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How do A level grades affect Class of Degree?

(136 Posts)
catslife Mon 04-Sep-17 16:21:57

There are loads of threads about GCSE and A level grades needed for university but cannot find any information that answers my question.
Would a university student with a grade A (or A*) at A level achieve a better class of degree to one who had a grade B (or possibly grade C). This would be for an "arts" subject if that makes a difference.
Trying to work out if B/C at A level is a suitable level to make it worth applying for unis. If a child does better than this can they make a late application/ go through clearing if they haven't already applied?
Any answers and thoughts welcome.

thenewaveragebear1983 Mon 04-Sep-17 16:26:12

Well I failed all my a levels, did an access course 5 years later, then got a first for my degree. I didn't study my degree subject at A level or for my access.

goodbyestranger Mon 04-Sep-17 16:32:23

catslife this may not be a general trend but DS2 graduated with an Oxford First (History) in July and had a rogue B grade at A level.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Mon 04-Sep-17 16:38:01

It depends on how the student does during their degree, it's quite possible to flunk out miserably after a year at uni despite getting good A levels, equally it can work the other way. Sometimes the degree course focuses on things of particular interest that inspire them to work extra hard, sometimes they get distracted by all that freedom or just don't cope with developing the skills to self-study. Impossible to predict with any accuracy.

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Mon 04-Sep-17 16:39:39

And yes they can apply for the first time through clearing, or, if their grades are better than predicted can apply to 'trade up through the adjustment system.

titchy Mon 04-Sep-17 16:43:46

No correlation whatsoever I'm afraid. If there were the everyone at Oxford would be getting 1sts and everyone at Solent 3rds or unclassified. They don't.

So basically as long as you go to an institution that's broadly in line with your grades, your chances of achieving a 1st are as good as anyone else's atbthst institution.

stubiff Mon 04-Sep-17 16:50:21

An old report but...
www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2014/201403/#d.en.86821

Attached graph shows that (at that time) you had 50% chance of getting 2:1 or above if you had CCC at A-level.

OddBoots Mon 04-Sep-17 16:50:34

I was confused by this when DS was choosing where to go as the courses with very different entry criteria have similar spreads of degree classification, it doesn't seem evenly regulated.

I guess that is why employers sometimes look at institution as well as degree classification and why A Levels are still asked for sometimes too.

stubiff Mon 04-Sep-17 17:05:33

titchy, I believe you're partly incorrect.
Oxford 93% get 2:1+, Solent 70%, London Metro 50%.

As with most 'exams' prior attainment is a predictor of attainment.

Doilooklikeatourist Mon 04-Sep-17 17:09:14

My son scraped into uni , had rubbish GCSE results and ok A levels
He got a First
Starting a graduate entry job this month

NineInchTrowels Mon 04-Sep-17 17:27:19

I went to Newcastle University with CCC, and got a First. I think the reasons were: getting away from my dysfunctional, screaming, batshit family; enjoying the more independent methods of studying; having support; and loving the city.

Also there were no tuition fees to worry about, and even a minimum grant was available. And accommodation was cheap and plentiful.

Tastesjustlikecherrycola85 Mon 04-Sep-17 17:30:40

Got C and E grades in my arts subjects at A level, achieved a 2:1 in a degree studying the same subjects

BroomstickOfLove Mon 04-Sep-17 17:33:20

I was predicted straight As for A-level, messed up and got ABC and graduated with a 1st. But my A-levels results weren't really a reflection of what I could do, and I was getting 1sts in university work from the end of the first term (once I'd grasped what they were looking for) onwards.

FaFoutis Mon 04-Sep-17 17:37:07

I got an E in History at A level. I got a first in History at university.
I teach undergraduates with no A levels and they get degrees.
A level doesn't mean much.

HollyBuckets Mon 04-Sep-17 21:21:16

Short answer: A level grades have nothing material to do with achievement in a degree. In that once a student is admitted, we really don't care what their A level grades were.

But it's never that simple is it?

In my field, we spend most of the first year undoing a lot of the damage done by current national curricula, teaching to the exam, and the treadmill of achievement and learning being measured by exam results.

This is not teacher-bashing - I know this is not teachers' doing & that most good teachers find the current politicisation of A Levels and School curricula as damaging as we do.

