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A2 Exam Clash. Potential serious problem. Advice needed.

(69 Posts)
hanginginthere1 Mon 10-Mar-14 17:38:12

My daughter has an exam clash that could potentially mean that she does not do as well in her A2 exams as she could/should
She has 3 exams on one day, History, Biology[AS re sit] and General studies, followed by English Language the very next morning. A hefty work load.
Apparently, the rule is that the school will write to your chosen Uni if you have done 6 hrs' worth of exams. My daughter will have done 5hrs 45 mins! The Exams Officer is refusing to contact the University and is being rude, unhelpful and unsympathetic.
I find it difficult to believe that a student should have to complete this many exams in one go, and be expected to be able to give of their best.
My daughter has a very challenging offer to one of the country's top universities. In reality this will be difficult to achieve, but given this schedule it makes it nigh on impossible.
It's just so frustrating. General studies is just as important to her, as she need to maintain her A grade from AS in it.
Any advice?

umbrellahead Mon 10-Mar-14 17:43:29

I would cash in her general studies AS level and not take it. Although it can come in useful, if it looks like it could jeopardise her results in subjects counting towards her university offer it's just not worth the risk. It is of course necessary that if she does this she contacts the university to let them know she will no longer be doing general studies A2.

EvilTwins Mon 10-Mar-14 17:53:14

If she's trying to get into one of the country's "top" universities then they will not be interested in General Studies. I am also surprised that they are accepting a re-sit at AS.

Rather than berating the exams officer, I think the best thing you can do is to help your DD to prepare thoroughly and to manage her stress in as effective a way as possible.

FWIW, my A Level exams for Classics and History were all 3 hours long and I had 6 hours of exams on more than one day. As long as she is prepared for it, it will be ok.

Polyethyl Mon 10-Mar-14 17:59:23

Hellish exam timings are something you just have to grit your teeth and cope with.
The same sort of exam overloads can happen at university.
I recently did a diploma where the exam timetable was 3 hour morning exam, lunch, two hour afternoon exam. Then the next morning a 4 hour exam. So all in all 9 hours in succession. Exhausting but possible.

Nocomet Mon 10-Mar-14 18:11:30

I'm an old glimmer from the days of O levels. all our parers were 3hrs. Not unusual to get two in a day. A levels and university exams likewise.

I actually hate short exams, much less flexibility to move time from easy questions to harder ones.

hanginginthere1 Mon 10-Mar-14 19:05:13

The university is Kings College London. For her chosen subject it is one of the top unis.
It would appear that they are accepting the Biology re sit at AS. In all probability she is not going to get a A in Biology. The A in General studies, therefore is important, since they have said that they may recognise this subject if she drops a grade in any of her other subjects.
She achieved a high score in her ELNAT test, and I presume that this was why she was offered a place.
Hence, it is going to be difficult for her to get in. I just think that the system does not do much to help. And the Examinations Offlcer was rude and unhelpful, so I believe Eviltwins that I am well within my rights to berate her. I am also very skilled at supporting her and managing her stress levels!

EvilTwins Mon 10-Mar-14 19:35:10

Exams officers do not make out the rules, nor are they able to bend them. It may interest you to know that right now is probably the busiest and most stressful time for exams officers because of deadlines for exam entries, arrangements for exams, arrangements for standardisation of coursework, BTEC moderation visits and external practical exams. Whilst the fact that your DD has 5 3/4 hours of exams is YOUR priority, it is not going to be the exam officer's priority. Perhaps a little thought beyond your own individual concerns might help before you berate someone who is simply doing their job.


HolidayCriminal Mon 10-Mar-14 19:38:34

The whole English exam system is insane.
If her managing to meet the entry reqs is that close, I would conclude that whatever happens is for the best so 2nd choice offer will be the best if that's all she can manage. Sometimes you have to let go.

titchy Mon 10-Mar-14 19:46:07

I'm not sure why you'd expect the exams officer to write to KCL when she doesn't have 6 hours of exams? And shockat them accepting General Studies, Eng. Lang (rather than Lit) AND a resit - her LNAT must have been fab!

