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The advantages and disadvantages between BTEC and A Levels

(17 Posts)
flow4 Tue 18-Jun-13 06:29:35

motherof2, I just wanted to say well done to your DS and thanks for sharing that. smile Threads like this often repeat a lot of ill-informed prejudice, and it's useful to have a bit of real-life experience to counter it.

kzjm, there is a lot of snobbery about universities, and a lot of it is nonsense. Universities with excellent reputations have their share of stupid people, and the new unis/old polytechnics are filled with clever ones.

The bottom line is that you almost always get back from life what you put in. If you are bright enough, and motivated, and work hard, you will find a way to do what you want, whichever route you take, and even if it's one you didn't expect.

It sounds like you want to do A levels, but you are going to end up doing BTECs. So work with what you've got. smile It's really important not to let 'if onlys' stop you from getting what you want.

The BTECs actually have several potential advantages:

- They will suit you better if you are someone who learns best through doing rather than sitting still and listening. These kinds of learners often under-achieve in school and then thrive doing BTECs.

- A levels are literally no good for anything except getting into university. BTECs will give you skills you can use in life and work as well.

- They are much more practical and will give you better preparation for very many careers. It depends on what you want to do after uni: if you want to be a sociology lecturer, A levels might prepare you better; but if you want to join the police, or work in social care, or be a youth worker, then a BTEC might be best.

- BTECs will actually give you some very useful study skills. You will be better prepared for degrees that assess through practical work, research and independent study, rather than exams. You will probably be better able to work in teams/groups than most A level students. You are likely to be more used to independent study and making your own choices about what to focus on. That thing you hate - having to re-do work until it's at a required standard - is vital experience that may help you avoid failing your degree.

Finally, bear in mind that if you do go on to get a degree, no-one will care or ask whether you did A levels or BTEC!

Hope that helps. smile Good luck, whatever you do.

TwasBrillig Mon 17-Jun-13 12:00:12

How have you found AS levels? Which did you do?

It sounds like you aren't meeting the entrance requirements to the new area 6th forms. They usually set there at a level they think students need to pass.

Why did you not do standard gcses? What did you do and what were your results? How did you find it? Do you think you'd struggle with 3 academic A levels?

Btecs can be good, depends where you are at, what level, aims etc.

Xenia Mon 17-Jun-13 11:51:58

Yes, sorry did not mean to be rude but 93/97 does not exactly show Leeds Met is where yo uwant to go if you actually want to get a legal job and BTECs which get you in there could be a fairly bad idea. However it is all relative. For some children if BTECs is all they could ever manage and Leeds Met is better than no university at all then go for it. We cannot all read medicine at Cambridge and nor do we want lawyers and doctors who are not very academic so the pecking order is perfectly sensible, life saving even.

goinggetstough Mon 17-Jun-13 10:54:15

I agree not very polite!! I think what Xenia meant in a more polite way was that Leeds Met is not renowned for Law and in fact it comes 93/97 in the guardian league tables for Law. However, many jobs these days need a degree, not in a specific subject but at degree level. So a law degree from Leeds Met fills this requirement and it is a subject that he enjoys. Motheroftwoboys was giving a real example of how a BTEC had led to a university place.
My friend's DS did the same course as motherof twoboys and got a triple distinction and is about to start on a nursing degree course. I think it all depends on what subject the BTEC is in and what course you want to study.

titchy Mon 17-Jun-13 10:13:18

Did you mean to be so rude to motheroftwoboys Xenia?

Xenia Mon 17-Jun-13 10:05:24

Law A level is a soft A level which the better universities do not accept if you want to read law. Do something like English or History, a language or a science instead. Don't do BTECs.

Leeds Met is a substandard place you go to if you aren't very bright. If he wants a good job it would have been better had he done proper A levels and then read law at Leeds University.

Obviously some people do okay regardless but BTECs are not that great but presumably better than no qualifications.

motheroftwoboys Mon 17-Jun-13 09:59:33

I know this is old but wanted to add in case anyone considering Have to disagree about BTEC giving less opportunities - although that is what I used to think. Our DS2 was at an independent school. He is bright but lazy and didn't want to do A levels so went to a local college to do a higher level BTEC in Uniformed Public Services assuming he wanted to join the police force or the fire brigade. He then decided he wanted to go to Uni. I didn't think he had a cats chance in hell. However he got 5 good offers for Law and has just finished his first year at Leeds Met.

sashh Fri 31-May-13 02:58:06

and I don't like BTEC for the fact work has to be done repeatedly until at an acceptable standard

It doesn't if you do it correctly in the first place.

