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Is the Scottish system geared toward underachievers? watch

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    (Original post by SFB)
    I don't think that anyone is saying arts subjects are less academic than science subjects. The subjects discussed were hospitality and media studies.

    Most arts (humanities) subjects are academic; English, History, Classics etc etc.
    Exactly what I was about to say to Inlineadam: I do see the humanities as academic.
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    (Original post by SFB)
    The hard truth: a snapshot
    �� At Oxford University more students were accepted in 2007-08 with Further Mathematics A-level (711) than [long list] A-level combined (overall 494 of these subjects were accepted).
    �� Biology, Chemistry, Further Mathematics, Mathematics and Physics comprised close to half of all accepted A-levels for Bristol University (49.8%) and University College London (46.9%).
    What is the breakdown of subjects held by applicants, though? And what is the relative representation of science course students vs. arts? Also, the structure of arts vs. sciences pre- and post-application is rather different. The arts prerequisites tend to be focussed on transferrable skills: essay writing, sourcing, the ability to construct and dissect arguments. Previous knowledge tends to be either tangential or taught again, in greater depth, once you're at university. Whereas, with sciences, the knowledge itself is the pyramid. You can't hope to get involved in e.g. the fundamentals of signal processing without having previously learned some linear algebra and calculus.

    �� 75% of all A-level examinations are taken in non-selective state schools but 96% of Law and 93% of Media Studies A-level entries are in these schools.
    This proves precisely nothing. At best, it suggests that selective schools (or the families of children sent to such schools) dissuade candidates from taking these subjects. It says nothing about whether they are right to do so.

    --

    Don't get me wrong: I agree that there is a dichotomy. I just think that these numbers are hardly the strongest evidence for it.
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    (Original post by TheUnbeliever)
    I will, but there's a subtle difference here: that was not what was said. What was said was that anyone who could succeed at interview stage wouldn't have much difficulty.

    I'm certainly no savant, nor am I anywhere near the brightest student in my year or course. I had no problem getting 4As. There was a moderate amount of work, or at least it seemed so at the time. University has dulled that feeling. I would concede that good teaching does make this substantially easier, it has to be said. I think the applications to Oxbridge are sufficiently self-selecting (broadly: the very clever from the state system, and those with probable wider support for subject from the independents, and often very driven - by self or family - in both cases) that Slumpy's claim is true.

    I agree that the Scottish system isn't aimed towards underachievers compared to elsewhere in the UK - I find it a laughable premise, which is why I've not bothered engaging it. I don't think that this is a great example, though.
    I guess. Although just because someone's good at interviewing it doesn't mean they're necessarily going to achieve those grades. I won't deny at all that most people will get fantastic grades, of course.

    Did you get taught for all your subjects? As Slumpy said, a lot of the difficulty for AH is that you're pretty much left alone to do it yourself, and the schools quite often can't teach you most of it. Very well done on AAAA, though. I guess if you work consistently through the year it's not that much to achieve, but it's definitely not easy. I'm probably just retarded, though.

    (Original post by Slumpy)
    For most people, no. But I think people who're going to get into Oxbridge for maths will certainly find maths, mechanics, maybe physics, pretty trivial.

    No argument there-this is in my opinion the biggest single difference between the two qualifications' success rates. The next is people doing AHs, getting unconditionals, and just stopping work.

    I think this is a bonus really. It might cause problems for some people(given the depth the A level formula books go into, it wouldn't surprise me), but it forces you to have some idea what's going on I think.

    Did we have to do any calculus in AH? At the worst, SHM?
    They're definitely going to be pretty competent, yeah. I still don't think they'll necessarily find it easy to get AAAA without difficulty, though.

    Haha, yes! Sixth-year-itis as it's known. It's pretty challenging not having a teacher to consolidate anything you're learning with. We can ask a teacher if we're not sure about something, but for the most part we're just left alone to work.

