User188463
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(Original post by Ruthie_J)
I did the R.E AEA today - I didnt do any special preparation for it and I thought that it had been engineered for candidates to show a bit of flair and own knowledge/a bit of an original approach rather than spewing out all the things they'd revised like in the other papers. I kind of enjoyed it!
It doesnt bear any weight over my offers for Uni, so those of you asking whether its beneficial i'd say that it could be a helpful bargaining tool if your A2 results dont turn out to be so hot. My unis do know that i'm taking it.... so maybe it was taken into consideration, but I'll never know.
I'm all finished now, just waiting for those results
YES i do know how old this is! BUT - im contemplating doing an AEA for R.E and applying for theology at cambridge. Did cambridge take it in to account. Im doing 2 strong A-levels (history and theology) and 1 quite weak one (theatre studies) , so maybe it would help counteract the weak one?
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Ruthie_J
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Hey!

It's a little difficult to answer your question, because I took the AEA as a sort of optional extra. I mentioned it in my PS, but wasn't really counting on it in the same way that you might do - do help counteract a weaker A-level. Indeed, as I said in my original post, none of my chosen universities included it in their offers. As it stands, I'm not sure Cambridge - in my specific case - were too bothered about it.

In your case however, things might be a little different. I know that since I applied (I was interviewed in Dec 2005 after all!!!) things have changed regarding AEAs, and they're now included in the offers of certain colleges. Now that more and more people are acheiving As at A-level, and it becomes more and more difficult to differenciate between candidates, having an AEA in your subject is by no means a bad thing. Whether it would 'counteract' a weaker A-level however, is a question I just don't know the answer to! Sorry

What I will say, is that if you are a strong candidate, and believe you could meet an AAA offer, then apply to Cambridge. It doesn't matter if you're doing Theatre Studies - if you can prove yourself to be a gifted student, with a sharp mind and academic potential, then Cambridge may well make you an offer! If you're serious about applying for Theology, then I'd advise you (and almost expect that you'd want) to take the AEA anyway. It challenges you to think outside of the curriculum comfort zone, and pushes your way some of the sort of problems and questions you might well be looking at next year.

I apologise for the wishy-washy nature of my answer. Please do push me for a more specific one if you're not satisfied. Or, indeed, feel free to ask me about anything Theology/Cambridge/UCAS/A-level related.... hopefully I can give you some better answers

Ruthie x x

P.S I ended up with a distinction in my R.S AEA, and didn't do any revision. I don't say that to brag, but to make the point that it needn't become a stressy exam where you spend weeks running around trying to prepare for it. In my answers, I used stuff I'd read because it interested me, and extension material from the R.S course itself. Best of luck!!!
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Lidka
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(Original post by T-o dore)
YES i do know how old this is! BUT - im contemplating doing an AEA for R.E and applying for theology at cambridge. Did cambridge take it in to account. Im doing 2 strong A-levels (history and theology) and 1 quite weak one (theatre studies) , so maybe it would help counteract the weak one?
OK, for starters Theatre Studies is not 'weak'. I applied with it and it was never mentioned once as being somehow worse than my English or French A-levels (this was for English). For an Arts application, taking Theatre is fine.

It is irrelevant in your case anyway, as to be disadvantaged in the application procedure you would have to have two A-levels on the 'less than desirable' list, and you have two 'traditional', academic A-levels there already. So basically: don't stress. But DO take the AEA. It is highly unlikely it will be made part of your offer, and it won't be anything but beneficial. It's a really fun exam, too.
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Lidka
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(Original post by chris1200)
Actually, Theatre Studies in on the Cambridge list of non-traditional subjects which they do not favour (http://www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/unde...x.html#course).

