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Disastrous first lot of A level results what to do?

(31 Posts)
skyblue11 Thu 07-Mar-13 15:55:19

DD taking 4 A Levels at the moment, her recent results were EEC she got an E in Biology which she really wanted to carry on with as she like us believes it's a good exam to have however after her struggling and working really hard all through Christmas and having a tutor she is now totally despondent at todays results, is it worth carrying on at school to end up with maybe 2 A levels 3 at nest with these kind of results? I feel really upset after all the work she put into it as we had a shitty Christmas with all thee revision....She can't speak to someone until Monday...

secretscwirrels Thu 07-Mar-13 17:02:56

Oh poor thing sad it's rotten when you have watched them work hard.
DS1 just got results of the January modules and he did well, but he says many of his friends did astonishingly badly.
Lots of reasons, underestimating the amount of work required being the main one. Apparently to get a U in GCSE you have get about 5% whereas at A level it's 30%.

Is there a parents evening following on from the results?
The most obvious thing for your DD would be to drop the fourth subject and put all effort into the three.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Thu 07-Mar-13 17:24:03

I am having a similar issue with DS2 he breezed through GCSE's with great results, less than a year into sixth form things are going tits up. I think he seriously underestimated how hard it would be and expected it to be as easy for him as GCSE's were. I thought so too so its a shock to me too that his results are dire. its causing friction as he gets an attitude when challenged, seems to think if hes done a free period studying then thats enough, I pointed out that looking at his results its clearly not. don't want it to turn into a row but don't want him to end up with no results as he had planned on university... arghh thought this parenting lark was getting easier as they got older but noooo.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Thu 07-Mar-13 17:24:44

sorry, I just managed to make that all about meee and was no help to op at all blush

someoftheabove Thu 07-Mar-13 18:21:35

The thing is, it is often all about us because we support them through it. The problem with teenagers who "breeze" through GCSEs, as my dd did, is that they are poleaxed by the amount of work they have to do for A levels. Other students who might be less academic so have always had to work harder to get the same result will be more used to the level of work required, so are better equipped to deal with it.
We have had to completely revise our expectations of dd's future after it's become obvious she is not able to work at the pace required for A level. She's now going to take a year off after July and have a think about what she wants to do. It's not what she had planned, but we all think it's for the best and she may find uni wasn't what she wanted to do anyway.
Talk to the school or college about your ds's results - take their advice about what's the best option for him. Don't try to predict the future, he's only in AS year, things might be find if they help him with some strategies for studying better and more efficiently.

skyblue11 Thu 07-Mar-13 20:19:10

I think it's becoming obvious that despite her best efforts it's going to be a very difficult one.
She's feeling really down 'what am i going to do with my life' right now. I have explained it's not the end of the world, and there are apprentiships and other options like college for an extra year. I am trying to keep her spirits up.

I personally think that she should drop business and concentrate on just three and if it takes it (and it's what she really wants) do another year if she really wants to go to uni which thankfully it's undecided at the moment.

She will meet with her teachers and take advice from them and I guess retake though it will extremely hard (given we had a miserable Christmas) and do until summer and take it from there.

gimmeanaxe Thu 07-Mar-13 20:23:39

same here. He was predicted all A stars and has done appallingly despite test/essay results being 100% in class and on past papers. No idea whats gone wrong. He said the whole class got poor results in Biology, even the Oxbridge students and the school is calling for remarks. I dont know what to think. There's no more parents evenings now so I guess hard work, past papers and revision till the June exams.

Scrazy Thu 07-Mar-13 20:32:46

Are these AS level results. It's often the case that the first January exams come as a huge shock. GSCE grade A* pupils getting U's and E's. It was like that when DD did them. She was predicted 3 A's but managed to retake modules and eventually get good grades.

It's time to pull the finger out and work harder.

skyblue11 Thu 07-Mar-13 20:38:47

But thats the thing, she can't work any harder she really does knuckle down and that's what worries me, she has no more to give. I could understand it if she had poor attendance, but she revises and has her head in books constantly poor thing.

Scrazy Thu 07-Mar-13 20:46:59

Mine did too and still got some low module grades. I think with A levels are a lot to do with technique. Have you checked the schools actual results in her subjects from last year. Unfortunately some school have trouble teaching A levels to a high standards.

I (whispers) resorted to paying a tutor to get mine from an E to a C in a subject she dropped and for another subject for which she got almost perfect grades on past papers but only just scrapped it on the actual A level paper but it was enough to get what she needed, thankfully. Without the tutor I doubt this would have happened.

mindfulmum Fri 08-Mar-13 08:32:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

QuickLookBusy Fri 08-Mar-13 08:38:37

My DDs both had friends who did badly in AS levels then went on to do very well at A level. Something just seemed to "click" with them and they got into the flow of things and it did work out.

Don't let her leave now, let her carry on, talk to her teachers and see how the exams go in the summer.

QuickLookBusy Fri 08-Mar-13 08:40:01

Yes, as Scazy says your dd should drop one AS level next year as she'll only need 3 for uni.

mindgone Fri 08-Mar-13 11:11:15

My DS had a really tricky time in Y12. He went from Ds Cs and an E in his mock ASs this time last year to a B and 3 Cs in the summer. He was so upset as he is a really hard worker. He thinks now that he should have given up the 4th subject earlier, like quite a few others did. So your DD could maybe think about dropping the 4th one now, to concentrate on the other 3.

