Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey! Sign in to get help with your study questionsNew here? Join for free to post

AS levels may be abolished?

Announcements Posted on
    • 239 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by joenye)
    No, whenever they make major changes like this, they will announce it several years in advance. You will be fine
    Phew! My Business Studies Teacher told me A Levels were coming to review, considering them to become Linear..
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by emilie18)
    I really hate how they've described the modules as "bite-sized". Have they seen the specifications for AS and especially A2? There is a LOT of content to cover, across certain subjects the workload is huge.

    Also the claim that students "can repeatedly re-sit to inflate their grade" makes it sound as though we have no limit on how many times we re-take. Of course there are limits, as mentioned above, unless you re-take an entire year at sixth form then you only have:
    - 3 chances to resit Jan Y12 module,
    - 2 chances for June Y12 module,
    -1 chance to re-take Jan Y13
    - and you are unable to resit a June Y13 module.

    Most students won't have the time to take a re-sit because of the added pressure and workload - if they do then surely it's commendable that they are striving to achieve better and voluntarily doing a lot of extra hard work?
    Couldn't agree with you more. Yes there is the chance to resit the exams, but at the end of the day, it's another exam added to your work load - indeed no one is sitting any of the exams with the hope that they'll end up resitting / taking June Y13 modules for the first time ALL in June of Y13.... that in all honesty is slightly stupid (as in, no one is going to not work for the entire Y12 and Y13 until June where they hope to somehow get all the grades they want by sitting every exam then).

    Although perception is that splitting it has made it "easier". I can't really agree with it. Perhaps splitting it has given better guidance to the content but I can't see how it's made it any "easier". Firstly, you actually have to work in Y12 - because you'll be sitting your AS then. Unlike for GCSEs which span over two years, my Y10 was completed with a "I don't really need to work until Y11". Ok, not everyone will complete two years like I did (luckily, this mindset didn't lead to me to getting bad grades at all) but there are bound to be people who take the extreme and 'flunk' Y12 because it's only Y13 that matters! I can see this views getting neg already, but hey - still going to continue... :P

    Both have "advantages" and "disadvantages" and for me, it seems that my GCSE years when the course was spread over 2 years was better for me; even though I support having AS and A2s. Contradictory I know, but still, I would suggest no change as the exam boards are already changing the content to "make it harder" and this massive change is really going to put the Y12s who end up being the first year of this new change into a slight disadvantage as it takes people a while to adjust to the new syllabus and so on and so forth.

    (Rant over )
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I do pre-u exams, so we don't do an AS, instead we do an internal exam on the topics we learnt that year, and that's what the universities receive in order to determine our offer.
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by placenta medicae talpae)
    I thought the idea that removing Jan exams would free up '6 weeks of teaching time' was quite interesting.
    Bet it's true actually!
    Hopefully it might allow teachers to decide what they teach a bit more, rather than strumming a mere 6-week extension of that ol' tune, the national curriculum.
    Do you think testing at this age is a good idea at all? I mean....our brains are going to peak certainly in the next ten years, in terms of expressing/developing raw talent. We shouldn't be micromanaging them to try and satisfy silly narrow demands...I mean, let's face it, it's all for easing us into the system. Completely useless. It's an inefficient vehicle for efficiency.

    The curriculum must be broader, deeper and be completely dug up and changed from Year 1 to Year 13. It should be based heavily on rote memorisation in the early years- how do they expect us to gain historical perspective without a steady framework to build on? Teachers should be experts and well able to field awkward questions from out of left field, and set internal exams themselves. Children should be setted according to ability, not age, and there shouldn't be such a huge emphasis on ability and cleverness. If it were up to me I'd ban the words 'clever', 'brainy' etc from primary schools at least. People don't realise the host of problems they foster. Well, I won't go on and on. Obviously there's a lot of work to do. But I'm not sure I even like the idea of A levels at all. They are hardly in our best interests. If you're going to have a childcentric society let's at least make sure they're going about it the right way.
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Junaid96)
    AS-levels won't go - unis need something to judge you on before offering a place, that was the whole point of them when they were introduced.

