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Resitting A levels in University foundation year

Would resitting some of my A levels to see if I can progress up to a better University be worth it?
Original post by 4doors4morehoes
Would resitting some of my A levels to see if I can progress up to a better University be worth it?


I usually recommend resitting A Levels as opposed to doing a foundation year.

For one it's cheaper. Two, it's a lot more flexible and transferrable than a foundation year.

Not every university will accept your foundation year, and it's notoriously difficult to transfer to another university that way. However, A Levels are always accepted, so long the university is not particularly picky about when you do them.

Which A Levels are you thinking of resitting?
Original post by MindMax2000
I usually recommend resitting A Levels as opposed to doing a foundation year.

For one it's cheaper. Two, it's a lot more flexible and transferrable than a foundation year.

Not every university will accept your foundation year, and it's notoriously difficult to transfer to another university that way. However, A Levels are always accepted, so long the university is not particularly picky about when you do them.

Which A Levels are you thinking of resitting?

3 different ones

Mathematics, Physics and I’m torn on either econ or business
Original post by 4doors4morehoes
3 different ones

Mathematics, Physics and I’m torn on either econ or business


What degree do you want to do?

If you want to do something more mathematical, then econ might help in the sense it's more analytical.

If you want to have basic business knowledge that you can use to set up a business later in life, then Business is the better choice.

Having said that, there's nothing stopping you from doing a 4th one later down the line.

Since you have established Maths and Physics as your firm choices, I presume you are thinking of doing physics or engineering at degree level. In which case, which of the 2 other A Levels won't matter; it can even be in something as random as Art, so long you get a high grade in it.

If you have second thoughts (or my presumption above is incorrect), and you want to do something like Economics (quantitative), Financial mathematics, Actuarial Science, Data Science, Data Analytics, Computer Science, then all you would need to be concerned about having is Maths A Level. The other subjects tend not to matter as much, unless you intend to apply to a top end university where they are asking for Further Maths on top.

On the other hand, if you are thinking of doing a Maths degree, then I would go for further maths where possible.

Bear in mind, if you do Physics, you will likely have to do a practical assessment (or it's strongly recommended that you do, since a number of university courses do ask for it) if you aren't specifically resitting Physics A Level. The practical assessment can cost £1000, and can be a complete pain to do along with the exams.
If you have done Physics A Level before, but are just restting the exams, then you can ask for your practical assessment from your previous A Level to be transferred over, and just sit the exams.

So to sum up, pick the A Level that you can get the higher grade in, be it Econ or Business.
Original post by MindMax2000
What degree do you want to do?

If you want to do something more mathematical, then econ might help in the sense it's more analytical.

If you want to have basic business knowledge that you can use to set up a business later in life, then Business is the better choice.

Having said that, there's nothing stopping you from doing a 4th one later down the line.

Since you have established Maths and Physics as your firm choices, I presume you are thinking of doing physics or engineering at degree level. In which case, which of the 2 other A Levels won't matter; it can even be in something as random as Art, so long you get a high grade in it.

If you have second thoughts (or my presumption above is incorrect), and you want to do something like Economics (quantitative), Financial mathematics, Actuarial Science, Data Science, Data Analytics, Computer Science, then all you would need to be concerned about having is Maths A Level. The other subjects tend not to matter as much, unless you intend to apply to a top end university where they are asking for Further Maths on top.

On the other hand, if you are thinking of doing a Maths degree, then I would go for further maths where possible.

Bear in mind, if you do Physics, you will likely have to do a practical assessment (or it's strongly recommended that you do, since a number of university courses do ask for it) if you aren't specifically resitting Physics A Level. The practical assessment can cost £1000, and can be a complete pain to do along with the exams.
If you have done Physics A Level before, but are just restting the exams, then you can ask for your practical assessment from your previous A Level to be transferred over, and just sit the exams.

So to sum up, pick the A Level that you can get the higher grade in, be it Econ or Business.


A £1000 is crazy,
Maths, Computer Science and Business it is then

I’ve already started self teaching A level maths and computer science in my free time as I don’t do these at sixth form. Both are relatively difficult subjects do you think I can reasonably obtain As in both by next year summer?
Original post by 4doors4morehoes
A £1000 is crazy,
Maths, Computer Science and Business it is then

I’ve already started self teaching A level maths and computer science in my free time as I don’t do these at sixth form. Both are relatively difficult subjects do you think I can reasonably obtain As in both by next year summer?