I would imagine this is the same with individual college lists, such as Trinity.
I know that it is, and I think it shouldn't be. I'm tired of hearing people talking it down. If T-o dore had been doing several 'non-traditional' subject then I would have pointed out the problem - but that is a problem I see as lying with the university, and not with the A-level. As it is, the application is fine.
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Lidka
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(Original post by chris1200)
Well yes but, with complete respect, it's the people who decided who gets in and who doesn't who that put the subject on that list and whether you agree with it or not doesn't change that. Being realistic with the OP and letting them know the way the subject is seen is better than just telling them it's the same as the others.

I do Psychology, and have similar feelings to you - but I still acknowledged the reality of the situation and so made sure my other 2 subjects were strong 'traditional' subjects.

When a college, such as Trinity, says a subject an applicant is taking has 'limited suitability' - I would imagine an AEA could certainly bolster the application. And I completely agree with you that an AEA is a good idea whatever the situation, especially as Cambridge recommend you take at least one if you can.
Well, it is, and it isn't: I'm fairly sure my interviewers didn't have a direct hand in that list, and besides, they, not the faculty, were the ones who decided to accept me (without fuss about A-level suitability). My DoS doesn't even remember what A-levels I took - that's how much my college cares! And I like it that way.

I completely agree that students should know about that list, but I don't think it follows that they should then call their own A-level choices 'weak'. A label of 'unsuitability' by a college doesn't make an A-level 'weak' - or, even, necessarily, lacking in useful academic preparation. I think it's that particular adjective that annoyed me, actually. Especially when, in this case, there really was no need to worry.

As for Trinity's lists, don't get me started... :p:
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millymoo9
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OP: If you're at all worried about the AEA appearing in your offer, don't put it on the application form (this is the procedure at my school for all applicants). You can always mention it at interview if you want them to know about it and then, if you receive an offer, email them so that they know you're taking it (otherwise they might not 'look' for it when results come in).
I only decided at the last minute that I was doing the physics AEA and only because my physics teacher was convinced that I should. So I havnt told my college that I have. Does this mean that if I want them to know what I got in it, I should inform them that I've done it?
Thanks
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Mata
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(Original post by T-o dore)
YES i do know how old this is! BUT - im contemplating doing an AEA for R.E and applying for theology at cambridge. Did cambridge take it in to account. Im doing 2 strong A-levels (history and theology) and 1 quite weak one (theatre studies) , so maybe it would help counteract the weak one?
I applied for English and took English AEA 'for fun'. Put it on my UCAS form and it was made part of my offer. My offer was:

AA plus Merit at AEA.

So you can look at that in 2 ways. I only had to pass 2 A-levels and no specification was given for which two (was doing eng lit, eng lang and r.s.). BUT I was pretty confident of getting 3 A grades, and had no idea whether I could even pass an AEA which made it all a lottery again.

In my college (Peterhouse) I think I was the only person with AEA in my offer, though I think some other people did do it. Maybe they just wanted to randomly chuck it in - my AS UMS were extremely strong to the point where perhaps they literally just did it to make sure I had a challenge.

Basically, there's no telling what the heck they might do. Definitely DO the AEA. But your A-levels seem fine so perhaps don't put it on the UCAS form and just mention it in the interview, so they won't make an offer based on it.

