A Level/Uni HELPWatch
So basically I started sixth form in 2018; I attended a completely new school, so had to adjust to new people & teachers, & the 3 subjects I chose were Maths, Eng Lit & Chemistry. I’d be lying if I said it started off as well as I wanted it to in regards to work ethic in itself but about 2 months in, just when I thought I was beginning to get a grip of what A levels entailed a load of personal life problems started to crop up; my best friend from my old secondary school was killed in a car accident, not long after this my mother had a stroke (Shes been ill most of my life and me and my siblings have often had to look after her) and my siblings throughout the year just kept on having more and more issues. A lot of these really shook me up, for the entirety of year 12 I just sort of drifted; I felt like I had nobody to talk to & I would honestly just try to get through my lessons, which I didn't enjoy (esp Maths & Chemistry) as opposed to trying to learn. I finished the year with awful grades and I just kept putting on weight. When summer came around I felt a little more focused & decided to try and make a change to try and stop the repeat of year 12 happening in year 13, and decided I’d return in the summer and speak to my school to drop chemistry (my most hated subject, however Maths wasn’t far behind). My school spoke to me & said it should be fine; they said that I could continue in Maths & English in year 13 and complete the exams in the summer as planned, and that I would be able to take history in year 12 and then take a year sort of year 14 where I spend the year only doing history. This was great and honestly year 13, although not perfect, went much better for me; I put more work in and really tried to save my grades (which was a really difficult challenge in itself), but then of course the corona virus pandemic happened and changed a lot.
This proved to throw a huge spanner in the works. I had managed to increase my grades by perhaps one in English, but I was really banking on the fact I would sit the exams in the summer in an attempt to save myself (esp in Maths), however this obviously didn’t happen. I knew I would fail maths as things stand so I just hoped I would get at least a B in English as I could work with that for uni. When results day came around, I would be lying if I said I didn’t know I had already screwed up, and I ended up getting a B in English Lit, a B in EPQ & a D in Maths. The two B’s I was happy with but I knew I’d have to retake maths in order to get into any uni, let alone the good ones.
Eventually “year 14” came round (this year) and my focus shifted entirely to history. Now this is where I feel like I made a mistake. I tried to be strategic and clever regarding Maths and I think it may have come back to bite me. Essentially, I went into the year thinking I’d use the lessons at school and learn History with the support of my 6th form, then use a service called uplearn and learn the entirety of the Maths course over the year (as I felt like I knew nothing) through that & then sit all of the exams (History & Maths) at the end of the year, however around October time, I had decided I wouldn’t be applying for university next year (to attend in summer 2021), & instead planned on going the year after (for the 2022 summer) when I'm 20 and thought it might be best if I focused entirely on history this year, then do the entirety of the maths course next year as I knew I wouldn’t be going & then when I did go to apply through UCAS, I would also have two actually A levels & a EPQ to apply with and probably a predicted grade around an A in Maths (as uplearn guarantee and A or A* or your money back).
This is where it gets a little harder to explain really; as the year went on I decided that in order to do maths, I'd need to relearn everything anyway, and realised that it wasn't a required subject for any of the uni courses I intend on applying to, so I decided instead of putting myself through the pain of a level maths again, that I would probably be better off learning an entirely different subject all together and I’ve decided on learning psychology instead; uplearn offer a course on it & its also a subject I've always been interested in.
It is now June 2021 and I have recently finishedu with history and I am most likely to get a B in it, which means I will definitely need an A in psychology to get into my uni choices. This essentially means I will be taking an A level from scratch & taking the entire 2-year AQA A level psychology course independently, within one year. I have found an online school which provide people with the option of taking an A level in a year and they said they could provide me with a predicted grade for when I need to apply, however they said they would be unable to provide me with a personal reference and can only give me a factual one. I also currently have some questions about applying to university. I want to study Law.
I will do four a levels but will have failed one; do I need to include it on my UCAS? If I do I would have BBD with an A predicted grade, would I get like down upon for this?
Do I qualify for the widening access programs that quite a lot of universities have? I’ve had to care for my mother for almost all of my life as she has multiple health issues.
If I did how would I let universities know this?
I would have done my a levels over 4 years technically, would unis like Edinburgh, Sheffield, Cardiff, Aberdeen consider me for such a competitive course like Law? I mean for some of them I make the entry requirements if I qualify for the widening access program
I need an A in Psychology in order to apply anyway; how many hours do you think I’d need to set aside a week to learn the entire course to an A or A* level?
On a lot of online a-level courses it keeps mentioning UCAS points after I finish the course; I'm not too familiar with this, does it mean I will receive something weaker then an actual grade; in the sense that it won't be valued as much as a A-level grade if you know what I mean?
On most online courses it says they won't be able to provide me with a personal reference, but instead a factual letter that confirms my enrolment and the course. What I'm wondering is if this is a big deal, and if universities look down upon this? I am likely going to get references from my other two subjects and form tutor. Also this is also another question, but is it only one reference which gets sent off through UCAS or is it an individual reference per subject?
Sorry for the long barrage of information, but I thought it important that I explain the full situation so you all get a clear understanding as well as wanting to get it off my chest. I will be very grateful for any help