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What minimum grade do you think is required to continue a subject at A-level

(43 Posts)
Theodicilent Sat 03-Feb-18 21:24:30

DS got 5s in GCSE mocks for science. He wants to do science A-levels. The 5 meets the college minimum criteria but realistically should a higher grade be obtained to consider taking the A-level?

His current school has been in special measures etc throughout so he thinks that he would do better once he gets to college. I’m worried that he will struggle.

Do you think a student that got a 5 could still do well at A-level or should they do something else?

Do I just let him go for it anyway and not interfere?

happy2bhomely Sat 03-Feb-18 21:30:52

Last year my son got ABB in Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

He was allowed to take Biology but not Chemistry. He didn't want to, but he definitely wouldn't have been allowed to do Physics.

He got a 7 in Maths and is really struggling at A level. He got a U on his last test in class.

He has dropped Biology as it was just too much on top of Maths, Economics and Business.

I would talk to the teachers and ask what they think.

TeenTimesTwo Sat 03-Feb-18 21:38:04

I would say 6 based on graphs I have seen.

This link is for maths GCSE to maths A level but I know I've seen others before.

I would have said B under old system, but a 5 is at best a low B. It seems to me that if you can only get a low B at GCSE you'd be hard pressed to get much higher than about a D at A level, C at a push.

(just an interested parent)

TeenTimesTwo Sat 03-Feb-18 21:44:06

However, remember that they are just guessing the grade boundaries for these mocks as they have no past exams to go on. So the school saying 5 could actually be a 7.

brizzledrizzle Sat 03-Feb-18 21:45:45

Under the old system my dc's school said A* or A for potential A level subjects.

Theodicilent Sat 03-Feb-18 21:47:59

The teachers are pushing him to do A-levels and I don’t think he should. He’s a ‘high achiever’ at school but it is a really under performing school so it’s relative and doesn’t equate to amazing grades. I don’t think there’s much point in getting mediocre A-levels but feel a bit discouraging to keep putting him off.

LIZS Sat 03-Feb-18 21:50:13

Is that double/combined or triple science?

clary Sat 03-Feb-18 22:44:55

I wouldn't want anyone doing A level in my subject (MFL) with a grade lower than 6. Ideally a 7 tbh.

In the past we have found students getting C at GCSE (which is roughly a 5) really struggled at A level. Even a B wasn't ideal.

For subjects like maths and science IME grades need to be even higher, so yes 7s most likely. But a 5 in mocks often turns into 6/7 in actual exams.

titchy Sat 03-Feb-18 22:57:39

Don't write him off just yet - 5s in mocks often turn into 6s and 7s. Gaining decent grades at a crap school is a huge achievement - many universities drop their offer if applicants are dealing with crap A level teaching - so he may well be very able and will fly at A level.

That said a plan b might be useful - Btec maybe?

BasiliskStare Sun 04-Feb-18 00:43:00

Ok so I am not a teacher - DS got an A* at maths GCSE and struggled in 6th form. Now - to be fair that was under the old system and it would have been his 4th subject , but compared to other talented pupils , he wasn't keeping up in the way that they were. Also , his other subjects were humanities , so it didn't really fit in. So I would say OP , it could come down to more of an attitudinal thing. Sorry if this is not more helpful , some with more knowledge will help you better.

Theodicilent Sun 04-Feb-18 07:57:29

Thanks it sounds generally like he would need 7s to do well at A-levels. He’s doing triple science at GCSE. He’s got an offer for a BTEC at a different college but he said he would still want to do A-levels if he can get the minimum grades. I’m trying to tell him to do the BTEC unless he ends up getting 7s.

EmmaGrundyForPM Sun 04-Feb-18 08:08:40

I'm. Not really familiar with the old grading system, but where we live when ds took A levels two years ago, none of the 6th forms allowed you to do science subjects unless you'd got an A at GCSE.

