Switching to A-levels after a year of doing the IB - a good idea?

Watch
<liverpoolfc>
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 12 years ago
#1
So here's the thing - I've completed my first year of ib, almost going into the second year and I've decided that the ib is definitely not for me (yes i know, its taken me a whole year to realise that!) - so I'm going to do a-levels instead. Now I also want to do medicine in uni - and my question is would I be disadvantaged in any way for being 1 year behind, or would it reduce my chances of getting into medicine? Yes, I've heard that medical schools only want students who have achieved their a-levels over a maximum of 2 years. But surely its different in my situation?

Any advice would be most appreciated!
0
reply
Samsoonie
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#2
Report 12 years ago
#2
Of course your chance will not be reduced at all. You can state clearly in your application that you DO feel unsuitable for the IB course. But just bear in mind, A-levels are less intense than IB if you do about 3-4 subjects, hence if the problem arises from the heavy assignments, experiments, you can go for A-levels. However, if it's just because you could not handle the syllabus, I do not recommend this due to the fact that A-levels' syllabus would be more deep than IB's.
If possible, please tell me what subjects you'd like to take...
0
reply
afua12
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#3
Report 12 years ago
#3
just curious what it is about the IB you're not suited to?

I'm not particularly pleased with it atm either, but after a year itmust be something really annoying for you to switch.

ooh - maybe, because you'll probably have done a lot of the work, squeeze a levels into one year? I don't know how possible that would be, but I should iamgine that there is a considerable amount of overlap between the two courses, and if you just worked really hard to catch up o nthe stuff the IB syllabus doesnt cover, and get used ot A level markings etc. it may be do-able?
Ignore me if that's nonsense though...
0
reply
talespirit
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#4
Report 12 years ago
#4
I'd say A-levels from what i've heard is more in depth than the IB...so doing that in 1 year would most probably not work. If you insist on doing a-levels though, i suggest you start from year 1 and complete it in 2 years. Yes you will be older than everyone else, but in uni, age doesn't really matter cuz some people take a gap year anyhow.

As a home student, IB would not give you much advantage unless you get above 40 points. I'd say A-levels would give you a better chance.
0
reply
SuicidalLemming
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#5
Report 12 years ago
#5
I'm doing the opposite for the same reasons :p: I'm really not suited to A-levels and the IB course looks more of what I'm interested in.

Unless you're aiming for top universities you shouldn't be too disadvantaged by having another year..I'm waiting on replies from a couple to see what they said about having changed after a year..I'll let you know when I get replies
0
reply
<liverpoolfc>
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 12 years ago
#6
Thanks for your advice guys!

The reason i want to change is just that i honestly can't keep up with the work rate..pressure etc. And another thing - I think when i first took the ib i wasn't 100% sure on what i wanted to do in uni - but now i definitely want to do medicine! So i think I'd rather concentrate on the more important subjects..biology and chemistry and get a good grade in them than having to cope with 6 subjects (along with the ee and tok!) and maybe not get such a decent grade in the them. And with the ib its all about the overall performance and with unis asking for very high scores for the ib for medicine I really don't think I'm suited for it at all. I think the one thing that may still nag me after I change is the fact that i may have wasted a whole year..stressing over assignments..IA's etc..for nothing. And I'm already half way through my extended essay as well! :p: but i guess if i do get into medicine it would have been worth it! Its only a year....

(Original post by SuicidalLemming)
Unless you're aiming for top universities you shouldn't be too disadvantaged by having another year..I'm waiting on replies from a couple to see what they said about having changed after a year..I'll let you know when I get replies
Thanks!
0
reply
TI-84
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#7
Report 12 years ago
#7
that is a good idea, I wish I had done that
A-levels are as in-depth as an IB HL course.
0
reply
Solya
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#8
Report 12 years ago
#8
You won't be disadvantaged obviously, and it's very good you realized IB was not for you before it was too late! Some suffer through and get crappy grades while some recognize the need for change.