    Fair enough if January modules go - it really wouldn't make much difference. Sitting all my Maths modules in one go would be great - in fact, I'd probably get a far higher mark doing C1, C2, C3 and C4 all at the same time than individually.
    That's a good point, but I think if they do scrap it, they'll work in collaboration with unis to find a new way to judge your ability.

    I think combining AS and A2 may be good because apparently you need to have knowledge of AS to work best in A2, but it’s going to be a great deal to learn if they do end up doing it.
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    ''Academics in our best universities have been clear that there are serious problems with A-levels and they are not preparing pupils properly for rigorous degrees''

    Taken from the article. ^

    Serious problems? :/

    Uni students! Do you agree with this statement?
    • 71 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Fallyness)
    That's a good point, but I think if they do scrap it, they'll work in collaboration with unis to find a new way to judge your ability.

    I think combining AS and A2 may be good because apparently you need to have knowledge of AS to work best in A2, but it’s going to be a great deal to learn if they do end up doing it.
    It said in the article that unis were against it.
    It's also true that the government is looking to give unis more power in determining A-level content/syllabuses/etc.
    What can I say? AS's will almost certainly not be scrapped, and even if they are they'll just be replaced by virtually the same thing (an alternative lower sixth exam).
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by emilie18)
    - Added pressure and stress that comes with knowing two years work will be judged in a single paper. If anything goes wrong on that one day, you are completely screwed. With re-sits, the pressure is spread out a bit more, you have a safety net.

    - MUCH harder to remember everything. There is so much content to cover in both AS and A2 exams, expecting people to remember so much isn't fair. E.g. in Psychology across the two years you will learn: 10 topics (if you include research and statistics as well as the actualy psychology content), about 4 theories within each topic (for which you need to remember research, evidence, diagrams, the list goes on), sub-topics within the theories, about 4 pieces of research per sub-topic... Can you imagine how hard that would be to revise for? It's hard enough at the moment, a workload four times as hard puts unnecessary pressure on students.

    - Re-sits aren't just "useful". For example: If an A* student has a really bad exam, just bad luck (it happens), and got a D, at the moment they would have a chance to re-take and get a grade at their normal level - with a lot of hard work. With the new system, that would be it. An A* student would be stuck with a D. Can you imagine the sense of failure if that exam determined their career?

    - Sorry but you can't really compare GCSEs to A-Level, the jump between the two is massive. A-Levels are MUCH harder.

    :nothing:
    to be specific i took the IBMYP and igcses on top as an optional extra.. thats 13 subjects for the myp and then normal gcses so a good 30 exams all in all, oh and plus i was moving a few days after my last exam form germany to england so thats not easy to juggle with revision.. but i got good grades.. so yeah i know what pressure is! i did badly in my as's so i know what its like to do much worse than your predictions... but i think it is better.. alevels are far too easy compared to before.. our parents wern't allowed retakes and theres some high flyers out there now, some of which must have done badly at alevel im sure

    the pressure isnt much different really.. just more exams at once, but on similar topics rather than 10 different subjects just 3 or 4.. many of which overlap

    also some subjects particularly the sciences and maths and languages are quite cumulative, so theres something to be said for doing exams at the end when you know everything so the first module's work is quite simple when it comes to the exam.. of course this isnt for all subjects.. id suspect that theres not a huge difference for english, just a few more texts to revise, but its not a whole different subject area

    geography, psychology, history etc probably do have more to learn as the subjects covered can vary hugely and probably arent cumulative.

    but my point is this.. its one lot of stress, exams are only done once, so you dont get people that have to retake multiple times to do well thus really dividing the good candidates from the weaker candidates
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I agree on the subject of bad exam questions. For example, in philosophy exam, one of the 15 markers asked to “Outline and illustrate the view that certainty is confined to introspection and the tautological”. We were never taught these terms in class (hell they weren't even on the revision guides I read), but I was lucky enough to know them both and deduce they were simply asking for you to define analytic and synthetic truths. Most people were clueless, which is to no fault of their own. After I told them, they all were filled with frustration as they knew they could of answered the question and gotten the 15 marks. AQA Philosophy is an example of a subject riddled with piss-poor mark schemes and structure, to the point where our teacher (who is an examiner herself) basically told us that it's an unpredictable, wildcard subject. Alot of the people who didn't get that question were A grade students, and the ambiguity of that question may be the decider between an A and a C for them.

