What's more difficult: 4A*s at A Level or a First Class Degree from a top university? Watch

chazcaines
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Relative to someone's age/academic maturity. Obviously we all know that in absolute terms the latter is more difficult - there's more difficult more material etc, it is supposed to be after all. But some say that relative to their age, getting multiple A*s is up there.

What are your thoughts?
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BrexitBojo
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4A*. Getting a first class is piss. Uni is botched. For STEM u can just do tutorial sheets, learn the answers and get a chilling first.
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Acsel
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What are we assuming as relevant age? 16-18 at college, 18-21 at Uni? I'm 21 and heading to Uni in a few days so I feel I'd have a bit of an advantage over someone starting at 18. Anyone can go to college or uni, and especially at uni it's more common to see older people. So to really answer this you need to establish an age range. Comparing a 16 year old at A Levels to an 18 year at uni works but comparing them to a 40 year old at uni doesn't.

Also are you factoring in life factors? Someone going to uni has to fend for themselves while someone at college might have parents pressuring them to do the work. So there's lots of other factors.

Just comparing A Levels to a Degree (at normal ages, the 16-18 and 18-21 brackets) I'd have to say 4 A*'s is harder. It's also far less common. But I also can't comment on how difficult it is to achieve high grades at somewhere like Oxford or Cambridge. On one hand you've got lots of good resources to help you succeed. On the other it's naturally going to be more difficult than a lesser university. Similar things can be said for A Levels to an extent.
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sfs1012
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First Class from top unis. Most students from Oxbridge/Imperial have 4A*s.
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elen90
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(Original post by sfs1012)
First Class from top unis. Most students from Oxbridge/Imperial have 4A*s.
Noooo...?
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clonedmemories
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4A*s. You have to be good at four subjects, not just the one (or two) that you've specialised in, presumably because you have some higher degree of talent or enjoyment of them to start with.

(I got a first from a top university and AAB at A Level)
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SuperHuman98
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Well it depends, I can imagine it being very hard to get 4A*s in subjects you hate , then easy to get a first in a degree you are interested in.
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SuperHuman98
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(Original post by clonedmemories)
4A*s. You have to be good at four subjects, not just the one (or two) that you've specialised in, presumably because you have some higher degree of talent or enjoyment of them to start with.

(I got a first from a top university and AAB at A Level)
Also don't forget with university you supposedly have more time
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sweeneyrod
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(Original post by chazcaines)
Relative to someone's age/academic maturity. Obviously we all know that in absolute terms the latter is more difficult - there's more difficult more material etc, it is supposed to be after all. But some say that relative to their age, getting multiple A*s is up there.

What are your thoughts?
What do you mean by "a top university"? If you mean Oxbridge, then a 1st is more difficult -- a high proportion of students there have 4 A*'s (or could have got that if they'd done 4 A-levels). If you mean the Russell group and others on a similar level, then 4 A*'s is more difficult -- most people with 4 A*'s could have gone to Oxbridge, and most people at Oxbridge would get a 1st at any other uni. The subject is also relevant -- 4 A*'s in Maths, FM, Physics and a really soft subject is much easier (for someone who is good at maths) than 4 A*'s in arts subjects.
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Rajive
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Didn't Jake Wright get like 4 A*s or something like that but only got a 2:1 at Cambridge?
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Doones
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An A* is 90%+ for A2 units.
A First is 70%+

3.4% of A-level students get A*A*A* (or better)
20% of uni students get a First (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30830918)

So 3A*s, or better, is harder than a First.
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clonedmemories
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(Original post by SuperHuman98)
Also don't forget with university you supposedly have more time
This is very true. Though it's more the fact that you have more control over how you spend your time and can choose to work in ways that better suit you. You're not obliged to dedicate your time to studying (I put far more time into societies/volunteering during my undergrad) and the time you do choose to spend doing so can be as and when you want - some people do just work better in the early hours of the morning, something you're not really afforded at school! This is, of course, within the restraints of your timetable, but even lectures are rarely compulsory.
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ClickItBack
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I think OP put 'top university' in the question for a reason. It also depends on the course.

At e.g. Cambridge, 60% of entrants have A*A*A* (or better) but only about 28% get a first.

At e.g. Uni of Hertfordshire, about 0% of entrants have A*A*A* (or better) but about 40% get a first on the maths course.
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Okorange
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(Original post by chazcaines)
Relative to someone's age/academic maturity. Obviously we all know that in absolute terms the latter is more difficult - there's more difficult more material etc, it is supposed to be after all. But some say that relative to their age, getting multiple A*s is up there.

What are your thoughts?
Getting a first from a top university is not as difficult as it seems. I didn't do A levels, so I can't say but 4 A*s sounds tough and a first, while not easy, is also not incredibly difficult.
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username2130115
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Four A*s in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Computer Science or four A*s in Gender studies, general studies, media studies and sociology?
A first class MMath from Cambridge or a first class BA Gender Studies from mmu?
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Chief Wiggum
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Getting the First, IMO. Most people at Oxbridge will have 3A* or 4A* at A Level anyway, and only around 20% of them will get a First.
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Plagioclase
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If my first year has been anything to go by, getting a first... by a long shot. Just because more people proportionally get a first at a top uni doesn't necessarily mean that it's less difficult. I had to put in at least double the hours at university than I did at A Level.
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Mayeclv
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This is the most ridiculous thing I have read. Yes, getting 4 A* at A-level is hard but at 16-18 y/o all you really have to focus on is getting good grades to get into university. There are many other factors surrounding university life that may prevent people from getting a first e.g. Part-time jobs to cover your rent (student loans will NOT completely cover accommodation cost), applications for graduate jobs (a very lengthy process), socialising with friends, family commitments, general housework, volunteering etc... Getting a first is extremely hard work as it requires you to put in more hours of studying and reading around the subject than asked of. It is also requires you do to well in not just exams but course work, essays, online test and concsistently perform at a high level. If you get a first in an essay but a 2:2 in an MCQ test that will bring your average down to a 2:1, bare in mind there are no resit options at uni unless you do not gain 40% and even then it is capped at 40%. With A-levels you can get a B and still resist but if you get 45% you cannot as technically you have passed, therefore this could potential ruin your chances of getting a first class degree.
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math42
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lmao at the notion that 4A*s is harder
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tazarooni89
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(Original post by jneill)
An A* is 90%+ for A2 units.
A First is 70%+

3.4% of A-level students get A*A*A* (or better)
20% of uni students get a First (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30830918)

So 3A*s, or better, is harder than a First.
Does this take into account the fact that a large proportion of A-Level students don't actually end up going to university and get filtered out (most probably the ones that aren't so academically able)?
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