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Sixth Form Questions

(12 Posts)
fusionct Wed 18-Jan-17 20:03:55

Hello MNetters!

DS1 (16) is currently in year 11 and will be starting SF next year. We're not fully sure yet on subject choices, so have requested some meetings with SF teachers to discuss.

I just wondered whether you had any wise MN advice on what to ask please? We want to make sure that he chooses the best subjects for him, so any advice would be hugely appreciated.

Many thanks smile

Hassled Wed 18-Jan-17 20:08:35

I think "choosing the best subjects for him" is really as straightforward as just choosing the subjects he loves. A Levels are a whole different kettle of fish to GCSEs - I expect the very bright can just wing it without a passion for the subject, but really you have to care and be interested. So don't pick Biology because it might be useful when you apply to do whatever at Uni, pick Biology because you love Biology - that's going to help so much in doing well.

Does he have any thoughts re career/Uni options?

fusionct Wed 18-Jan-17 20:15:13

He is interested in Law or possibly accountancy...
Degree wise, he's looking at Classics, History & Law
Subject wise, he's considering: English Lit, History, Latin, French, RS
Thanks for your help.

BackforGood Wed 18-Jan-17 20:19:41

Has he decided if he wants to stay on where he is, or move to a different 6th form (school or college?)
Timetabling is sometimes and issue, or not having the teachers to run a subject, or not having enough students to make it viable to run the A-level. It's not only his choice - these other things come into play, however, given that, I'd agree with Hassled about choosing what you enjoy. there's a really big jump in the levvel of work between GCSE and A-level, so don't push him into doing something because you think it might be a good subject, if it's not something he wants to study.

fusionct Wed 18-Jan-17 20:37:42

Thank you BackforGood, I do appreciate your response.
He will be moving to another school for SF, which is more highly regarded.
The school has assured me that they can accommodate virtually any combination and that all of these subjects will run next year.

I am just a little stumped as to what I should be asking these teachers in order to glean more information about the subjects that's relevant to us...
Thank you smile

Suttonmum1 Wed 18-Jan-17 20:44:39

How about:

Will he do 3 subjects or 4. If 4, what is the fallback position if he can't cope. Will he do AS exams in 1st year, if not, and he drops a subject will he be able to do an AS in it.

Do they do any other exams on top of the A levels.

mummytime Wed 18-Jan-17 20:49:03

Your son really needs to be asking questions and deciding. You should be just there for moral support and a little guidance.
Questions to ask are things like: how many in a class? What courses/unis have people gone on to? Coursework? How the syllabus has changed? And pastoral care?
If your son doesn't have his own questions maybe he isn't passionate enough for those subjects?
For Law or Accountancy the degree subject isn't crucial (although I'd have though Maths would be useful if not essential for accountancy).

My DD decided not to do English despite being "gifted and talented" in it, as she wasn't sure she could keep up with the reading. Which I thought was a mature decision, let your son make similar decisions.

BackforGood Wed 18-Jan-17 20:54:03

Ask about the content of the course too.
History, in particular obviously has a LOT of it grin. My ds loves 20th Century History and would have hated medieval studies or similar.

All 5 of the subjects you suggest are good, strong, academic subjects, but MFL GCSE only requires a very limited ability in the language (none of my dc could even have a random conversation in their GCSE languages) - he needs to talk to the MFL department about what they do at A-level.... another good question with MFL would be asking about opportunities to practice the language with native speakers, either through exchange visits or an MFL asst. in school.

english Lit require a lot of "other reading" around the set texts - you've got to love reading to do it.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 18-Jan-17 21:29:43

'Do the subjects you love' isn't always good advice if (as is the case of a girl I know) they're a bit random, one turned out to be too much of a step up and another harder than she expected which left her rather floundering for a uni course.

If the student has a good idea of what courses would be likely to interest them at uni/future career, they can check a few for entry requirements. If they're not sure what they want to do, then think about what combinations of subjects work well together to keep doors open - put together with ability and liking for the subjects of course.

BackforGood Wed 18-Jan-17 22:16:38

Another idea is to go on to the UCAS website, or just pick a couple of random (tho fairly well respected) universities and see if they have any requirements for A-Levels. That said, I can't help thinking that Latin would be useful in law, but it wouldn't be a requirement as not many schools offer it.

senua Wed 18-Jan-17 22:29:12

The devil is in the detail. Get hold of the syllabi and find out exactly what they will be studying, don't make assumptions. Will it be WWII or the history of medicine; bible stories or ethics?
That might help him decide.

fusionct Wed 18-Jan-17 22:33:44

Ah great point there, senua! Thank you all so much!

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