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AS Dilemma - what to drop?

(22 Posts)
doglover Thu 18-Aug-16 15:25:56

My dd collected her AS results this morning ....... with a mixture of emotions.

A Media
A Music
B English Lit
B History

She has always wanted to study English at University and is so disappointed with her 'B' result. Her dream is to go to Oxford and she's unsure whether this is now viable with these marks.

She has always assumed that she'd drop Music and continue with the other three subjects but is now questioning whether to drop History ... I'm really unsure how to help her ....... Should she e-mail possible universities and ask their advice on possible subject combinations? She has until Tuesday to make her decision when she has an interview at her sixth form college to confirm her options.

Please help - especially if you have any experience in this area!

Just5minswithDacre Thu 18-Aug-16 16:23:56

Awkward that the non-facilitating subject is one of the 'A's. And that Eng Lit is one of the Bs.

Is she at a school that would qualify for a contextual offer?

Just5minswithDacre Thu 18-Aug-16 16:27:31

Actually Music isn't facilitating either, is it?

Have you got the UMSs?

Has she had a look at the ELAT?

Hopefully an expert will be along soon smile

Rachie1986 Thu 18-Aug-16 16:28:37

Always worth asking unis what they would prefer.

My gut would be drop History. Unless she really disliked music? I presume she'd be happy to continue just feels history would be a better option for the top unis?

A good set of results overall though - although I realise it's not as good as she wanted.

I am secondary teacher so a bit if knowledge.

Mirandawest Thu 18-Aug-16 16:30:01

Does she feel either of Media or Music hindered her in English or history?

electricflyzapper Thu 18-Aug-16 16:38:17

Having just gone through the Oxbridge application process (with my son and several of his friends) I feel I should tell you that A at AS level was considered pretty much the bare minimum. That was in science subjects however - I guess England Lit might be different. All the applicants I know passed the entrance exams and were at least offered interviews apart from the one boy who 'messed up' one AS level and got a B. Though he has just achieved 2 A*s and 2As in the A2s. So I would guess your dd's dream of Oxford is looking shakey, sorry.

That said, I would advise she did the 3 subjects she enjoys the most, regardless of which they are.

doglover Thu 18-Aug-16 17:04:17

Thanks for the replies.

Yes, she is at a sixth form college and it hasn't sent any previous pupils to Oxford - it's on the Bristol contextual offer list.

She is absolutely gutted. Her tutor has been in touch and is suggesting a re-mark for English although A2 papers understandably take precedence!


stonecircle Thu 18-Aug-16 17:08:00

Is it worth looking at grade boundaries? My gut feel is that media is a 'lesser' subject than the others and if she just scraped an A in that and just missed an A in Eng/History then it may not have much impact on her final grades to be going forward with the two Bs.

doglover Thu 18-Aug-16 17:51:56

Her Media and Music AS levels had numerical breakdowns of the different components - she scored very, very highly in both of them - but the Eng Lit and History were just written as Bs ....... no numerical grades?

sassymuffin Thu 18-Aug-16 18:39:23

Does she have to drop any?

If she wants/has to then I would advise her to not drop either History or English Lit. They are very traditional and respected subjects, as is music for that matter and the theory side of music could compliment nicely with English.

How did she score at GCSE?

On a note of caution she has four other choices of Uni to make and if she loves Media and finds it interesting then it could potentially be a mistake to drop it in favour of a subject she finds more difficult.

Oxford will look very closely at that B in English when deciding whether to invite her for interview. Is there any scope that she could resit at all?

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Thu 18-Aug-16 18:53:50

Just5mins is right: it is problematic that both of her As are in non-facilitating subjects, but Music is generally more highly regarded than Media. DH (who has a lot of experience in this) says that an Oxford application with Media as one of three subjects might be tricky.

If she drops Media, will she be able to devote more time to English and History and bring her grades up there? That is assuming that she is passionate about doing an Eng. Lit. degree.

sassymuffin Thu 18-Aug-16 18:54:21

Sorry just read my previous post clearly she would never consider dropping English obviously blush

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Thu 18-Aug-16 18:57:32

What exam board is she doing in English? With OCR, under the new specification, the AS levels are discrete from the A Level, so the AS grade won't count towards her final mark anyway - there would be no point in resitting it.

doglover Thu 18-Aug-16 19:06:16

She achieved 5 A*, 4 A and 3 B at GCSE.

Her English exam board was AQA - it's a decoupled one - but I've no idea what this means in relation to sitting the A2 next year .....!

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Thu 18-Aug-16 19:32:08

Ah, OK. As far as I understand it, that means that if she continues English into the U6, she will take all the modules that count towards her A Level grade at the end of next academic year. So while the B is an indicator of her ability at this stage, and will be used for UCAS applications as such, it has no actual bearing on her final grade.

From the govt website:

"AS and A levels will be decoupled – this means that AS results will no longer count towards an A level, in the way they do now."

And AQA's explanation here

Just5minswithDacre Thu 18-Aug-16 19:38:00

If she drops Media, will she be able to devote more time to English and History and bring her grades up there? That is assuming that she is passionate about doing an Eng. Lit. degree.

Yes, if she could, that would leave her with an A for 'AS' subject plus whatever she can manage in the others.

She achieved 5 A, 4 A and 3 B at GCSE.*

That's fine, especially in the context of the school.

Just5minswithDacre Thu 18-Aug-16 19:42:40

In your shoes, I'd be considering her chances of scoring well in the ELAT, it really could be key;

And also helping her work on her list of universities. If she's passionate about literature, there are loads of great unis where she could be happy. Whether to include Oxford on her UCAS is a secondary issue really (but does have an impact on timescales).

doglover Thu 18-Aug-16 20:23:16

Thanks everyone. We really appreciate your advice. Yes, J5MWD, you're absolutely right about the fantastic range of unis out there which could offer amazing English courses.

She attended the Eton College University Summer School last month where they sat an ELAT test and she did very well........ We will investigate this further though smile

doglover Thu 18-Aug-16 21:46:13

So, could she still apply to a decent uni with a B grade for her (linear) English AS? Would unis look at her predicted grade - hopefully an A - if they were to offer a place?

Just5minswithDacre Thu 18-Aug-16 22:06:10

Oxford look mainly at GCSE grades and predicted A level grades.

Cambridge look more at UMS grades from ASs .

So Oxford would certainly make more sense than Cambridge.

If she were mine I'd be urging her to give it a shot. What do the school say?

Sadusername Thu 18-Aug-16 22:30:35

You can always apply again with A2, results in hand for entry in 2018!

doglover Thu 18-Aug-16 22:31:32

We weren't able to talk to any senior staff today but have an appointment on Tuesday morning where decisions have to be made about which subjects she'll be taking. (The students were all re-enrolling today but dd was sensible enough to say that she wasn't in a position to make such an important decision without some more time). We have emailed her tutor to hopefully gauge his opinion.

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