Are there any schools with a VI form where you are moving?

Why did the VI form say you could only do 1 A Level? What grades are you predicted?

boomting Fri 31-May-13 01:27:17

A Levels are always the preferred option for academic courses such as sociology and criminology, and you will be making your own life a lot easier if you can finish your A Levels. I would suggest living with your dad (does your mum not want you living with him for sensible reasons like domestic violence or because of her own issues with him?) / grandparents / friends if at all possible. It is, after all, only for one year.

eatyourveg Thu 30-May-13 19:38:17

do you have any grandparents you could stay with so you could finish your A levels?

kzjm9669 Thu 30-May-13 17:58:15

BackforGood: Too late! My mum's already sold our house - but this is what I'm trying to tell her. The sixth form I originally wanted to go to (because I didn't meet their entry requirements) they said I can do 1 A Level and do a BTEC at a different college, and I said no straight away, I've done BTEC PE at school, and I don't like BTEC for the fact work has to be done repeatedly until at an acceptable standard, and when I actually did that and got a merit overall (2 B's (which would let me get into the sixth form I wanted to go to - as I got 3 B's from my written - and I needed 5 to get in) and my BTEC got marked down to a pass (2 c's). I mean, I have studied hard to do my extreme best in my current AS levels, I don't want to chuck away a year of learning - to do btec. I could stay, but my mum would not want me to live with my dad

LIZS Thu 30-May-13 17:57:22

A levels will leave more opportunities open than a vocational Btec. Agree find the entry requirements for the courses you are interested in and go through the problem of swapping now with your mum. I find it hard to believe that no local 6th form colleges or FE colleges would do Part time A levels - they may well not be advertised in the same brochure as FT courses . Could you ring the Admissions office and ask ?

kzjm9669 Thu 30-May-13 17:52:45

mixedmamameanbusiness: I have looked at colleges far away from the area my mother is moving to - most of them are vocational colleges, the colleges where I can go to, I don't meet the entry requirements for Law

I could pick another subject, but all there is left to choose from is Science, incl. Psychology (and I don't have 2 B's in GCSE Science) Art subjects (I don't have a GCSE in art) and English and Geography, which I'm not good at :s I'm also choosing History AS too

BackforGood Thu 30-May-13 17:45:51

Go onto UCAS website and find some courses you want to do at University. They will then tell you (and you can show your Mum) what they are asking for as entry requirements.
I'm reading from your post that you are already half way through a course ? Then surely your Mum can see it would be better for you to finish what you are doing - whether that means her waiting to move, or you staying with someone else for a few months once she moves, until you do your exams... it would seem silly to chuck it in half way through the course.

mixedmamameansbusiness Thu 30-May-13 17:37:42

Do you have to attend the nearest college? I previously attended college 1.5 hrs away in order to do the A levels I wanted. Perhaps this is an option?

englishteacher78 Thu 30-May-13 17:26:19

Google the Russell League for universities. It's the list of the top universities. They do not see BTECs as the same as A Levels. It seems you are considering an academic career path - this what A Levels are designed for. BTECs are practical courses designed in the main for practical/performance based subjects. If you'd like more specific info/advice, message me.

kzjm9669 Thu 30-May-13 17:21:27

To cut a long story short, my mum wants to move away, if I do, I have to do a BTEC at a college (because they don't do a levels) But I don't want to move, because I want to continue with my A Levels

I know people label BTEC people as "stupid" and "lazy" (which I know isn't true), but I genuinely believe A Levels are better. I believe BTEC are for people who want a career in that particular field.

I want to do Sociology and Criminology at university, I was originally going to chose Social Work, but with Sociology and Criminology, it can broaden more opportunities to it, so I definitely want to continue to do Sociology A2, and I'm choosing Law AS for next year, so it all ties in pretty well - so I definitely want to continue A Levels - but my mum doesn't seem to understand :s

It would be nice if I could some detailed answers (all including the dis(advantages) of BTEC and the dis(advantages) of A Level)

Thank you in advance

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