What happens if he sits all his A levels a year early?

(58 Posts)
Noname1 Mon 23-Jun-14 20:19:54

Please can someone advise me. My very bright DS is at very well known super selective independent he's in the top 15 for most subjects the top five for maths and physics. He's just sat his IGCSE's and doesn't wish to stay on for the 6 th form he wants to attend our local 6 th form college. He looked at the AS maths paper and can answer all the questions, he looked at the A2 maths paper and can answer 6/8 ditto physics and French. The college have suggested he does maths, physics and French A2 at the end of year 12 and a Further Maths German and one other A2 of his choice (Italian probably) at the end of year 13.
He wants to do physics probably at IC but I thought you had to sit the subjects you wanted to do at Uni at the end of year 13 or could he apply at he end of year 12 (2015) and defer till 2016?

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MillyMollyMama Mon 23-Jun-14 21:13:09

IC Physics Department offers a number of undergraduate degrees, so choosing the right one to go for is key. I am assuming your DS is a linguist too but although IC offer a year abroad, does he really need 3 Language A levels? They are not needed and they do have an oral content, not just questions. I would have thought Chemistry was a better A level to put into the mix.

Additionally, Imperial say they interview candidates on technical aspects, motivation to do the course and interest in it. Instead of doing another A level in a language, could he develop his talents to meet the requirements of the interview? What else is he able to do to support his application? Nowhere does it say you cannot take an A level early. You just need the required mix of A*s and As to get an interview. Everyone applying there is very clever and students are there from all over the world. He will have to stand out from the crowd in a Physics way, not a linguistic one.

Noname1 Mon 23-Jun-14 21:37:45

Thanks he's also an outstanding linguist with a passion for Italian which he's never learnt properly and I think the college were hoping this would slow him down a bit along with the further maths and he enjoys speaking French and German he can easily do old AS papers for both. He loathes chemistry and biology and he doesn't like big writing/reading subjects like history or English.
The college run special extension work in both maths and physics for the very able and a variety of different project those applying to the likes if Oxford. imperial tare meant to get involved with including drama, and intense practice/help/advise for interviews. They have a small separate group of highly able students who rightly or wrongly get all the extra help although he would be the only one doing six A levels like this.

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titchy Mon 23-Jun-14 21:50:27

Rather than two languages in year 13 how about the EPQ in a physicsy area? He'd probably be fine with his current plan (wow!) but IC might want his physics not to be a year old.

Noname1 Mon 23-Jun-14 21:56:44

I worry about his physics being year old not worried about the maths as he'll do further maths in yr 13. What's an EPQ I never recognise acronyms I suspect it's obvious when you tell me.

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titchy Mon 23-Jun-14 22:17:32

Agree the maths is fine. EPQ is Extended Project Qualification. Basically a research project largely done under the students own steam. It carries UCAS points, not that he'd need them, but shows it is same level as A levels. Worth a google.

CinnabarRed Mon 23-Jun-14 22:24:48

On an entirely different tack, my BF at uni started a few months before his 17th birthday (Scottish, did his Highers in one year, had been advanced a year). It completely screwed him up - academically he was more than able but he couldn't cope with the emotional or social side. He ended up never graduating because he owed debts to college.

So by all means let your DS accelerate his learning (he sounds ace, BTW) but be wary of sending him straight off to uni - think about alternatives such as a year (or two) out for travel and/or voluntary work.


Noname1 Mon 23-Jun-14 22:35:32

Thanks all. Vet helpful it's a big decision for him. The EPQ in physics and also maths will be part of year 13 apparently. I absolutely agree about not letting him go to Uni a year early I fact Im hoping he'll take a gap year and travel and consolidate the languages his aim is to be fluent in all three like a good family friend.

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senua Tue 24-Jun-14 08:39:00

So he is doing half his A Levels in languages. ICL doesn't do languages.
Taking it as read that an excellent Physics department is the most important thing, wouldn't a more, um, universal University be more appealing?

Needmoresleep Tue 24-Jun-14 10:16:02

Speak to the admissions office at Imperial.

Anecdotally they seem quite happy to take students early. DD knows at least 4 who have gone/will be going before the age of 18. Though it does not happen in Britain much, it is not unusual for bright children in other school systems to be advanced a year or more, and also not unknown for very bright mathematicians to take A levels well before Yr 13.

If you are already London based, I assume Imperial then becomes some sort of challenging sixth form college. You go in each day, come home, do your homework and then do whatever you did outside school, eg sports, music, hanging out with your old school friends. I assume these are the sort of students who are very likely to go on to do postgraduate study, so plenty of time to have the full University experience.

I understand that Imperial have a specific freshers event(s) for those under 18. Good in that the younger ones get to know each other, but apparently quite dull and no alcohol....

crazymum53 Tue 24-Jun-14 12:57:18

You can do Physics degrees with a year in Europe at some universities e.g Bristol. This would use his language skills.
Would it be possible for your ds to take AS Physics exams at the end of Y12 possibly without attending the course and then the A2 in Y13?
To obtain the full A level you need to take both the AS and A2 exams as the marks are added together.

MillyMollyMama Tue 24-Jun-14 20:42:21

I don't think OP said he was going early and you can do Physics with a year abroad at IC. The OP was not looking for a language degree. Other universities might combine it of course and he will need to find 4 others to apply to so it is worth looking at.

