How do offers work when you have potentially 4 A levels

(23 Posts)
ClarasZoo Sat 25-May-19 14:48:45

My son is thinking of doing 4 a levels, one being higher maths. If he does this he would sit ordinary maths at the end of the first year. Searching possible university courses I see that a typical offer for his subject (science) might be A*AA. If, say, he got an A* in maths in the first year would he be required to just get AA for the second year or would they ignore that first maths exam and still ask for A* AA?
Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
billybagpuss Sat 25-May-19 14:51:02

All 4 count so he'd already have one in the bag.

bengalcat Sat 25-May-19 15:00:50

My DD will have four A levels , Maths ( taken last year ) and Further Maths plus her two other subjects being taken this year . Two Universities , to my surprise as I thought offers would three grade offers to subjects sat at the same time , have given her AA offers ( ie taken into account last years Maths A* ) .

OKBobble Sat 25-May-19 15:06:49

Most will base on 3 only but others may give a 4 A level offer, especially if one is taken early or offer based on the 3 taken together. Check the admissions criteria online for potential unis he may be interested in.

TheFirstOHN Sat 25-May-19 15:06:55

DS2 is studying four but will be taking all four (including Maths and Further Maths) at the end of Y13.

Some universities have said they will make an four-grade offer for those taking four subjects. e.g. Birmingham website shows typical offer as A* A A but at the open day they said AAAA. Southampton website shows typical offer as AAA but at the open day they said AABC.

If your son takes one A-level at the end of Y12, the universities have to count that towards meeting the conditions of the offer, but they can make an offer that will include all three of the subjects he will take at the end of Y13.

ClarasZoo Sat 25-May-19 17:20:04

Thank you - that sheds a bit of light - wow - would be a great position to get a AA offer!

OP’s posts: |
lljkk Sat 25-May-19 17:32:55

I think it depends on subject they want to study, too. Am pretty sure no medical school offers based on all 4, for instance.


Needmoresleep Sat 25-May-19 18:26:26

Think Cambridge sometimes give out four A level offers for medics. Others do things like specify two lab subjects, or mention specific subjects, like an A in chemistry.

It is also not unknown for Universities to say FM is ‘desirable’ but not include it in the offer, as they want to see more breadth.

mynameiscalypso Sat 25-May-19 18:31:30

It was a few years ago now but I took maths A-level at the end of the lower sixth. All my university offers excluded it and specified that the grades had to be in the other three I was to be sitting. Very annoying!

lljkk Sat 25-May-19 18:55:19

I phoned up 5 Universities (Imperial, Kings, Leicester & Anglia Ruskin) recently for DD (daft teenager who won't speak to strangers). Most of them operated a "within 2 year" policy. Any A-levels taken within the 2 yrs counted as one sitting, so one taken at end of yr12 & 2 others taken at end of yr13 all counted as the 3 towards application. This was medicine.

Only UCL said only first sittings A-levels and all taken in the same exam period (May-June) was required.

summerflower2 Tue 28-May-19 11:26:11

It will depend on university and subject. DS study math, his A level is further math, math, physics and chemistry. His first choice offer is A*A*A, but , it states he need to have a A* in further math, another A* in Physcis/Chemistry. So if he got an A* in math, that won't count.

Purplelavenders Tue 28-May-19 11:31:54

At many schools Maths and Further Maths are regarded as one subject so pupils have to take 2 others.

I guess if you're good at Maths, that makes sense.

meditrina Tue 28-May-19 11:44:22

a lot of places offer on 3 A levels, even when 4 are being taken, and it can either be 3 highest grades, or grades in 3 specified by the university. Or for some courses at least, if 4 are being taken, they offer on all four.

So I think your best course of action is to have him ring or email the admissions people for the courses he is most interested in and see what they say. I think it could go either way.

fluffyhamster Tue 28-May-19 15:40:41

DS did 4 A levels (all at end of Year 13) but all offers were for just 3.

At the time it seemed like a benefit that he could get his offer with 3 out of his 4 subjects.
With the benefit of hindsight, he spread himself too thin across all 4, had a couple of bad maths papers and missed his offer by dropping a grade in two of his subjects!
So my advice would be to drop Further Maths if you don't need it and there's any risk of not getting your predicted grade!

Itscoldouthere Wed 29-May-19 22:52:08

My DS is retaking 2 subjects to improve his grades, he already has an A so has been given a B,B offer from his top choice University.

stucknoue Thu 30-May-19 08:10:40

Depends on the university. Top universities may give a 4 a level offer eg Cambridge, and often it's still a* and a! Others however give a 3 a level offer, but many will specify which are required eg my dd is doing 4 and her offer is 3a's including maths (in theory her 4th subject is just ignored)

ErrolTheDragon Thu 30-May-19 08:33:00

As others have said, it varies by course, there's no general rule.
DD dropped her 4th subject after AS (luckily for her a couple of years ago so this was possible) as the school advised focussing on top grades in 3 subjects. Her offer for Cambridge engineering was A stars in FM and physics plus A in maths. Many of her fellow students who did 4 subjects had to get that plus another A. I think a few were even asked for 3A stars and an A (depends on college too I think )

My guess based on this is that if she'd had the maths A level grade in hand instead of the comp sci AS, she'd still probably have been asked for two A stars and an A.

However, the likelihood of getting an offer on that particular course with 3 rather than 4 a levels is doubtless lower - and there's more to A levels than grades and uni entry, they are an end in themselves (sometimes this seems to be forgotten in these discussions!)

Ethelswith Thu 30-May-19 08:43:55

Agree with Errol

Cambridge standard offer this year is A* A* A, irrespective of number of subjects taken (with subjects specified)

Key message seems to be that it varies, and you'll need to check with each institution and course. What happens this year may change next year (thigh probably not by a lot)

Bluntness100 Thu 30-May-19 08:49:54

This depends on the uni and the course, but generally it's the best three results.that count, irrelevant of which year they take them. There are exceptions but that's the norm.

I would though ask does he really wish to do four, it's just additional pressure and doesn't often bring a lot of benefit or advantage.

Ethelswith Thu 30-May-19 08:53:18

When the fourth A level is FM, it's still pretty normal to do 4. And if it's a mathsy course, then it's worth having.

goldensugar2 Thu 30-May-19 11:26:29

I agree. Maths and Further Maths are often regarded as 'Maths'. Our school also recommends taking two other subjects in that case.

MillicentMartha Thu 30-May-19 18:06:34

Maths and FM are perfectly reasonable A levels if you want to do physics, engineering or maths degrees. Offers will often be based on three including maths and FM.

In the old days (2 years ago) it was almost impossible to get A* in FM and A in maths as the modules would be swapped around to give the higher result in maths over FM. Now they are separated you could get a higher result in FM.

DS1 had offers of A A A (for maths) and alternatives were AABB if doing 4 which specified the As to be in maths and FM for instance.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 30-May-19 18:30:08

** *In the old days (2 years ago) it was almost impossible to get A*^ in FM and A in maths as the modules would be swapped around to give the higher result in maths over FM. Now they are separated you could get a higher result in FM.^

DD managed it.grin that was the year when there was believed to be a problem with cheating in some schools on one maths paper; every DC of MNers on that years A level thread who'd done that maths paper did less well than expected. (Maybe any whose DC had unexpectedly done well kept quiet...)

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