AEA is a bit of an unknown quantity. If you are confident you can get AAA then there's no need to bring something else you are less familiar with into the UCAS mix. Do the AEA though - great fun!
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User188463
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(Original post by Mata)
I applied for English and took English AEA 'for fun'. Put it on my UCAS form and it was made part of my offer. My offer was:
AA plus Merit at AEA.
So you can look at that in 2 ways. I only had to pass 2 A-levels and no specification was given for which two (was doing eng lit, eng lang and r.s.). BUT I was pretty confident of getting 3 A grades, and had no idea whether I could even pass an AEA which made it all a lottery again.
In my college (Peterhouse) I think I was the only person with AEA in my offer, though I think some other people did do it. Maybe they just wanted to randomly chuck it in - my AS UMS were extremely strong to the point where perhaps they literally just did it to make sure I had a challenge.
Basically, there's no telling what the heck they might do. Definitely DO the AEA. But your A-levels seem fine so perhaps don't put it on the UCAS form and just mention it in the interview, so they won't make an offer based on it.
AEA is a bit of an unknown quantity. If you are confident you can get AAA then there's no need to bring something else you are less familiar with into the UCAS mix. Do the AEA though - great fun!
Thanks. To prepare for it, where would I find past questions or similar questions? And revision, so Im told, is unnecessary? Basically I should read loads of stuff around the subject and thats it?
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Ruthie_J
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(Original post by T-o dore)
Thanks. To prepare for it, where would I find past questions or similar questions? And revision, so Im told, is unnecessary? Basically I should read loads of stuff around the subject and thats it?
There's no 'syllabus' for the AEA; no course outline, so it follows naturally that you can't revise in the same way as you would for the A-Level R.S course. That doesn't mean you can't prepare though. Basically, I looked through a rough guide to theological thinkers in the last few centuries, read over the ins and outs of a few popular concepts.... just built on core knowledge from my course. I also remember that a couple of days before the exam I looked up past papers and examiners comments - they're always useful.

I came to the conclusion (and I wasn't necessarily correct, so don't quote me ) that the R.S and Philosophy AEA was all about analysis and argument. If you're familiar with theories like existentialism, anonymous christianity and verification/falsification debate then that's great, but I would say don't over-do it on learning new stuff. When I was in the exam, I tried to tailor a specific response to a given question, with a raw, personal, argument. I thought that putting something forward that was hopefully new and different to the other candidates would stand me in greater stead with the examiners.
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millymoo9
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(Original post by chris1200)
Well it's a double-edged sword. If you're sure you want them to look for it and see how you did, then yes. But if you think you might have failed (which most people do, let's face it) then maybe you don't want them to see it?

The advice we've been given, however, is that they'll only look for the qualifications we've stated we're taking unless we tell them we're doing an AEA.
yea that's what I was thinking, I think I may just keep it quiet lol
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Mata
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(Original post by chris1200)
Well it's a double-edged sword. If you're sure you want them to look for it and see how you did, then yes. But if you think you might have failed (which most people do, let's face it) then maybe you don't want them to see it?

The advice we've been given, however, is that they'll only look for the qualifications we've stated we're taking unless we tell them we're doing an AEA.
We were told that 1/3 fail, 1/3 get a merit (which is essentially a pass) and 1/3 get a distinction.

OP: I did English; suggest you take Ruthie_J's advice on this. We didn't do extra reading and it was ok but those doing theology seemed to need some more prep. I don't know where you'd get past papers and tbh the beauty of AEA for me was that I couldn't cram for it.

Just think dynamically, go beyond the syllabus, do everything you couldn't do in an exam. AEA is brilliant for creative, twisty thinkers, in my opinion.
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Lidka
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(Original post by chris1200)
Well that's quite wrong as a generalisation. Maybe it's correct for the subject you take, but I doubt it.

The majority fail AEAs - in my 2 subjects only about 6% get distinction and around 20% a merit. So a good 3/4 fail it.
Actually, I think that's about right for English. Obviously it differs hugely between subjects, though!
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Lidka
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(Original post by chris1200)
Wow, that's a lot higher than all the other subjects then. I'm surprised they'd have such a disparity...
I guess we're just good? :p:
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Lidka
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(Original post by chris1200)
Or, as someone at my school taking it told me, it's just bloody easy
It's only easy for those who are good...

Edit: if s/he hasn't got their results yet, how can they know it to be easy?
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User188463
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(Original post by Ruthie_J)
There's no 'syllabus' for the AEA
I dont see, if you dont have to do any real revision, why more people do not take AEAs. In my school literally noone takes them - a guy in the year above me did, but to the horror of his rs teacher. I'm just going to go for it, and try and dig out a couple past papers.

