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Are A levels a lower standard than the IB

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    (Original post by Hypocrism)
    It really isn't. The purpose of education at all levels is to educate. Such a shallow view is typical of many students however.

    IB is definitely harder for most subject combinations. Nobody really disputes this. But a lot of people also think the IB gives a unique education experience, with the ability to stay diverse while also keeping the depth of content in your HL subjects. I personally think that if more people did the IB, the overall standard of university students in the UK would rise dramatically.

    Of course, in the end, the IB suits some, and A-Levels suit others, and both provide the necessary education to continue studying at university if that is the aim of the student, so we can't make sweeping generalisations like in the OP.
    I don't think the utilitarian approach is without merit.

    I learned very little in my A-level studies that I didn't already know and, while I immensely enjoyed my time at school, was basically there to get into universities.

    By the age of 16-18, if you are truly passionate about something then school is irrelevant. For example in my case, I never took Computing A-level but was already working in large commercial and open-source projects.
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    (Original post by ZerofeX)
    A Levels are actually 2 years aswell. Almost no one takes 3 years unless they fail/wish to resit/xx. This guy is a special case and quite rare which mostly work out the way he intends it to. I mean sure hes learning 2 A Levels a year early which is mostly along with his GCSE exams. No one does this because universities dont really care what do outside the 2 year period. His grades for the 2 early A Levels wont be included in his offer and they will only consider the 2 year period. Also hes really young and doesn't know what hes getting himself into. I mean I'm sure half of TSR planned to do xxx A Levels while they were having such an easy time at GCSE. He hasnt even completed or learnt a single AS module yet in almost all his subjects so his plans are quite ambitious to say the least considering he has no idea how hard the content is going to be.

    Secondly, the IB is focused at an international body as a whole so it would be appropriate to use the International A Level focus aswell. Cambridge International is the official A Level board for internationals and UK aswell if they want to. You have to remember everything for all your subjects in this case aswell and show it in the same exam session ( usually at the end of 2 years but 1.5 years is also possible if you feel up to it). Its exactly the same as the IB in that way. So you see when its focused at an international audience there really isnt that much of a difference in them.
    Actually, I do know what I'm doing, as I've sat my AS history module and I've learnt C1, C2, M1 and nearly finished C3. So before you say I haven't sat or learnt anything I have...
    I'm also looking at physics and chemistry modules but not properly, as to say I could sit an exam...
    Also the A2 for history is one exam, and one piece of.coursework, if that makes a difference...
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    (Original post by shadab786ahmed)
    It won't, I'll be hoping to get:
    Mathematics A*
    Further Mathematics A/A* (hopefully the latter)
    Chemistry A* (Same scenario as below)
    Physics A* (but I hear coursework may lose me marks, but I think I quite like the coursework elements)
    History A (will have the AS by year eleven, sat one exam this year, so that may be lower)
    French A/A* (I think it may be hard for an A* though...)

    I know you might think I'm being unrealistic, but it fits perfectly due to the completion of 2 ASs early. It'll be like this:
    Year 11: History and Mathematics AS
    Year 12: History and Mathematics A2, Chemistry, Physics, French and Further Maths AS.
    Year 13: Chemistry, Physics, French and Further Maths A2

    IF if becomes too much however I could always drop one, but the thought pains me
    Do remember that, as far as I know, most universities don't care about doing more subjects.

    If you want to do them because you wish to learn about the subjects then do it, but prestige doesn't really come into it. If you only do 3 A-levels and get A*A*A* you can quite rightly say "Yeah, I did the normal amount, and I aced every one of them". If you end up with A*AAAAA won't actually meet all possible offers.
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    (Original post by Junaid96)
    I agree. Why would you do such a thing? A-levels aren't everything. The moment you do more than 5, no one cares. Cambridge especially would rather see breadth in extra-curricular reading, attending lectures etc.



    You use too much



    Your year 12 is going to be hell. I do Maths A2, Physics, German, Economics, Further Maths AS and although I expect A*AAAA doing History too would have been a nightmare, and utterly pointless too as it would have left me with very little time to pursue other things like debating, reading, preparation for uni application etc.

