Moosemoss
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My son is about to start studying for a physics degree at St Andrews and isn’t sure which year to start in. He has 4 A-levels - 2A*s (Physics and Maths) and 2As (Further Maths and Computer Science), so academically 2nd year seems to be a good fit. Would he miss out on the first year experience though? And would the students who have already been there a year be an impenetrable clique?

Any experience or advice would be very helpful.
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Abi)(M
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The only reason to start 2nd year would be if you've already done first year. I had a friend who comfortably got 3 A*'s at A level and struggled with first year of physics. It's not only the physics he will miss out on, but also a whole different way of learning.
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A Rolling Stone
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(Original post by Moosemoss)
My son is about to start studying for a physics degree at St Andrews and isn’t sure which year to start in. He has 4 A-levels - 2A*s (Physics and Maths) and 2As (Further Maths and Computer Science), so academically 2nd year seems to be a good fit. Would he miss out on the first year experience though? And would the students who have already been there a year be an impenetrable clique?

Any experience or advice would be very helpful.
ignore the other poster with all due respect to him/her...

there are myriad subjects that you can do direct 2nd entry in St Andrews and it's always baffled me to why this option is almost exclusively taken by physics/maths students.

if his priority is saving tuition fees, do it.

if his priority the full university experience, do first year. IMO you only live once so this option is better, but he may have different priorities to me
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Leaderboard
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(Original post by Moosemoss)
My son is about to start studying for a physics degree at St Andrews and isn’t sure which year to start in. He has 4 A-levels - 2A*s (Physics and Maths) and 2As (Further Maths and Computer Science), so academically 2nd year seems to be a good fit. Would he miss out on the first year experience though? And would the students who have already been there a year be an impenetrable clique?

Any experience or advice would be very helpful.
I'd say go for it (saying this as someone who also took direct entry, but in a different subject).

"Would he miss out on the first year experience" - Not in general. However, he will miss the 'broadness' - with Physics 90 credits (out of 120) are core in second year, so the most you can fit is a pair of second year math modules (or alternatively a pair of first-year modules in any subject). In first year, only 60 credits are core, so that gives more space to take modules unrelated to his subject.

"And would the students who have already been there a year be an impenetrable clique" - No. Physics is actually (the most?) popular subject to take direct entry in, so I would think that he'll find others who started in the same year.

Academically, direct entry students can do very well. Two of my friends took second-year entry in Physics, and both did well (getting firsts in their core modules).
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Abi)(M)
The only reason to start 2nd year would be if you've already done first year. I had a friend who comfortably got 3 A*'s at A level and struggled with first year of physics. It's not only the physics he will miss out on, but also a whole different way of learning.
Scottish universities (at least the ancient ones) have a different structure to UK universities. Second year there is equivalent to first year in an English university, broadly. First year there would be more like a foundation year here.

(Original post by Moosemoss)
My son is about to start studying for a physics degree at St Andrews and isn’t sure which year to start in. He has 4 A-levels - 2A*s (Physics and Maths) and 2As (Further Maths and Computer Science), so academically 2nd year seems to be a good fit. Would he miss out on the first year experience though? And would the students who have already been there a year be an impenetrable clique?

Any experience or advice would be very helpful.
Blue_Cow started in direct/second year entry for CS at Edinburgh I believe, and might be able to comment more generally on the social aspects of that among other things. However Edinburgh is a much bigger university so, some of those experiences may not scale down so much to a smaller uni like St Andrews. Might help contextualize things at least!
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