    For subjects that require memorization of facts as opposed to creative writing, History and Psychology are examples of subjects with such big syllabuses that it's near impossible to memorize everything. You can always get one exam that emphasizes all your weak points and emphasizes the strong points for the guy that didn't revise at all and he gets the A and you the D. Similarly, you can get an exam that asks for all the points you revised hard on, and you come away with a 97% overall. When you get the former, having the option to retake gives you an opportunity to get a grade that truly reflects your ability.

    This new system means that the ingenious chemist is denied the chance to go to Cambridge as a result of bad luck, but the mediocre one does. Maybe the example is exaggerated, but the point embedded in it remains.
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    being allowed to have more goes just because you're richer does go against everything the exams are supposed to test.
    if you are unable to pay for the re-take, the school can pay for you to take it. It's like anything that you have to pay for in school, they do offer support financially if you need it.


    (Original post by Hopple)
    Even having just two attempts at it means you'll probably get higher than if you had sat it only once.
    Perhaps, but I'd point out they didn't try as hard as they could have the first time round

    I really don't think so. With the added workload and pressure that students put on themselves trying to get a higher grade, it can be a lot harder. A lot of the time people re-take because they were just under a grade boundary and know they are able to strive higher. Surely that's a good thing instead of accepting a lower grade?


    Not everyone needs a re-take because they didn't "try as hard as they could have the first time round". :rolleyes:
    I'm just going to use the case of my school to show why re-takes can be helpful even when people HAVE worked as hard as possible. We are a fairly high achieving school, quite a lot expect to get As and A*s at A-Level. Psychology is a popular subject which we all do fairly well in each year. However this year the exam board changed the syllabus around, which confused teaching quite a lot, and we didn't have enough teaching hours (one went on maternity leave, the other was ill a lot, and there were many gaps where there weren't enough teachers. Classes got shuffled around, timetables were all re-done and changed and it made the whole teaching of unit 3 a LOT poorer than usual). Nobody in our year got an A. 2 or 3 people got Bs. A few Cs and the rest D/E/U For example I had got two As in my previous units and yet in this one I got a C which got re-marked to a B.
    It wasn't just our school either, many schools did badly and the exam board have admitted it was partly due to them.

    Everyone is re-sitting because we did badly, but it wasn't really the students fault. Surely in circumstances like this it's better to have a safety net where you can rectify bad luck etc>
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by emilie18)
    if you are unable to pay for the re-take, the school can pay for you to take it. It's like anything that you have to pay for in school, they do offer support financially if you need it.
    Anyone can help you pay for it, but you're still less likely to do so than someone who doesn't have to go around asking for free money. Also, not every school can pay for resits across the board so there will be some students who will miss out each time (unless you're saying that they're wrong in believing they can do better - but that's a good thing rather than accepting a lower grade, right?).

    I really don't think so. With the added workload and pressure that students put on themselves trying to get a higher grade, it can be a lot harder. A lot of the time people re-take because they were just under a grade boundary and know they are able to strive higher. Surely that's a good thing instead of accepting a lower grade?


    Not everyone needs a re-take because they didn't "try as hard as they could have the first time round". :rolleyes:
    Not everyone, sure, but you admit that it's true a lot of the time. I'd argue it's most of the time, since illnesses and family deaths are rare.


    I'm just going to use the case of my school to show why re-takes can be helpful even when people HAVE worked as hard as possible. We are a fairly high achieving school, quite a lot expect to get As and A*s at A-Level. Psychology is a popular subject which we all do fairly well in each year. However this year the exam board changed the syllabus around, which confused teaching quite a lot, and we didn't have enough teaching hours (one went on maternity leave, the other was ill a lot, and there were many gaps where there weren't enough teachers. Classes got shuffled around, timetables were all re-done and changed and it made the whole teaching of unit 3 a LOT poorer than usual). Nobody in our year got an A. 2 or 3 people got Bs. A few Cs and the rest D/E/U For example I had got two As in my previous units and yet in this one I got a C which got re-marked to a B.
    It wasn't just our school either, many schools did badly and the exam board have admitted it was partly due to them.

