How will universities assess ucas applications during the A Level change over?

(28 Posts)
stonecircle Mon 16-May-16 17:07:14

School is trying to tell me that for 2017 entry universities will just look at GCSE results and not any AS results a student may have because otherwise it wouldn't be fair on those year 12 students who aren't doing many or any AS exams this summer. Does anyone know if that is likely to be correct?

OP’s posts: |
goodbyestranger Mon 16-May-16 17:56:26

Makes sense.

AndNowItsSeven Mon 16-May-16 17:57:46

I doubt it , before students did AS levels they didn't use GCSE results.

AndNowItsSeven Mon 16-May-16 17:58:04

They used predicted A level grades.

OddBoots Mon 16-May-16 18:00:03

I doubt very much that any university would completely ignore AS level results when they are available to them - some students would be advantaged by having AS and some would be disadvantaged so it all balances out.

GetAHaircutCarl Mon 16-May-16 18:00:22

Most universities will use predicted grades.

Schools will make these using a number of factors. These factors will include AS and GCSE.

meditrina Mon 16-May-16 18:03:06

"I doubt it , before students did AS levels they didn't use GCSE results."

But if you go back to when I were a lass, they did use O level results plus predicted grades. So I wouldn't rule out greater consideration being given to GCSE results.


lasermum Mon 16-May-16 18:04:22

I hope this is not correct, ds1 is having to sit AS exams in reformed subjects (physics and computer science) as well as unchanged subjects (Maths and Further Maths).

If this is correct ds1 (and his school, a non selective comp) are wasting a lot of time and energy.

Not to mention my stress!

stonecircle Mon 16-May-16 18:21:36

DS is having to do AS physics (I started a thread about this a few weeks ago) and I'm nervous about it as his whole cohort did badly on the practice papers for the new syllabus. He wants to do physics at uni and I don't want him to have to put a weak grade on his ucas form. School say they won't look at it, they'll just look at GCSEs but I can't believe that.

If he doesn't get a good grade because he's not up to it then fair enough but I'm worried that the school hasn't got to grips with the new syllabus. Selective school so they must have some students capable of getting an A or B which nobody did when they did the practice papers a month or two ago.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Mon 16-May-16 18:23:26

A level predictions will be used. Same as last year, 10 years ago and 20 years ago.

Those that also look at AS grades (not many...) may look at GCSE grades, they may look at AS grades if taken (they know not all schools will enter students for AS in decoupled subjects) or they may set their own exams or interview.

But if you ain't got the right predictions, even with the best set of GCSEs and AS results, you ain't getting an offer.

Liska Mon 16-May-16 18:28:14

What titchy said.

goodbyestranger Mon 16-May-16 19:42:29

I see where you're coming from OP. Problem is, the admissions people can't unsee what's on the ucas form. Daft of the school to put the kids in for the AS, what's their justification?

hayita Mon 16-May-16 19:51:23

He wants to do physics at uni and I don't want him to have to put a weak grade on his ucas form.

But bear in mind that physics is so under subscribed that top 10 and top 20 courses were in clearing last year at ABB/BBB.

A poor grade at physics AS would harm his chances at Oxbridge, Imperial and a handful of other top courses, but predictions of AAB/AAA/AAA-star will get him offers at respected top 10/20 courses.

stonecircle Mon 16-May-16 19:52:33

Their justification is that some students wouldn't otherwise be doing any formal exams and they need to be kept on their toes. I agree they can't unsee things which is why I'm worried. I hear what titchy is saying about predicted grades but given that there seems to be a general belief that these are over inflated/ as optimistic as possible schools won't, presumably be able to predict wildly beyond an AS grade if a student has done the AS in a linear subject whereas schools who haven't insisted on this can carry on being overly optimistic in their predictions without any actual results to undermine them.

I know they've still got to get the grades but getting the offers is part of the battle.

OP’s posts: |
hayita Mon 16-May-16 19:57:22

Schools can and do predict higher than AS grades.

