My school may refuse to issue me a UCAS predicted grade as I did AS outside Watch

hallzhuu
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Hi guys,

I study at a Cambridge International school. In my school, people usually finish A-level Maths in Y12 and A-level Further Maths in Y13.

However, I finished learning the course content by myself much faster than anyone else and my teacher's teaching pace was thus much too slow for me. I applied to my school to do the exams at my school earlier but was refused, probably because they did not trust me.

As a result, I did Edexcel's International A-level Maths and AS-level Further Maths outside of the school without telling any teachers.

Now I got very decent results for both my A-level Maths and AS-level Further Maths, but I am afraid that my school refuse to issue me a predicted A2 grade for my UCAS application because I did not study the subject in my school, especially when it is a different exam board from my school's.

I have not asked my school but I think very probably the answer is no. Has anybody heard anything like this in your school? What was the outcome?

If my school does refuse, is there anything I can do? Any advice or opinion is greatly appreciated.
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artful_lounger
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I don't really see what the benefit of you taking these exams earlier was; universities in the UK don't care whether you take exams early, provided you are taking a full set of exams (i.e. three A-levels worth) in year 13. As far as I'm aware you need to do all units with the same exam board to earn the qualification, so this may have issues for the A2 Further Maths units and overall A-level in FM. I would recommend you discuss the matter with your school's exam officer as soon as possible so you can figure out a route forward.

Regarding predicted grades, these are technically optional as I understand; PQ might be able to advise on the procedure for what to do without predicted grades? You might need to have your academic referee note on your reference that they are unable to provide predicted grades, or otherwise notify the universities.
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I don't really see what the benefit of you taking these exams earlier was; universities in the UK don't care whether you take exams early, provided you are taking a full set of exams (i.e. three A-levels worth) in year 13. As far as I'm aware you need to do all units with the same exam board to earn the qualification, so this may have issues for the A2 Further Maths units and overall A-level in FM. I would recommend you discuss the matter with your school's exam officer as soon as possible so you can figure out a route forward.

Regarding predicted grades, these are technically optional as I understand; PQ might be able to advise on the procedure for what to do without predicted grades? You might need to have your academic referee note on your reference that they are unable to provide predicted grades, or otherwise notify the universities.
Yes, I would do all Maths and FM with Edexcel, so it is the same exam board.
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I don't really see what the benefit of you taking these exams earlier was; universities in the UK don't care whether you take exams early, provided you are taking a full set of exams (i.e. three A-levels worth) in year 13. As far as I'm aware you need to do all units with the same exam board to earn the qualification, so this may have issues for the A2 Further Maths units and overall A-level in FM. I would recommend you discuss the matter with your school's exam officer as soon as possible so you can figure out a route forward.

Regarding predicted grades, these are technically optional as I understand; PQ might be able to advise on the procedure for what to do without predicted grades? You might need to have your academic referee note on your reference that they are unable to provide predicted grades, or otherwise notify the universities.
Thank you very much for your advice but when you finish learning it, is it not a pain to you having to sit in the classroom, repeating what you already know very well? That was what it was like to me. And I thought having an achieved grade at the time of application may be more reliable than a predicted one. (Though I may be wrong according to you. )
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by hallzhuu)
Yes, I would do all Maths and FM with Edexcel, so it is the same exam board.
You said your school does a different exam board than what you sat; if so you will need to sit the A2 exams externally with the same exam board you've already done the AS exams in, to my knowledge.

(Original post by hallzhuu)
Thank you very much for your advice but when you finish learning it, is it not a pain to you having to sit in the classroom, repeating what you already know very well? That was what it was like to me. And I thought having an achieved grade at the time of application may be more reliable than a predicted one. (Though I may be wrong according to you. )
I would see it as more valuable experience to go over the material again to make sure you not only know it, but have mastered it. In terms of predicted vs achieved grades, universities in the UK are used to making offers on the basis of predicted grades, so in principle it shouldn't make any difference. Good achieved grades might be beneficial for courses you might otherwise be a borderline applicant for (e.g. if you were applying to a course that emphasised GCSE grades but you have weaker GCSEs or equivalent). I don't think it would make a significant difference in general, but for some universities or courses it might make more of a difference maybe?
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You said your school does a different exam board than what you sat; if so you will need to sit the A2 exams externally with the same exam board you've already done the AS exams in, to my knowledge.



I would see it as more valuable experience to go over the material again to make sure you not only know it, but have mastered it. In terms of predicted vs achieved grades, universities in the UK are used to making offers on the basis of predicted grades, so in principle it shouldn't make any difference. Good achieved grades might be beneficial for courses you might otherwise be a borderline applicant for (e.g. if you were applying to a course that emphasised GCSE grades but you have weaker GCSEs or equivalent). I don't think it would make a significant difference in general, but for some universities or courses it might make more of a difference maybe?
Yes, I understand that I will need to sit the A2 exams externally and that is what I was planning to do.

