Are certain unis harder than others? Watch

RoryRorrzShikari
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This might sound really thick but if a university asks for higher entry requirements than an other does that mean the degree will be harder? Or does it just mean that the uni has better funding/facilites so its more competitive? For instance comparing University of Glasgow and University of Stirling. For most MA courses Glasgow asks for AAAB as opposed to BBBB at Stirling (this is Scottish highers), but does this mean that the course would be any harder at Glasgow or just that they have to put their grade requirements up because more people want to go there?
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maminushka
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No. I would feel offended if someone told me that my law degree was easier than the one at Warwick University for instance. The better ranked universities can be picky because they attract the best performing candidates at an undergraduate/A-level. It's theoretically easier to get job interviews if someone went to a better ranked university but it doesn't mean that the person in question is smarter or more skillful.

Going to a better ranked university doesn't mean the degree is harder to obtain or get the best marks. I don't think that there is a lot of difference in a candidate who got AAAB and the one who got BBBB. Many things may have influenced the actual results.
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Mr Ben
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For certain subjects they are at least. I did a bit of research into the difference between maths syllabuses (syllabi? I don't know what the word is) a while back in relation to a similar post. The universities with higher entry requirements seemed to teach far more advanced material than ones with lower requirements.
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innerhollow
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That can be the case, yes. Anyone who thinks there is no appreciable difference in difficulty in say, a Maths degree, at the 100+ institutions offering that course is mistaken.
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IlliteratePedant
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If 10% of students on a course with AAA entrance requirements get a first, and 10% of students on a course with CCC entrance requirements also get a first then I would say that there is some difference in difficulty between the courses.
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maminushka
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Yes, I guess it depends on the subject area.
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JosieG
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Yes - the higher grade entry requirements are to make sure that you will be up to the standard of work. In some subjects I can't imagine there would be a vast amount of difference but in others, like maths (which unfortunately is what I'm going to uni to do) there will be a big difference. As the lecturers teach what they want and set the exam papers themselves it will be harder in universities with better lecturers. Therefore a degree will be more well-respected from a better uni.
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Smack
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(Original post by JosieG)
Yes - the higher grade entry requirements are to make sure that you will be up to the standard of work.
No, the higher entry grades are because of the increasing competition among students for places on certain courses.

In my time I've seen entry requirements for certain universities massively increase as they have soared in popularity; and in fact it wasn't too long before my time when many of the country's top institutions let people in with straight Cs.
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littleone271
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I think there is a difference. I'm not at university yet but one of the things that attracted me to studying at bedfordshire was that all the exams in the first year are multiple choice and it's not that I'm being lazy or wanting an easy ride but it's for psychology and I havn't studied psychology, R.E, philosophy or english lit or anything like that at A-level. I'm doing a forensic science BTEC extended diploma and it's 100% coursework so I write A LOT of essays but there aren't any written assessments or exams so I like the fact that they're going to give me a bit of time before making me write an essay in exam conditions.
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QuantumOverlord
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(Original post by RoryRorrzShikari)
This might sound really thick but if a university asks for higher entry requirements than an other does that mean the degree will be harder? Or does it just mean that the uni has better funding/facilites so its more competitive? For instance comparing University of Glasgow and University of Stirling. For most MA courses Glasgow asks for AAAB as opposed to BBBB at Stirling (this is Scottish highers), but does this mean that the course would be any harder at Glasgow or just that they have to put their grade requirements up because more people want to go there?
Yes, compare a cambridge maths exam with say an ex-poly maths exam (I have nothing against ex polys).
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Obfuscator
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Entry requirements are more to do with popularity than difficulty of the course (in most cases) however I think there are some tiers of difficulty: A course at a redbrick/oxbridge/russell group uni will probably be more demanding than an equivalant at an ex-poly, for example. But within each group, the difficulty will probably be largely the same.
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izpenguin
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Of course degrees from better unis are harder. If they weren't, everyone in top unis like Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, UCL, LSE etc would get firsts. But they don't. Some people in these unis get 2.2s and thirds. And some people from less prestigious unis do get firsts.
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qwertyuiop1993
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(Original post by Smack)
No, the higher entry grades are because of the increasing competition among students for places on certain courses.

In my time I've seen entry requirements for certain universities massively increase as they have soared in popularity; and in fact it wasn't too long before my time when many of the country's top institutions let people in with straight Cs.
Yes, entry requirements are linked to popularity, but if you have a university that's letting in people only with A*AA, then that university has a lot more options for what it can teach to these students in terms of depth because they have previously shown an excellent aptitude for study. It would really be a waste if unis just rested on their laurels.

As has been mentioned, this is probably more noticeable in specific subjects - I can't imagine people on a maths course requiring ABB would be going at the same pace/in the same depth as the universities with much more stringent requirements like Warwick/Imperial/Oxford/Cambridge etc.
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Smack
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(Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
Yes, entry requirements are linked to popularity, but if you have a university that's letting in people only with A*AA, then that university has a lot more options for what it can teach to these students in terms of depth because they have previously shown an excellent aptitude for study. It would really be a waste if unis just rested on their laurels.
Well I didn't do A-levels, but with highers there was a fairly negligible difference between an A and a B grade... it was often down to how the individual performed on the day of the exam rather than how bright the individual was.

