Join TSR now and get all your revision questions answeredSign up now

What does the O-level tests contain and what is it comparison GCSE? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    I'm am in Year 7 and in 2 years time I will be one of the first people to take the O-levels tests. If you know what might contain in it please reply. Also what is it different to GCSEs.

    Please reply as soon as possible
    Thanks and this will really help me for my future.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I thought O-levels were the old GCSE/A-levels? I know my parents did them lol
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Rainbows!)
    I thought O-levels were the old GCSE/A-levels? I know my parents did them lol
    Yeah, the government's decided to bring them back to replace GCSEs in a few years
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by bobbricks)
    Yeah, the government's decided to bring them back to replace GCSEs in a few years
    It is coming in 2014 when I will start it. But what is it different from GCSE
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ukvoltaire)
    I'm am in Year 7 and in 2 years time I will be one of the first people to take the O-levels tests. If you know what might contain in it please reply. Also what is it different to GCSEs.

    Please reply as soon as possible
    Thanks and this will really help me for my future.
    Stop worrying, the government keeps changing its mind as to what the plan is and there are no details at all at the moment. Even if there were they would almost certainly change. About the only thing that is certain is that they won't be called O levels - these are were qualifications that were phased out about 25 years ago.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Data)
    Stop worrying, the government keeps changing its mind as to what the plan is and there are no details at all at the moment. Even if there were they would almost certainly change. About the only thing that is certain is that they won't be called O levels - these are were qualifications that were phased out about 25 years ago.
    Are you sure because from what I've heard they are going to be called O-levels
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ukvoltaire)
    Are you sure because from what I heard they are going to be called O-levels
    Journalists have referred to them as O levels as it is a lazy way of suggesting that they will be more traditional in content, with little or no coursework/controlled assessment. However, the name isn't important and there really is no clarity as to what is going to happen - the EBC has been withdrawn, the timescales don't fit in with the A level reforms and won't be achievable and you are better off worrying about something more pressing.
    • Study Helper
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ukvoltaire)
    Are you sure because from what I heard they are going to be called O-levels
    They're definitely not going to be called O-Levels, Michael Gove just keeps going on about them because he wants our education system to revert back to the 1950s.
    • Study Helper
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Originally there were two exams you could take at the end of your school life (used to be at age 15 but then in 1973 that was raised to 16).

    These were:
    C.S.E. or Certificate of Secondary Education
    G.C.E. O-Level or General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level.

    C.S.E. was more vocational and graded from 1 (highest) to 5 (lowest) pass levels. Grade 1 C.S.E. was roughly equivalent to a grade C at O-Level.
    O-Level was graded A-C as a pass, then grade D and E were fail but you had an idea of how close you were to a pass. Grade F was an outright fail and grade U was ungraded because the performance was so bad it did not merit anything.

    C.S.E. favoured multiple-choice type tick-box questions (some not all) whereas O-Levels were all written.

    Neither exam had in-course re-sits. You either passed or failed and any re-sit was taken as a whole exam at a later date if your school even offered it to you.

    This led to a two tier system where C.S.E.'s were seen as second rate and not worth having by employers and students. C.S.E. would not let you progress to A-Level as the academic standard was not high enough. C.S.E normally meant people went out to work or into semi-skilled or skilled manual jobs or apprenticeships after leaving school.

    It was also thought that end-of-course exams favoured boys who seemed to cope with the stress of exams better. Girls seemed to work more consistently through coursework and modular assessment. Girls attainment in subjects such as maths and the sciences fell far short of boys.

    So in the 1980's the government combined the two into the GCSE (a mixture of CSE and GCE), the courses became modular with controlled assessments and resists. Differentials between the two older exams were maintained by hire tier or foundation-tier exams.

    The big difference going back to the O-Level type of system will be the elimination of modular assessments, meaning you won't necessarily revise or learn your subject in bite-size chunks.

    Exams will be longer (2 x 2.5 hour papers) where you will most likely have to choose questions from a paper divided into 2 or 3 sections. Section 1 could be answer all questions - perhaps 10. Section 2 could be answer any 5 questions from 10 (these are longer answers) and section 3 could be answer any 2 questions from say 5 (longest and hardest questions).

    You will also see that the whole subject will need to be revised for the final exam - 3 or 4 times as much revision for each subject.

    This will put a lot of pressure on students as all the exams will be taken over a 4 week period typically. So you could end up with doing 20 x 2.5 hour exams over a 3 or 4 week period.

    This is what will make the system harder - pressure and sheer volume of work and everything stacked up at the end of year 11.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    O levels were of a far higher academic standard than GCSE. The assessment method aside (coursework etc), most A*-grade GCSE students would struggle to even pass O levels - and that was the beauty of it. There was little stigma attached to failure. A good student might pass five O levels with Bs and Cs, and fail the rest - yet this was widely accepted as doing well. It was accepted that students could not excel at nine subjects.