IB also seems to be pretty clearly discriminated against by UK unis, if you want to stay there definitely do A levels.
0
reply
afua12
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#9
Report 12 years ago
#9
^ Solya, I've heard that a couple of times, but I've never seen any evidence of it myself. I heard that they accept internationals with lower marks than nationals, but apart from that, I havent heard of how/why?
0
reply
Solya
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#10
Report 12 years ago
#10
(Original post by afua12)
^ Solya, I've heard that a couple of times, but I've never seen any evidence of it myself. I heard that they accept internationals with lower marks than nationals, but apart from that, I havent heard of how/why?
Well there's a lot of literature about this on the internet...Of course, there is no clear evidence, only 'what if'. But, the highest offer a uni can give is AAA, which is, as many say, a lower achievement than 40+ in the IB. I read once in The Times that some calculated that AAA is equal to about 36 IB points....even if it's not so getting more than that in IB does require a lot of work and creative input. And I saw a lot of 38-39-41-41 offers, even 43. In all honestly 40+ is not really about knowledge/talent anymore, it's about luck...whether you get the good questions, you slept well the prev day and all.
Anyway just for comparison, the standard offer for my course was ABB/AAB, while I was given one of 38 points with 666 on HL. I don't know that much about A levels so I cannot judge... but for god's sake it's 3 subjects, while we do 6 plus EE TOK CAS.

This discrimination thing might have to do with the fact too that many who apply with IB are non-UK, and unis probably prefer either UK or overseas (home/paying lol). In my class a lot of ppl got rejected by top and not so top unis with predicted grades above 40...

Anyway IB is a lot of work imo and not all of it is necessary... and A levels seem to be more focused, and I just feel they're a safer way to uni in the UK.
0
reply
CocoPop
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#11
Report 12 years ago
#11
^ Well, to back your statement, Solya, we can look at percentages of students receiving specific grades.

My sister was rejected from Imperial because she achieved 37 points while her offer was 38. However, she got a 6 and 7 in higher chemistry and bio, and a 7 in maths (not HL). The percentage of students who received a 7 in Bio this year was 4%, as opposed to something like 33% getting an A at A level. If she took A levels in bio, chemistry and maths, I can almost guarantee you that she would have achieved 3 As, but sadly her other subjects in IB brought her overall score down. She applied for biomedical science, just to make that clear.

Less than 10% get 7s in Higher subjects at IB, as opposed to A level, where about 30% get As in the sciences, 40% get As in Maths (and even 50% in further maths). There's gotta be some sort of Discrimination against the IB!

Now I'm no expert on A levels, and I don't disrespect anyone taking the A levels, but looking purely at percentages (and considering that in general, the IB is more available to upper class people - who are expected to score higher), there are potential students who take the IB getting rejected from universities that they deserve to get into.

If you want to switch to A levels, and you feel that the IB isn't for you, I suggest you go for it...
0
reply
<liverpoolfc>
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#12
Report Thread starter 12 years ago
#12
Thanks a lot everyone! I think I've more or less made my mind up now..and will change to a-levels. Only thing left now is for me to choose my subjects - I was thinking..biology, chemistry, physics, english, critical thinking (and then drop the last 2 for a2). Only reason im taking 5 is that critical thinking is only offered as a fifth subject and I really liked TOK, with critical thinking being very similar..so I really want to take it. Only thing I'm unsure about is english - i havn't got a problem with english but I'm just wondering what you guys think - as i want to medicine so will english be alright..or should I go for an alternative?
0
reply
afua12
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#13
Report 12 years ago
#13
Perhaps you could take philosophy instead of critical thinking? Critical thinking is often ignored by universities, whereas philosophy is traditional/respected/whatever you want to call it. I take philosophy hl, and there is quite a lot of overlap. Our teacher keeps telling us that "tok is not watered down philosophy" but it is really :p:

That way you'd be putting in maybe just as much work, but it would count for something? Just a thought.
0
reply
final1
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#14
Report 12 years ago
#14
AAA = 360 UCAS points
IB 28 points = 373 points.

Normal IB offers who also give AAA offers to A-Level students, around 38 (605 UCAS points)

Equivalent AAA offer for IB is infact equivalent to around 5 A's (600 points)

Put this a little clearer. My offer for my course was 38, 605 points.
For the same course, they gave AAB offers to A-level students, 340 points.

You judge if it's fair.
0
reply
Solya
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#15
Report 12 years ago
#15
(Original post by final1)
AAA = 360 UCAS points
IB 28 points = 373 points.

