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First term of yr12 over - working at grades / workload /much holiday work?

(209 Posts)
circular Sat 28-Dec-13 19:49:42

Curious how its been for others with the 'big step up' from GCSE to to AS.

DD1 doesn't seem to have been getting much homework, possibly completing most of it in free periods. When I casually mention 'reading around a subject' she looks at me as though I'm from another planet, and says she is not interested in any of her subjects enough to do extra, apart from Music.

She would typically come home and say she got an D or U in (say) a Physics or French test, but then says half the class got a lower mark than her. This is at a school that gets around 60% A* to B at A level., so selective 6th form. DD1 got 2A* and 2A at GCSE in her AS subjects.

Had parents evening just after half term, and although then working well below ultimate targets, none of her teachers seemed unduly worried. No end of term report yet, but hearing subsequent test results, not expecting much change in grades.
DD1 Says she understands everything in lessons, teachers seem to agree, and think it is just more question practice that she needs. But unless work is actually set, she has no motivation to go and do any extra. She thinks past papers should be left till nearer exams, says text book is rubbish, and has found a few inaccuracies in study guides so pushed them aside too. Tried to get her to look at Khan academy site but not interested.

Does this seem normal, or should I be worried at this stage?
Anyone else seeing similar or are they all flying?

curlew Sat 28-Dec-13 20:47:53

I have a year 13. The step up is huge from GCSE to A level- and the intervention from teachers tends to go down pretty abruptly too. I remember my dd apologising to a teacher for not handing in an essay, and he said "it's up to you- if you give them in I mark them but I'm not chasing 17 year olds round the school". She was horrified! Certainly at my dd's school they mark everything at a level standard from the beginning, so lowish marks are ok now- they should be going up, though, and ASs are very important when it comes to university applications.

noblegiraffe Sat 28-Dec-13 20:58:27

Be aware that 60% A*-B at A-level wont include the kids who dropped the subject at AS through poor grades, or people who didn't do well enough in Y12 to be allowed to progress to Y13. Selective schools don't only select those that get into Y12, but those that get into Y13.

If she were doing January modules (now abolished but schools still covering the work in a similar way), she'd be sitting them in a couple of weeks and be expected to get high marks, so tbh I'd be expecting more than Ds or Us at this point on the work covered.
She may have mock exams coming up in place of the January modules to give a better idea of where she's at?

circular Sat 28-Dec-13 21:35:34

Curfew -I think she is handing in her work, effort/attitude grades were ABBB.

Noblegiraffe - need a D at AS to be allowed to continue.

Re the Jan module thing, I thought Music and French only ever had one written paper. Wondering whether they are still covering the work in a modular way for other subjects (apart from maths). Physics seem to be teaching both modules side by side.

No mocks in January as far as I know. Getting a French mock every half term, all past papers, so less surprised with low score after 6 weeks. Not clear if other tests have just been on work covered, or complete past papers.

Deep down, I don't think she is putting enough work in, but she seems to think it will turn out fine. Similar story getting U's and D's in science tests at start of yr10, then pulled up to A*/A in end of yr10 modules and final grades. But I think this is a completely different ball game, and she is too immature to get it yet.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Sat 28-Dec-13 22:37:52

I think you should listen to your intuition as many year 12's underestimate the workload. They cope fine in sept/oct maybe November as they think the work is ok and with some revision they can pull the grades up. Then somewhere along the year they get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of content they are expected to know. Without the January exams to get them a good fright, i would be concerned if she considered getting D's or U's as ok. Its not.
Does your DD have mock exams this year?

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 09:05:08

whathaveiforgottentoday -Great user name. She admits its harder and more work than expected especially French which she has already decided to drop at AS. But its Physics that I am, especially worried about, as it was her best result at GCSE. She understands everything but can't seem to grasp how to answer the questions and get enough marks.

There doesn't seem to be a week of mocks in Jan/Feb like some schools have. Tests every half term, already had physics practical mock, and music practical mock soon. Other mocks different for each subject.

NobelGiraffe --I quizzed DD about the ready for Jan exam thing, and she said not being taught like that. On finishing C1 in maths, straight on to S1/C2 in parallel, aiming to finish the course by Feb half term, then all revision. Suspect if still Jan exams, would have had several weeks of C1 revision.

AIBU in expecting her to do a couple of hours work each day this week? Thats on top of a couple of hours instrument practice that she is already doing. They don't seem to have any holiday work set (apart from maths, but she missed the lesson, so waiting for a reply from classmate to get the work).So very disorganised too.
Gets her physics books out, staring at them, saying no work to do, refusing to look at a past paper if I print one off.
Dont know if it's head in the sand, laziness, arrogance, learning difficulty or the whole lot.

noblegiraffe Sun 29-Dec-13 10:48:47

She should be working over the holidays. If she had January exams she would be working hard over the holidays to revise for them. Because she hasn't got exams she is using that as an excuse to slack off and is essentially losing two weeks of consolidation and revision work from the course that students in previous years had.

