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4th AS level for Oxford modern languages application

(68 Posts)
3littlefrogs Fri 12-Apr-13 18:16:53

If you were interviewing applicants for modern languages courses at Oxford, what 4th AS level would you consider suitable/useful alongside French, German and music. (There is no possibility of a 3rd language course at school).

Is psychology considered too soft a subject for Oxford?


happilyconfused Mon 22-Apr-13 20:44:12

Glaurung - you are right. Cambridge acknowledge that though the average student has six or seven gcses at A* they will offer to students who perform very well at AS. The chart a small few with only a few As.

happilyconfused Mon 22-Apr-13 20:40:29

Having just attended an advisors conference for Cambridge it is the unit UMS scores that are used as an indicator along with the personal statement, the school academic reference, any tests and the interview. They have to turn down lots of candidates with A* predictions as there are too many of them. There is some variation between subjects but 93 points per unit would be fair. A real passion for the subject has to sine throughout the application. I got the impression they thought music was ok.

PiratePanda Wed 17-Apr-13 22:51:58

"Watch music, it is not considered a facilitated subject."

You mean facilitating subject, and yes, music IS considered to be a hard, albeit specialist, subject by the RG. Read their A Level choices book again.

Psychology, on the other hand, is regarded as soft and non-facilitating. How about Biology?

glaurung Sun 14-Apr-13 01:30:53

seeker, one of dd's friends has an offer from Cambridge this year - their gcses are 1 A*, 5As, 3Bs and 2Cs - it is for maths where they may be less fussy on GCSEs than some other subjects, but clearly straight A*/A is not always necessary.

babytrasher Sat 13-Apr-13 22:40:33

When Blind Jack of Knaresborough introduced the AS-Level, the excellent idea behind it was to try to ensure that students heading arts-ward would study a bit of science into the 6th Form; and would-be scientists would be dirty stop-outs with the humanities for just a little longer. And unis appreciate that.

The single best all-round love-me-for-doing-it AS is undoubtedly Maths. If he has a problem with that, given where OP's DS's wants to go, his best 4th AS choice would be a science, any science.

sandripples Sat 13-Apr-13 19:33:54

My DD did languages at Cambridge recently, after going to comprehensive school. She did AS French, German, Music and Psychology then dropped the psychology for A2. Music was and is a great passion for her - the A level was really hard and seems to have been well considered at Cambridge.

Yellowtip Sat 13-Apr-13 15:59:40

chickydoo I think the whole thing about music and your friend's son is a complete red herring. It may be what your friend told you and it may even be what one of the universities told her or it could be one suggestion made by one of these several HTs who perhaps wanted to get her off the phone. All that can be said for sure is that it's a very well received subject, for all sorts of courses.

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 13-Apr-13 15:53:42

Chickydoo it is listed as a proper subject by Cambridge though. And lesser RG universities all say 2 facilitating subjects plus one other. And music is highly regarded.

3littlefrogs Sat 13-Apr-13 15:32:33

History and politics seem to come up a lot on the list, so might look into those. Current school doesn't offer politics though.

It does seem a bit of a minefield!

3littlefrogs Sat 13-Apr-13 15:30:10

BTW I didn't say 3 instruments are necessary or compulsory for GCSE. But music is a very big part of our lives, and composing and arranging is something that DC does a lot and doesn't want to drop an instrument.

Just wanted to make that clear.

bombyxmori Sat 13-Apr-13 14:51:04

webwiz, that is what they usually say. Unless it's a course requirement they are not going to say it's better to do X rather than Y. You might get a response if you ask what would be best prep, but even then the answer is likely to be along the lines of 'all subjects are useful in different ways'. They don't want to commit themselves, or Chinese whispers-style, it'll become perceived dogma - on here at least! As the need for 'facilitating subjects' seems to have become. Sadly.

