Anyone planning on continuing 4 A levels in Year 13? Watch

alldaydreaming
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Is anyone who is currently in Y12 doing the reformed A levels planning on doing 4 next year? If so, is there a particular reason why and do you think you'll be able to handle the workload?
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h3rmit
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I'm considering it (I do Maths and the Sciences). I'm scraping A's without revision (but with homework) so I feel if I put the work in I could handle it.
Edit: I get high A's in maths, but I sometimes do extracurricular work for that because it doesn't feel like work. Lowest A's in Bio and Physics

I also don't do much else outside of sixth form, so I need to show unis I can handle my time well
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RoadtoSuccess
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(Original post by alldaydreaming)
Is anyone who is currently in Y12 doing the reformed A levels planning on doing 4 next year? If so, is there a particular reason why and do you think you'll be able to handle the workload?
I'm planning to do 3 next year I HATE Biology
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h3rmit
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What's wrong with Biology (apart from the fact you have to know lots of factoids, you can't blag it like the other sciences)?
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Crankyla
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I thought the reformed A-Level courses were 2-year courses, and that Sixth Form students wouldn't be able to drop any subjects? If not, that's my mistake.

As for dropping a subject, I would think that it depends on what other subjects you're taking and what the workload would be like, especially if you're going to be doing an EPQ on top of that. I'm a Year 13 student, so I'm doing the current A-Levels and 3 subjects (there are some students who stick with 4, but not many). I'm taking Biology as one of my subjects. Yes, it is a hard subject; as you say, h3rmit, you can't just blag your way through it. In the exam, you need to put down the correct key terms that the examiner wants. You may put down a synonymous term or explain it perfectly, but if it's not the word that they want, you don't get the mark.

Also, in the Unit 5 exam, you have to write a synoptic essay on a subject spanning both AS and A2 Biology. I'm not saying all this to scare you off from carrying on with Biology into Year 13; I'm just telling it like it is so you know what it'd be like
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alldaydreaming
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(Original post by h3rmit)
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I'm considering it (I do Maths and the Sciences). I'm scraping A's without revision (but with homework) so I feel if I put the work in I could handle it.
Edit: I get high A's in maths, but I sometimes do extracurricular work for that because it doesn't feel like work. Lowest A's in Bio and Physics

I also don't do much else outside of sixth form, so I need to show unis I can handle my time well
That's amazing! Are you doing AS exams this year or just maths and the rest next year?
My grades were pretty bad but I've also had a part time job which has not helped time management. I do Bio, Chem, Maths and English Lit. I'm hoping if I work super hard I can do it and still get good grades next year.
I'm just cautious about giving myself unnecessary work. But like you said when you love something it doesn't feel like work
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alldaydreaming
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(Original post by Kozmo)
I'm dropping one - I'd like to drop Bio but this narrows my scope for universities, so it's likely to be Physics.
A few of my friends claim they'll be taking all 4 on to next year (along with an EPQ) but they'll probably drop one.
I was considering an EPQ on top as well but I think it would be too much. Do you mind me asking what course you're thinking of applying for? (Just because you're a fellow scientist )
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Kozmo
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(Original post by alldaydreaming)
I was considering an EPQ on top as well but I think it would be too much. Do you mind me asking what course you're thinking of applying for? (Just because you're a fellow scientist )
I'm an aspiring medic, so, erm, medicine!

What about yourself?
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alldaydreaming
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(Original post by Crankyla)
I thought the reformed A-Level courses were 2-year courses, and that Sixth Form students wouldn't be able to drop any subjects? If not, that's my mistake.

As for dropping a subject, I would think that it depends on what other subjects you're taking and what the workload would be like, especially if you're going to be doing an EPQ on top of that. I'm a Year 13 student, so I'm doing the current A-Levels and 3 subjects (there are some students who stick with 4, but not many). I'm taking Biology as one of my subjects. Yes, it is a hard subject; as you say, h3rmit, you can't just blag your way through it. In the exam, you need to put down the correct key terms that the examiner wants. You may put down a synonymous term or explain it perfectly, but if it's not the word that they want, you don't get the mark.