Well, I did A Level Maths privately, and the whole thing cost me just under £1000 (e.g. course, exam fees, books, calculators). You can try to self teach, but the results will depend on yourself.

Since you are switching A Level subjects so easily, I am curious to what specific subject you intend to do at university. If you don't mind mentioning, I would be able to see what you actually need.

I haven't done Computer Science (nor do I intend to at any level), so I don't know how you would fair. It's better to ask someone who has done it.

For maths, I have went over the entire syllabus in 2-3 months. However, I practiced a lot in order to get an A out of it e.g. 14 past papers, an entire book of practice questions, a lot of reviewing of old material, a lot of YouTube videos. So yes, you can get an A by next summer, but you will have to work hard for it.
Original post by MindMax2000
Well, I did A Level Maths privately, and the whole thing cost me just under £1000 (e.g. course, exam fees, books, calculators). You can try to self teach, but the results will depend on yourself.

Since you are switching A Level subjects so easily, I am curious to what specific subject you intend to do at university. If you don't mind mentioning, I would be able to see what you actually need.

I haven't done Computer Science (nor do I intend to at any level), so I don't know how you would fair. It's better to ask someone who has done it.

For maths, I have went over the entire syllabus in 2-3 months. However, I practiced a lot in order to get an A out of it e.g. 14 past papers, an entire book of practice questions, a lot of reviewing of old material, a lot of YouTube videos. So yes, you can get an A by next summer, but you will have to work hard for it.

The subject I want to do at university is Computer Science or something finance/economics related.
Original post by 4doors4morehoes
The subject I want to do at university is Computer Science or something finance/economics related.


Then you will definitely be better off resitting A Levels as opposed to doing a foundation year.

Also, you would only care about getting Maths A Level (ideally Further Maths as well if you're up for it). The other 2 A Levels can be anything you want. If you don't like the look of Computer Science, I would switch it out and do something else quickly. All that matters really for the other 2 A Levels is high grades (ideally they are in academic subjects, but still just high grades).

It's said that computer science at degree level will be very different from doing it at A Level; not so much in terms of difficulty, more so in terms of content, which is why it's not a required subject for computer science degrees. On the other hand, you would be using a lot of maths, where the material you learn in A Level maths will be useful (hence why that's a required subject). You would also be coming across matrix calculations, which is why they are usually looking for Further Maths (to at least AS Level) where possible.

Economics won't be required for economics related degrees for similar reasons as above. The reason why A Level maths (and possibly further maths) is required for quantiative economics degrees is similar to the above.

I have strong bias, but unless you intend to go into academic research in finance or computer science, I would pick the economic subjects. You won't need a degree in finance or computer science to work in industry (most won't consider them relevant). For most finance roles, you're not qualified to go into the role unless you have a professional qualification specific for the role (I'm guessing due to regulatory requirements). You are also better off doing professional qualifications in IT since they are more relevant to the specific role in tech than a computer science degree.
The only advantage with an economics degree is that you can then become an economist should you choose to, as well as becoming an academic.
As with any degree, you can do jobs that require no degree or degrees in any random subjects.
Note, if you later decide to do a postgrad conversion course, there are conversion courses for economics and computer science. For finance postgrads, they would be asking for either a related or quantitative undergrad (economics or computer science should fit the bill, but I would check with the specific course).
Original post by MindMax2000
Then you will definitely be better off resitting A Levels as opposed to doing a foundation year.

Also, you would only care about getting Maths A Level (ideally Further Maths as well if you're up for it). The other 2 A Levels can be anything you want. If you don't like the look of Computer Science, I would switch it out and do something else quickly. All that matters really for the other 2 A Levels is high grades (ideally they are in academic subjects, but still just high grades).

It's said that computer science at degree level will be very different from doing it at A Level; not so much in terms of difficulty, more so in terms of content, which is why it's not a required subject for computer science degrees. On the other hand, you would be using a lot of maths, where the material you learn in A Level maths will be useful (hence why that's a required subject). You would also be coming across matrix calculations, which is why they are usually looking for Further Maths (to at least AS Level) where possible.

Economics won't be required for economics related degrees for similar reasons as above. The reason why A Level maths (and possibly further maths) is required for quantiative economics degrees is similar to the above.

