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A-level have been dumbed down and made easier in the past 20 years.......can the same be said for degrees?? watch

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    In some ways Physics is easier and other ways it is harder.

    If you are better at maths it is harder due to the lack of real maths.

    If you are better at straight theory then it is easier.


    A-Level in general are easier now because of all the stupid ones such as PE, Sociology ect

    Those A-Levels pick off the new students in terms of quality. But the same peopel are doing maths and physics as they were 20 years ago really.
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    (Original post by Eccentric)
    Stop trying to be an elitist.

    For a start if you're good something like Physics or Maths when it comes the degree A levels won't matter.
    Getting a first class degree and your name on research papers is what matters.
    People with 2:1 classifications can still go into research etc and still make a positive contribution to society and could even end up inspiring a future Feynman or Einstein.

    More people doing degrees in general is not a bad thing, yes there will be more competition for jobs but then it gives you more reason to do better and maybe be more realistic.
    We just need more people doing science degrees and going into research and not just doing a three year BSc then going into accounting...
    I assume you refer to me as 'trying to be an elitist'

    What evidence is there of that??



    I only got a B in AS physics and B in maths so im far from elitist. I certainly do find them difficult, although evidence points to them being harder years ago.

    My original post was trying to see if university education was dumbed down/easier nowadays like a-levels have been.
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    (Original post by bloomblaze)
    Physics is not ''getting easier''
    you say?

    Surely Calculus was removed to make it easier, so that students who dont have high mathematical ability can do it

    I dont know about other people, but i would think removing calculus from physics would be making it easier
    I see your point, however do you not think it's slightly unfair to say that if you like physics you MUST do A level maths (or self teach?)
    It's not hard to introduce calculus to students, and most physics students do take maths resulting in discussions involving calculus in my lessons.

    Another point worth mentioning is that even though there were quite a few excellent physics teachers in my school, very few people got the top grades. If physics is getting easier then people are getting less able at a faster rate.

    And finally, not everyone who takes A level physics goes onto to study it at university, and those that do will certainly study the subject outside of lessons and so and simplifying of the physics A Level course does not matter that much. Yet for those not doing it at university, having an A level in it is still really quite well respected.
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    (Original post by Manitude)
    I see your point, however do you not think it's slightly unfair to say that if you like physics you MUST do A level maths (or self teach?)
    It's not hard to introduce calculus to students, and most physics students do take maths resulting in discussions involving calculus in my lessons.

    Another point worth mentioning is that even though there were quite a few excellent physics teachers in my school, very few people got the top grades. If physics is getting easier then people are getting less able at a faster rate.

    And finally, not everyone who takes A level physics goes onto to study it at university, and those that do will certainly study the subject outside of lessons and so and simplifying of the physics A Level course does not matter that much. Yet for those not doing it at university, having an A level in it is still really quite well respected.
    Out of 45 people, 5 people got an A in physics, all of those got As in maths, including me, two guys did further maths, one who got A* in maths and further maths( he did both AS and A2 in one year) and he got 300/300 in AS physics. I found that the hardest bit was HSW and stupid practical, which i got a D in, even though my exam results were so high my overall grade is an A. All those who got B grades did maths too and some did further maths. What I noticed was that many people who got Us and Es tended to have weaker gcses in maths and many of them didn't do maths at a-level. This was apparent because in lessons those people who got Es and Us were the ones who got confused about the equations. So imagine how they would fair against exams that were set 20 years ago.
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    (Original post by Manitude)
    I see your point, however do you not think it's slightly unfair to say that if you like physics you MUST do A level maths (or self teach?)
    It's not hard to introduce calculus to students, and most physics students do take maths resulting in discussions involving calculus in my lessons.

    Another point worth mentioning is that even though there were quite a few excellent physics teachers in my school, very few people got the top grades. If physics is getting easier then people are getting less able at a faster rate.

    And finally, not everyone who takes A level physics goes onto to study it at university, and those that do will certainly study the subject outside of lessons and so and simplifying of the physics A Level course does not matter that much. Yet for those not doing it at university, having an A level in it is still really quite well respected.
    Dont i think its slightly unfair to say if you like physis you MUST do a level maths???

    Yes and no. It may seem harsh to make it a necessesity to study an a level in order to take another one ie no such rules exist about to do chem, you must study bio alongside it, and so on

    However, even if it seems unfair i think it is important. The most valid point i can make is this:

    You ask if i think its unfair that if someone likes physics they MUST do maths?