Students in previous years found the course difficult (esp maths and physics) even with those two extra weeks of revision so she is really shooting herself in the foot if she thinks she has nothing to do.

Perhaps she is worried about looking at past papers because this will then be crystal clear to her and she will realise she needs to pull her finger out.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 11:07:13

DD1 is in yr 12. Huge workload and working most evenings. Had a few days off over xmas but started again yesterday. Has an 80 page booklet of physics questions to work through before feb mocks. Constant tests. Had maths c1 mock already and got an A (v pleased with herself). Had a report last week of term - grades AABD. Low mark was physics. Finding that very hard but had a 2nd major test in last couple of days of term and has improved a lot.
DD says some of her naturally 'cleverer' friends (all A* gcses) are doing worse than expected but they are not doing all the extra work that is given.
Your DD needs to start working now if she wants to do well in her AS exams.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 11:43:46

DD is also using Khan website and past papers. She is a worker and worked hard for her gcses - got As in the subjects she has taken for A level. I was worried about her subject choices - I did not want her to do physics. But she is coping.
DD2 is doing gcses this year. Not working very hard at all but still getting very high grades. I think she will atruggle with AS as she is not used to having to put the work in.

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 14:07:46

Noblegiraffe - that's dactyl how I feel, but getting through to an immature 16 year old is another matter. We agreed in advance that she wouldn't do any school work till 27/12 as she had a busy last week (performances) and did an Xmas temp job for a few days. But so far its been barely an hour each day, and then moaning what a waste of time it is and she is learning nothing from it.

Hellsbells99 -Hats off to you DD, sounds like she has got off to a great start. What board is her Physics? OCR A here. Is she finding the Khan Academy site helpful?
I will try (again) to persuade DD to look at it. Trouble with her is the independent learning aspect. When the format isn't exactly matching what she is learning in class it seems to throw her. Especially when trying to pull out the right topics to learn, very difficult to work out what is just different and what hasn't been taught yet in a subject like physics.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 14:43:15

Hi Circular. I took DD1 to a uni open day in October and that helped her to decide that she really wanted to go to uni and what she wanted to study. She knows she is not a 'natural' and will only get there with a lot of study. DD2 is another matter - she is a 'natural' but is lazy!
Although I have just been downstairs and they are both doing their nails with a gel kit that DD! got for xmas!
Physics is AQA B - physics in context and she is struggling finding decent revision material. She originally selected music (not physics) but school haven't run the course as only 2 students selected it.
She is finding Khan useful in some topics. School also run afterschool clubs in all her subjects so she can get help with homework etc. It is a normal 6th form (5 gcses needed for entry but Bs were needed in her subjects). Maths she is really pleased about as she got an A at GCSE but is managing to keep up and enjoying it - I know some threads on here suggest an A* is needed to carry on to A level!
Does your DD know what she wants to do? Can you help her research what grades she would need and do a uni visit? See if that would motivate her.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 14:56:26

Sorry circular. Forgot to say that DD arranged some 'shadowing' in the summer holidays that helped her decide on her career. This could all change by next year though! I know school arrange to take them to a ucas day and then after that she can arrange her own open day visits etc.

MrsDavidBowie Sun 29-Dec-13 14:59:13

Dd made a huge revision timetable and bless her, has stuck to it.
She gave herself Christmas Day and yesterday off, but has done a couple of hours every day.

But she has to work hard to get decent results ....she has exams first day back.

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 15:31:56

hellsbells99 - She wants to do music at Uni. Also done an October open day for the best possible course for her. Not sure if its motivated her or not as their typical offer is AAA/AAB, so aspirational to say the least.

Shame your DD couldn't have done music, and so many schools axing it. DD changed schools for 6th forms for that reason. Her music group only has 2 internal students, rest external. IIRC from other school visits, AQA is the most mathematical?

Just got DD onto Khan Academy site under a bit of protest. started looking at Circuits, said they were drawn wrong and it would be an exam fail if she drew a resistor like that lol. Then went quiet for a while, took headphones out and said - 'Ive learnt something I didn't know'. Promptly finished it and now saying she wants to go through all the Circuit videos. Then gave me a hug and said thank you and sorry. Don't you just love it when they turn back into toddlers.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 15:44:55

excellent Circular! Good luck - I'm sure she will be fine.
None of the local state schools are running music this year. Her school did try and join up with another. We didn't push it (or look at private) as she is not wanting to do it as a career and she wanted to stay where she was. Part of the problem is that unless you want to do it as a career, then students don't select it - it is very hard to get a high grade in and not considered 'facilitating' (I hate that word) for other degrees. It is a very musical school so she is still participating in music orchestras/ensembles and doing grades etc.

