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    Hi there.
    This week I have been attending the taster sessions for my local sixth form, which was my only considered choice of place to do A-levels. Both my siblings have attended. My sister loved every second of it, and did very well (4 A* alevels!), my brother plods along, doing the work and working towards his goal. Both of them say that A-levels are hard, but that if you do the work, they don't have to take over your life. However, at the taster days, I have been repeatedly told that A-levels are practically impossible, that obviously all teenagers are too lazy and disorganised to do A-levels and that inevitably, if we fail, it'll be our fault. There seemed to be very little reference to what the teachers would do for us. In the taster lessons I've attended, there didn't seem to be much actual teaching going on, they just gave us tasks to do. So far I have attended two actual lessons, History (which came accross very well, and is my favourite subject) and Maths. Maths did not go well, and I came out, went into the loos and cried! I was predicted good grades for my IGCSE (IGCSE is equivilant to GCSE but harder e.g. an A at GCSE would be a B at IGCSE) but suddenly I felt very out of my depth. We were given quadratic conversions to do (completing the sqare) and had 3 seconds to answer each one. I can't even write that fast! I'm worried that, even though I've always really enjoyed maths, I'm not going to be able to keep up with all the others, who just looked at the question and knew the answer. I have a biology taster lesson today, and then a drama taster lesson. I'm hoping that these go well, because if they don't, I don't know what I'll do! The school also wants each student to do an EPQ (extended project qualification) which will take up even more time! I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to keep up, that I'll be studying all the time and so I'll lose all my friends, and that inevitably I'll fail and be unable to go to uni to get the career that I would love. At uni I'd like to do a join degree in History & Politics, for which Maths would be useful. There is the opportunity for me to do a two-year maths qualification, equal to the one-year AS maths course I would take otherwise.
    On top of all of this, I am a year "too young". However, I finished all my IGCSEs and didn't want to hang around a year doing nothing, I'd rather do that after A-levels and have a year out! I wasn't concerned before, but now I am very worried that I will not be able to do the work. I was also home-educated, which I have never considered to be a stumbling block at all. In fact, because it has resulted in me being very self-driven and organised, I had considered it a benefit. Both my sibling were home-educated too and they seem to have done fine. However, I'm worried that the long days in school will wash me out and that I may be treated differently.
    There is a new college that has been set up nearby as well, which I might be interested in going to, however all my friends, and some of my family, say I should go the school sixth form. I don't know what to do. I don't want to let anyone down, especially my parents. I keep telling myself that I'm not being pressured by my siblings' success, but I can't help feeling that I'm never going to be as good as them, and that they'll all be embarrassed of me.
    So, to summarise (I know I've rambled).
    (a) Are A-levels as completely impossible as all my teachers have told me?
    (b) How much actual teaching do you get at A-level?
    (c) Do A-levels take up all of your time, do you still have friends by the end?
    (d) Should I struggle through and possibly fail the one year AS Maths course, or do the two year course instead?
    (e) How much teaching is involved with A-level, or is it ultimately up to the student how well they do?
    (f) Will my ability be decreased because of my age and home-educated status?

    I'd be very grateful for any insight you can provide.
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    (Original post by Just-ruby)
    Hi there.
    This week I have been attending the taster sessions for my local sixth form, which was my only considered choice of place to do A-levels. Both my siblings have attended. My sister loved every second of it, and did very well (4 A* alevels!), my brother plods along, doing the work and working towards his goal. Both of them say that A-levels are hard, but that if you do the work, they don't have to take over your life. However, at the taster days, I have been repeatedly told that A-levels are practically impossible, that obviously all teenagers are too lazy and disorganised to do A-levels and that inevitably, if we fail, it'll be our fault. There seemed to be very little reference to what the teachers would do for us. In the taster lessons I've attended, there didn't seem to be much actual teaching going on, they just gave us tasks to do. So far I have attended two actual lessons, History (which came accross very well, and is my favourite subject) and Maths. Maths did not go well, and I came out, went into the loos and cried! I was predicted good grades for my IGCSE (IGCSE is equivilant to GCSE but harder e.g. an A at GCSE would be a B at IGCSE) but suddenly I felt very out of my depth. We were given quadratic conversions to do (completing the sqare) and had 3 seconds to answer each one. I can't even write that fast! I'm worried that, even though I've always really enjoyed maths, I'm not going to be able to keep up with all the others, who just looked at the question and knew the answer. I have a biology taster lesson today, and then a drama taster lesson. I'm hoping that these go well, because if they don't, I don't know what I'll do! The school also wants each student to do an EPQ (extended project qualification) which will take up even more time! I'm concerned that I'm not going to be able to keep up, that I'll be studying all the time and so I'll lose all my friends, and that inevitably I'll fail and be unable to go to uni to get the career that I would love. At uni I'd like to do a join degree in History & Politics, for which Maths would be useful. There is the opportunity for me to do a two-year maths qualification, equal to the one-year AS maths course I would take otherwise.
    On top of all of this, I am a year "too young". However, I finished all my IGCSEs and didn't want to hang around a year doing nothing, I'd rather do that after A-levels and have a year out! I wasn't concerned before, but now I am very worried that I will not be able to do the work. I was also home-educated, which I have never considered to be a stumbling block at all. In fact, because it has resulted in me being very self-driven and organised, I had considered it a benefit. Both my sibling were home-educated too and they seem to have done fine. However, I'm worried that the long days in school will wash me out and that I may be treated differently.
    There is a new college that has been set up nearby as well, which I might be interested in going to, however all my friends, and some of my family, say I should go the school sixth form. I don't know what to do. I don't want to let anyone down, especially my parents. I keep telling myself that I'm not being pressured by my siblings' success, but I can't help feeling that I'm never going to be as good as them, and that they'll all be embarrassed of me.
    So, to summarise (I know I've rambled).
    (a) Are A-levels as completely impossible as all my teachers have told me?
    (b) How much actual teaching do you get at A-level?
    (c) Do A-levels take up all of your time, do you still have friends by the end?
    (d) Should I struggle through and possibly fail the one year AS Maths course, or do the two year course instead?
    (e) How much teaching is involved with A-level, or is it ultimately up to the student how well they do?
    (f) Will my ability be decreased because of my age and home-educated status?

    I'd be very grateful for any insight you can provide.
    You'll be fine. Schools oversell how hard subjects are to study because they want it to rule your life. As a system, they want your marks as high as possible so that their reputation can be the best around. If that's at the cost of your mental wellbeing, so be it.
 
 
 
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