I also don't think there was ever a time when people who got mainly Cs with the odd B were considered to have excelled at their studies yet it wasn't all that long ago that they would have been at the top universities alongside the straight A students.

Also remember that the universities with the highest entry requirements dish out the best grades and also usually have the lowest drop out rates too.
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yothi5
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(Original post by RoryRorrzShikari)
This might sound really thick but if a university asks for higher entry requirements than an other does that mean the degree will be harder? Or does it just mean that the uni has better funding/facilites so its more competitive? For instance comparing University of Glasgow and University of Stirling. For most MA courses Glasgow asks for AAAB as opposed to BBBB at Stirling (this is Scottish highers), but does this mean that the course would be any harder at Glasgow or just that they have to put their grade requirements up because more people want to go there?
I don't know what the heck Stirling uni is, so their grades are so low because it's a rubbish university. Not for other reasons. I've heard rubbish universities focus less on final exams and more on silly presentations or coursework which are marked and end up as part of your degree. So yes, rubbish universities are generally easier.
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*Hakz*
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(Original post by yothi5)
I don't know what the heck Stirling uni is, so their grades are so low because it's a rubbish university. Not for other reasons. I've heard rubbish universities focus less on final exams and more on silly presentations or coursework which are marked and end up as part of your degree. So yes, rubbish universities are generally easier.
How ignorant :facepalm:

So because it's a fairly unpopular university to you, that has to equate to it being rubbish? I quite fancy your logic mate
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qwertyuiop1993
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(Original post by Smack)
Well I didn't do A-levels, but with highers there was a fairly negligible difference between an A and a B grade... it was often down to how the individual performed on the day of the exam rather than how bright the individual was.

I also don't think there was ever a time when people who got mainly Cs with the odd B were considered to have excelled at their studies yet it wasn't all that long ago that they would have been at the top universities alongside the straight A students.

Also remember that the universities with the highest entry requirements dish out the best grades and also usually have the lowest drop out rates too.
Well I'd say the difference between an A* and A at A level is slim and often down to exam technique, but an A* to B is considerable. I know someone who got a B at A level French who I know for certain would die in the language part of my course because they expect you to have attained a high level already.

The question of whether a past B is equivalent to a B grade now is a touchy one - my tutors at university certainly seem to think that French A level, at least in the language component, is not what it used to be and we have been told this bluntly. So it doesn't really surprise me that B grade students in the past may have coped with courses at universities that we now see as having high entry standards in relation to the modern A level.

The universities with the highest requirements often do give out a high percentage of firsts and have low drop out rates, but surely this is expected - they have taken people who have a proven track record of academic success.

I'm not saying all universities with high requirements necessarily have higher course standards, just that one might notice a correlation between higher entry requirements and the depth/pace of a course.
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EffieFlowers
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Yes, someone actually posted a link to an official website saying that before. I wish I saved it!

And from experience, most definitely yes, I want to do psychology, and I've spoken to people who've done it at this low ranking university near me (it's basically near the bottom of the league tables) and they said that it's not really that much harder than A- level in terms of content. Yet I've looked into courses at much better unis and the content is far more in depth, more complex and difficult.

It's the university that sets the standard, and it greatly differs between universities. That's why degrees from better uni's are more 'respected'. It's not just because they are more competitive.

It's common sense really. Is the content at Swansea Met going to be as hard as UCL? Noo, hardly anyone would pass.

And one last thing, before people call me a snob, I'm not exactly going to a prestige university but I'm not going to deny this just to make myself feel better!
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Opalfire
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yes there is. also depends if its an honours degree or not. And if its accreditied or not, not all courses are for the relevant bodies.
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Smack
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(Original post by qwertyuiop1993)
Well I'd say the difference between an A* and A at A level is slim and often down to exam technique, but an A* to B is considerable. I know someone who got a B at A level French who I know for certain would die in the language part of my course because they expect you to have attained a high level already.

The question of whether a past B is equivalent to a B grade now is a touchy one - my tutors at university certainly seem to think that French A level, at least in the language component, is not what it used to be and we have been told this bluntly. So it doesn't really surprise me that B grade students in the past may have coped with courses.
You've also got to take the school that these grades were achieved at into context (university admissions tutors do). A lot of people come from schools in which the lessons are regularly disrupted by unruly pupils (some of whom carry knives ... and use them), classes are overcrowded and the teachers don't know that much more than the students do about the subject (there was a time not that long ago when teaching was the last resort of the graduate who failed to get onto a graduate scheme or get a job, and as such accepted people with 3rds and zero passion for their subject). Universities in large cities who have access schemes for locals will thus be taking in a much higher amount of these bright but disadvantaged pupils compared to some of the universities that are based in more traditional university towns and have much a much higher percentage of private school intake.

So I can see why people who got a lot of Bs at higher can get the same grades as those who got mainly As, but were from much better schools, at university, where the playing field is levelled.
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