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Why Advanced Highers are harder than A-levels

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
  • View Poll Results: What's harder?
    A-level (I expect this to win once the A-levelers vote in their swarms)
    32
    16.41%
    Advanced Higher
    163
    83.59%

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    (Original post by munn)
    personally i think that's more to do with the fact that a lot of the people who are smart enough to get AAA at Adv Higher already have an unconditional to uni and decide yo what's the point.
    I know this was the case for myself and many others at school anyway, I was on course for AAA until i got an unconditional then pretty much stopped going to school. If I'd needed the grades I would have probably done it though, as would many of my friends
    You get unconditional offers before you start your exams?? What is the point in advanced highers then?
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    (Original post by S.R)
    You get unconditional offers before you start your exams?? What is the point in advanced highers then?
    To learn?
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    (Original post by Meteorshower)
    To learn?
    **** that, I wouldn't have slaved away for a whole year at college doing A2s if I got an unconditional offer the previous year. You guys are all total idiots if you actually do Highers when you don't even need to do it lol.
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    (Original post by Meteorshower)
    To learn?
    You are right technically, but surely this just makes Advanced Highers bit of a farce importance-wise compared with A levels. If you get an unconditional before doing them then they can be as hard as anything and it won't make a jot of difference. Meanwhile we are reliant on our A level results to actually meet our offers.

    Never knew it worked like that in Scotland, but boy am I shocked that people are even making this claim if this is genuinely the case!
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    (Original post by S.R)
    **** that, I wouldn't have slaved away for a whole year at college doing A2s if I got an unconditional offer the previous year. You guys are all total idiots if you actually do Highers when you don't even need to do it lol.
    Well why do you think uni is a good idea then? Is it really that idiotic to learn a bit more about a subject you will spend a few years of your life studying further?

    If you think learning is stupid, you should rethink uni... I personally wasn't "slaving away" cos i enjoyed it
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    (Original post by WithFlyingColours)
    You are right technically, but surely this just makes Advanced Highers bit of a farce importance-wise compared with A levels. If you get an unconditional before doing them then they can be as hard as anything and it won't make a jot of difference. Meanwhile we are reliant on our A level results to actually meet our offers.

    Never knew it worked like that in Scotland, but boy am I shocked that people are even making this claim if this is genuinely the case!
    So what if we don't need them for uni? Why does that make them a lesser qualification?

    And we still need them to go to english unis and to skip first year
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    (Original post by Meteorshower)
    Well why do you think uni is a good idea then? Is it really that idiotic to learn a bit more about a subject you will spend a few years of your life studying further?

    If you think learning is stupid, you should rethink uni... I personally wasn't "slaving away" cos i enjoyed it
    You clown, obviously if I want to learn just for the sake of it and don't need the qualification, I would just buy a Higher-syllabus book and read it in my spare time Going through intensive lessons and stressful exams for no reason is totally stupid and pointless imo.
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    (Original post by Meteorshower)
    So what if we don't need them for uni? Why does that make them a lesser qualification?

    And we still need them to go to english unis and to skip first year
    It makes them a lesser qualification, yes. It just means they really don't mean much. They aren't going to be particularly useful as a stand alone qualification, as is the case with A levels generally.

    Why a scot would come to an English uni I don't know, when their fees get paid if they stay in Scotland. As for skipping first year, this is probably the biggest thing, though it really isn't as big a deal as missing out completely.
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    (Original post by S.R)
    You clown, obviously if I want to learn just for the sake of it and don't need the qualification, I would just buy a Higher-syllabus book and read it in my spare time Going through intensive lessons and stressful exams for no reason is totally stupid and pointless imo.
    You can get an awful lot more out of a class with a teacher, the opportunity to do a self guided investigation if science, dissertation if arts subject and the feedback provided by doing exams and trying to meet certain standards than you can by reading a book. And mentioned before but there are /no/ books for advanced highers apart from maths and a chemistry calculations book. Dunno about you but getting that level of education free from the state another year sounds pretty good! I also skipped first year of uni so that was a plus :p:

    (Original post by WithFlyingColours)
    It makes them a lesser qualification, yes. It just means they really don't mean much. They aren't going to be particularly useful as a stand alone qualification, as is the case with A levels generally.

    Why a scot would come to an English uni I don't know, when their fees get paid if they stay in Scotland. As for skipping first year, this is probably the biggest thing, though it really isn't as big a deal as missing out completely.
    Qualifications aren't just a means to an end. Do you think it's pointless for people not going to uni to do A levels? Does it not seem pointless to do any qualifications in subjects outside what you wanna do at uni by your logic?

    Personally I skipped uni and was pretty damn prepared for uni after my advanced highers. They are designed to be good preparation for uni and i don't see the point dossing around a year when i could be improving.
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    (Original post by WithFlyingColours)
    It makes them a lesser qualification, yes. It just means they really don't mean much. They aren't going to be particularly useful as a stand alone qualification, as is the case with A levels generally.