I would, though, bear in mind the 'helpful' subjects for the course pulled up by twentytotwo. It's perhaps why OP's DC thought of Psychology as a possible science?

mysteryfairy Sat 13-Apr-13 14:38:19

The rower story must be at least partially exaggerated as he couldn't have achieved 4 A* at AS given that the highest grade awarded is A.

I have so much admiration for children doing GCSE or Music A Level - the workload has been massive and its one of those subjects where some actual talent is required. I could learn virtually anything to A Level standard but not Music. However it doesn't change the perceptions of it and we have recently had an Oxbridge admissions tutor check it is the one DS is dropping for Y13 and state that to do so is for the best. I'm also not convinced about the need to rehearse 3 instruments. My DS1 has been unusual in doing his AS performances on 2 different instruments (and playing a third in a GCSE performance of his composition). Most stuck to performing on just one. My DS2 in y11 has grade 7 on three separate instruments but has done all his GCSE performance pieces on one of them simply on the basis it is easiest to transport on the school bus. Think it's worth commenting in case anyone reading is put off the subject by not having enough instruments.

webwiz Sat 13-Apr-13 11:19:47

OP your DD could email some Oxford admission tutors and see what their opinion is. DS asked about his 4th A level choice and the reply was do what you enjoy and are likely to get the best grade in.

ggirl Sat 13-Apr-13 11:16:55

My dd did French,math and Music A level and got in to RG uni to study french , not Oxbridge but Music was considered decent A level and she got 5 offers from RG's

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 13-Apr-13 11:06:24

At least one of this year's A level music students at DD1s school is headed off to do medicine somewhere brilliant. And I think other music A oevel kids have gone on to Oxford in recent years (v few go from our school to Cambridge. I think it's probably the travel more than anything).

Mind you that said even with the ssibility of grade deflation giving rise to lowered hurdles I still can't see DD1 being string enough on paper to trouble either place. Which is a shame because she may be (she may have to be sad ) re-evaluating her future plans.

chickydoo Sat 13-Apr-13 11:05:19

On Russell group list ( via independent newspaper ) sorry on phone & can't link.
Music is not listed as a facilitating subject.

Yellowtip Sat 13-Apr-13 10:49:34

In that I know some real life people actually there now with a rogue B or so seeker, including at AS. I'm not sure lower grades are application enhancing exactly, but it wouldn't make sense that a single duff grade would completely kill an application - stuff happens in some exams with even the brightest of people, everyone knows that.

bombyxmori Sat 13-Apr-13 10:47:03

Agree with Russians. 2 of 5 of DD's A2 music class went on to do English. But the OP asked about mod lang anyway

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 13-Apr-13 10:39:24

It's music tech which is on the 'bad' list. And that is a very different animal.

I'm actually appalled that so many posters in this thread as so misinformed about music. Gove's war against the arts in education seems to be going well on the hearts and minds front. sad

RussiansOnTheSpree Sat 13-Apr-13 10:33:08

Chickydoo music is considered a facilitating subject.

seeker Sat 13-Apr-13 10:13:19

Sorry, my last two posts were to yellowtip.

seeker Sat 13-Apr-13 10:12:42

Oh, and dd just told me they had a talk at school from an admissions person who said the same........

seeker Sat 13-Apr-13 10:07:35

"Where did you get that from seeker? And as grade deflation strikes, there will be more and more who've missed predicted grades but still get offers with Bs."

The all As and A*s thing? It's received wisdom in our neck of the woods. Is it not true, then? <hopeful emoticon>

bombyxmori Sat 13-Apr-13 10:03:37

oops that was for chickydoo, not used to system yet. Way late response

bombyxmori Sat 13-Apr-13 10:02:39

Trouble is, English is in such great demand. He's not the first I've heard of to get that kind of outcome. Mod Lang are a different kettle of fish so his experience is not perhaps generalisable. And Oxbridge IS a lottery - they have too many good candidates so no one is guaranteed - and someone feeling the interview went well is not a guide, they say that. Hope it worked out for your friend's DS in the end.

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