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  • FIRST POST
    • RikM
    • By RikM 17th Aug 17, 1:43 PM
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    RikM
    Results day...
    • #1
    • 17th Aug 17, 1:43 PM
    Results day... 17th Aug 17 at 1:43 PM
    Any stories, rants, bragging...?

    DS has just got his A1s and been "recommended" to switch out Biology and do Further Maths instead (apparently his Biology A-grade wasn't as good a score as his other As... ).

    So choices,
    Drop the biology (and don't replace).
    Replace biology with f. maths.
    Carry on with the original four subjects.

    He's aiming for physics, ultimately, so more maths isn't a bad idea. On the other hand, he has no problems with maths, and universities tend to re-cover the A-level stuff anyway.
    In the past he's been reluctant to narrow his focus more than it already is - he likes the balance.

Page 1
    • butterflymum
    • By butterflymum 18th Aug 17, 1:03 PM
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    butterflymum
    • #2
    • 18th Aug 17, 1:03 PM
    ... some things to consider.
    • #2
    • 18th Aug 17, 1:03 PM
    see post below
    Last edited by butterflymum; 18-08-2017 at 1:09 PM.
    butterfly )i(
    • butterflymum
    • By butterflymum 18th Aug 17, 1:07 PM
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    butterflymum
    • #3
    • 18th Aug 17, 1:07 PM
    ... some things to consider.
    • #3
    • 18th Aug 17, 1:07 PM
    1) Does he enjoy Biology more than any of his other subjects, even although this time around it was his 'lowest' A? Does he feel next year's Biology modules will be more suited to his strengths, thus he has a chance of improving his overall position within the grade? Is he likely to struggle with certain aspects of next years modules in his other subjects, thus potentially reducing his overall position within the grade for those?


    2) If he drops Biology completely, will his school allow/be able to accommodate him to do a full FM A level in one year, or will it only be able to timetable him enough modules to achieve an AS Level? By the end of year 14, if all goes well in his final exams, would he be content with potentially having 4 A levels, or 3 A levels plus 1 AS level, or 3 A levels plus 2 AS levels? Did he do FM at GCSE level at all, if not, is he prepared for the step up from 'normal' maths to FM?

    3) Most students, nowadays, seem to only carry forward 3 subjects to full A level, dropping one after AS level, however, if he wants to continue with Biology and feels he can cope with 4 subjects without feeling under undue pressure and without compromising the level of grades he could potentially achieve in the other subjects were he only to study 3, then perhaps he should go for it, especially if he is unsure which course he wants to follow post year 14 and wishes to leave more options open.
    butterfly )i(
    • RikM
    • By RikM 18th Aug 17, 1:21 PM
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    RikM
    • #4
    • 18th Aug 17, 1:21 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Aug 17, 1:21 PM
    (1) He's not likely to struggle with the maths 96% overall in the A1, including an adjusted 100% on two of the papers. Physics was only dragged down by his practical mark - he got 100% on one of the papers there too.
    I'd say his main interest in biology is in how the physics impacts it! (great talk by Jim Al Khalili on quantum biology in science week...)

    (2) As I understand it, the suggestion was "3 plus an AS".
    That bothers me. Apart from anything else, I know how employers look at CVs sometimes and pick on anything even slightly unusual as suspicious. "did you fail and have to resit?"

    (3) he's fairly strongly focussed on physics. There doesn't seem any doubt that he'll be going for a physics degree, wherever he goes. I have some sympathy for the drop one/do 3 approach having done 4 myself, and seen how it doesn't really get you any brownie points with the Universities.
    Schools being what they are, are inclined to push for extra exams though, if they see a chance of a good result to add to their stats.
    • butterflymum
    • By butterflymum 18th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
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    butterflymum
    • #5
    • 18th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Aug 17, 10:50 PM
    Aside from the Biology/FM decision, what other subject, along with Maths and Physics, is he carrying forward to full A level?
    butterfly )i(
    • RikM
    • By RikM 19th Aug 17, 12:25 AM
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    RikM
    • #6
    • 19th Aug 17, 12:25 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Aug 17, 12:25 AM
    Chemistry...
    • butterflymum
    • By butterflymum 19th Aug 17, 10:41 AM
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    butterflymum
    • #7
    • 19th Aug 17, 10:41 AM
    • #7
    • 19th Aug 17, 10:41 AM
    OK, so all STEM subjects, which really does then boil down to him choosing which he thinks he will be more comfortable with and therefore is likely to achieve better in, between FM and Biology, albeit one would be AS level and the other A level.