As competition for top UK unis get more intense (at least as far as we international students are concerned), applicants are trying to do everything they can to increase their chances of being admitted. I know of a few successful Oxbridge applicants who took exams earlier, though that by no means prove that doing exams earlier is beneficial. The most extreme case I have heard of is a guy who had achieved four 5s in AP subjects and 4 A*s in A-levels by the time of his application!

Is what I and those guys have done very uncommon in the UK?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by hallzhuu)
Yes, I understand that I will need to sit the A2 exams externally and that is what I was planning to do.

As competition for top UK unis get more intense (at least as far as we international students are concerned), applicants are trying to do everything they can to increase their chances of being admitted. I know of a few successful Oxbridge applicants who took exams earlier, though that by no means prove that doing exams earlier is beneficial. The most extreme case I have heard of is a guy who had achieved four 5s in AP subjects and 4 A*s in A-levels by the time of his application!

Is what I and those guys have done very uncommon in the UK?
Yes, it is fairly unusual (other than the general pattern of those taking maths and further maths doing the full set of A-level Maths exams in year 12 and then the A-level Further Maths exams and teaching in year 13, which is not that uncommon).

Certainly in principle Oxbridge normally only make offers on the basis of 3 A-level subjects, and for UK students at those taking more A-levels are normally only required to pass minimally (or even just to sit the exam) for any additional subjects offered, provided they meet the standard entry criteria with 3 A-levels (sometimes the subjects are specified).

For medicine this may not apply though, since I am aware for international students there are a fixed quota of places at any given medical school, so competition is fierce for those few places. For other courses though I'm not sure it is necessarily the case that doing more qualifications is specifically preferred, as it will generally be very academically able students who do take additional qualifications (who may well have been likely to get an offer even if they didn't take extra subjects).
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Yes, it is fairly unusual (other than the general pattern of those taking maths and further maths doing the full set of A-level Maths exams in year 12 and then the A-level Further Maths exams and teaching in year 13, which is not that uncommon).

Certainly in principle Oxbridge normally only make offers on the basis of 3 A-level subjects, and for UK students at those taking more A-levels are normally only required to pass minimally (or even just to sit the exam) for any additional subjects offered, provided they meet the standard entry criteria with 3 A-levels (sometimes the subjects are specified).

For medicine this may not apply though, since I am aware for international students there are a fixed quota of places at any given medical school, so competition is fierce for those few places. For other courses though I'm not sure it is necessarily the case that doing more qualifications is specifically preferred, as it will generally be very academically able students who do take additional qualifications (who may well have been likely to get an offer even if they didn't take extra subjects).
I genuinely appreciate your very helpful replies. I think what I will do is probably take all the A2 FM units this summer and obtain a full AL FM qualification so that I will not need a predicted grade from my school. I just can't be bothered to study A-level Maths again at school and will drop it (I got full marks in the exam) because I think doing some extra learning to further my understanding in my subject is more helpful than learning what I have already learned all over again. I will discuss this with my teachers but I think I can expect them to be quite a bit upset about what I have done. But anyway, it had already happened and I did get very good results so they probably can't do anything about it.

I am not applying for medicine, but I think the competition for my ideal course (Engineering at Cambridge) is still intense. Statistics says that international uni applicants from my country have increased by 30% last year and may be expected to continue to increase due to Trump's increasing hostility (so a lot of people shifted from US to UK).
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by hallzhuu)
I genuinely appreciate your very helpful replies. I think what I will do is probably take all the A2 FM units this summer and obtain a full AL FM qualification so that I will not need a predicted grade from my school. I just can't be bothered to study A-level Maths again at school and will drop it (I got full marks in the exam) because I think doing some extra learning to further my understanding in my subject is more helpful than learning what I have already learned all over again. I will discuss this with my teachers but I think I can expect them to be quite a bit upset about what I have done. But anyway, it had already happened and I did get very good results so they probably can't do anything about it.

