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Is A*AA harder to get than AAAA at A level?

(42 Posts)
dolgellau Wed 30-May-18 23:24:23

I understand that A*AA is better than AAAA for the vast majority of university applications as courses only require 3 A levels.

But in terms of academic ability is AAAA better than A*AA, as surely it takes a lot more to manage a whole extra A level over one grade higher in one subject.

Which is objectively more difficult to get?

I can't decide. What do you reckon ?

ObiJuanKenobi Wed 30-May-18 23:35:26

I reckon it's harder to gain a whole other qualification at A grade level than to better an existing qualification by one grade level.

Decorhate Thu 31-May-18 06:47:40

I think it depends on the subjects. Ds is doing Further Maths as a fourth so probably easier to get an A in that as he is obviously doing plain maths anyway.

user1499173618 Thu 31-May-18 10:05:22

As others say, it rather depends on the subject combination. Unrelated subjects generate more work per subject than related subjects.

cistersofterfy Thu 31-May-18 10:09:39

I did Maths and Further Maths and yes ok, you have the foundation skills from the Maths A-Level you need to do Further Maths but you're taught a whole different syllabus with more advanced problems to solve in Further Maths. It's not just more of the same. It's more challenging mathematics.

I got 4 A's at A Level. A stars didn't exist in my day. Doing a whole extra A Level is definitely harder; whatever grades you get. You have fewer study periods, more homework/ coursework and lessons to juggle.

HarrietSchulenberg Thu 31-May-18 10:11:04

Depends which university you're interested in, tbh. I'd concentrate on getting some interesting, relevant experience in the field of study to stand out from the herd of applicants.

blaaake Thu 31-May-18 10:33:06

Much better to have A*AA. If aiming for those type of grades then obviously you would be aiming for the more prestigious universities who would much rather have the 3 a levels with higher grade then 4, and the 4th wouldn't benefit when it comes to UCAS points.

blaaake Thu 31-May-18 10:36:59

Than* 4

blaaake Thu 31-May-18 10:39:29

To answer your question though, A*AA I imagine would be much easier to achieve than AAAA as you are not having to learn a whole other subject/syllabus, and even with further maths as above it is not just 'extra' maths it is vvvvv different and, as my son tells me and as I remember, it is hard.

Needmoresleep Thu 31-May-18 11:37:05

Like so many of these things, it depends. DC were minimalist so would not have spent more time on individual subjects had they only taken three. Plus they were well taught and did not seem to struggle.

The main issue was the exam timetable. Both took five, so it was pretty packed. The advantage was that they could have a bad day in one exam as they had "spares". Their school now seems to allow those taking humanities to drop one, but to encourage scientists to keep up four. I suspect this is right, assuming you are an able mathematician, as it keeps degree options open.

titchy Thu 31-May-18 16:23:17

4 x As in unrelated subjects undoubtedly harder than 3, even 3 Astars. Which is why the advice is to do 3! Big risk taking on a 4th with no reward.

OhYouBadBadKitten Thu 31-May-18 22:17:38

The A* is often the A level that relates most strongest to the degree subject, so some university courses want to see students who excel in that particular subject rather than all rounders.

gambaspilpilmyfav Thu 31-May-18 22:23:07

Really depends on what the subject is. There are many other ways to increase your ucas points without having to do 4 A levels. Also if you can get 3 A * instead of 4 A better to do that. You also get points for D of E, Lamda, ABRSM. My niece has a conditional offer at Cambridge and only needs an A* and 2 A. However she does have a gold at D of E and a Gold at Lamda too.

hellsbells99 Fri 01-Jun-18 01:00:46

You don't get UCAS points for D of E.

titchy Fri 01-Jun-18 07:25:40

You don't get a Cambridge off on the back of Gold Lamda either!

helpmum2003 Fri 01-Jun-18 07:27:54

Universities only require 3 A levels so for me it's a theoretical question.

user1499173618 Fri 01-Jun-18 08:39:06

helpmum - minimum requirements are not the same thing as admissions criteria

thisagain Fri 01-Jun-18 08:45:00

Nobody cares about UCAS points past those from your A Levels. You just get an offer of AAA for example. My kids have UCAS points from grade 6+ in instruments but that doesn't come in to it for the top Unis.

gambaspilpilmyfav Fri 01-Jun-18 11:33:32

Your right my error in relation to UCAS and D Of E! However my issue is with any Uni are whilst results are clearly the priority there will be a large number of DC competing for the same uni with the same results it is important to have extras. These are what make you stand out above the competition

titchy Fri 01-Jun-18 13:45:50

there will be a large number of DC competing for the same uni with the same results it is important to have extras. These are what make you stand out above the competition

No. Utterly incorrect. Not allowed to be part of of decision making in fact. Extra-curriculars that are relevant to the degree are great. Lamda, DofE, Grade 8 piano - totally ignored.

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Fri 01-Jun-18 13:53:37

When I was applying to Cambridge, (admittedly quite a few years ago) I was told to pretty much hide or at least down play any 'extras'. The view was that Cambridge were looking for someone who was going to be totally dedicated to their subject and not someone who was going to spend most of their time doing drama and be happy with a 2:2! grin

gambaspilpilmyfav Fri 01-Jun-18 14:14:16

Certainly not the case with my DN. Who is top of her class, won a number of essay writing awards, and has done alot of 'extras' and has been offered a place in the top college for her chosen subject. Uni is highly competitive now and you need to stand out with some of the unis. My DS was invited to join the rugby team for his chosen Uni, invited to training/trials and was offered money off if he chose the uni. This was simply as his rugby was mentioned in his personal statement. So the extras do matter

titchy Fri 01-Jun-18 14:48:39

won a number of essay writing awards

As I said, if the extras are relevant to the degree, then yes they're useful to demonstrate ability and genuine interest.

Unless your ds was doing Sport Science, I can assure you the rugby wasn't even looked at by the admissions tutor - they really do only care about who will do best in their subject, for good reason. I can well believe that once he was made his offer however Varsity were all over him!

titchy Fri 01-Jun-18 14:49:47

Uni is highly competitive now

It's not actually, bar a few courses at a few universities.

gambaspilpilmyfav Fri 01-Jun-18 14:50:57

It is for the top universities was my point. For most its simply achieving the grades.

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