Normal IB offers who also give AAA offers to A-Level students, around 38 (605 UCAS points)
Gosh this is utterly shocking. Where did you get this from?
I'm just really wondering what makes unis set such high requirements of IB students...like, they don't want the hard working all-rounder intellectual elite IB's supposed to turn us into?

To CocoPop: I'm really sorry about your sister...couldn't she beg them to let her in? She missed it only by a little....

But I totally understand what you mean. Like, I got 3 7s, 2 6s and a 4 in Maths Methods SL, and that brought down my score despite the fact that it doesn't have anything to do with either my interests or my actual course. Had I been an A level student I could've dropped Maths like 2 years ago and ended up with almost a perfect score, just as I ended up with 3 7s in my most important subjects. Still because I did the IB my maths grade counted into my offer, and preparing for the exam took away a lot of time and effort to prepare for my important exams my uni gave extra conditions for.

I was actually thinking to switch from IB after the end of the first year but being EU I didn't have any other chance to study abroad
0
reply
final1
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#16
Report 12 years ago
#16
Those are from the official UCAS tarriff scores. See it for yourself right here; http://www.ucas.com/students/ucas_tariff/tarifftables/

The whole IB table is here:

International Baccalaureate (see note 5) Points
Diploma
45 768
44 744
43 722
42 698
41 675
40 652
39 628
38 605
37 582
36 559
35 535
34 512
33 489
32 466
31 442
30 419
29 396
28 373
27 350
26 326
25 303
24 280


Why? Because these offers 'feel' right. They have been giving AAA offers for years and they can't believe that a low 30's score is equivalent.

edit: Around 0.1% of people get full marks in the IB (I believe), around 30% get full marks in A-levels.

edit 2: Exeter is the only University which somewhat applies this table and gives offers fairly. Many people in my school are given offers of 29-31 for courses that ask of AAA for A-Level students.
0
reply
<liverpoolfc>
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#17
Report Thread starter 12 years ago
#17
Goshhh..that really is shocking! :eek:
0
reply
Solya
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#18
Report 12 years ago
#18
(Original post by final1)
Those are from the official UCAS tarriff scores. See it for yourself right here; http://www.ucas.com/students/ucas_tariff/tarifftables/

The whole IB table is here:
You're making me cry

Yeah this feels right thing is true... I have the impression that 38+ is considered as 'good' in IB, and no one bothers to see how much work is actually behind that (compared to A levels). In my school ppl who do around 36 or below are considered under average and everyone gives them pitiful smiles...

Edit: I heard that Notthingham uni prefers IB, and miraculously many many ppl I know ended up with an offer from them while being rejected by better or worse unis. Also Dundee uni is pretty nice, they gave many of us offers for 32 pts and they're not such a bad uni.
0
reply
afua12
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#19
Report 12 years ago
#19
(Original post by Solya)
Edit: I heard that Notthingham uni prefers IB, and miraculously many many ppl I know ended up with an offer from them while being rejected by better or worse unis. Also Dundee uni is pretty nice, they gave many of us offers for 32 pts and they're not such a bad uni.
The above posts made me feel a little wary, but this made me smile Nottingham is the only place I want to go that offers my course. So yay

I read this also in one of the articles. I don't know who wrote it, so I asked, but didn't get any replies, so does anyone on here know why it is that they prefer it? Is it just that they like the qualificaion or something else?
0
reply
Solya
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#20
Report 12 years ago
#20
(Original post by afua12)
The above posts made me feel a little wary, but this made me smile Nottingham is the only place I want to go that offers my course. So yay

I read this also in one of the articles. I don't know who wrote it, so I asked, but didn't get any replies, so does anyone on here know why it is that they prefer it? Is it just that they like the qualificaion or something else?
Perhaps they have nice admissions tutors who actually check what they're dealing with before they decide on a poor IB applicant.
What course do you want to do?
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

How are you feeling ahead of starting University?

I am excited and looking forward to starting (51)
13.53%
I am excited but have some apprehension around Covid-19 measures (51)
13.53%
I am concerned I will miss out on aspects of the uni experience due to new measures (141)
37.4%
I am concerned the Covid-19 measures at uni are not strong enough (41)
10.88%
I am nervous and feel I don't have enough information (72)
19.1%
Something else (let us know in the thread!) (21)
5.57%

Watched Threads

View All