I am not applying for medicine, but I think the competition for my ideal course (Engineering at Cambridge) is still intense. Statistics says that international uni applicants from my country have increased by 30% last year and may be expected to continue to increase due to Trump's increasing hostility (so a lot of people shifted from US to UK).
Have you already taken A-level Maths? You can't just take A-level Further Maths without A-level Maths, at least to meet UK uni entry criteria. Additionally Cambridge normally will expect you to be taking a full complement of exams at the end of year 13/equivalent (i.e. in your A2 year) so you will normally be expected to be taking units for A2 exams in three full subjects in a single sitting. Due to the difference now in how IAL courses are examined comapred to A-levels in the UK this may not be the case but I would strongly suggest you contact the Cambridge Admissions Office (and/or the college(s) you plan to apply to) in order to confirm this before making any decisions about exam entries!
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hallzhuu
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Yes, I have already taken IAL Maths and got full UMS marks in it (which is why I am so reluctant to studying it again in school). I have also taken IAS FM already. But I think doing exams in separate sessions may be acceptable for IAL because I asked a number of my friends who got offer from Cambridge and they told me their offers do not mention anything like "in one sitting". Plus, imao if there is any problem with taking exams earlier, I should have heard about it already from my classmates! I will probably also contact the Admissions Offices to make sure. Thank you for the reminder!
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by hallzhuu)
Yes, I have already taken IAL Maths and got full UMS marks in it (which is why I am so reluctant to studying it again in school). I have also taken IAS FM already. But I think doing exams in separate sessions may be acceptable for IAL because I asked a number of my friends who got offer from Cambridge and they told me their offers do not mention anything like "in one sitting". Plus, imao if there is any problem with taking exams earlier, I should have heard about it already from my classmates! I will probably also contact the Admissions Offices to make sure. Thank you for the reminder!
If you've already taken the A-level then there's no need to re-sit the exam, but going over the material again in class isn't that bad a thing, since a good chunk of it will be used in the FM topics you'll be doing so the extra practice will help you stay sharp with it. Checking with the CAO is probably worthwhile, just to make sure. It may be that it's not an issue since as you note, IAL is a different format to how domestic A-levels are done now. Good luck with your application
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
If you've already taken the A-level then there's no need to re-sit the exam, but going over the material again in class isn't that bad a thing, since a good chunk of it will be used in the FM topics you'll be doing so the extra practice will help you stay sharp with it. Checking with the CAO is probably worthwhile, just to make sure. It may be that it's not an issue since as you note, IAL is a different format to how domestic A-levels are done now. Good luck with your application
Thank you very much! Have a good one!
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Muttley79
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(Original post by hallzhuu)
Yes, I would do all Maths and FM with Edexcel, so it is the same exam board.
You'll have to declare the grades you've already got! What is the point of predictions unless you are resitting?
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by Muttley79)
You'll have to declare the grades you've already got! What is the point of predictions unless you are resitting?
I mean if I do not finish all the A2 FM units before my UCAS application, I will need a prediction for A2, won't I? Now that I have decided to work a bit more to get all A2 FM units done this summer before my application, I indeed don't need a prediction. I reckon this is probably the safest approach to avoid any potential problems.

I am just afraid what the school's reaction will be once I declare my results; I heard my principal and teachers do not like what I have done at all. What do you think? Would you say that this is a serious misbehaviour from the school's point of view?

I really had no other alternative because my school was just not allowing me to sit exams earlier internally, which I (and many other people around me) believe will increase my competitiveness when applying. I heard many other international schools in my country was allowing students to do so, I just don't know what the problem with mine is.
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Have you already taken A-level Maths? You can't just take A-level Further Maths without A-level Maths, at least to meet UK uni entry criteria. Additionally Cambridge normally will expect you to be taking a full complement of exams at the end of year 13/equivalent (i.e. in your A2 year) so you will normally be expected to be taking units for A2 exams in three full subjects in a single sitting. Due to the difference now in how IAL courses are examined comapred to A-levels in the UK this may not be the case but I would strongly suggest you contact the Cambridge Admissions Office (and/or the college(s) you plan to apply to) in order to confirm this before making any decisions about exam entries!
Regarding the acceptability of A2 exams taken prior to Y13, this page of Cambridge University says "If you've already gained the qualifications required, you may be made an unconditional offer". Would you say this suggests it means unis (at least Cambridge) don't mind exams taken earlier (and may like it)?

P.S. I really have heard of a case where a guy was made an unconditional offer by Cambridge, possibly because he finished A2 already at the time of his application but I am not 100% confident I remembered it correctly.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by hallzhuu)
Regarding the acceptability of A2 exams taken prior to Y13, this page of Cambridge University says "If you've already gained the qualifications required, you may be made an unconditional offer". Would you say this suggests it means unis (at least Cambridge) don't mind exams taken earlier (and may like it)?

P.S. I really have heard of a case where a guy was made an unconditional offer by Cambridge, possibly because he finished A2 already at the time of his application but I am not 100% confident I remembered it correctly.
This is for people who have taken all of their exams already, e.g. gap year applicants.