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 15:49:08

hellsbells99 - Meant to say that's great going for your DD with her maths. DD got an A in maths too (her A* were Music and Physics) taken early so a bit rusty at the start. Not overly worried in maths, although most test marks have been around C, as she never revised and makes lots of careless mistakes. Maths was the one she said she would drop at the outset, but is really enjoying it. is your DD doing S1 or M1 this year?
At DDs school, they all do S1, and then either M1 or D1 for A2. Hopefully after the mechanics in physics, will have a good idea whether to do M1 or not, presuming they get the choice and don'tt just go along with group majority.

Nobelgiraffe DD was saying (think she got this from some of her further maths friends) that Decision maths is looked down upon as the easy way out by universities if chosen over Mechanics. Is this true? Or just applicable if looking to take Maths/Physics at Uni?

webwiz Sun 29-Dec-13 15:51:23

DS is enjoying A levels far more than GCSEs he needed quite a bit of nagging last year but doesn't need any now. He seems to have really taken off and I'm still quite shock about it.

He's doing 5 subjects so gets quite a lot of homework. His school make them work incredibly hard for the first half term and then ease of a bit after that, I suppose that helps them make step up quickly.

I'm not sure what DS has to do over Christmas, he was printing a C1 past paper yesterday and he has some English coursework but other than that he was planning on reading, xbox and catching up on sleep. He has a week of mocks after the february half term and I think some subjects are hoping that they have finished most of the syllabus by then. He's been predicted 5 A's so he knows he'll have to start revising very early on if he wants to actually get them. He was getting full marks in practice papers for maths and further maths before christmas and getting A's in his essays for arts subjects so I have left him too it.

DD1 and DD2 had january modules so they had to revise over Christmas and the shock in march of not quite getting what you expected used to be a real kick start for revision for the summer exams. OP have school suggested what your DD should be doing as extra work? DD1 did french and used to watch french tv on one of the satellite channels (TV5Monde) which was very entertaining as we could never understand the plot in the drama programmes. One of the newsreaders was very nice though smile

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 16:10:52

hellsbells99 - with music, some Unis will accept G8 theory instead of A level, if school didn't offer A level. Hoping DD will do G7 or 8 theory too as a bit of extra backup. Not overly bothered about the 'facilitating' subject thing as other 3 are, so will end up with 2, as definitely not dropping music.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 16:17:30

Circular - agree with you about the facilitating subject thing - but I do think it puts other students off. DD knows she is still keeping her music options open if she needs to but wants to go in a science route. She loves her music though and it helps her relax. DD did maths early too but has done additional algebra during year 11 with has helped massively. She is doing S1 this year and then gets the choice I think next year - although knowing her maths teacher she will probably do M1 and D1 next year if time permits.
Webwiz - DD is also enjoying 6th form far more but is finding the work hard. Sounds like your son is very clever! I've heard further maths is very difficult.

webwiz Sun 29-Dec-13 16:37:53

Hellsbells99 DS is quite old headed so that helps him a lot unlike DD1 who seemed unable to see beyond the next moment at the same age (and is only just about able to now at 22 hmm)

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 16:49:17

webwiz - sounds like your som is doing extremely well, with a huge workload. Who says the girls are mean to be more mature at that age lol.

hellsbells99 - Thought it was either/or with D1 and M1? Or would they take both and use the best mark?

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 17:02:50

webwiz'-Meant to say, she has some French mag subscription, but never reads it. Mentioned some French soap she was going to watch, but thats as far as it got. Completely lost interest in the subject. Lots of books suggested for physics, but she won't read any, again no real interest. Always 'forgets' what maths has been set, then finds out and rushes through it n the 11th hour. Claims to be enjoying maths though. Chose these subjects for an easy life to avoid anything essay writing. Obviously does loads of music in and out of school, including Saturday music school and voluntary work.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 17:07:19

Think they may take both and use the best mark. If given the choice DD1 will choose M1. I know the further maths students have already covered M1 over the past term and it has helped them lots with physics.
I may encourage DD2 to take further maths as a 5th subject just for the 1st term next year (and then drop it) to help her with physics!

circular Sun 29-Dec-13 17:19:24

Just checked out DDs maths syllabus, and both M1 and D1 listed for next year. FM students do M1 and D1 for AS, so next year would be M2 and M3.
Not sure how it would work to start FM in yr13. Not sure that the FM pure would help much with physics. But complex numbers are fun, remember doing them though can't remember if A level or beyond.

hellsbells99 Sun 29-Dec-13 17:47:46

Sorry I mean DD2 who is currently doing her gcses!

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