Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Does the new A* grade at A Level spell out an end for GCSE obsession? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I wasn't quite sure where to make this thread: it applies mainly to top ten universities [Oxbridge, LSE, Durham, UCL, Bristol, Warwick and the like] however also incorporates elements of A Level study. Feel free to move it if it feels out of place here.

    So this was just a question that came to my mind earlier today whilst browsing the forums:

    In previous years, top ten universities [in particular Durham, LSE and Oxbridge] have used GCSEs as a means of distinguishing between 'exceptional' and 'good' candidates, hence bringing about the sobriquet "GCSE Nazi". Will the introduction of an A* grade at A Level bring about the end of obsession over GCSEs amongst said unis? Will candidates who have been on an upward trend since Year 11 no longer be discriminated against for less-than-stellar GCSEs if they are able to achieve highly in Upper Sixth?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I think it will, yes.
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I suppose, yes to a certain extent as an A* at GCSE although good can be seen by some to be reasonably easy to obtain. For example, I only needed 78% in my Japanese GCSE to get an A* whereas at A Level in most courses you need to have above 90% in all modules/units.

    This is a tall order and I think much fairer as discriminates between the good and the great candidates.

    I worked out that if the same 90%+ system had applied for GCSE, I would have only got 1 A* instead of 6!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I hope it will.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    You can take yours off your sig then! Jokes :p:
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by beanstalkgirl_24)
    to get an A* whereas at A Level in most courses you need to have above 90% in all modules/units.
    Not true for any as far as I'm aware.

    And OP, Oxbridge is possibly the least reliant of top unis on GCSEs, as they interview for everything, whereas most others don't have this available as another discriminator.
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    No because the students applying to these universities will all be predicted more or less A*A*A*-AAA, so unis need another indicator of intelligence and GCSEs provide that in an objective way. The new A* grade just distinguishes between those who got 90+ in comparison to those who just scraped an A, because the field to get an A is 20 UMS big.
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Slumpy)
    Not true for any as far as I'm aware.

    And OP, Oxbridge is possibly the least reliant of top unis on GCSEs, as they interview for everything, whereas most others don't have this available as another discriminator.
    Hmm...

    "To win an A* a student has to score an A overall, plus at least 90% in each of their papers in the second year of their course."

    (From the exam boards website)
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by beanstalkgirl_24)
    I suppose, yes to a certain extent as an A* at GCSE although good can be seen by some to be reasonably easy to obtain. For example, I only needed 78% in my Japanese GCSE to get an A* whereas at A Level in most courses you need to have above 90% in all modules/units.

    This is a tall order and I think much fairer as discriminates between the good and the great candidates.

    I worked out that if the same 90%+ system had applied for GCSE, I would have only got 1 A* instead of 6!
    NO. You must have 90% UMS. Tis different from 90% raw. 78% raw may equate to 90% UMS.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by beanstalkgirl_24)
    Hmm...

    "To win an A* a student has to score an A overall, plus at least 90% in each of their papers in the second year of their course."

    (From the exam boards website)
    The A* grade was introduced in September 2008 for higher education entry in 2010, and is awarded to candidates who achieve an A in their overall A-level, with a score of at least 90% at A2

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GCE_Advanced_Level

    Wikipedia I know, but the point is that it's a 90% average over the A2 units, and overall 80% average.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Who took GCSE's seriously in the first place? :facepalm2:
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    AFAIK the GCSE grades will still play a part, i am sure.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Not the end, perhaps to a lesser extent.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    I think GCSE's are good indicator of coping with a large amount of work/exams in a short period.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by beanstalkgirl_24)
    Hmm...

    "To win an A* a student has to score an A overall, plus at least 90% in each of their papers in the second year of their course."

    (From the exam boards website)
    does that mean to say if you get 100% in one unit but 89% in another then you wont get an A*?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by S129439)
    does that mean to say if you get 100% in one unit but 89% in another then you wont get an A*?
    Yep... you basically need at least 80% overall and 90% overall for any a2 modules. So you could get 70% in AS and 90% in A2 and still come out with an A*. Someone can get 100% in AS and 89% in A2 and leave with A even though their average score is higher.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Filoux)
    I wasn't quite sure where to make this thread: it applies mainly to top ten universities [Oxbridge, LSE, Durham, UCL, Bristol, Warwick and the like] however also incorporates elements of A Level study. Feel free to move it if it feels out of place here.

    So this was just a question that came to my mind earlier today whilst browsing the forums:

    In previous years, top ten universities [in particular Durham, LSE and Oxbridge] have used GCSEs as a means of distinguishing between 'exceptional' and 'good' candidates, hence bringing about the sobriquet "GCSE Nazi". Will the introduction of an A* grade at A Level bring about the end of obsession over GCSEs amongst said unis? Will candidates who have been on an upward trend since Year 11 no longer be discriminated against for less-than-stellar GCSEs if they are able to achieve highly in Upper Sixth?
    I'd have thought GCSE grades would still play a major role in candidate selection. At the end of the day it's the only formal qualifications all candidates will have declared on their forms and have to be viewed at. I don't know if it's still the case but back when I was applying many schools/colleges chose not to declare AS grades on the UCAS forms hence all the universities had to go on were GCSEs and predicted grades. As predicted grades can often be over-inflated by referees, GCSEs really were the best academic selection criteria. Some argue that excelling in many subject areas e.g. like 10 at GCSE, demonstrates a greater chance of success at university level than say 3 or 4 A-levels.

    I mean Birmingham Medical School routinely rejects applicants with less than 8A*s at GCSE but it's worth highlighting that they don't ask for any admissions tests like other medical schools.

    Personally I think it's harsh to deselect a candidate based on exams taken at the age of 15/16 when in fairness a lot of school students didn't know then what they'd want to study at university or career they want to go into. But sadly that's the way it is and I think the "GCSE Nazis" will be here to stay a bit longer.....for the time being at least.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Okay this is worrying me. I got 6 A*'s and 4 A's in my GCSE's which I thought was really good, but I want to go to a top uni and do medicine. Does that mean I have ZERO chance.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tripodd)
    Yep... you basically need at least 80% overall and 90% overall for any a2 modules. So you could get 70% in AS and 90% in A2 and still come out with an A*. Someone can get 100% in AS and 89% in A2 and leave with A even though their average score is higher.
    WRONG. 90% average across all A2 modules. 100% and 89% would give an A*.

    (Original post by S129439)
    does that mean to say if you get 100% in one unit but 89% in another then you wont get an A*?
    No, you would get an A*.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by OS92)
    WRONG. 90% average across all A2 modules. 100% and 89% would give an A*.
    Don't see how I'm wrong... and also your two sentences don't add up, you need 90% you say then say 89% will do? Anyway, someone else's opinion on the matter would be appreciated though dare I say I'm pretty confident you R DA WRONG 1.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Did TEF Bronze Award affect your UCAS choices?
    Useful resources
    Uni match

    Applying to uni?

    Our tool will help you find the perfect course

    Articles:

    Debate and current affairs guidelinesDebate and current affairs wiki

    Quick link:

    Educational debate unanswered threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

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