Per their website: "Our typical offers are based on students taking three A Levels together in Year 13, and most Cambridge applicants are studying three or four A Level subjects in Years 12 and 13" (emphasis mine)

Further: "What's the University's position on qualifications taken early?
Although the University's in favour of stretching and challenging learners, this shouldn't be at the expense of levels of achievement and we'd discourage students from being entered for public examinations early unless top grades will be obtained.
There are also potential disadvantages to taking qualifications early in subjects where the knowledge and understanding will be required at university. Students who haven't studied a key subject in a structured way in the year before they arrive at university can find their knowledge has atrophied.
Where students are successfully taking qualifications early, we'd still want to see evidence that they can cope with a workload equivalent to three A Levels taken simultaneously; and offers are normally made on the qualifications being taken in Year 13 (or equivalent). However, individual circumstances are taken into account when assessing each application – seek advice from a College admissions office if you have particular queries.
If a student has taken A Level Mathematics early and is applying for a course that requires it, please refer to the A Level guidance in the Entrance requirements section." (emphasis mine again)
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myra17
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
This is for people who have taken all of their exams already, e.g. gap year applicants.

Per their website: "Our typical offers are based on students taking three A Levels together in Year 13, and most Cambridge applicants are studying three or four A Level subjects in Years 12 and 13" (emphasis mine)

Further: "What's the University's position on qualifications taken early?
Although the University's in favour of stretching and challenging learners, this shouldn't be at the expense of levels of achievement and we'd discourage students from being entered for public examinations early unless top grades will be obtained.
There are also potential disadvantages to taking qualifications early in subjects where the knowledge and understanding will be required at university. Students who haven't studied a key subject in a structured way in the year before they arrive at university can find their knowledge has atrophied.
Where students are successfully taking qualifications early, we'd still want to see evidence that they can cope with a workload equivalent to three A Levels taken simultaneously; and offers are normally made on the qualifications being taken in Year 13 (or equivalent). However, individual circumstances are taken into account when assessing each application – seek advice from a College admissions office if you have particular queries.
If a student has taken A Level Mathematics early and is applying for a course that requires it, please refer to the A Level guidance in the Entrance requirements section." (emphasis mine again)
Guys! Any suggestion what I can with the following situation:


I have 69 in math in y11, keele requires 70%. I meet every other criteria, I don’t know what to do. This is for medicine btw
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hallzhuu
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
This is for people who have taken all of their exams already, e.g. gap year applicants.

Per their website: "Our typical offers are based on students taking three A Levels together in Year 13, and most Cambridge applicants are studying three or four A Level subjects in Years 12 and 13" (emphasis mine)

Further: "What's the University's position on qualifications taken early?
Although the University's in favour of stretching and challenging learners, this shouldn't be at the expense of levels of achievement and we'd discourage students from being entered for public examinations early unless top grades will be obtained.
There are also potential disadvantages to taking qualifications early in subjects where the knowledge and understanding will be required at university. Students who haven't studied a key subject in a structured way in the year before they arrive at university can find their knowledge has atrophied.
Where students are successfully taking qualifications early, we'd still want to see evidence that they can cope with a workload equivalent to three A Levels taken simultaneously; and offers are normally made on the qualifications being taken in Year 13 (or equivalent). However, individual circumstances are taken into account when assessing each application – seek advice from a College admissions office if you have particular queries.
If a student has taken A Level Mathematics early and is applying for a course that requires it, please refer to the A Level guidance in the Entrance requirements section." (emphasis mine again)
Ok... I agree you have a point but for me, it is already to the point where I don't really have any alternative unless I can persuade my school to give me an A2 FM predicted grade because otherwise, I must finish A2 FM exams in order to put it in my UCAS. However, my school giving me a prediction seems rather unlikely to me, though I have not asked yet. I will ask them soon and hopefully, they can be too kind to surprise me.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by myra17)
Guys! Any suggestion what I can with the following situation:


I have 69 in math in y11, keele requires 70%. I meet every other criteria, I don’t know what to do. This is for medicine btw
Retake the exam is the only option, if Keele accepts resits for medicine. Also please make your own thread instead of posting something off-topic in someone elses thread.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by hallzhuu)
Ok... I agree you have a point but for me, it is already to the point where I don't really have any alternative unless I can persuade my school to give me an A2 FM predicted grade because otherwise, I must finish A2 FM exams in order to put it in my UCAS. However, my school giving me a prediction seems rather unlikely to me, though I have not asked yet. I will ask them soon and hopefully, they can be too kind to surprise me.
You don't need to take all 3 subjects with one provider; you just need to be taking a full complement of exams. Also as stated above predicted grades aren't necessarily required, and if you are unable to get a predicted grade from your school it shouldn't affect your application if they are aware of the situation. I'd recommend when you speak with the CAO that you explain you may not get a predicted grade for one of your subjects from your school as you are sitting it externally. I am sure they will understand.
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