Applying for Law or medical degrees with Reformed A levels

(23 Posts)
catslife Tue 13-Sep-16 16:30:46

I am asking on behalf of some of my students.
I have checked university admissions websites and they state that they will not discriminate against pupils whose schools have taken AS levels in reformed (linear) A level subjects and those who are taking all exams at the end of Y13.
Given that all public exam results have to be declared on the UCAS form, should I advise student with D or E grades in reformed A levels, that they are still OK applying for medicine or law degrees or should I encourage them to look at alternative choices?

OP’s posts: |
Chuckie88 Tue 13-Sep-16 17:59:37

I think the bigger concern is whether they could improve their grades to predicted A. Without that they really don't stand a chance for medicine offers. I don't know about the other courses.

PurpleDaisies Tue 13-Sep-16 18:02:48

No student with a D or E would have any chance at all at getting an offer for medicine (extenuating circumstances aside).

What are their predicted grades? I'm guessing they're not going to be predicted the As they need.

titchy Tue 13-Sep-16 18:22:22

Regardless of what websites say, you're their teacher - hand on heart do you really think your D/E graders are capable of A/A* next year?

Normally that would be incredibly rare.

If there are any you genuinely think will get A/A* next year you'll need to address their underperformance at A level in the reference. Was in a coma for six months is understandable; knew the AS wouldn't count so didn't bother to revise isn't.

Sadusername Tue 13-Sep-16 18:54:48

With regards to reformed AS levels, grades and raw marks. I know the grade will go on the UCAS form but what about the raw mark? When I looked at history grade boundaries, I think an A was about 70/100marks. Someone in my daughter's history class got 96/100 and as she is applying for Oxbridge they might want to differentiate between her and someone applying with an A that was 71/100.

mummymeister Tue 13-Sep-16 18:55:19

Medicine is so incredibly competitive that really only those students getting the highest grades in all or any public exams should be going for it (extenuating circumstances not included obviously) I had a real issue this year with my DC's school not encouraging kids firmly enough to go for places that they could achieve. it meant far too many kids putting 1st choice A*AA and second choice A*AA or AAA rather than a more realistic BBB or similar.

Sadusername Tue 13-Sep-16 19:03:19

Mummy, do you know if they got the grades/places? Presumably they were predicted these grades? I did read an article suggesting that it was worth inflating grade predictions as universities were more likely to accept dropped grades if you already had a place. My DD showed me a thread on universities accepting dropped grades and some were for medicine!


titchy Tue 13-Sep-16 19:10:11

There is space on the UCAS form for unit marks saduser

Sadusername Tue 13-Sep-16 20:00:19

Thanks titchy.
I know there is a formula for converting raw marks to UMS, though I don't understand it? Do ums come out as higher or lower percentage than raw marks?

NewIdeasToday Tue 13-Sep-16 20:18:16

What predicted grades will you be giving them? Presumably B and C grades at best. So they won't meet even the minimum criteria for medicine or law. So there is no point suggesting they apply.

If any of them are serious about improving their grades significantly, they'd be best to take a gap year and apply after their A levels.

The other thing to think about is whether your students would achieve the standards required on such selective courses. There must be nothing more disappointing than getting onto a course with low grades then failing to keep up. You'd end up dropping out with debt and low self esteem.

titchy Tue 13-Sep-16 20:26:16

Raw marks are only converted to UMS marks AFTER the exams. The raw grade required to get particular UMS will change from year to year, paper to paper, subject to subject and exam board to exam board!

UMS always converts to the same grade - 90 out of 100 (or 180 out of 200 etc) will always be an A*, 80 out of 100 an A etc etc. The raw mark will change though to take account of the relative difficulty of the paper.

100% UMS can be achieved with less than 100% of the raw marks, so UMS are usually higher than raw.

Decorhate Wed 14-Sep-16 07:04:16

Universities may accept dropped grades after the event but they won't lower their initial offers. As others have said, it's the predicted grades that will get them a foot in the door.