Good news, he learned how to work smarter, to the exact exam specifications (found on the Internet), lots of memorising, and did loads and loads of past papers. Yesterday he got the results of 4 A2 exams and 2 resits, he got 5As and a B! We didn't even dare to hope his results would be that good!
So, it is salvageable with hard work and determination. But she probably needs to try a different way of working. Also, get photocopies of the papers she did to find out exactly where she went wrong, invaluable for moving forward. Best of luck, this parenting lark is so hard!

campergirls Fri 08-Mar-13 11:31:08

OP, about this: 'she can't work any harder she really does knuckle down and that's what worries me, she has no more to give' - is she working effectively though? It's not uncommon (IME as a university lecturer) for diligent students to work very hard in a way that is not well directed. And they might as well not bother frankly. Perhaps she could talk to someone at her school/college about how she's approaching her work, and whether she's going about it in the best way? As mindgone says, sometimes it's all about workign smarter, not working harder.

kritur Fri 08-Mar-13 20:05:56

Also (and I say this as a teacher...) is she working hard in the right way? When she's working is she in the right environment? Is she texting on her phone whilst revising/working? A quick glance at an itemised bill will tell you. Also is she sleeping ok? How is she using her time in school?

skyblue11 Sat 09-Mar-13 13:58:44

You have all made really good point here. It's only until june then she will have done her AS's, to drop business now will have been a waste and she can still score valuable point with it but I'm thinking is her time best directed at getting 3 decent A levels?
She did have an biology degree student who tutored her, maybe I should be looking elsewhere, trouble is she was £15 per hour, tutors £30 but you get what you pay for, it's just she was affordable.
Apparently we can have the paper back for £10 which we will do. I might also add that she was assessed and has been allowed extra time, they said she wasn't dyslexic but was slow in processing skills, this was never picked up at secondary school.
Also, how can she learn to work smarter?
I know she uses her phone in school, I think it's up to her but have discussed it and it's now up to her to act more responsibly and mature about it, it's her education and she has to take that on board at 17.
She is seeing the learning mentor Monday, she just feels despondent right now I feel disappointed but I know she has worked hard she just feels unit is out of her reach as she can't do any better.

nickstmoritz Sat 09-Mar-13 17:57:35

Firstly did your DD get her extra time in these exams? My DD also has been assessed and has slow processing speed. Sometimes you need to double check it was administered properly because running out of time would affect your DDs mark.It is possible that your DD has some problems with her short term working memory as well as processing speed and could find revising and remembering facts quite difficult. Get her to revise with large A3 paper and coloured pens to help make facts stick (eg for biology) break down revision into smaller chunks. Try to concentrate for short periods of revision with a rest in between and take away her phone/laptop while she does this. Make sure she is eating well and getting some sleep and check her iron levels (blood test with doc) Girls can get low and this affects sleep and memory.

Get hold of the exact specifications for the exams either from the exam board website or a book version that is produced for the correct board and exam. This is so her revision is absolutely relevant and she won't waste time on things that might not be needed. Download past papers and do these at home. If you can't get answers ask teacher to take a look at them.Do these regularly, not just at last minute.

If she can re take these modules then great. Tell her to put them down to experience and move on. Help her make a practical plan of what to do next and make sure she doesn't let the disappointing results get to her.Worrying will not help now.
Does your DD think the tutor is very helpful? If abit meh then get someone more experienced but less often to keep costs down or ask if there is someone to share a tutor and cost with and work together.
Make sure DD has time to have fun and relax but tell her that if she works smart and hard then she will enjoy her down time even more.

If she completely balls it all up, remember life goes on and it is not the end of the world. Uni is expensive and no guarantees jobs wise and you can do your A levels at a FE college later or her school could let her retake the year. Lots do. Good luck.

Linclass Sat 09-Mar-13 21:34:01


As said previously it may take a while for the technique of AS/A2's to fall into place and not al teachers at 6th are good. Look for a local crammer school helped my daughter who go okish results get fantastic results.

Passed this information onto a friend who's son wanted to be a Dr and had bombed out in all his previous exams, had no offers for Uni so faced a gap/re-sit year. He went to the crammer course, had 14 exams in his summer A2's [numerous re-sits] AND he ended up with 4 A's no re-sit year and just received an un-conditional offer to study medicine.

skyblue11 Sun 10-Mar-13 11:48:50

Crammer school? I think this is private, we're not in that league.....

nickstmoritz Sun 10-Mar-13 14:12:23

Sorry to be a bit dense but what is a crammer school? I have never heard of one. Is it in the holidays?

secretscwirrels Sun 10-Mar-13 16:04:05

nickstmoritz you can see them advertised in newspaper Education pages. Often private schools running courses in school holidays especially in the run up to GCSE or A levels. V expensive.

nickstmoritz Sun 10-Mar-13 17:20:42

Thanks secretscwirrels
So how do they make such a difference then? Do they know something the teachers at state schools don't know? or is it that they get the kids to sit down and revise instead of farting about in the bedrooms saying they are revising?(DDs method!)
I suppose if OP is paying for a tutor maybe saving this towards an intensive might be better? If it does actually make any difference. How much is v. expensive?

We can't afford tutors but sometimes wish I had got one for DD's maths GCSE as her school is making her take higher and she is always hovering on C/D borderline.

mindfulmum Sun 10-Mar-13 18:19:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

goinggetstough Sun 10-Mar-13 18:28:08

If you decide to sign your DC up for a revision course do make sure that it is exam board specific. The specifications vary from exam board to exam board. Colleges in London that run these courses at Easter include MPW and Duff Miller. Justin Craig runs courses around the country and a number of private schools run them too so just google Easter A level revision course and they should come up.

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