    You have to do it for SMH as you rightly said, and also for linear/angular velocity acceleration. Simple stuff (obviously), but we do have to do a little bit of integration too (if the exam asks for it) and I know we're sometimes asked to derive equations from the calculus definitions of things.
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    (Original post by JordanR)
    linear/angular velocity acceleration
    Is the bane of my life. My teacher can't explain it AT ALL
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    (Original post by Evan7788)
    Is the bane of my life. My teacher can't explain it AT ALL
    At least you have a teacher.

    What specifically do you not understand?
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    (Original post by JordanR)
    I guess. Although just because someone's good at interviewing it doesn't mean they're necessarily going to achieve those grades. I won't deny at all that most people will get fantastic grades, of course.
    I think we're basically agreeing and quibbling over wording, now. :p:

    Did you get taught for all your subjects? As Slumpy said, a lot of the difficulty for AH is that you're pretty much left alone to do it yourself, and the schools quite often can't teach you most of it. Very well done on AAAA, though.
    Yeah, our sixth year was pretty good in terms of being flexible. I'm under no illusion that this didn't make my life a whole lot easier! I think the general atmosphere also helped. It's difficult to think 'oh, woe is me' when there's another handful of 4 AH candidates in your year (and, in fact, a single 5 AH candidate).

    Thanks
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    (Original post by JordanR)
    You have to do it for SMH as you rightly said, and also for linear/angular velocity acceleration. Simple stuff (obviously), but we do have to do a little bit of integration too (if the exam asks for it) and I know we're sometimes asked to derive equations from the calculus definitions of things.
    Oh yeah, proofs. Still, I always felt there wasn't much calculus because we didn't properly prove inertial results(I think it was).
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    (Original post by TheUnbeliever)
    I think we're basically agreeing and quibbling over wording, now. :p:



    Yeah, our sixth year was pretty good in terms of being flexible. I'm under no illusion that this didn't make my life a whole lot easier! I think the general atmosphere also helped. It's difficult to think 'oh, woe is me' when there's another handful of 4 AH candidates in your year (and, in fact, a single 5 AH candidate).

    Thanks
    (Original post by Slumpy)
    Oh yeah, proofs. Still, I always felt there wasn't much calculus because we didn't properly prove inertial results(I think it was).
    You two need to stop replying at the same time and making my life difficult. >:c

    Ahh, you see, in my school only one person's doing 4 AHs (and they're REALLY under prepared and very likely to drop a couple of them). I think... two others (maybe) are doing three AHs, and none of them are in my class (except the guy who's doing 4). I keep getting told how impossible the year is and how I'm going to fail... it's quite annoying and disheartening.

    Yeah, there's not much calculus at all, really, Slumpy. Certainly not on the scale that there is in maths.
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    (Original post by JordanR)
    Hahaha, super maths genius? Hell no. Far from it. I'm just enjoying it, and I'm finding it pretty easy as a result. If you can learn calculus with a smile it stays in better. I promise.

    AH English for me is the worst thing I've ever done. The workload is ridiculous. Everyone in the class has just had stuff piled and piled onto them, and eventually it's going to be like buckaroo - someone's going to start kicking things everywhere. Oh well.

    I'm very lucky in that I find calculus easy, I guess...
    Lucky creature. What do I find easy...? Memorising quotes, that's all. I have quite the useless library in this here brain. Which made Higher English a synch. Loved that subject. And German. God I miss those days. Yeah, I didn't take AH English in the end because of the workload and the needing 3 A's thing.

    Alright, I'll try smiling more, see if it works. Failing that, I'll just batter it with my mind until it sinks in. It worked for algebraic long division. (I'd never learnt long division until 6th year, my teachers sucked)
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    (Original post by Holly M Gray)
    A quick note - I've had quite a bit of flak for posting this, so I'd like to say that I was trying to start a debate, not attack the Scots.

    It seems that, in the Scottish system, there's a tilt towards doing subjects such as media studies and hospitality (let's face it, those are not academic subjects). There seems to be a shift away from academia, compared to the English system. The academic subjects themselves are, I find, easier in Scotland. To me, this comes over as gearing the system towards underachievers.

