AS Levels(17 Posts)
DS1 (17) at academic London day school has lost almost all motivation/interest in 6th form, though he excelled in GSCE's. How difficult are AS Levels? His teachers say he has to do knuckle down, but he had done hardly any revision so far... He has loads of friends/lovely girlfriend/happy home life.
What subjects? It's a huge jump in science/maths. If he's coasting he's in for a very nasty shock.
I would be very concerned. I tutor in all those subjects and bright kids that don't work get e's and u's.
Maths may be more of a concern than Chemistry because (I think) it's still in the old system, where AS marks count towards the final A2 grade. Chemistry is 'reformed' so although they may do the AS exam the grade they get will not count (although of course it may be of interest to universities if he intends to take that route).
Watching with interest. I have a DS in the same situation, carbon copy. I am very concerned but he is always out, & just not getting any revision done. I wish I could offer some advice, maybe someone else can.
Has he done any mocks? What were his results?
If he excelled in his GCSEs without much work then it's possible that he thinks he can coast to great A-level results too. This is not usually the case - students who gets A/Bs at A-level are not only bright but they have also worked their socks off.
Maths will count towards 50% of his final grade, but also Y13 maths is harder than Y12 maths and results for those modules are usually lower than for the AS modules. If he wants to do well at A-level he can't just scrape his ASs, he needs a nice cushion of UMS marks to boost his A2 grade. What was his GCSE grade? Did he do further/additional maths?
Chemistry is linear, but if he is sitting AS then those grades will go on his UCAS form, be used for his predicted grades and affect his university entry requirements so he does need to take the exams seriously.
When there used to be January modules it was a good wake-up call for students who thought they could bumble through Y12 and pull it out of the bag at the last minute. It's a real shame that we lost them as many students turned things around after a U in January.
He got 11 A* at GCSE, so problems began only with AS Level courses. He's turned in good homework and teachers say he's capable of achieving As for AS, but his mock exam results have been very poor as he didn't revise. He says he doesn't care, but on the other hand speaks of applying for Oxbridge. Nothing we say makes a difference we're worried he's going to be so angry with himself when he gets his results.
If he is serious about Oxbridge, then low AS grades could rule this out despite excellent GCSE results!
Although Chemistry is now linear there is too much content to leave it all to the last minute i.e. this time next year to start working hard.
Many sixth forms do not allow students to continue studying a subject in Y13 with very low grades at AS level. At local sixth forms the minimum is a grade D at the end of Y12, if he is at an academically selective school it could be higher than this.
Yes he does need to work (and possibly knows it), but he is probably going round in circles and unsure where to start. You (or his tutors or his friends) really need to talk to him and find out a bit more about why he has lost motivation. It's really great that he achieved so well in his GCSEs, but this has set such a high standard that has led to very high expectations at sixth form and the fear that he may not be able to live up to this is a big demotivator. With very good overall results, it can be harder to work out where his strengths really are. Does he regret choosing some of his A level subjects for example? Even if he is at the sixth form of the same school he has been at from Y7, the teachers may well treat sixth formers differently to younger pupils and expect them to be moving away from teacher -led learning to becoming an independent learner.
All these factors (and others) can make sixth formers feel more insecure and less confident. Hopefully he will be able to turn things round soon and have some clearer plans for the future.
I don't think it's subject choice, but it's very hard to tell why he feels so demotivated. He's extremely defensive when we ask him. He's teachers are becoming impatient and we're starting to panic. He plans to give up chemistry after AS level but presumably top universities (including Oxbridge) require As at AS level...
I have a son with those GCSE grades, doing subjects including the ones you mention. I think the mock results are the best indicator of how he is doing, not the GCSEs to be honest.
Revision for maths and chemistry (for my DS at any rate) seems to include a lot of past papers, though that's not all. Can you persuade him to do some?
He'll not get to oxford or Cambridge without working, above and beyond the exam syllabuses, surely he realises that?
Many thanks for your replies. It's very difficult to tell what he's thinking, but I suspect he feels that having been at a demanding super selective school from an early age, he is fed up/can no longer see the value in academic work. The problem is that if he gets lower grades at AS it will be too late to change his mind...
Did he work hard for his 11 A*s?
I think there is a massive build-up to GCSEs, some students get very stressed and work very hard for them, there's a lot of anxiety around results day etc. Then it's all over, they feel like they have a life again, they start sixth form and enjoy more independence. Except they are then asked to work even harder, in a more independent fashion and with less guidance, and that these exams, without the years of build-up as there were to GCSEs, are very important and will affect their life chances etc etc. I think some students don't want to give up their new-found freedom and get back into the grindingly awful cycle of revision and important exams that they thought they'd got through last year, so they keep putting it off.
Other kids manage to get through their GCSEs without too much work because GCSEs aren't that hard if you are very able, even though they were told that they should be revising 5 hours a day etc. They assume that the pleas to revise this year are the same as last year and they'll be fine again without it.
If he did poorly in his mocks because he didn't revise, then you need to ask him why he thinks the outcome will be different in the real thing given that he still isn't revising.
Thanks noblegiraffe for your thoughtful replies. He didn't have to work too hard to achieve his 11* but back then he was far more engaged. Now he's had a taste of freedoml, plus having sailed through GCSE's (despite being told he needed to revise 5 hours a day) a part of him thinks he can pull off his AS Levels without too much revision - especially as his form tutor says they're not that hard.
It's very difficult. You often do get boys like this. My sons (same age) have 2 very very bright boys who moved into their sixth form from top 5 schools - very very clever boys and one is just disinterested which is why he left his other school. My son has asked him why he doesn't bother and sometimes walks out of school. it's so sad as he's clearly brighter than my son who is motivated and works hard. You just hope these boys will suddenly start working harder when they realise university will be round the corner. The boy my son spoke to said he just didn't lke people telling him what to do. Another friend of theirs at a different school wants to change the world in various other ways and spends a lot of time on line and sending out posted petitions and demos - another very clever boy who has just lost that desire to please.
I suspect it is just teenage hormones with some of them. My daughters are both lawyers now but one of them put a lot of her effort in the sixth form into sport (she was the best in the school actually at that ) and yes managed mostly As at A level and did fine but if instead she'd focussed more on her science A levels she could have got all As (no A* in those days).
You just have to bear with them and keep talking to them and loving them.
Yours doesn't sound as if he's not working though like some of my sons' friends as yours has been handing in reasonable work all year. It sounds like he just didn't revise for the mocks as hard as he should.
He doesn't need As in all AS levels to go to a good university although he probably will for Oxbridge.It is very frustrating for teachers and parents when a very bright child just isn't putting in the work they need. Is he donig subjects that require a lot of revision? My children seem to pick the subjects they think they need to least work in although I might be being a bit unfair.
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