Entering A-Levels maths, but only having completed foundation IGCSE maths (Edexcel)

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Phi1ip
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Hello

I have a student that has just completed Edexcel IGCSE maths – Foundation. However, for their university area of study they need to have A-level maths(not AS). I am trying to explore what options are available to still enter A-level mathematics and I have a few questions for someone that can kindly share their experience. We got into this pickle, as the classroom teacher pushed the student to do foundation without adequately checking the students career ambitions. We are not in the UK.


The school has a policy that in order to do A-level maths, the student must get a 6 in IGCSE maths. In foundation, the maximum grade possible is a 5. I am trying to determine if entering A-level maths is solely at the schools discretion or does Edexcel have some minimum entry criteria themselves. For example, I saw one school, details on the internet, that said for students with a grade of 5 or 6 in IGCSE, they may have an entry test before allowing enrollment in A-levels. I don’t know if their 5 had to be in Higher Tier or could have been in Foundation. It seems there are differing policies from school to school.


So, does anyone know if Edexcel themselves have any entry criteria and if so, what that would be? I tried looking on their website but could not see any info. If I email them and ask, I am not sure if I would get to the right person and whether they would reply at all.


Some rough calculations, IGCSE takes two years to complete, and 10 months for each year, and there are 10 subjects. Hence the time spent per subject is about 2 months(I am genius). If the student has completed foundation, about half of the Higher tier topics, it should take about one month of study to cover the Higher tier topics.(obviously depends on the student abilities etc, but just a ball park calculation). One month with a tutor over the summer could get the maths to an adequate level prior to the Sept 2019 kick off.


I don’t know what other variations there could be – completing an exam at an accredited examination centre – even if another exam board or ? Another solution that still achieves A-levels maths by June 2021.


I am all ears.

Cheers
Last edited by Phi1ip; 1 year ago
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gdunne42
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(Original post by Phi1ip)
Hello

I have a student that has just completed Edexcel IGCSE maths – Foundation. However, for their university area of study they need to have A-level maths(not AS). I am trying to explore what options are available to still enter A-level mathematics and I have a few questions for someone that can kindly share their experience. We got into this pickle, as the classroom teacher pushed the student to do foundation without adequately checking the students career ambitions. We are not in the UK.


The school has a policy that in order to do A-level maths, the student must get a 6 in IGCSE maths. In foundation, the maximum grade possible is a 5. I am trying to determine if entering A-level maths is solely at the schools discretion or does Edexcel have some minimum entry criteria themselves. For example, I saw one school, details on the internet, that said for students with a grade of 5 or 6 in IGCSE, they may have an entry test before allowing enrollment in A-levels. I don’t know if their 5 had to be in Higher Tier or could have been in Foundation. It seems there are differing policies from school to school.


So, does anyone know if Edexcel themselves have any entry criteria and if so, what that would be? I tried looking on their website but could not see any info. If I email them and ask, I am not sure if I would get to the right person and whether they would reply at all.


Some rough calculations, IGCSE takes two years to complete, and 10 months for each year, and there are 10 subjects. Hence the time spent per subject is about 2 months(I am genius). If the student has completed foundation, about half of the Higher tier topics, it should take about one month of study to cover the Higher tier topics.(obviously depends on the student abilities etc, but just a ball park calculation). One month with a tutor over the summer could get the maths to an adequate level prior to the Sept 2019 kick off.


I don’t know what other variations there could be – completing an exam at an accredited examination centre – even if another exam board or ? Another solution that still achieves A-levels maths by June 2021.


I am all ears.

Cheers
Edexcel has no entry criteria limiting who can take the A level exams. You would be allowed to enter them with no prior maths qualification of any kind.

Schools demand a grade 6 or frequently 7 to be allowed to study A level maths because this is the minimum standard of prior knowledge needed to be confident of A level success. There are always exceptions from people who performed unspectacularly in gcse and do succeed but in general experienced maths teachers will tell you they don’t.