    I see your starting a masters in physics at quite a respectable institution (or so i think).
    Did your university take that attitude ie was maths a level not part of the offer requirements for you to get onto that course?



    The point im trying to make is that maths is the basis of physics, you need maths a level to get into ANY undergraduate physics programme in the Uk and also for the very very vast majority of engineering courses ie physics a level without a level maths doesnt lead to anything

    Maths underpins physics, ive been told that a physics degree makes use of all the a level maths and further math syllabus and beyond.

    I imagine you havnt began classes yet, but am i right in saying you have maths modules this year as well as physics? And that the maths modules are compulsory?

    Why would anyone not taking a level maths want to do a level phyics?

    The only reasons i see: interest in physics, and it counts as UCAS points/counts as an a level grade BUT you cant do a physics career/take phyics further if you dont do maths a level

    Dont you see where im coming from??
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    I know plenty of students who got Cs and Ds in their maths GCSE that can use fractions and do some basic algebra. However, of the majority of adults I know, very few of them can do this. Sure they can do arithmetic, but that's it. These aren't people working menial jobs either, they're professionals all working in managerial or executive jobs.

    Even if exams were harder back then, the majority of students who left school were below the standard of today. While exams might have been harder, as some people have already said, only a small percentage of people did them and a smaller percentage actually did well in them. The rest were rubbish.

    While statistics show steady increases in student performance, you have to remember that 'dumbing down' isn't the only factor. Others include better teaching, better planning, much greater access to resources, more motivated students and also there is actually a proven effect that IQ increases with generations. Many of the teachers I know actually consider our exams just as difficult if not harder than their GCSEs.

    I'm not saying things haven't dumbed down. I've seen various O-level maths papers and they were harder than GCSEs, not significantly, but there was a definite difference.

    I think much of the criticism is due to previous generations simply wanting to feel like they are the best. It has been common practice for a long time for older generations to criticise and be cynical over younger generations. How many predictions have there been by an older generation that their successors would 'ruin the country/society'? This was especially prevalent during the 'hippie' era of the 60s. Yet life goes on just as it always has done.
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    (Original post by kashim91)
    Out of 45 people, 5 people got an A in physics, all of those got As in maths, including me, two guys did further maths, one who got A* in maths and further maths( he did both AS and A2 in one year) and he got 300/300 in AS physics. I found that the hardest bit was HSW and stupid practical, which i got a D in, even though my exam results were so high my overall grade is an A. All those who got B grades did maths too and some did further maths. What I noticed was that many people who got Us and Es tended to have weaker gcses in maths and many of them didn't do maths at a-level. This was apparent because in lessons those people who got Es and Us were the ones who got confused about the equations. So imagine how they would fair against exams that were set 20 years ago.
    I was about to make a similar point to Manitude.

    at the place i study at, there are only six people or thereabouts doing a2 physics, all of whom do a level maths too.

    I must make it clear that for the syllabuses(or syllabi, whatever the plural is) in maths and phys a level that im doing, there isnt much overlap ie physics has very little maths ie no calculus any more, less algebra, no cosine rule anymore, no sine rule(for working with vectors).
    The only overlap is the mechanics module of maths, and the mechanics qu in physics

    Back to the qu at hand, in my place at AS, the people who were doing maths AS scored vastly better in physics AS than those who were not. The people who didnt do maths/had a poor maths gcse grade had a poorer grasp of the subject, particuarly in mechanics/rearranging equations into y=mx+c format etc.
    A lot of the people not doing maths got grade Es and Us in physics, not taking it to a2 even though much of the maths is no longer in physics

    manitude, did you never see any trend like this during your time in a level physics???
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    Ok you may be an exception to the rule, but for the rest of us Mathematics and Physics are difficult A levels and are considered amongst others some of the hardest A levels that you can do.
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    (Original post by innerhollow)
    I don't deny that, but it's fairly obvious that certain A-levels (I can only speak for Maths and Science A-levels as I am familiar with them) have decreased in difficulty and have had the syllabus watered down. For example the mathematical aspect to the A-level Physics course is now fairly basic, when there used to be calculus and logarithms for example.
    Yeah, they done that with higher physics too. I could have done higher physics with only intermediate 1 maths.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    Yeah, they done that with higher physics too. I could have done higher physics with only intermediate 1 maths.
    Yeah, Highers have gone a similar way to A-levels (certainly Maths which is a joke compared to its former self, and Physics/Modern languages- but don't know for definite about others). Someone should have realised they're doing it wrong when you're allowed to use scale diagrams to solve Mechanics questions in pre-uni Physics. I do despair. :eek3:
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    (Original post by innerhollow)
    Yeah, Highers have gone a similar way to A-levels (certainly Maths which is a joke compared to its former self, and Physics/Modern languages- but don't know for definite about others). Someone should have realised they're doing it wrong when you're allowed to use scale diagrams to solve Mechanics questions in pre-uni Physics. I do despair. :eek3:
    Yeah my year was the first year that they introduced multiple choice into higher maths...

