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A* or A in maths. Does it matter?

(95 Posts)
1805 Wed 14-Dec-16 19:58:56

If ds is eyeing up Oxbridge as possible uni's later on, is it essential he gets an A* in maths? He is heading towards sciences as a future, but obviously is still early days. Maths is probably his weakest subject (bottom of top set) and his school put the top set in for maths gcse in jan - a few weeks away. I am wondering if I should ask for him to be put down a set and wait until July which would still be a year early. Or let him take it in Jan and hope he gets an A*. Teacher says he "should" get A*.
Or would an A be ok anyway? Any Oxbridge people know?
Sorry, am rambling now….Thank you.

BertrandRussell Wed 14-Dec-16 20:01:12

Oxford are much more interested in GCSEs than Cambridge are. But I don't think one A is going to make that much difference. Unless he wants to read maths.

There are proper experts that'll be along soon, I''m sure.

noblegiraffe Wed 14-Dec-16 20:04:03

I don't know about Oxbridge but why the fuck is his school entering kids for GCSE maths a year and a half early?
Put him down a set, get him an extra six months to work on his A*.

1805 Wed 14-Dec-16 20:06:49

he is particulary set on Oxford. We keep explaining that there are other amazing uni's too, but it seems to be something he really wants at the moment. Maybe I'll just tell him he HAS to get A* for Oxford, and hope it makes him revise like hell over Christmas!!!

BeBesideTheSea Wed 14-Dec-16 20:08:29

For (some) Sciences at Oxford, GCSE results are a.more accurate predictor of final degree result than A levels

BeBesideTheSea Wed 14-Dec-16 20:08:54

So yes, A*

1805 Wed 14-Dec-16 20:09:53

giraffe - no idea! I guess it's to stop the brightest ones getting bored with the syllabus??

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 14-Dec-16 20:11:23

Grades in maths are 9-1 in summer 2017.

noblegiraffe Wed 14-Dec-16 20:12:24

Private schools will probably be doing IGCSE which is still letter grades.

1805 Wed 14-Dec-16 20:14:04

ok - thanks BesideTheSea.
I can see now I have left this far too late to get involved. Ds has always been left to his own devices as far as schoolwork has gone, and I had presumed all was on track (according to ds it still is). But his report that came through today implies he is borderline A/A*. He has been sent home with two papers to do over the hols which we have to post back to school before term starts again in Jan. I guess that will be when the final decision will be made whether to put him in or not.

noblegiraffe Wed 14-Dec-16 20:18:20

Is it worth the stress and hard work over the Christmas break in order to do an exam one and a half years early, risking a lower grade than he would get if he took it at a more appropriate time?

Seriously? I'd tell them to jog on. Why have an A on his CV when he could easily have an A*? Why are you even having to worry about this?

Crumbs1 Wed 14-Dec-16 20:18:45

He may need to research a little as some courses require the minimum 5A-Cs including maths and English to be taken in one sitting. They obviously need the full range of higher grades as well. Put him down the set but if he is struggling with maths and wants sciences he may need to widen his choices as physics and chemistry at A level require a good mathematical understanding. He should not underestimate the jump between GCSE and A level. Has he visited Oxford or is he basing it on reputation or parental wishes? How many kids go Oxbridge from his school? If he wants to do it then he shouldn't need you pushing him to revise or to make decisions about sets.

Manumission Wed 14-Dec-16 20:23:48

1805 IME, GCSE predictions can err towards caution, especially at the top end. I'd let him go ahead.

Better to have a good grade this year than be in the inaugural cohort of the numbered grade system for more subjects than necessary.

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Wed 14-Dec-16 20:23:58

My son didn't get into the local 6th form because he was predicted an A in maths rather than an A* and wanted to do Maths and Further Maths at A level. They wouldn't take him with only an A as his predicted grade. In the end, he did get an A* in maths, went to a different 6th form and got As at A level in maths and Physics and a B in Further Maths. He was disappointed not to get into his first choice ov 6th form. Might be worth checking what your ĺocal 6th forms policy is on Maths GCSE predictions and grades if he is wanting to do Maths and Further Maths at a level.

1805 Wed 14-Dec-16 20:30:34

Crumbs - school does v well for Oxbridge entrance. I have to trust the school that the way they spread out the gcse's works ok.
He has been eyeing up Oxbridge for the prestige I think. He has visited (through school) Oxford Uni and declared it the place for him. (He hasn't even been to Cambridge yet!). Certainly not parental pressure to go to Oxbridge!!!

AnotherNewt Wed 14-Dec-16 20:36:23

If he sits maths a year or 18 months early, what then happens in that teaching slot?

Another maths GCSE?

mumsneedwine Wed 14-Dec-16 20:37:28

I know for medicine that Oxford look at % of A*s*tars. Need 90%. And for medicine in many other places an A star gets more points. For maths and Natural Science they did used to want an A star but it might have changed as mine already there. It's easy to look on line at admissions requirements on each Uni. However, why the hell are they sitting exams in January ?!?!? To keep the bright Ines from being bored just do Add maths ( which is c1 at A level so very useful).

noblegiraffe Wed 14-Dec-16 20:39:03

I have to trust the school that the way they spread out the gcse's works ok.

There is plenty of evidence that shows that entering kids early for maths GCSE is a stupid idea, that kids miss out on the grades they deserve and could have got if they sat it at the right time.

If the school were confident in their approach they wouldn't be setting him maths papers to do over the holidays that need to be posted back (wtf). Absolutely question their approach.

I'm baffled. How is he doing exams in January? And how are A/A* grades available? 7/8/9 surely?

Manumission Wed 14-Dec-16 20:41:08

A good student at a good school predicted borderline A/A*, has no problem and just needs to revise hard TBH.

Two of mine came out with unbroken strings of A*s in the end and both of them had a couple of A predictions in the January. It spurred them on.
(One of them is now at Oxbridge and didn't seem to think the A/A* issue is vital anyway - I just asked - but that's obviously an informal take smile )

PurpleDaisies Wed 14-Dec-16 20:41:27

I have to trust the school that the way they spread out the gcse's works ok.

You really don't. It might work for some kids but it doesn't sound like it's the best plan for your son. He doesn't need an A now. He can wait and get his A* later.

BertrandRussell Wed 14-Dec-16 20:43:01

"have to trust the school that the way they spread out the gcse's works ok"

You don't, you know!

noblegiraffe Wed 14-Dec-16 20:43:13

both of them had a couple of A predictions in the January

This student will actually be sitting his exams in January.

It's IGCSE, not GCSE.

Manumission Wed 14-Dec-16 21:07:59

Same thing applies. There's usually only one round of official predictions.

Head down after Christmas to some serious revision could work out well. It's too late for changes anyway and he was predicted borderline, after all. It's not even an 'A' prediction. It's A/A*.

xarpax Wed 14-Dec-16 21:12:31

Can you sit IGCSE in January??

Another one who thinks it's nuts to sit the exam a year early

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