Also, in the Unit 5 exam, you have to write a synoptic essay on a subject spanning both AS and A2 Biology. I'm not saying all this to scare you off from carrying on with Biology into Year 13; I'm just telling it like it is so you know what it'd be like
Biology is definitely scary - content wise, there's so much of it. I do love it but there are so many facts like h3rmit said. Do you have any tips for surviving A Level Biology?
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champ_mc99
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I'm considering doing 4 but would also want to do an EPQ so I dunno.

(Original post by h3rmit)
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I'm considering it (I do Maths and the Sciences). I'm scraping A's without revision (but with homework) so I feel if I put the work in I could handle it.
Edit: I get high A's in maths, but I sometimes do extracurricular work for that because it doesn't feel like work. Lowest A's in Bio and Physics

I also don't do much else outside of sixth form, so I need to show unis I can handle my time well
Same here.
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roarchika
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Me! I've done my EPQ a year early (just submitted it) so I'm looking at a straight 4: Japanese (AS+A2), History (reformed), Economics (reformed), and Latin. I'm sort of - -intuitively good with Japanese and History? So I only have to hardcore "revise" revise (as in actually try to understand things again) with two subjects, which is nice.
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alldaydreaming
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(Original post by Kozmo)
I'm an aspiring medic, so, erm, medicine!

What about yourself?
Awesome! Have you looked at any particular unis that you like best?
Biochemistry! Or maybe Chemistry?
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alldaydreaming
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(Original post by roarchika)
Me! I've done my EPQ a year early (just submitted it) so I'm looking at a straight 4: Japanese (AS+A2), History (reformed), Economics (reformed), and Latin. I'm sort of - -intuitively good with Japanese and History? So I only have to hardcore "revise" revise (as in actually try to understand things again) with two subjects, which is nice.
That's great! My school didn't have EPQ, we asked them to offer it and they are looking to start it in the summer term. What is an EPQ like? Is it like doing another subject or a smaller workload? And how did you find it, do you think it's worth it?
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alldaydreaming
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(Original post by champ_mc99)
I'm considering doing 4 but would also want to do an EPQ so I dunno.


Same here.
Do you mind me asking what subjects you do?
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champ_mc99
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(Original post by alldaydreaming)
Do you mind me asking what subjects you do?
No I don't. Maths and Triple science.
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h3rmit
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Mine are this year, in a couple of months.

If you do have a job and actively participate in extracurricular activities, that'll look as good (almost) as an extra qualification.

If Eng Lit is anything like GCSE, you can make up anything vaguely reasonable as long as you expound on the aforementioned statement unnecessarily verbosely with exceptional vigour. Maths, you can just learn the processes for most questions, but it is the most conceptually hard. Chem is some maths with mostly common sense (for AS at least). Bio's probably going to present the most work.

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roarchika
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(Original post by alldaydreaming)
That's great! My school didn't have EPQ, we asked them to offer it and they are looking to start it in the summer term. What is an EPQ like? Is it like doing another subject or a smaller workload? And how did you find it, do you think it's worth it?
That's really wonderful - the EPQ is fab for university skills! It's a frickton of work, not going to lie - I wrote over 20,000 words in draft (and researched for those words) before writing my 8,000 word final EPQ. It's easily 60 hours of work, but because you're scheduling it yourself it can either be easier or harder than a school subject, I think. I tended to devote 3 really intensive days over the two half terms I had, and then an entire week of Christmas less intensively, and I'm looking to get an A* (I hope). But being able to research something that interests you is incredible, and so motivating! And you learn a lot of planning and essay writing skills, too - I know my analytical abilities have improved as a result of my EPQ. Lastly, the project log is super annoying but has to be done and isn't too bad to do, and the presentation is a trial by fire - I was dry-mouthed and shaking a bit by the end of mine, but felt almost omnipotent! It was so, so worth it. (Plus, universities like it a lot!)