    I remember never remembering my ruler to physics so I had to do all the mechanics stuff using (simple) maths. Actually saved me a lot of time.
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    (Original post by Theconomist)
    A levels aren't dumbed down.It's just now people are more prepared.
    Back then a bad teacher=you fail your A level.
    Right now a bad teacher=you go online download revision guides and past paper study your ass off and get an A.

    Same goes for degrees.
    It's a good thing.
    I don't understand why people see it as a bad thing.
    well that is a factor. but A-Levels are also easier. I guess it's harder to tell with essay subjects because nowadays you write your essays just like you did years ago. though science subjects are definately easier, try comparing a maths paper from say the 80's to a recent one. the older papers are simply much harder.
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    Many degrees at lower unis (often ex polys) have dumbed down courses since they take in students of a lower calibre.
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    (Original post by bloomblaze)
    Dont i think its slightly unfair to say if you like physis you MUST do a level maths???

    Yes and no. It may seem harsh to make it a necessesity to study an a level in order to take another one ie no such rules exist about to do chem, you must study bio alongside it, and so on

    However, even if it seems unfair i think it is important. The most valid point i can make is this:

    You ask if i think its unfair that if someone likes physics they MUST do maths?

    I see your starting a masters in physics at quite a respectable institution (or so i think).
    Did your university take that attitude ie was maths a level not part of the offer requirements for you to get onto that course?



    The point im trying to make is that maths is the basis of physics, you need maths a level to get into ANY undergraduate physics programme in the Uk and also for the very very vast majority of engineering courses ie physics a level without a level maths doesnt lead to anything

    Maths underpins physics, ive been told that a physics degree makes use of all the a level maths and further math syllabus and beyond.

    I imagine you havnt began classes yet, but am i right in saying you have maths modules this year as well as physics? And that the maths modules are compulsory?

    Why would anyone not taking a level maths want to do a level phyics?

    The only reasons i see: interest in physics, and it counts as UCAS points/counts as an a level grade BUT you cant do a physics career/take phyics further if you dont do maths a level

    Dont you see where im coming from??
    I see where you're coming from, but I think if we just look at A levels, not everybody takes physics because they want to continue it forever.
    I didn't take history or geography with the intention of carrying it further on in life, so I shouldn't be forced to take english language to supplement the essays I had to write. Being able to write well is absolutely critical to history (in the same way that one must be able to do maths to do physics at a meaningful level) but GCSE level english should be adequate.

    My university offer included maths and physics, but so does every offer for physics that I am aware of with the exception of perhaps foundation courses.
    I do have a few maths modules this year, but they are largely recapping on A level maths and further maths as well as expanding on some topics.

    I'm not trying to argue that maths is not important in physics - physics uses maths to describe the world. My point is that A level maths should not be required to study A level physics.
    If anything, calculus should be included in higher tier GCSE maths because differentiation/integration of binomial equations (with the exception of the integration of x^-1 of course) is extremely straight forward.

    Alternatively, any calculus not covered in maths lessons could easily be covered in physics lessons as and when required.
    Generally speaking though, the majority of A level physics students DO take maths A level (obviously some drop it after a year, but you mostly only need C1 and C2 maths for the current A level course)

    Your argument that physics without maths leads nowhere IS valid if we assume that the degree program physics students choose has anything to do with science. However, only a handful of physics students go on to study physics or similar at university compared to entire classes. If I recall correctly out of my entire year doing physics, three of us went to do physics, one to maths, one to mechanical engineering and one to chemical engineering. I think the rest did things completely unrelated.
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    To be honest, if more people studied more maths we'd be in a better place. I don't have any problem with schools requiring the study of maths as well as physics. They should extend this to chemistry (at least A/S maths).
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    I wish
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    Dummed down?:eek:

    I beg to differ. More people are getting higher and better A Level grades now, which is why people assume they are geting 'easier' or 'dummed' down. When in actual fact, nothing of that sort is going on. :eek3:
 
 
 
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