Muddiboots Tue 24-Jun-14 20:50:46

Could he not just do 6 all together in the two years, in normal time frame and hence be on same timescale exam wise as everyone else. Thats what my ds dd. Cant see the advantage of jumbling up the exams?

senua Tue 24-Jun-14 21:46:10

OP also posted this in Secondary Education. She said on that thread "The college can't time table six subjects in two years so that's why they suggested he did three at the end of year 12 and three at the end of year 13."

Noname1 Tue 24-Jun-14 23:00:28

Many thanks for your very helpful replies. As senua the college can't timetable 6 in one go, (he will also be part of a gifted and talented group that have regular sessions so time tabling would be too tight) and he wouldn't need to spend a whole year working only for the AS in physics, maths, German and French because they feel he's already covered all the necessary work to get an A. I understand he will sit the AS and A2 at the same time at the end of yr 12/13. He is interested in IC because it's been suggested to him by a friend (another physics geek) and he wants to be in London partly because the best club for his sport which he's reasonably good at and loves is in London and his other interest is design/history of art/architecture etc and he thinks London (which he knows well as he was born there) is the best place to fill all his interests.
The language A levels seem like a good idea to him because he wants to travel in Europe in his holidays. He's organised and has thought everything (including changing schools/college) through carefully. He also doesn't fancy the other choices as diverse as they are.
Does he have to list four other universities? Can he just list 2 or 3 others. Obviously he'll list Oxford but he thinks Oxford itself is parochial and the student life doesn't appeal to him a close relative is there.

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MillyMollyMama Tue 24-Jun-14 23:16:01

Most people take advantage of listing 5 because they may need 5! I would look carefully at Imperial though, not least because living in London is very expensive! Rents are stonking! Also many students travel miles to Uni and are very spread out across London for years 2 and 3. Parochial can have its advantages in that it is a tighter knit community and who could fail to like the architecture of Oxford or Cambridge?

Noname1 Tue 24-Jun-14 23:37:42

I agree London is expensive to live in but we're about to save a considerable sum by not paying school fees (I need a whoopee smiley). He listened recently to the close relative describing his life at Oxford living in a college and was slightly appalled he feels it resembles slightly what he's desperate to get away from!
I suppose I'm not overly worried at this precise moment about which Uni he goes to he's made one big decision we can look at individual uni's next year. I just wanted to be sure that he wasn't affecting his chance of getting into a good Uni by doing A levels like this. I feel a bit clueless about university admissions although I'm learning quickly.

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summerends Wed 25-Jun-14 02:57:46

Noname, could he not do 4 A levels next year ie both the maths, physics, French plus physics EPQ completing by summer then apply for IC and other universities autumn of 2015 without doing another year at college (similar to those who apply in their gap year).
He could then fit in self taught Italian and German including travelling in his gap year and possibly an attachment in a physics / engineering as well. Some universities discourage gap years for maths students but I'm not sure if this applies to physics.
Off topic for your question but has this decision been brewing some time for him?

Noname1 Wed 25-Jun-14 06:46:56

Summer is it not now or from Sept of this year a legal requirement that all children stay in some kind of full time "education" till 18?
He is completely non practical so doesn't want too and has been advised against engineering, he's seems to be drawn towards theoretical physics (maths is where he real ability lies but he finds physics more interesting because it's applied maths apparently rather than pure maths).
The decision to leave started last year he wishes to be in a more "normal" environment he's unhappy with the ethos of private education. He's been privately educated in a famous super selective school since he was 7 yrs old. We and the school want him to stay as academically he's doing exceedingly well but he's unhappy in himself so we've relented.

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doradoo Wed 25-Jun-14 06:53:08

What about using the 'spare' year until he's 18 as a language year - see if you can get him into an exchange programme in a 6th form in one of the countries whose language he's taking - this will give him a bit more breadth and depth in the language than just the A level - and also up his independence and experiences - and would also look good on the UCAS application.

I know our local German grammar school sends children overseas for an academic year - so I'm assuming they must receive them too?

Jenijena Wed 25-Jun-14 07:25:59

has he looked at universities abroad? going to Europe (though may be hard to find an institution as good as Imperial) or to the States may be more appropriate for his intellect.

timetoclean Wed 25-Jun-14 07:40:33

If he's into languages, then he'd be better off learning Mandarin or Japanese rather than Italian in terms of employability.

titchy Wed 25-Jun-14 08:06:37

Stick to the plan. He doesn't want to go early, he'll be covering maths and physics in year 13 which will keep universities happy. He and sixth form have thought it through and it works!! Not sure about not using all five of his ucas options though...but you're a year away from that!

summerends Wed 25-Jun-14 09:06:32

Noname, you must be very proud of your DS to take such a decision, especially as it is must be a move away from some good friends.
I wonder about this full time education until 18. There must be some flexibility in it because of home ed. His year out could include a language course combined with art history in Italy (wonderful thought).
He could do an online computing course during that year instead of a physics attachment or some other online physics or maths module. The possibilities are endless! Sorry, I am probably complicating things smile

alreadytaken Wed 25-Jun-14 09:10:10

For Physics he should be looking at Harvard, MIT and Cambridge rather than Oxford. I would have thought America might be the most suitable environment for him, although his sport might be an issue as sporting standards are so much higher and they may not have his sport.

He doesn't have to apply to 5 universities but he can't assume his first choice will take him. All the universities he would consider are oversubscribed.

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