Presumably you get assessed on how your pupils do in relation to your predictions so you wouldn't be doing yourself any favours being over-generous if it's not achievable

Knottyknitter Wed 14-Sep-16 07:06:57

There were medicine places in clearing this year so it's possible.

Consider why it's possible.

Then apply for dentistry. Can always do maxfacs later if they choose to.

PurpleDaisies Wed 14-Sep-16 08:09:34

knotty the medicine places were there in clearing so candidates who had done well in their A levels could replace the ones unis refused to accept because their grades dropped too far. Dentistry is almost as competitive as medicine to get into.

The best plan for the D/E students if for them to bust s but this year and apply after a gap year with their results and a year of relevant work experience.

catslife Wed 14-Sep-16 09:18:32

I agree that the highest grades that can be predicted for these students are Bs (and even that could be generous) and that they need to apply for courses that ask for these grades. I will suggest that should they achieve higher grades than this, they can go through adjustment (but I think this is unlikely).
They were predicted As last year on the basis of GCSE results but this needs to be adjusted downwards to reflect AS results. However pupils from other schools who haven't taken AS levels could still be predicted A grades based on GCSE grades and in school tests so it will be interesting to see which set of students have the most accurate predictions.

OP’s posts: |
titchy Wed 14-Sep-16 09:25:32

Schools not taking AS exams will almost certainly have end of year 12 exams from which predictions will be made.

It's not the fact that they have AS results that's the issue; their end of year 12 results would still have been the same; - it's the fact that they are highly unlikely to get above a B - and that's optimistic for D/E graders.

So why you as their teacher would even contemplate encouraging a medicine or law application, and presumably providing predicted grades to support this, is beyond me.

bojorojo Wed 14-Sep-16 12:06:44

Do you not assess their progress and likely attainment as you go through the year? It is far too easy, surely, to think someone with a good GCSE will get an A at A level? All sorts of other issues can kick in, not least A levels being a lot morfe difficult. Surely ongoing assessment for all pupils and Y12 exams, whatever they look like in terms of results, will inform predicted grades. It cannot be in the interests of the children to predict inflated grades but obviously the children should be helped to see where they can improve and every effort should be put into that. Better grades than expected can then open up other courses. Obviously Medicine and Law is usually AAA minimum so that could be a stretch as others have said and not really an option. There are other courses such as Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Criminology that may well accept lower grades.

catslife Wed 14-Sep-16 16:52:31

These students have been transferred to my teaching group for Y13, I did not teach them last year. They will have their first unit tests before half term.

OP’s posts: |
Barksdale Wed 14-Sep-16 17:01:52

If they have their heart set on medicine (which they should if they want to do it), they could always go to work in the NHS and then resit a levels/do an access to medicine course and go as a mature student in a few years.

A D/E student now is not necessarily barred from med in the future. It might just not be the right time.

goodbyestranger Wed 14-Sep-16 17:29:23

That's the risk the school took taking unnecessary exams in the reformed subjects. A real shame for the DC in question and the universities mean they're not discriminating against those who haven't taken ASs in reformed subjects - the grades have to go on the form and can't not be seen.

titchy Wed 14-Sep-16 18:06:54

It's not a real shame at all!!!!

What would be a real shame would be to predict someone AAA and encourage them to go for Law or Medicine on the back of that, when they should have been looking at less competitive and lower grades courses.

goodbyestranger Wed 14-Sep-16 18:18:49

It is a real shame titchy because these exams aren't even co-teachable and the two year programme for the linear exams might give the students the chance to grow into them. It's a daft policy which lots of schools are re-thinking, with indecent haste.

titchy Wed 14-Sep-16 18:25:21

I agree it's a daft policy, but you really can't blame it for meaning students aren't going to be able to get Law or Medicine offers because their ASs were poor.

Teachers should know whether someone is A or E material regardless of whether they do an interim AS or not.

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