Hassled Mon 10-Mar-14 19:50:07

The Exams Officer is following the rules. It is really tough on your DD and I do sympathise, but berating someone for doing their job is not fair.

intheenddotcom Mon 10-Mar-14 20:20:07

Pretty sure that you get special consideration (as a % of extra marks) if your over 5hrs something of exams at GCSE. I would look at the exam boards website as the hours might be different at A2.

intheenddotcom Mon 10-Mar-14 20:22:42

Misread - as they are on different days, it will not count.

hanginginthere1 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:48:53

I fully understand that the Exams Officer cannot bend the rules, and I am not asking her to. I simply stated that she was rude and off hand to my daughter. A little sympathy would not have got amiss.I do not berate her for doing her job, but her attitude towards my daughter was appalling.
Titchy. Yes they have accepted her, and Yes her LNAT was fab! The average for the paper was 20 pts, she scored 31. I guess she did something right. She applied on a whim, and we were delighted that she received an offer.
Holiday Criminal. As i have said, we were surprised and delighted that she got an offer. As she is more than happy with her second choice, we will not really be"letting go" of anything.
I sense quite a lot of hostility here. All I am really trying to do is to give my daughter the best chance of achieving.

Scoobyblue Mon 10-Mar-14 21:04:25

Like Nocomet, I'm from the old O-level days. One day I sat a three hour paper in the morning, a three hour paper in the afternoon and then a two hour paper in the early evening because of a clash. Obv very tiring but definitely doable - and it had no adverse affect on my grades. Make sure that she has lots of snacks and drinks to keep her going.

LeBearPolar Mon 10-Mar-14 21:23:28

I think the hostility you sense is just that people are rather baffled at your attitude - to those of us who have been in the school system a long time, what your daughter is being expected to do is nothing out of the ordinary and many many students cope with that or more stressful situations during the exam period. You do seem to be being a bit precious about it all. Exams officers don't tend to have time to deal out tea and sympathy in those kinds of situations because they are busy dealing with so many more important things. As EvilTwins says, your daughter's situation is your priority but it will be a long way down their list as it isn't actually a problem at all in their eyes.

And yes, for those of us of my generation and older, A2 exams were three hours long, and one in the morning and one in the afternoon was not at all unusual.

TacitusMouse Mon 10-Mar-14 21:28:45

Ok, I did this 3 A2 exams in one day (in fact I only did 3 A-levels so it was all my subjects!)

It is fine, she CAN do it. Are they even allowing General Studies anyway, it's often excluded from an offer

umbrellahead Mon 10-Mar-14 21:29:00

I do think she should email the university directly then if they mentioned general studies explicitly to her. Explain the situation and say how taking general studies could impact her other a levels (thus limiting her chances of meeting her offer) and see what their position is. It may be the fact that the A at AS level is enough.

Dinosaursareextinct Mon 10-Mar-14 21:35:26

Why is this an exam clash - a clash means 2 exams at the same time, so you have to miss one of them.
What a fuss about nothing. Just ensure that she has several good nights' sleep and eats and exercises properly leading up to the exams.
You could always write to the uni yourself. But I doubt you'd impress them by doing that.

noblegiraffe Mon 10-Mar-14 21:42:43

This sort of thing will happen more often now that January modules are gone.

wannabestressfree Mon 10-Mar-14 21:50:17

The school I teach in the exams officer would have given your daughter short thrift. She is swamped at the moment. It wouldn't be unusal where I am to have those exams back to back.
I sometimes sense and understand the hostility on these threads as in my opinion parents try to micromanage their children's lives. You talk of giving her the best chance of achieving- surely that's her responsibility. To manage her time well and do her best.

HmmAnOxfordComma Mon 10-Mar-14 21:56:50

It did used to be completely normal to have 2 x 3 hour exams on one day and the same the following or even the following day again. One set of lads at my sixth form (with an unusual combination of subjects) had 3 x 3 hours A levels on one day and 2 the next.

Also completely normal at University so it's good practice!

Clobbered Mon 10-Mar-14 22:02:15

Frankly if your DD can't hack a few exams crammed into two days, then she isn't going to cope with a demanding university course. Stop looking for reasons why it's not fair, and encourage her to get on with it.

MrsDonnaLyman Mon 10-Mar-14 22:06:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiggytape Mon 10-Mar-14 22:19:13

Russell Group Unis definitely expect and accept similar exam schedules. Two 3 hour exams in one day is perfectly do-able and not unusual at all. In fact it can be a definite advantage to be in the zone so to speak and crack on with the exam process instead of eking out over weeks and weeks of turning up for the odd morning to take each one.

No revision of any great value is going to take place even if there was a clear day between each exam. All preparation should be undertaken long before that point. As long as she gets a good lunch and remembers to use the loo, she will be just fine.

hanginginthere1 Mon 10-Mar-14 22:20:19

I do feel that some of you are being quite harsh. You know nothing of my daughter, and how hard she has worked to get to where she is. I myself remember doing 2 3 hr A'level exams, and yes, I got on with it too. We are talking about 4 different subjects here however.
Please do not call me precious or suggest that my daughter is somehow not good enough for that particular university because they have said they may look at General Studies. She will get on with it too!
Lesson learned. Out of here

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