    Why a scot would come to an English uni I don't know, when their fees get paid if they stay in Scotland. As for skipping first year, this is probably the biggest thing, though it really isn't as big a deal as missing out completely.
    Well, the first bit is patently rubbish. As a qualification, AHs are more useful as a stand alone than A levels(no by much, admittedly).

    In my experience, mainly to go to Oxbridge/Imperial/Durham/that kinda place, or for courses not offered in many unis.
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    So A-levels are a two year-course?
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    (Original post by lilhunni_jo)
    I remember looking at some A level biology paper that everyone was making a fuss over (I believe it was something about questions on shrews not being in the syllabus) and it looked definitely easier than the AH. In fact the questions that people were moaning about looked just like the data interpretation questions that we always have. The whole A level system is geared more towards doing well too - even if you do badly on one exam it pretty much just doesn't matter, you can retake, or make up for it with the other modules. If we do badly in one exam, we fail.

    Sorry but this is absolutely ridiculous...the last module of my philosophy a-level is complete research and notorious for the fact that if you fail this module, you can kiss your A grade goodbye even if you've got near enough 100% so far. To do well in AS and A2 levels you generally still need to work very hard, I don't know anybody who got As who didn't work their arse off and I go to a grammar school as it is.

    Some courses are easier because of modules, yes. But some modules are known to make or break an A level completely. And to be honest, the school I go to doesn't even do modules throughout the year; I have two modules per subject yes, but they are all in May/June so I still have to know ALL the information from the whole year, which people seem to be saying is a factor in AH being harder.
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    (Original post by xblueprints)
    Sorry but this is absolutely ridiculous...the last module of my philosophy a-level is complete research and notorious for the fact that if you fail this module, you can kiss your A grade goodbye even if you've got near enough 100% so far. To do well in AS and A2 levels you generally still need to work very hard, I don't know anybody who got As who didn't work their arse off and I go to a grammar school as it is.

    Some courses are easier because of modules, yes. But some modules are known to make or break an A level completely. And to be honest, the school I go to doesn't even do modules throughout the year; I have two modules per subject yes, but they are all in May/June so I still have to know ALL the information from the whole year, which people seem to be saying is a factor in AH being harder.
    While that is a factor in AH being harder, the main one that UCAS care about are the difficulty of the exams. It's easy to sit back and say anecdotally "well lots of people find such and such hard so that's can't be right" But when we look at how UCAS have evaluated it, they give AH's a slight egde in worth. Also, universities like oxford and cambridge give lower offers to pupils sitting AH's quite routinely because they are aware of the difference.

    Even comparing things like percentage of attainment, I don't know recent stats but a few years ago 10% of A level candidates were achieving AAA while 2.3% where achieving AAAAA at higher, in both cases the best grades you need for uni. I'm not comparing with AH cos the level of achievement is much lower due to not mattering as much for uni and not a huge number of people sit 3 advanced highers.
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    I didn't say that the AH isn't harder, all I'm saying is you can't judge it on modules because as I said, some modules are notoriously harder than others while having equal weighting to far easier ones.

    Nobody seems to have mentioned other factors of those statistics either. Again I'm not saying A levels are equal to AH because I don't know, having only done A levels myself. But surely anyone would a modicum of intelligence would recognise that we need other factors to judge this instead of relying on statistics without any background information.
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    (Original post by xblueprints)
    I didn't say that the AH isn't harder, all I'm saying is you can't judge it on modules because as I said, some modules are notoriously harder than others while having equal weighting to far easier ones.

    Nobody seems to have mentioned other factors of those statistics either. Again I'm not saying A levels are equal to AH because I don't know, having only done A levels myself. But surely anyone would a modicum of intelligence would recognise that we need other factors to judge this instead of relying on statistics without any background information.
    Well what background info would you like incoroporated. I tried to provide context in not comparing A level A grade rates with AH A grade rates because that would be a false comparison but presumable it's more fair to compare the top higher grades with the top A level grades, given that the same incentive is in places (admission to uni)
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    (Original post by Meteorshower)
    Yeah but you can't get into every university with just AS levels. For pretty much everywhere you have to take A levels too. Not so in scotland
    Yea but you also cant get into every uni with just highers
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    (Original post by ace_uchiha)
    Yea but you also cant get into every uni with just highers
    for every uni in Scotland we can. :yep:
    while with AS Levels you can't get into every uni in England
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    (Original post by 24craigour)
    for every uni in Scotland we can. :yep:
    while with AS Levels you can't get into every uni in England
    ohh well i stand corrected on that...but you still cant get into a majority of unis in the UK with them!
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    (Original post by ace_uchiha)
    ohh well i stand corrected on that...but you still cant get into a majority of unis in the UK with them!
    True enough. :yep:
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    (Original post by ace_uchiha)
    ohh well i stand corrected on that...but you still cant get into a majority of unis in the UK with them!
    Yes, but the vast majority of Scottish applicants stay in Scotland

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Updated: February 28, 2012
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