In three/four years of an UG degree, students do a lot of growing up, maturing, personal growth etc. So we would hope that they learn way way way beyond their A Level studies, and realise the adult world of knowledge & independent thinking.

In fact, I can pick a recycled A Level essay from 100 feet - one of the 1st year courses I teach overlaps a bit with some of the cognate A Level syllabus. If students go back to their York notes (or whatever) they will not do well.

Basically, University teaching - and more importantly learning - in my field (and I'd bet Humanities more generally) is miles away from, more complex than, and more demanding than any A Level.

AccrualIntentions Mon 04-Sep-17 21:22:32

I got AAB and got a first. Getting the B helped, I was furious about it and it made me work much harder at my degree from the start than I probably would have done otherwise.

OlennasWimple Mon 04-Sep-17 21:28:20

Uni is about so much more than the sort of learning needed to get good grades at A Level.

For most students, it's their first time away from home and they have a lot of growing up to do. Some flourish, some spend three years' support money on the first month.

For some students the independence is a refreshing change, and they develop great study habits. For others, they are lost and cannot cope with having to do everything for themselves and not having so much of a support structure to catch them if they fall.

orecchietti Mon 04-Sep-17 22:20:26

I mean, it depends. On why they got the grades they did, on how well they handle the transition to much more independent study, on how interested they are in their course, on personal circumstances, on how hard they work... I got 3Cs at A Level, applied to a red brick through clearing, graduated with a first and am just finishing my masters at Oxbridge before starting my PhD. I know Oxbridge undergrads who graduate with a 2.2 because their tiny private school class prepared them very well for the tests and the interviews but very poorly to actually complete a degree.

orecchietti Mon 04-Sep-17 22:21:54

And yeah I basically think that if they want to go to university they should, if they can get a place - which they will with Bs and Cs. They will grow hugely as a person and might stumble upon stuff that they absolutely love. As long as it's what they want, it's what they should do.

Bluntness100 Mon 04-Sep-17 22:30:04

I guess that is why employers sometimes look at institution as well as degree classification

Sort of. A uni with a degree entry of say aaa, will have a very different course content / emphasis to one that has a BBC entry requirement. If you don't have the aaa or close for the first one, you will, struggle, but may find the BBC one too easy say If you achieved abb. All degrees are not the same, even in the same subject, it's not like school,

As such, yes employers look at it, because they understand the differences in course content and complexity each university offers. If a uni requires something like aaa for a place, it's for the simple reason that students who are not close to this level will probably be unable to do the course and would be better at another lower entry establishment. But yes they both have degrees. Simply those degrees are not in any way equal.

ReinettePompadour Mon 04-Sep-17 22:31:51

I've just started university this week doing an Access course.

The university currently has an excellent record of Access students gaining more 1st degrees than those who enter with traditional A Levels.

Most Access students do not have the A Levels required for the degree courses so I would think that gaining B/C grades would be no different on attainment of a 1st degree to that of a student with an Access qualification.

quicknomchange Mon 04-Sep-17 22:33:20

I got CCCC at a level, shit GCSEs and I've got a first class honours degree and a masters from a Russell group with distinction

School didn't suit me, uni did.

Bluntness100 Mon 04-Sep-17 22:34:33

To put it into context, a student who achieves a first in law form the university of Essex would highly unlikely achieve the same first in law at Oxford. And employers are aware of this and do not view a candidate with a first from Oxford in law and a candidate with a first from Essex in law as having the same level of achievement or qualification. Even though technically both have a first in law.

Sofabitch Mon 04-Sep-17 22:37:15

To put it into context, a student who achieves a first in law form the university of Essex would highly unlikely achieve the same first in law at Oxford. And employers are aware of this and do not view a candidate with a first from Oxford in law and a candidate with a first from Essex in law as having the same level of achievement or qualification. Even though technically both have a first in law

When considering LLB law courses are pretty much totally standardised to comply with the registration requirements that is a ridiculous and outdated assumption.

TheHamptons Mon 04-Sep-17 22:42:05

That argument does hold a bit with other degrees

Someone with CCB wouldn't even get into Oxford, never mind then scale up to a 1st.

I got AAAB and a 2:1 cos I was having way to much fun to work too hard. I got a viva for a first but clearly flunked it grin

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