    Everyone is re-sitting because we did badly, but it wasn't really the students fault. Surely in circumstances like this it's better to have a safety net where you can rectify bad luck etc>
    In the case where you weren't taught the material at all then yes, I agree it'd be added workload and pressure, since you're essentially relearning the thing. However, not every school can afford to reteach a unit effectively. I would say that if it was the exam board's fault (which it tends to be more often and to a greater extent than they admit anyway) then it makes sense to allow resits, however that still does disadvantage those who were screwed over the first time too and can't pay for a resit.
    • 7 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Fallyness)
    That's a good point, but I think if they do scrap it, they'll work in collaboration with unis to find a new way to judge your ability.

    I think combining AS and A2 may be good because apparently you need to have knowledge of AS to work best in A2, but it’s going to be a great deal to learn if they do end up doing it.
    But you don't just magically forget everything you learnt at AS in the short gap between working on AS and A2 material in the current system...
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by bax121)
    Whats this change to GCSEs that they are now scrapping?
    They're changing the science papers and I've been told that the year nine going in are going back to the previous exam style.

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my HTC Desire
    • 11 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    People always assume retakes are taken because some failed exam I know people have retaken:

    1) To get a better grade e.g. B/C to an A not completely failing

    2) UMS marks are important my Chemistry teacher told me some Year 13 who have got A in Unit 1 As retook this to get a higher A, hardly seen as a "retake" just done to ensure overall good grade

    3) In GCSE some of us took one of our History modules again from A to get A* or B to an A, similar to the example above, but we did this in Jan Year 11 taking exam in June Year 10 because we has minimal exams so less pressure (plus school was paying and teacher was proper supportive )
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hannah60000)
    People always assume retakes are taken because some failed exam I know people have retaken:

    1) To get a better grade e.g. B/C to an A not completely failing

    2) UMS marks are important my Chemistry teacher told me some Year 13 who have got A in Unit 1 As retook this to get a higher A, hardly seen as a "retake" just done to ensure overall good grade

    3) In GCSE some of us took one of our History modules again from A to get A* or B to an A, similar to the example above, but we did this in Jan Year 11 taking exam in June Year 10 because we has minimal exams so less pressure (plus school was paying and teacher was proper supportive )
    That's no better. A poor student in a poor school would be stuck with the lower grade/mark, which as you say can be decisive in what university you get to.
    • 7 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by llys)
    My view is that if they are turning A-Levels into Pre-Us they should just switch to Pre-Us.
    I don't know about any other subjects, but I like the Pre-U Physics course. It's my only Pre-U, I just wanted to put in a good word for the folks down at CIE.
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by littlemissmidget123)
    to be specific i took the IBMYP and igcses on top as an optional extra.. thats 13 subjects for the myp and then normal gcses so a good 30 exams all in all, oh and plus i was moving a few days after my last exam form germany to england so thats not easy to juggle with revision.. but i got good grades.. so yeah i know what pressure is! i did badly in my as's so i know what its like to do much worse than your predictions... but i think it is better.. alevels are far too easy compared to before.. our parents wern't allowed retakes and theres some high flyers out there now, some of which must have done badly at alevel im sure

    the pressure isnt much different really.. just more exams at once, but on similar topics rather than 10 different subjects just 3 or 4.. many of which overlap

    also some subjects particularly the sciences and maths and languages are quite cumulative, so theres something to be said for doing exams at the end when you know everything so the first module's work is quite simple when it comes to the exam.. of course this isnt for all subjects.. id suspect that theres not a huge difference for english, just a few more texts to revise, but its not a whole different subject area

    geography, psychology, history etc probably do have more to learn as the subjects covered can vary hugely and probably arent cumulative.

    but my point is this.. its one lot of stress, exams are only done once, so you dont get people that have to retake multiple times to do well thus really dividing the good candidates from the weaker candidates

    You took a lot of exams, fair enough ...but that still doesn't dispute the fact that AS/A2 is a lot harder than GCSEs so cannot really be compared :rolleyes:
    When I took my GCSES:-
    - I was in the middle of moving house for the 12th time
    - I had 2 jobs
    - I had missed a lot of lessons due to illness
    - I took an extra GCSE with no lessons
    - I also took an A-Level during my GCSEs
    - I barely had any time to revise, I essentially only revised for each exam the morning or night before, an hour or two tops.
    - I still managed to get high grades. A at A-Level, 3A*s, 8As, 2 Bs.