    If O-levels of the same standard as they used to be made a comeback, it might do everyone a world of good, but TSR would go into absolute meltdown with all the hand-wringing.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by bobbricks)
    Yeah, the government's decided to bring them back to replace GCSEs in a few years
    oh really! haha thats interesting! I didn't know that so thank you
    • Study Helper
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Clip)
    O levels were of a far higher academic standard than GCSE. The assessment method aside (coursework etc), most A*-grade GCSE students would struggle to even pass O levels - and that was the beauty of it. There was little stigma attached to failure. A good student might pass five O levels with Bs and Cs, and fail the rest - yet this was widely accepted as doing well. It was accepted that students could not excel at nine subjects.

    If O-levels of the same standard as they used to be made a comeback, it might do everyone a world of good, but TSR would go into absolute meltdown with all the hand-wringing.
    I would agree. For example take physics and maths, O-levels had subject matter on the maths papers that is now only found on FP AS level.
    Physics is the same with subject matter and at O-Level, far higher reliance placed on using formula and re-arranging equations more commonly found on AS papers.

    Also, the questions did not lead you to an answer. You had to work out what steps were needed to get you to the right answer.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    Overnight, in 1988, Physics exams went from being "Qualify the statement that a ship will float higher in salt water than freshwater" to "Can you use a ruler?"
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I for one am of the mentality that gcses have got easier and easier. The change back to o- levels can only be a good thing.

    And OP, I see your concerns entirely, however, you should not be revising just to pass the exam (although that is a bonus), you should be aiming to revise to store that memory away for a lifetime. We're all guilty of revising to pass an exam and then forgetting that information down the line 'as its not needed anymore to pass the exams ahead' and from what I gather, this is what they are aiming to prevent.

    My only concern is that it has become widely accepted to choose many subjects for gcses, do they plan to keep this up and not raise the standard back to o-level requirements, or raise the standards to original quality and except that the students complete less subjects?
    • Study Helper
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Here is an O-Level physics question from 1974:

    Q1. pt i. What effect does a transverse magnetic field have on narrow beams of a) gamma rays, b) beta-rays, c) Alpha-rays form a radioactive source, as they pass through an evacuated box?
    pt ii. What conclusions can be drawn from the observation of these effects?
    ptiii. An atomic nucleus A is composed of Z protons and N Neutrons. What will be the composition of nucleus B left when A emits an alpha-particle and of nucleus C left when B emits a beta-particle? Explain the masses of A,B and C.

    Q2. pt i. Name two types of instrument used to measure a current of electricity.
    Describe the structure and explain the action of one of them.
    pt ii. If such an instrument has a resistance of 2.5 Ohms and gives a full scale deflection when a current of 10mA passes through it, how could it be modified to:
    a) act as an ammeter reading to 2A?
    b) act as a voltmeter reading to 5 V?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Rainbows!)
    oh really! haha thats interesting! I didn't know that so thank you
    This is the news article I found on it, but it's slightly dated so I'm not sure if it's still completely accurate: :P
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18529471
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    O-levels look horrific, however a lot of it is due to the syllabus being different. If we were taught the things on the O-level syllabus, we would look at the papers differently.

    And yes, they were harder. Harder does not equal better.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by bobbricks)
    This is the news article I found on it, but it's slightly dated so I'm not sure if it's still completely accurate: :P
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18529471
    Briefly scanning this, it seems as if 2 levels of exams are to brought into schools. The 'O-levels' for more academically abled people will be sat but I don't know about those who don't fit this category. That's all I read up to

    haha feel free to PM me if you want to further this discussion
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I hope most students agree with me when I say that I hate the stigma against the GCSEs. Just because your sat your GCSE-equivalent exams 10+ years ago doesn't make them any harder.

    How hard is it to accept that students now are cleverer than they were 10+ years ago?

    This is supposedly a Cambridge O level paper:
    http://www.cambridgestudents.org.uk/..._w10_qp_11.pdf

    I do not find the difficulty of this paper harder than the paper I sat last year for GCSE maths.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ukvoltaire)
    I'm am in Year 7 and in 2 years time I will be one of the first people to take the O-levels tests. If you know what might contain in it please reply. Also what is it different to GCSEs.

    Please reply as soon as possible
    Thanks and this will really help me for my future.
    I thought that the EBacc has been scrapped?
 
 
 
Poll
Which web browser do you use?
Useful resources

Study tools

Rosette

Essay expert

Learn to write like a pro with our ultimate essay guide.

Thinking about uni already?

Thinking about uni already?

See where you can apply with our uni match tool

Student chat

Ask a question

Chat to other GCSE students and get your study questions answered.

Creating

Make study resources

Create all the resources you need to get the grades.

Planner

Create your own Study Plan

Organise all your homework and exams so you never miss another deadline.

Resources by subject

From flashcards to mind maps; there's everything you need for all of your GCSE subjects.

Papers

Find past papers

100s of GCSE past papers for all your subjects at your fingertips.

Help out other students

Can you help? Study help unanswered threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

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.