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Is it still worth doing a 4th subject at AS?

(12 Posts)
galaxy671 Wed 15-Feb-17 16:08:17

My DS is currently finalising his A level options. Most students do 3 A levels all the way through whilst selected students are given the chance to do 4 in Year 12, do an AS in one of them, then continue with the three others to A2. My question is is it still worth doing a 4th subject or not? The fourth subject would be Geography, and he already has two other facilitating subjects (French and maths) so we don't really know. Thanks for your help smile

noblegiraffe Wed 15-Feb-17 16:12:41

It would be worth doing if they let him choose later which one he drops, in case one of his subjects goes wrong or he is unsure of his choices. It's quite hard being tied to 3 subjects for 4 years.

In terms of uni, lots of schools are only offering 3 so he won't be disadvantaged.

teta Wed 15-Feb-17 16:22:57

A levels are in the process of becoming linear not modular.So there will be no option to give up after one year with an as level.If you do only one year you will have no qualification for that subject.Independent as levels ( done this year) are in the processs of bring phased out.Most universities are looking for 3 good A levels even for highly competitive courses like Medicine.Epq are increasingly valued by universities and are thought to be equivalent to a AS level and are in the process of supplanting AS levels.
I'm really not sure whether this will apply for Oxbridge entrance however ..Perhaps someone will come along and give you more specific advice on that scenario.

noblegiraffe Wed 15-Feb-17 16:31:31

There are standalone AS courses which last a year and are supposed to align with the first year of A-level study.

teta Wed 15-Feb-17 16:43:36

Only 10% of sixth form colleges are planning to offer more than 3 because of funding constraints.Many schools offered independent as qualifications during the changeover but are stopping them.My dd's school didn't do the AS levels last year instead doing a EPQ and the Tripos award (gdst school) Dd's science A levels are now linear and only the Maths is modular.I think the Maths is becoming linear next year.Its also in the process of becoming harder!

unfortunateevents Wed 15-Feb-17 16:54:35

It appears that all subjects are becoming more difficult and with more content included. Therefore, taking on four subjects for a year is likely to be more of a stretch than previously. DS's school has said that they will only be doing three subjects from Yr 12 but that they will be increasing the number of hours per week for each of those subjects in order to cope with the increased difficulty. This seems to make sense and it might be worth checking with your son's school how they are planning on dealing with this. It might be better for your son to concentrate on three subjects rather than trying to do four, with the fourth not leading anywhere.

galaxy671 Wed 15-Feb-17 16:56:02

teta You're right, maths is becoming linear next year. Also from what I believe, they have to do mechanics and statistics now, instead of choosing one of them. We haven't been told anything about the EPQ.

galaxy671 Wed 15-Feb-17 16:57:43

unfortunateevents How they timetable it at the school is 3 double periods per subject, per week. Instead of doing a fourth subject, everyone else will get 'supervised study' in addition to their 'free' periods.

GHGN Fri 17-Feb-17 10:49:51

Speaking from my own limited experience so far with Edexcel (not yet accredited) by doing the training and reading the sample textbook, Maths is not more difficult. Probably the same level of difficulty, just different structure so pupils can do the standalone AS if they don't want to carry on.

Hubabubba Mon 20-Feb-17 15:59:59

That is going to make it much more difficult for those wanting to study abroad. German universities require a minimum of 4 subjects at AS level and 3 full A levels for admission (which have to include maths, a foreign language, a science and a relevant subject). If you can no longer obtain an AS level, this would mean taking 4 subjects to A level...?

hibbledobble Mon 20-Feb-17 16:25:27

I'm surprised by this change. When I did as levels not so long ago, it was unheard of to do only 3.

Mary21 Mon 20-Feb-17 16:45:41

Ds's school only offer 3 with extra teaching time per subject which seemed like a great idea. However he is really struggling with one subject that will have an AS this year. If he gets a U he will only have 2 to carry forwards. Not quite sure what will happen. Assume retake the as and do a2 in the same year????

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