    History is irrelevant to your course so I would leave it after AS and carry on as you planned, which would be pretty much identical to what I did/am doing. Use your spare time to actually develop your character and interests, not just swotting over a textbook.
    (Original post by The Mr Z)
    Be careful not to disadvantage yourself by taking subjects too early and needing to retake modules - especially with maths, there's an extent to which you'll just not be able to grasp harder concepts at a younger age. Remember that taking additional subjects is no advantage at Cambridge, only relevant subjects are considered, nor is taking subjects early, whereas having to take a high number of retakes can substantially disadvantage you.

    Otherwise, enjoy and good luck.

    P.S. As far as Cambridge are concerned, 4 A-levels is better than IB, let alone 6. Most people advertise IB as more rigorous but Cambridge admissions tutors don't agree, requiring significantly higher scores as their standard offer. (A*AA at A-level vs 42 and 777/776 in highers at IB)
    After reading all this, then I may consider not taking History to A2. I won't need to resit for maths, as I can understand the concepts, I'm on C3 now, I appreciate the comments, I believe I am capable, but if everyone here thinks otherwise...
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    (Original post by Fallen)
    Do remember that, as far as I know, most universities don't care about doing more subjects.

    If you want to do them because you wish to learn about the subjects then do it, but prestige doesn't really come into it. If you only do 3 A-levels and get A*A*A* you can quite rightly say "Yeah, I did the normal amount, and I aced every one of them". If you end up with A*AAAAA won't actually meet all possible offers.
    I've taken that into thought, but I honestly don't think the amount will hinder the quality of my grades. My maths, is with the exam board WJEC which makes a difference, as their exams are constantly the same structure, all they do is change numbers so that makes it easier
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    Thanks for the replies and all the thoughts, I've taken notice if the constructive comments but if you are just going to say "you don't know what you're doing/you are underestimating the difficulty if a levels" etc. Then don't, but yeah, keep the replies coming, thanks
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    (Original post by shadab786ahmed)
    After reading all this, then I may consider not taking History to A2. I won't need to resit for maths, as I can understand the concepts, I'm on C3 now, I appreciate the comments, I believe I am capable, but if everyone here thinks otherwise...
    If you can manage it you can manage it. I'm impressed and a little bit scared. But I've met someone who did their A-level maths at 13 and did better than I did at 18, so some people just can.
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    (Original post by shadab786ahmed)
    After reading all this, then I may consider not taking History to A2. I won't need to resit for maths, as I can understand the concepts, I'm on C3 now, I appreciate the comments, I believe I am capable, but if everyone here thinks otherwise...
    Good. I don't think you're not capable - what I do think, though, is that it's utterly pointless and will *reduce* your chances of going to Cambridge. Spend that time doing things like further reading - research engineering topics, start an engineering/science society at your school, go to london lectures etc. and then Cambridge should love you.
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    (Original post by The Mr Z)
    If you can manage it you can manage it. I'm impressed and a little bit scared. But I've met someone who did their A-level maths at 13 and did better than I did at 18, so some people just can.
    Exactly, I'm not shabby at maths, I really like it, you've heard of that fifteen year old who went to Cambridge to study maths, he got AAAB... I think they were in maths, further maths, statistics (never heard of this as an A level so it may have been physics) and general studies/critical thinking..
    I'm not underestimating the difficulty though, a boy in my school got 98, 100, 89 UMS in C1, C2, M1 respectively in the January of his year ten... So..
    Sorry I'm just quite annoyed that people dont think I'm capable when they don't even know me...
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    (Original post by Junaid96)
    Good. I don't think you're not capable - what I do think, though, is that it's utterly pointless and will *reduce* your chances of going to Cambridge. Spend that time doing things like further reading - research engineering topics, start an engineering/science society at your school, go to london lectures etc. and then Cambridge should love you.
    Okay thanks trust me, no one at my school would be interested in that but I wouldn't mind doing research into things there's always Imperial, don't they love academics?
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    A point that may be relevant, although I doubt it, I did my work experience this year in Cardiff School of Engineering, that was amazing! (but it was mainly mechanical engineering as we don't have a ChemEng department here )
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    (Original post by shadab786ahmed)
    Okay thanks trust me, no one at my school would be interested in that but I wouldn't mind doing research into things there's always Imperial, don't they love academics?
    Yes, they love academics. People doing 6 A-levels are far from academics, though. They're just textbook-swallowers. People who love their subject don't need to do loads of A-levels, as it just restricts them. Note that Cambridge routinely lets people in for Maths who have just done Maths and F. Maths, and they regularly reject those who have done Further Pure, Further Additional Supplementary Pure Extra Maths etc. because they're just uninteresting.
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    (Original post by shadab786ahmed)
    Thanks for the replies and all the thoughts, I've taken notice if the constructive comments but if you are just going to say "you don't know what you're doing/you are underestimating the difficulty if a levels" etc. Then don't, but yeah, keep the replies coming, thanks
    Cheers for completely hijacking my topic...
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    (Original post by Junaid96)
    Yes, they love academics. People doing 6 A-levels are far from academics, though. They're just textbook-swallowers. People who love their subject don't need to do loads of A-levels, as it just restricts them. Note that Cambridge routinely lets people in for Maths who have just done Maths and F. Maths, and they regularly reject those who have done Further Pure, Further Additional Supplementary Pure Extra Maths etc. because they're just uninteresting.
    I'm not a text book swallower I just have interests in them, so I need to show that somehow, but I could do that with other methods I guess...
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    (Original post by A-Dog)
    Cheers for completely hijacking my topic...
    Sorry!
    Everyone stop replying to me, PM me please
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    (Original post by shadab786ahmed)
    Actually, I do know what I'm doing, as I've sat my AS history module and I've learnt C1, C2, M1 and nearly finished C3. So before you say I haven't sat or learnt anything I have...
    I'm also looking at physics and chemistry modules but not properly, as to say I could sit an exam...
    Also the A2 for history is one exam, and one piece of.coursework, if that makes a difference...
    Reread my old post, I said almost all. Key word being almost here since I did assume you did something if it was going to be 6 A Levels. You sat AS history which is a good essay subject. Exam technique makes it possible for a younger candidate to attempt it. No one really knows how your going to perform in it untill results day so cant comment on that. C1 and C2 is basic stuff, most of it is actually covered in GCSE Additional Math, dont know if you do that. My point was that for a person whos going to do 6 A levels people really cant take you seriously untill you atleast attempt and get results for some of the modules. Writing one history paper and learning content which is arguablly gcse additional math isnt really a good indicator of your strength. Right now all these are just ambitious plans at best. Hope you get my point.