So as to what it actually is - it's a roughly 5,000 word essay (or an 'artefact' e.g. charity show, composition, model etc + 1,000 words) on a subject of your choice + a project log (reflections, analysing your sources, saying how awful you are and what you wish you'd done better) + a 15-ish minute presentation with 10 mins of questions. (or at least, that's what it is for AQA) You must make sure your question title is tight - mine was "How were women portrayed by the Augustan Love Elegists" (of which there are only 4) but even after multiple attempts to cut it down, it ended up being super long! So, y'know, keep that in mind. You're going to want to use mainly peer-reviewed journals/books as sources (+ documentaries etc - anything actually accredited and properly trustworthy: look into getting jstor access), and make sure you include and analyse multiple points of views from secondary sources, whilst integrating your primary sources too. You're definitely going to have to redraft several times. It's annoying as heck but a good life lesson and just keep in mind that you're working to make it the best you can.

I think if you put a lot into the EPQ, you'll get a lot out, and if you don't put a lot into the EPQ you get nothing but a bad time, tbh.
I hope this was kinda useful - if you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
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alldaydreaming
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(Original post by roarchika)
That's really wonderful - the EPQ is fab for university skills! It's a frickton of work, not going to lie - I wrote over 20,000 words in draft (and researched for those words) before writing my 8,000 word final EPQ. It's easily 60 hours of work, but because you're scheduling it yourself it can either be easier or harder than a school subject, I think. I tended to devote 3 really intensive days over the two half terms I had, and then an entire week of Christmas less intensively, and I'm looking to get an A* (I hope). But being able to research something that interests you is incredible, and so motivating! And you learn a lot of planning and essay writing skills, too - I know my analytical abilities have improved as a result of my EPQ. Lastly, the project log is super annoying but has to be done and isn't too bad to do, and the presentation is a trial by fire - I was dry-mouthed and shaking a bit by the end of mine, but felt almost omnipotent! It was so, so worth it. (Plus, universities like it a lot!)

So as to what it actually is - it's a roughly 5,000 word essay (or an 'artefact' e.g. charity show, composition, model etc + 1,000 words) on a subject of your choice + a project log (reflections, analysing your sources, saying how awful you are and what you wish you'd done better) + a 15-ish minute presentation with 10 mins of questions. (or at least, that's what it is for AQA) You must make sure your question title is tight - mine was "How were women portrayed by the Augustan Love Elegists" (of which there are only 4) but even after multiple attempts to cut it down, it ended up being super long! So, y'know, keep that in mind. You're going to want to use mainly peer-reviewed journals/books as sources (+ documentaries etc - anything actually accredited and properly trustworthy: look into getting jstor access), and make sure you include and analyse multiple points of views from secondary sources, whilst integrating your primary sources too. You're definitely going to have to redraft several times. It's annoying as heck but a good life lesson and just keep in mind that you're working to make it the best you can.

I think if you put a lot into the EPQ, you'll get a lot out, and if you don't put a lot into the EPQ you get nothing but a bad time, tbh.
I hope this was kinda useful - if you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
Thank you so much for explaining it! It cleared things up a lot! Thanks for being honest about the workload - I've heard a lot of people be really vague about it. Do you think it'd be 'do-able' in a term? That sounds super intense but just so I get an idea. Please be brutally honest - if you think it's too much then say.
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roarchika
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(Original post by alldaydreaming)
Thank you so much for explaining it! It cleared things up a lot! Thanks for being honest about the workload - I've heard a lot of people be really vague about it. Do you think it'd be 'do-able' in a term? That sounds super intense but just so I get an idea. Please be brutally honest - if you think it's too much then say.
Well, if you're starting in summer you'll either be giving your presentation in October, or in February. That means you have the entire summer if you go into school for meetings with your supervisor.
I started my EPQ in October, and presented at the end of March - so it took me 4/5 months, which is what you'll hopefully have. So it's definitely do-able!
I think having a good few months of retrospection is really important for top tier results, so I wouldn't really say starting in April and presenting in July is a good idea at all. Part of the EPQ process is building up research over time and letting it all form a bigger picture, y'know?
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isabellacappio
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I really like my subjects and also there is only one I can really drop but it's so interesting so I don't want to think I will probably have to though


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