it would then put more pressure on him to get good grades in the other three.

He has done a test in biology (not sure about the other three) and is waiting for the results. He also spoke to his biology teacher (who says to wait for the results) and his pastoral head of 6th form who encouraged him to continue if he could. I didn't know about the financial penalty to the school (more bloody pressure for the students).

We have talked it through but his DF and I have no experience of university applications which you seem to need a degree to understand. He is already fretting he won't get good enough grades and his options if he doesn't. I find the whole thing a bit worrying as, since 6th form, he has seemed very quiet and withdrawn. His appetite has gone down to zero and I am sure it's because of him being concerned about his grades.

I am thinking of contacting the pastoral head to see if there are any issues but it has only been a few weeks since the beginning of term so probably a lot more students are in the same boat.

Sorry for moving off topic a bit.

Ladyemem Fri 05-Oct-12 20:04:34

petal i hope your ds sort everthing out. I think he should drop the biology and concentrate on the others. Too much pressure for him. I would definately have a word with the college. He shouldnt be fretting about his grades. Let us know how he gets on over next few weeks.

Petal.. if he is aiming for a high grade degree course, it is more likely that they will want good ucas points from 3 A levels than a totalled score from 4. (Or 3 high A2 grades)

We looked into this as DD1 was applying for medicine.. she had 4 A grades at AS but still dropped one for A2 as it gave no advantage continuing them all.. ALL her Universities specified 3 A levels at A grade..the AS level was neither here nor there!

This was for medicine (and she got insmile) but I think it is the same for many top level courses.

petal2008 Sat 06-Oct-12 12:34:27

Thanks for the advice.

He is hoping to do Physics with astronomy at uni and all the ones we have looked at are asking for AAB at least in Physics, Maths and Further Maths so pretty high - biology is not needed. I am not sure why they encourage students to take a fourth choice when all it seems to do is increase workload and pressure. Surely it is preferable to take the subjects you actually need.

I think I will email his head of 6th form to get her views. I just got the edited version of the meeting he had with her - as usual!

titchy Sat 06-Oct-12 14:25:46

Just be careful that maths and further maths aren't seen as one subject, thus limiting his choices if he changes his mind.

petal2008 Sat 06-Oct-12 15:43:15

Why would they be seen as one subject? They are two totally different type of maths and are both two year courses.

webwiz Sat 06-Oct-12 18:01:16

petal2008 A number of medical schools ask that if students offer maths and further maths a levels they still want two other science subjects to give enough breath for the course which I presume is what is being referred to.

It isn't a problem for anything other subject.

webwiz Sat 06-Oct-12 18:09:20

I do think there are a lot of positive reasons for taking 4 AS levels: it provides some breath, it gives students time to decide which three subjects they what they want to take forward and if you miss your university offer it may be taken into account when deciding whether to still give you your place.

Its true that there is no need to carry on all four to A2 but 4 AS levels is a normal workload and going down to three so soon is not necessarily the best idea.

Cuebill Sat 06-Oct-12 21:12:18

He will greatly restrict the choice of Unis if he drops down to 3 AS levels. The unis will state the A2's they require but all "good" unis will require 4 AS levels. Although they may be less fussy about the subject choice of the 4th AS level.

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