    Also as everyone above me has already mentioned, This does not give you any advantage in terms of your university applications.

    Edit : Didnt see the msg or the OP's post, never mind. Hes got his answer anyway.
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    (Original post by ZerofeX)
    Reread my old post, I said almost all. Key word being almost here since I did assume you did something if it was going to be 6 A Levels. You sat AS history which is a good essay subject. No one really knows how your going to perform in it untill results day so cant comment on that. C1 and C2 is basic stuff, most of it is actually covered in GCSE Additional Math, dont know if you do that. My point was that for a person whos going to do 6 A levels people really cant take you seriously untill you atleast attempt and get results for some of the modules. Right now all these are just ambitious plans at best. Hope you get my point.
    Yeah, I after I posted I read all, so but we shall see, I appreciate what you're saying and it is true but I think I can pull it off, I think I may not do History A2 though, and I do not do additional maths or anything thanks again, I'll inform you of what happens in the years to come
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    (Original post by shadab786ahmed)
    Yeah, I after I posted I read all, so but we shall see, I appreciate what you're saying and it is true but I think I can pull it off, I think I may not do History A2 though, and I do not do additional maths or anything thanks again, I'll inform you of what happens in the years to come
    Yeah, anyway good luck. I honestly do hope it works out for you as you seem to have spent considerable time planning out your future. If it doesn't just remember 3 A Levels + standing out with extra curricular activities is what universities are only really looking for.
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    (Original post by ZerofeX)
    Yeah, anyway good luck. I honestly do hope it works out for you as you seem to have spent considerable time planning out your future. If it doesn't just remember 3 A Levels + standing out with extra curricular activities is what universities are only really looking for.
    Thanks, I'll keep that in mind, but I wouldn't know what to not pick but yeah, I could always do an EPQ in something related thanks again, best of luck to you too
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    Got an A in my history exam

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