Taffeta Sun 04-Feb-18 08:10:26

Looking at entry requirements at DSs School for different A level subjects, they all require a minimum of a 7.

cod Sun 04-Feb-18 08:11:27

Christ yes. A levels are hard. A 7/8/9

aloamora Sun 04-Feb-18 08:18:58

My sil went to a crap school and decent college. She got a d in maths, 3 bs and a few e's. She resat her-maths gcse in college and got a level ABB at college , a first at uni then masters then PhD and is now an assistant professor at one of the best unis in the country in her early 30's . Don't write him off yet!

Wow1234 Sun 04-Feb-18 08:19:01

I don't know specifically about the grades but what I would say about studying having done a degree and masters you need to choose something you feel passionate about and something that comes naturally to you. Don't pick subjects that you think you should do. It only makes life hard and I speak from experience.

BobbinThreadbare123 Sun 04-Feb-18 08:26:28

Having taught up until the new system was coming in to place, I would say that anyone below a 7 would struggle with sciences, languages, maths etc. If you're doing music, dance etc perhaps a little lower as that's more skill based. I had physics A Level entrants with Cs in maths and barely a B in science and they bombed it. Also depends on the student; many are too immature to deal with A Levels.

LadyLance Sun 04-Feb-18 09:13:46

With science a-levels he will be building on knowledge learnt at GCSE. If his current school don't cover the full syllabus, for example, he will be starting at a disadvantage compared to other pupils. Good grades at btech will give him more options than d/e grades at a-level.

However at 16 I do think it has to be his own decision. If things don't work out in y12 he can still spend 2 more years doing a btech (funding will be available until he is 19).

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 04-Feb-18 09:18:20

DS2's school is asking for the following:

F.Maths: 8 in Maths and A* in the F.Maths certificate
Maths: 7 in Maths plus a minimum mark in an algebra pre-test
Chemistry: 7 in Chemistry (but they'd prefer 8) and 6 in Maths
Physics: 7 in Physics and 6 in Maths
Biology: 6 in Biology and 6 in Maths

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 04-Feb-18 09:19:49

5s in mocks means he could get 6s or higher in his GCSEs, in which case those subjects at A-level would be feasible.

ScipioAfricanus Sun 04-Feb-18 14:21:30

There’s such a big jump at ALevel that ideally a 7 is required. Under the old system we would occasionally allow a GCSE B grade student to do AS. They all dropped it by A2 and normally got AS grade B if they worked hard. Anything less than a strong A or A* and it’s a struggle. That’s languages. We also had a very strong academic record so didn’t tend to have many lower grades at GCSE (small subject).

In science, I believe it’s a similar pattern from talking to colleagues. However it depends on what your other options are and a lot does depend on how much the pupil is prepared to work.

Kazzyhoward Sun 04-Feb-18 15:35:53

At son's school, 7 is the minimum for most subjects. Physics needs an 8. Maths and English grade 7 is needed for entry to sixth form, whether you're taking those subjects to A level or not.

Uninspirednamewise Sun 04-Feb-18 16:07:17

DS got a grade 8 for his GCSE maths and is finding A level maths quite a struggle. Based on his experience, I would say that taking A level maths from a base of grade 5 or 6 at GCSE would lead to pretty much inevitable failure, and I would be quite dubious about the wisdom of taking A level maths from a starting point of grade 7 at GCSE.

Jessesbitch Mon 05-Feb-18 21:56:47

I’m a teacher. In my science I have raised the entrance requirements to 7. At a push a 6 if there were circumstances to explain low perfomance at GCSE.
Likely outcomes per grade GCSE to A level range=
A*~ A*, A, B
A~ B, C, D
B~ D, E, U

ClaudiaD13 Mon 05-Feb-18 22:38:16

What does he want to do long term? Some Universities don't accept BTEC (I'm currently at Uni and everyone last year who got a place via BTEC failed the first year, so our course no longer accepts).

I got a C in chemistry GCSE (years ago), I got onto a degree program recently via a foundation year and am now doing a masters in a heavily chemistry based subject. I had poor teaching at GCSE level.

If he thinks it's the teaching holding him back can you not get him a tutor?

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