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give up Maths A level or not

(10 Posts)
whattodoagain Thu 31-Jan-19 15:15:33

Hi. I would welcome some advice especially if anyone is an A level Maths teacher. My DD is in the L6 and is struggling with A level Maths (got a high 7 at GCSE). As she is doing 4 A levels at the moment she is being pushed into giving it up, rather than one of the other subjects. She is in theory at a grade D at the moment. She wants to do Maths and i am prepared to find her a tutor. What do you think?

OP’s posts: |
Somethingsmellsnice Thu 31-Jan-19 15:31:08

Unfortunately Maths is a big step up at A level. Also remember that you could get an 8 getting only approximately 60% of the paper correct. So in theory even those with an * got 40% of their gcse maths incorrect. One would assume that the 40% would be the more difficult Maths elements too so therefore going from a 7 into A level means there is a good chance that it would not translate to a decent grade. See the following: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/610077/Progression_from_GCSE_to_A_level_-_Comparative_Progression_Analysis_as_a_new_approach_to_investigating_inter-subject_comparability.pdf

Any uni offer she has would be based on 3 A levels so if Maths is not required for her chosen degree then I would say to give it up. However it is a shame especially as she seems to like Maths so it might be worth pursuing at least to the end of year 12 with some tutor input to see whether she suddenly clicks with areas she is just not getting.

Does she know what degree he wants to do? Remember if she takes the exam and gets a poor grade she will have to put it on her UCAS form whereas if she gives it up it goes away never to be mentioned again.

My DS started with 4 including Maths (he had a 9 at gcse). He started Maths as he had considered Economics as a degree but now he has decided to study History at uni he has given up Maths which he was finding difficult despite his 9. So he has now dropped Maths and feels a lot less stressed with his remaining 3 essay based subjects and an EPQ.

sd249 Fri 01-Feb-19 17:38:03

I would say that 4 is just too much, we very rarely let students do 4 (actually only if they do further maths) so I would be saying that she should probably drop one of her A Levels.

My question to her would be - is she doing her best / did she revise? If the answer to that is no then maybe take it until the end of the year and get an AS in the subject (this will depend on how they teach it so may not be possible).

If she is working very hard and is still only getting a D then definitely drop it. A Level is a step up and I find most of our students who got a low 7 struggle massively and high 7 do struggle.

Fifthtimelucky Sun 03-Feb-19 08:38:04

What other subjects is she doing? That might influence the decision.

I agree maths A level is a big step up from GCSE. My daughter got a comfortable A* at GCSE. She only managed an A at A level by the skin of her teeth.

JustRichmal Sun 03-Feb-19 09:14:22

For A level maths dd used CGP revision guide and workbook and worked through them separately at home as well as doing the maths at school. She also used Khan Academy videos for the difficult parts she was having trouble understanding first time through.

Perhaps if you dd keeps going until Easter so she is sure which A level she wants to give up, if any, rather than being pressured into a quick decision. 4 will mean a lot of work though.

Yes, A level maths is a big step up from GCSE, but not impossible, especially if she takes it in small chunks and keeps going back to it until she masters each topic. Practising questions is a must.

catkind Sun 03-Feb-19 09:30:12

It's quite early. A level maths is as much building a skill set for answering that kind of questions as building knowledge of the various topics. Skills build up over the two years of the course, at the end of the year I'd expect her to be answering questions better even on topics only covered in the first term. I'd be inclined to give it a go for the rest of L6 then decide. Particularly if you can find a tutor for a boost - sometimes a different perspective can make a big difference.

As long as she doesn't feel it's putting pressure on her other subjects. What are her other subjects? If she has sciences or something like geography where they need the stats, the maths skills will be useful there even if she does later ditch the maths.

CripsSandwiches Sun 03-Feb-19 10:20:42

What is she having issues with? I used to tutor maths A-level and you can definitely get a long way with some intensive help if she's willing to practise and put the work in.

Good for your daughter that she isn't instantly giving up - that attitude will definitely be great as she goes n to university.

whattodoagain Sun 03-Feb-19 14:41:28

Thank you everyone. This all makes sense. Some of you think it is too much of a risk and others that it's a bit too early to judge! This is my dilemma. She needs to go down to 3. Doing Biology and chemistry alongside.

OP’s posts: |
TheFrendo Sun 03-Feb-19 14:50:08

What is the fourth A level?

MsAwesomeDragon Sun 03-Feb-19 14:58:07

Which are the 4 subjects she's doing? You've said maths, chemistry and biology, what is the 4th?

I teach maths up to A Level. I would say she needs to practice the topics she's finding difficult. And that takes time. A tutor would pretty much always be beneficial, as everybody learns better on a 1-1 basis. But a tutor should be as well as all the extra individual practice, not instead of. Has she got a textbook? If not, get one. Make sure it's for the right exam board. Then do ALL the exercises on the difficult topics, checking her answers using the back of the book (I don't think there are any ALevel textbooks that don't have answers in the back), and/or solution banks online (lots of textbooks have these available so you can see the method, not just the final answers). Then a few weeks/months later go back and do the review/mixed exercise again to check she can still remember it. All of this takes time!!! And other subjects will require a similar amount of time to learn as well.

The recommendation at my school is that you should be studying individually as many hours as you have of lessons. So 5 hours of maths lessons should require 5 hours of individual study. If she hasn't already been doing that then she'll need to do extra. 4 ALevels at my school gives 20 hours of lessons, so 20 hours of individual study, most of which will be at home because there are only 25 hours a week at school (and those precious study periods are often used for socialising rather than studying).

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