    I'm not proud of the fact that I barely had time to revise, and I'm sure if I had of revised I'd have got 2 extra As instead of the Bs, but surely this highlights the fact that GCSEs are pretty easy? I was by no means the top student in my school yet GCSEs were a piece of cake. And I think it's fair to say, I was under pressure too and didn't struggle.

    The pressure is very different, if you compare the specifications A-Level is a hell of a lot bigger, more in-depth, harder. And also universities place a LOT more value on A-Levels, they matter much more than GCSEs do (hence why they form the entry requirements for higher education courses :rolleyes:)

    You say A-Levels are easier now than before - I would probably disagree with that since in my parents time at school most subjects (even maths and science) had coursework which made up a fairly large portion of their grade. For coursework it's very easy to get high grades - you submit drafts ehich get re-marked and you keep working on it until you get a high grade! That's according to my parents and older sisters anyway. Today barely any of A-Level subjects have coursework, none of mine do so everything you learn is based on exam.
    • 7 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by 117r)
    I don't know about any other subjects, but I like the Pre-U Physics course. It's my only Pre-U, I just wanted to put in a good word for the folks down at CIE.
    I'm totally in favour of the Pre-U.
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hopple)
    Anyone can help you pay for it, but you're still less likely to do so than someone who doesn't have to go around asking for free money. Also, not every school can pay for resits across the board so there will be some students who will miss out each time (unless you're saying that they're wrong in believing they can do better - but that's a good thing rather than accepting a lower grade, right?).
    The majority of schools offer financial support to poorer students. There are very few who won't help out people who want to do better but are struggling to pay, so your point doesn't really apply to that many people in my opinion. Besides, the majority of people at college/sixth form have jobs, so if their parents are struggling they are likely to be able to pay for the re-take themselves (as I have done, because I'm in that situation myself).


    (Original post by Hopple)
    Not everyone, sure, but you admit that it's true a lot of the time. I'd argue it's most of the time, since illnesses and family deaths are rare.
    I don't think so. Lots of people doing re-takes are A-students who worked extremely hard but for whatever reason fell just below the grade boundary of their target. If someone can't be bothered to work hard for the first exam, it's unlikely in my opinion that they will make the effort to revise for the re-take.


    (Original post by Hopple)
    In the case where you weren't taught the material at all then yes, I agree it'd be added workload and pressure, since you're essentially relearning the thing. However, not every school can afford to reteach a unit effectively. I would say that if it was the exam board's fault (which it tends to be more often and to a greater extent than they admit anyway) then it makes sense to allow resits, however that still does disadvantage those who were screwed over the first time too and can't pay for a resit.
    It's added pressure if you have already learnt it, because then you basically have twice the information to revise.
    E.g.: If you are re-taking Unit 3 Psychology you take it within a few days of Unit 4. This means you have double the revision to do. It gets confusing because of the different topics and theories and research and dates ETC so yes, that IS extra pressure! :rolleyes:

    Our teachers didn't "re-teach" the unit everyone failed, there wasn't enough time. They had to teach us the next unit. So we had to revise extremely hard for the re-take as the teachers didn't have a lot of time (not their fault, just tight schedules in terms of exam deadlines) to help us with the previous unit.

    If the exam board regularly makes mistakes, then surely it is wise to have a safety net in the form of re-takes. If, as you said, the exam board does make a mistake, they often pay for the re-sits or re-marks (they paid for my re-mark)
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    They do realize that these proposed changes are pretty close to how the Scottish system has works for ages. The only difference is that in Scotland resits tend not to happen. Implementing a system with no AS type level available is not the best idea around so...

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: June 21, 2012
New on TSR

The future of apprenticeships

Join the discussion in the apprenticeships hub!

Article updates
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.