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Advantages of still doing an AS in subjects which have changed to linear exam??

(81 Posts)
changename54 Thu 19-Nov-15 19:59:28

One of DS' chosen 4 subjects in Sixth Form has changed to "linear exam format". I believe this means that the A-level is a stand-alone end-of-course exam i.e. the AS is no longer 50% of the mark.

The school will not be entering the whole class for the AS level, so if he wanted to do it, it would have to be as a private entry.

Just wondered what other schools are doing and if there is a consensus on the best way forward?

My feeling is that having four AS levels will make his decision as to which subject to drop for A-level easier. I also wonder how universities will assess candidates that have an AS level against those that don't?

However, if it's a private entry does this mean the school won't properly prepare him for the exam (so he's likely to do worse in it anyhow....)??

Would be very interested to hear other people's view. Thanks.

Suffolkgirl1 Thu 19-Nov-15 20:53:54

DS's school is still sitting the AS in all subjects, DD's it depends on the subject, some are some not. So it seems to vary.

jeanne16 Thu 19-Nov-15 21:09:44

School my son is at is sitting all pupils for AS exams in all subjects this year and will review this again next year.

BackforGood Thu 19-Nov-15 22:50:43

My dd's school is putting them all in for AS this year, (while it is all mixed, depending on the subjects) and will then probably review after that.

Her previous school weren't, so, if it depends on the school, then the Universities won't be able to use them as a way of predicting grades like they have been able to in recent years.

noblegiraffe Thu 19-Nov-15 22:54:10

I imagine that if it's private entry he will be nowhere near as well prepared as those candidates whose schools are entering their students, and will have done proper mocks and revision lessons. It would be a bit much to expect his teachers to do this for him in their own time so you'd have to hire a tutor.

Temporaryusername8 Fri 20-Nov-15 06:12:14

I thought that for some subjects the syllabus for first year of linear is a little different from the stand alone AS so there would definitely need to be extra preparation outside school. Personally I would n't bother since if he does well in end of Y12 internal exams then the school's written reference should give him credit for it. .

Figmentofmyimagination Fri 20-Nov-15 08:26:25

Our school is not entering any children for AS exams, and all are to be expected to enter for 4 full A levels, dropping one part way through if they want to.

DeoGratias Fri 20-Nov-15 08:49:21

I think all the good private schools are entering children for 4 AS levels still , certainly my sons' school is.

However as the universities know many state schools will not be able to afford to that the universities will try to make sure things are looked at fairly when assessing for entry so I would not worry too much about it either way.

(People are correct that for this year some subjects are the new system and some the old which is a separate issue).

simbobs Fri 20-Nov-15 09:03:22

Our DC's school has a policy of entering all students for AS, as they say that unis have told them that they want to see the results. I only have their word for this. I do think that it may help those students (like my DD) who are doing 4 AS and don't know which to drop for A2. On the other hand it means more pressure to perform, which we could do without.

RalphSteadmansEye Fri 20-Nov-15 09:08:59

It's the other way around here: the private schools are not bothering with AS levels (obviously some still are AS /A2) as they say the whole point of the changes is to give extra teaching time rather than wasting time on loads of study leave in lower sixth, but the state schools (that I know of) are still doing them.

Must be to do with trying to game the league tables - they will have more points per student if they've done AS and then full A level?

changename54 Fri 20-Nov-15 09:14:04

Thanks everyone. It seems like it's a bit of a muddle and there's lots to think about.

The subject in question is Economics, which is a new subject for DS, so I can see some advantage in giving him the maximum amount of time to get his act together and (hopefully!) perform as well as he can at the end of two years.

But how will the universities view this I wonder? Someone who doesn't have a GCSE in it, won't have an AS and only a predicted A-level grade from a teacher? Will that be looked on as favourably as someone who does have an AS grade I wonder?? Will it just be easier for universities to make offers to those who do have AS results as it's less risky, than those who don't? Hmmm.

SheGotAllDaMoves Fri 20-Nov-15 09:18:44

The thinking behind continuing with AS even where those have been decoupled includes;

- keep students focussed.
- give the schools a proper idea of ability/engagement.
- good scores in AS will help university applications, particularly important for highly competitive courses.

I think the jury's out on whether these views have basis and if schools will continue with de coupled AS.

SheGotAllDaMoves Fri 20-Nov-15 09:21:58

That's an issue certainly OP, in respect of university applications.

I suspect that for the vast majority of courses, offers will be made on a combo of GCSE results and predicted grades for A2. Then the applicant either gets the grade or they don't.

However, for those courses where there is stiff competition for an interview, let alone an offer, will a good score in AS be a tipping factor?

Molio Fri 20-Nov-15 09:29:50

The jury isn't especially out DaMoves. I think the jury's view is that there's no point doing the AS any more given the syllabuses and that some unis who seem wedded to the old ASs may have to jog on smile

RalphSteadmansEye Fri 20-Nov-15 09:33:15

It will be interesting - to some extent I'm happier about ds being a guinea pig for the new GCSEs and having a couple of years for the A level changes to embed than if he were year 12 this year.

Molio Fri 20-Nov-15 09:34:10

I've got a finger in both pies Ralph sad

changename54 Fri 20-Nov-15 09:38:48

Me too! One DS in Y12 and one in Y10 - both the first year of changes.

I have emailed the school for their advice, so we'll see what they say. Apparently, a decision needs to be made next week though, so I expect a flurry of queries from confused parents like myself!

RalphSteadmansEye Fri 20-Nov-15 09:49:48

sad OP and Molio.

Molio Fri 20-Nov-15 09:53:34

The ASs and A2s in linear subjects aren't co-teachable OP so he'd be branching out on his own.

aginghippy Fri 20-Nov-15 09:57:49

My dd's school have said students will need to decide in January which subject they will do the AS in and then drop for Y13. They will be doing mocks in December, so that will give them some information to base their decisions on.

One of the teachers told me that the school management thought long and hard before deciding on this system. There were pros and cons to all the permutations.

BoboChic Fri 20-Nov-15 10:16:32

Universities seem to cope quite well in assessing applications from students who are not doing A-levels and have alternative qualifications with no externally assessed exams in Y12 (or even Y11). Predictions then become very important, of course. But I think that universities will cope fine without AS grades.

SheGotAllDaMoves Fri 20-Nov-15 11:05:36

molio if you look at which schools will go ahead with AS and which won't, I don't think you can say yet that there is a consensus.

Similarly, speaking to lots of academics in the most selective universities, I don't think there's a consensus there either.

Molio Fri 20-Nov-15 11:12:13

I didn't say concensus DaMoves, but it seems pretty clear to me which way the wind is blowing, and my information comes from not very different sources from yours, I imagine.

Molio Fri 20-Nov-15 11:13:49

consensus even!

SheGotAllDaMoves Fri 20-Nov-15 11:22:10

What I don't like is the inconsistency of approach.

I have a fellow twins mum from my TAMBA days with twins in different schools in the same town. One will be doing AS in all four, one won't.


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