For R.S, do you get a choice? I mean, if I know much more about Philosophy of religion than the bible then I can answer a quation on that, right?
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Lidka
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(Original post by T-o dore)
I dont see, if you dont have to do any real revision, why more people do not take AEAs. In my school literally noone takes them - a guy in the year above me did, but to the horror of his rs teacher. I'm just going to go for it, and try and dig out a couple past papers.
Lack of publicity, maybe? Also, most schools have enough on their plate without dishing out extra exams (and extra money).
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epitome
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(Original post by T-o dore)
I dont see, if you dont have to do any real revision, why more people do not take AEAs. In my school literally noone takes them - a guy in the year above me did, but to the horror of his rs teacher. I'm just going to go for it, and try and dig out a couple past papers.

For R.S, do you get a choice? I mean, if I know much more about Philosophy of religion than the bible then I can answer a quation on that, right?
Yes, there are choices for the questions. Really, try and get hold of a past paper. This will answer lots of your questions.

As for why more people don't do them, as there's less revision etc...well, yes, there's no set syllabus to revise; but you do actually have to know something to pass them! :rolleyes: It's just that the majority of people who are going to get Distinctions in these things already read well enough beyond the syllabuses (either in terms of more material, or simply in sophistication -- both counts as 'wider reading'), so "revision" is unnecessary.
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Ruthie_J
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When I did mine, a really wide range of results came out between different subjects. Especially arts vs science. About 20 people sat the biology one for example, and every one of them failed it, even a girl who i'm now at Cambridge with.
Three of us took the R.S one on the other hand; I got a distinction, and another girl got a merit. About 10 did the english, there were no distinctions, but a handful of merits among them. I'm not sure if the results are any more level now, but I got the impression it was a quite volatile qualification.... I'm not sure I agree with the english one being 'easy', or any of them being easy for that matter!!!

In the case of Arts subjects at least, I think it's one of those cases where there's no easy/hard question per se, but it's how you answer the question that counts.
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Mata
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(Original post by Ruthie_J)
When I did mine, a really wide range of results came out between different subjects. Especially arts vs science. About 20 people sat the biology one for example, and every one of them failed it, even a girl who i'm now at Cambridge with.
Three of us took the R.S one on the other hand; I got a distinction, and another girl got a merit. About 10 did the english, there were no distinctions, but a handful of merits among them. I'm not sure if the results are any more level now, but I got the impression it was a quite volatile qualification.... I'm not sure I agree with the english one being 'easy', or any of them being easy for that matter!!!

In the case of Arts subjects at least, I think it's one of those cases where there's no easy/hard question per se, but it's how you answer the question that counts.
I agree with this. I noticed the R.S. people needed do do more extra reading (because they hadn't 'naturally' read extra stuff) and know more technical details.

For English, if you had the knowledge and the depth of understanding then it was pretty easy. The unseen texts were essentially basic practical criticism, and there was opportunity to do some creative writing. So all I had to do was interpret a text and write a poem. But that would have been very hard if I hadn't been reading loads and writing loads to begin with.

In our group of 16 there were 2 distinctions, a few merits and lots of fails. All were intelligent girls who would all go on to get A at A-level. It isn't hard or easy, it seemed to be an exam that would take you down if you didn't think in the right way but providing a lot of opportunity to do well if you did.
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GregoryJL
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It varies, I think. It seems a good feather in your cap if you are good enough to excel.

One option that hasn't been noted is taking the thing a year early, although that might be difficult if you haven't done the stuff for the A2 year yet. A friend of mine did just this and got a distinction in AEA biology - then again, he was ridiculously good at the subject. I imagine it strengthened his application considerably.

On the other hand, although I did very well in my AEA, it was RS, and thus pretty irrelevant to my course - although I hadn't decided to do it at my round of Cambridge applications, considering my offer didn't include any grade for the RS A-level, I doubt they would give a monkeys about my AEA. I likewise did no revision, and I thought it was rather fun.
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