    Am I alone in this, or does anyone agree?
    I've never heard of anyone doing Media Studies and I didn't realise until recently that schools even offered it? :confused:

    Explain then why "twice as many teenagers study science in Scotland than in England".
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...science-takeup
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    (Original post by JordanR)
    You two need to stop replying at the same time and making my life difficult. >:c

    Ahh, you see, in my school only one person's doing 4 AHs (and they're REALLY under prepared and very likely to drop a couple of them). I think... two others (maybe) are doing three AHs, and none of them are in my class (except the guy who's doing 4). I keep getting told how impossible the year is and how I'm going to fail... it's quite annoying and disheartening.

    Yeah, there's not much calculus at all, really, Slumpy. Certainly not on the scale that there is in maths.
    I think we only normally had a couple, but most classes were well catered for. And they say that about every year. It's never true till uni:p:
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    (Original post by Holly M Gray)
    Exactly what I was about to say to Inlineadam: I do see the humanities as academic.
    You said media studies, hospitality aren't academic. They are.
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    (Original post by JordanR)
    At least you have a teacher.

    What specifically do you not understand?
    The fact that something can accelerate without a change in velocity.

    I think it might be something to do with direction
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    (Original post by Evan7788)
    The fact that something can accelerate without a change in velocity.

    I think it might be something to do with direction
    What do you mean? Change in direction is change in velocity is acceleration. But I'm assuming I'm misunderstanding you.
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    (Original post by TheUnbeliever)
    What do you mean? Change in direction is change in velocity is acceleration. But I'm assuming I'm misunderstanding you.
    Kind of

    I just can't visualise it

    But it's not too bad
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    Please don't try and base a country's academia on one school. :albertein:

    For the record, our advanced highers are without doubt harder than A-levels. In my adv bio class, my teacher is english and used to lecture in England. He says we are doing the equivalent of second year university work.
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    Recently at an open day I talked to medicine and dentistry admissions tutors and they recommended on top of any sciences etc you do, you should try to do a course like cake decorating or woodwork :L Apparently its all about precision to detail etc Just showing how some traditionally 'non academics' can help people in later life.

    Also, after doing SG home ec I found it helped me with a large section of chemistry that noone else understood and a big bit of higher bio.
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    Out of 170,000 Higher exam entries there were only 869 entries for Media Studies and 1350-ish entries for ALL Home Ec and Hospitality style subjects.

    Compare this to the 21,000 who did maths, 30,000 who did English, and 10-12,000 for each science. Are we really promoting the doing of 'soft' subjects?
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    (Original post by Holly M Gray)
    A quick note - I've had quite a bit of flak for posting this, so I'd like to say that I was trying to start a debate, not attack the Scots.

    It seems that, in the Scottish system, there's a tilt towards doing subjects such as media studies and hospitality (let's face it, those are not academic subjects). There seems to be a shift away from academia, compared to the English system. The academic subjects themselves are, I find, easier in Scotland. To me, this comes over as gearing the system towards underachievers.

    Am I alone in this, or does anyone agree?
    Absolutely not. I went from GCSE's to Highers, and found that GCSEs did not prepare me nearly enough for the Highers I was taking on. I did quite well (I got AABBB) but I do feel that if I'd done Standard Grade I may have done better.

    Also you have to bear in mind that Scottish students do Highers over 9 months. English Students get 2 years. I know A levels are much more in depth but still, they get 3 subjects and 2 years, whereas us Scottish students get 9 months and 5 subjects.

    True, there are subjects that are considered easier than other and not as academic, but that's not to say Scottish students are underachievers in any way, as the majority of them who choose to stay on at school do the academic subjects.
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    (Original post by kiwicake)
    Also you have to bear in mind that Scottish students do Highers over 9 months. English Students get 2 years. I know A levels are much more in depth but still, they get 3 subjects and 2 years, whereas us Scottish students get 9 months and 5 subjects.
    No. The pertinent comparisons are between Higher and AS, and Advanced Higher and A2. An A level is a combination of both AS and A2 in a single subject, a bit like taking both Higher and Advanced Higher in a single subject except that the overall grade is determined by a combination of your performance in each of the two components. Both AS and A2 are typically taken over a single distinct year, so a full A level takes 2 years in the same way as achieving both a Higher and Advanced Higher would take 2 years.
 
 
 

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