I think you are being a bit over-dramatic in suggesting that schools which haven't done AS will be more overly optimistic relative to those which haven't. In reality, again: most physics courses (outside the very top ones) make offers to ALL those with predicted grades in the right ball park. So an AAA course will make an AAA offer to somebody with AAB predicted, for example.

hayita Mon 16-May-16 19:59:03

And if you are that worried about the AS just withdraw him. (You will have to pay the fee but I don't think any school could refuse to withdraw him.)

titchy Mon 16-May-16 20:01:56

Actually applicants with overinflated predictions are at a disadvantage. No point in having predictions of AAA and applying for the usual five thusly: one that offers a grade higher, two that are st the predicted and two that are a grade or two below. Getting two offers. Then only getting BBC and ending up in clearing.

rightsaidfrederickII Mon 16-May-16 20:49:10

Information from the horse's mouth is here - scroll down and click on qualification reform statements.

UhtredRagnorsson Tue 24-May-16 13:33:42

I am already resigned to DS either taking a gap year or finding a place through clearing in two years' time. He has selected A levels in subjects he is good at. It may go well, it may not. But even a best case scenario for the GCSEs he is sitting right now doesn't end up with him getting the sort of results across the board that would support a uni application to somewhere decent. He is very very good at the things he is good at (maths and physics, music, computers). And decidedly not at everything else. He is dyslexic which doesn't help, either. So his best course of action will be to do as well as possible in his A levels and apply with the results in hand. It might suit us better too to be honest because it will mean one year less of overlap with his siblings (DD1 will be starting a 4 year course in September, and DD2 is 3 years younger than him - but we have more time to save for her and we won't have any kids still at school when she goes, so it makes sense to have overlap between DS and DD2 rather than DS and DD1 - I think... especially since DD1 is going somewhere v expensive).

esornep Tue 24-May-16 13:42:38

Uhtred, I think you are drastically over-estimating how hard it is to get university offers for maths, physics and computer science.

If has strong AS grades for maths and physics (if he is taking AS), and predictions for good A level grades, he will get offers from good places for maths/physics/computer science even if he has Bs/Cs at many other subjects for GCSE. It is not unusual for students to be spiky: very good in maths/physics but much weaker in humanities and MFL.

UhtredRagnorsson Tue 24-May-16 13:55:00

esornep he wants to do something in the sound engineering line. Which is competitive. And he already has a fail in French (well, a D - his school had a bonkers policy of making everyone take it in y9, he was far from the only reasonably bright kid to stuff that up sad ) messing up his record. If things go as we hope then he will be fine in the medium term. But if he applies before the A level results he won't look great on paper, there's no getting away from that.

steffw89 Tue 24-May-16 14:08:17

I work in a sixth form college and as part of my role I mentor and help to complete UCAS forms for about 200+ of my tutees a year as well as completing their references. In my experience universities do look at both GCSEs and any AS levels and Predicted grades, but they also focus a lot on personal statements, work experience and any pertinent information in the reference. In your case I can also relate, I did my critical thinking ASlevel at school because I'd finished course early, it was badly taught and I was worried it would impact my future. It didn't, and especially in doing physics early it will be shown that he did this in school not college, it shows working ahead of his level and doing his best, something he can discuss in his PS even if he gets a lower grade than desirable.

Universities are good at looking at the whole picture, especially in the coming years where everything is going to slightly topsy turvy. I would say for now you need to be asking how will it affect him doing his physics AS level a year early if he also wants to study physics at his chosen college/sixth form?

titchy Tue 24-May-16 15:59:24

Uhtred as long as his A level predictions are good (A or A star, maybe grade 7+ instrumental) he'll be ok.

user1463231665 Thu 26-May-16 22:00:56

Can they leave off AS results (those A levels in the new system) thsi year if they are not good in the same way schools not doing AS levels in the new exams will have no AS results on them? I think mine will have done fine but I just wondered.

Half their AS exams are new system subjects and half not and for this year the whole year has done 4 AS exams in their 4 subjects regardless of whether they be new or old system subjects. That is not the case with many schools.

I am sure the advice above is right -t hat the universities will be looking at GCSE grades and predicted A level grades but they might take a peek at the AS grades. I think for this year it's been helpful their school did keep on with AS but it has meant a bit less teaching time. One of my sons thinks the school's decision to keep AS was wrong.

Given the number of schools from leading academic private schools who don't want the distraction of LVI exams to some state schools not happy to pay extra exam fees for pupils in lower 6th the universities certainly will not be holding lack of AS results for new system subjects against anyone.

OddBoots Thu 26-May-16 22:05:30

They have to be included, the UCAS form needs to contain every exam you have sat for which you have got a grade or for which there is a grade pending.

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