A school might permit someone to study hard over the summer and take an internal test to decide if they have A level potential. I think you underestimate the gap between foundation and higher tier maths content but if they have the aptitude and work hard it could be possible. You would have to ask the school if this plan was acceptable.

Alternatively the student could prepare independently and pay to take A level maths exams as a private candidate. If they choose this route they are unlikely to get a predicted grade for maths for university applications.

A halfway solution might be to study privately and succeed in maths AS exams in 2020 and ask to join the A level class for the second year to complete the full A level.
Last edited by gdunne42; 1 year ago
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dextrous63
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As far as I am aware acceptance to course requirements is the decision of the school/college. Naturally, they don't want students not to succeed (which, to be blunt will affect the college's success data), and nor do they really want to be in a position that they'll have to spend too much extra time on any individual student coaching them through. Hence they only want to accept students onto a course who have demonstrated competence at a GCSE grade.

As for the student in particular, it would be worth his/her while not to spend any further time on GCSE topics, but to focus solely on the algebra skills required for AS level.
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Phi1ip
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(Original post by gdunne42)
Edexcel has no entry criteria limiting who can take the A level exams. You would be allowed to enter them with no prior maths qualification of any kind.

Schools demand a grade 6 or frequently 7 to be allowed to study A level maths because this is the minimum standard of prior knowledge needed to be confident of A level success. There are always exceptions from people who performed unspectacularly in gcse and do succeed but in general experienced maths teachers will tell you they don’t.

A school might permit someone to study hard over the summer and take an internal test to decide if they have A level potential. I think you underestimate the gap between foundation and higher tier maths content but if they have the aptitude and work hard it could be possible. You would have to ask the school if this plan was acceptable.

Alternatively the student could prepare independently and pay to take A level maths exams as a private candidate. If they choose this route they are unlikely to get a predicted grade for maths for university applications.

A halfway solution might be to study privately and succeed in maths AS exams in 2020 and ask to join the A level class for the second year to complete the full A level.
Thanks for your reply, it is appreciated.

I don't make too many assumptions about the difference in difficulty level of Foundation and Higher tier. The student is not a native English speaker. They transferred into an English speaking school a year or two before starting IGCSE without any preparation to enter an English speaking school that I know of(probably English I guess, but not maths). So their mathematical ability can't really be easily measured by their current level, as to whether they would handle it(Pity their class teacher did not understand this). The student was planning to study economics at university, and so needs mathematics.

Is it possible to Enrol in A-level Edexcel mathematics, and then if you find it too difficult then just complete the AS maths? Or simply drop out without too hefty a penalty. So now it's a little riskier. If the student had enrolled in higher tier, and just missed the grade of 6, then you could have been more confident in enrolling as a private candidate without a disaster.

Thanks for tip about a halfway solution, of asking to enter the class during the second year. That would mean hefty tuition for the first year...
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Phi1ip
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(Original post by dextrous63)
As far as I am aware acceptance to course requirements is the decision of the school/college. Naturally, they don't want students not to succeed (which, to be blunt will affect the college's success data), and nor do they really want to be in a position that they'll have to spend too much extra time on any individual student coaching them through. Hence they only want to accept students onto a course who have demonstrated competence at a GCSE grade.

As for the student in particular, it would be worth his/her while not to spend any further time on GCSE topics, but to focus solely on the algebra skills required for AS level.
Thanks for the reminder about focusing on algebra
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gdunne42
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(Original post by Phi1ip)
The student is not a native English speaker.

Is it possible to Enrol in A-level Edexcel mathematics, and then if you find it too difficult then just complete the AS maths?
If English language skills are the reason why the student took time to show their maths skills then there is a good possibility of persuading the school to give them a chance. The attached document is a good summary of the skills they would need to show to prove they have the potential for success.
https://1drv.ms/w/s!AoOnMwwH4txo3Wd0k_1ECMmyOUz5
Many students in UK schools start with 4 A levels and then focus on 3 or 3 plus an AS for exams. The school can advise if this is an option.
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