    One thing I would suggest, if he is seriously considering the FM AS level, is to find out from the school the likely way in which he would be fitted into this.


    Do they already have a strong (ie healthy numbers and good teaching) FM A level class that he would be slotted into, who have covered one year and are about to start second year - which modules have they already done and which are they yet to do? If he is going to be slotted into this existing class and doing FM alongside 3 other A levels, how will this impact on his timetable - will he get the full quota needed of FM periods within the FM class, or will he only get a partial quota and be expected to use some of his personal study periods to cover some of the coursework himself? If the latter, would he still be confident in achieving an A at AS level (which I assume is what he would be aiming for) or would he be content with, say, a strong B?


    Has he looked at requirements for Physics across various Unis? Which?, for example, give a good breakdown of what previous students tended to study before starting Physics at Uni https://university.which.co.uk/search/course?utf8=%E2%9C%93&c%5Bq%5D=physics&commit=Go&c %5Bsort_fact%5D=relevance (click on the course info tab for various statistics). Many do go down the Physics, Maths plus Chemistry route, but that isn't to say Biology wouldn't also be suitable.


    FM A level won't feature as much as there are still many schools who do not offer it (or only offer it to AS level) and Unis realise this, so many do not ask for it (albeit some strongly hint at how beneficial it could be to have FM, even if only to AS level).
    butterfly )i(
    • thefreckle
    • By thefreckle 22nd Aug 17, 11:25 AM
    • 95 Posts
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    thefreckle
    • #8
    • 22nd Aug 17, 11:25 AM
    • #8
    • 22nd Aug 17, 11:25 AM
    All great advice from butterflymum.


    When making a decision on which university to choose (which should be on the horizon now) I would suggest you have a look at is http://www.unistats.com.


    Universities are now required to submit a Key Information Set which is published on the unistats website. It includes data such as whether or not graduates are in employment/further study after graduating, average salary 6 months after graduation, student satisfaction, etc... Very useful data for making a decision on where to apply to.
    • RikM
    • By RikM 22nd Aug 17, 9:31 PM
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    RikM
    • #9
    • 22nd Aug 17, 9:31 PM
    • #9
    • 22nd Aug 17, 9:31 PM
    University choices aren't so much of an issue... To date we've visited Durham and Manchester, he's been on headstart courses at Southampton and Exeter and is due to visit Edinburgh and Dundee real soon now... Exeter and Durham are highly liked, Manchester - he liked the university but not the town...
    • RikM
    • By RikM 6th Sep 17, 8:46 AM
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    RikM
    Well, a week or so into school.
    DS decided on taking the extra maths.
    It turns out that the Further Maths class combines the pupils from the two years (not enough of them for individual classes) and he's been persuaded to take the A1 and A2 at the same time. He's fine with this as an intention, but says he'll drop part if it looks likely it will interfere.

    Postscript on Dundee: he liked it a lot and they had interesting bursaries on offer - 2k initial, for students coming from other parts of the country, plus an offer of 3k annually, if your A level grades are good enough and you keep up the standard year on year.
    • butterflymum
    • By butterflymum 6th Sep 17, 11:55 PM
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    butterflymum
    Although intended for English based students and schools, it may be worth having a read through http://furthermaths.org.uk/ . They can provide online coverage of coursework via live interactive lectures and /or live online tuition, as well as options for a student to 'self teach' and are (or at least were in the past), able to accept non England based students (you would need to check if this is still the case and check if they could cover CCEA specifications).


    Whilst your son's school are unlikely to be able to fund one of these options for him, you (or perhaps even a group of parents?), may find it is something you would feel happy to fund yourself.


    Even for someone already very strong in maths and physics, further maths can, I believe, be a big step up, and it could prove especially daunting for him to attempt to cover two years in one without some sort of additional input.
    butterfly )i(
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