I have strong bias, but unless you intend to go into academic research in finance or computer science, I would pick the economic subjects. You won't need a degree in finance or computer science to work in industry (most won't consider them relevant). For most finance roles, you're not qualified to go into the role unless you have a professional qualification specific for the role (I'm guessing due to regulatory requirements). You are also better off doing professional qualifications in IT since they are more relevant to the specific role in tech than a computer science degree.
The only advantage with an economics degree is that you can then become an economist should you choose to, as well as becoming an academic.
As with any degree, you can do jobs that require no degree or degrees in any random subjects.
Note, if you later decide to do a postgrad conversion course, there are conversion courses for economics and computer science. For finance postgrads, they would be asking for either a related or quantitative undergrad (economics or computer science should fit the bill, but I would check with the specific course).

Thanks you've helped a lot.

My final question is if I'm sitting 3 exams privately how do I go about getting predicted grades? Should I also pay for mock exams? I'm aiming to get into the top universities UoB, Durham, KCL and UCL to just name a few. I will probably end up studying a less difficult degree that allows for me to have more free time that I can use to pursue my other goals mainly being entrepreneurship and like you said gaining qualification which make me more attractive to employers.
Original post by 4doors4morehoes
Thanks you've helped a lot.

My final question is if I'm sitting 3 exams privately how do I go about getting predicted grades? Should I also pay for mock exams? I'm aiming to get into the top universities UoB, Durham, KCL and UCL to just name a few. I will probably end up studying a less difficult degree that allows for me to have more free time that I can use to pursue my other goals mainly being entrepreneurship and like you said gaining qualification which make me more attractive to employers.


If you are going to study your A Levels privately, I don't know of any way of getting predicted grades, which is usually why I recommend online A Level courses because at least you would get a tutor who is able to give you a reference and be able to give you a predicted grade based on the performance on your assignments.
There are usually no mock exams for private students (beleive me, I wish there were). Mock exams are usually for sixth form colleges, and they are usually held by themselves i.e. independent from the exam boards and unofficial.
The only things you should really be paying for (since you're not doing any science subjects) are the exam fees and admin fees (other than the calculators you need, books you want to buy, revision material you want, etc.).

pursue my other goals mainly being entrepreneurship and like you said gaining qualification which make me more attractive to employers.
Demonstrating entrepreneurship is usually attractive to employers. Just to check you're not overdoing it (since you would be doing a degree on the side), what sort of things fo you have in mind?
In terms of qualifications, it's probably best if you look into the specific role that you want to go into before doing any further qualifications. Granted, a lot of these qualifications can be done in a few months or less and cost less than £1000, but I wouldn't go crazy with it. Lisitng random qualifications in your CV can hurt you more than it helps. If you want me to loot into it, let me know.
Original post by MindMax2000
If you are going to study your A Levels privately, I don't know of any way of getting predicted grades, which is usually why I recommend online A Level courses because at least you would get a tutor who is able to give you a reference and be able to give you a predicted grade based on the performance on your assignments.
There are usually no mock exams for private students (beleive me, I wish there were). Mock exams are usually for sixth form colleges, and they are usually held by themselves i.e. independent from the exam boards and unofficial.
The only things you should really be paying for (since you're not doing any science subjects) are the exam fees and admin fees (other than the calculators you need, books you want to buy, revision material you want, etc.).

pursue my other goals mainly being entrepreneurship and like you said gaining qualification which make me more attractive to employers.
Demonstrating entrepreneurship is usually attractive to employers. Just to check you're not overdoing it (since you would be doing a degree on the side), what sort of things fo you have in mind?
In terms of qualifications, it's probably best if you look into the specific role that you want to go into before doing any further qualifications. Granted, a lot of these qualifications can be done in a few months or less and cost less than £1000, but I wouldn't go crazy with it. Lisitng random qualifications in your CV can hurt you more than it helps. If you want me to loot into it, let me know.

A full time tutor is expensive but I will still consider it.

For my entrepreneurial journey, I've mainly just considered online based middle-man services, I wouldn't have to spend hours working as i'd delegate the task to someone else.

I will probably end up working in either IT or finance so qualifications would be in either sector.

Thanks you've helped a lot
Original post by 4doors4morehoes
A full time tutor is expensive but I will still consider it.

For my entrepreneurial journey, I've mainly just considered online based middle-man services, I wouldn't have to spend hours working as i'd delegate the task to someone else.

I will probably end up working in either IT or finance so qualifications would be in either sector.

Thanks you've helped a lot

Where I said online course, I meant A Levels with online colleges. You can pay for a course with them for £400-900 per subject, depending on the college, and the course comes with a tutor. The course will also issue 8-10 assignments that you can do for each unit. The material will be according to the syllabus the course is taught in (so I would only pick online courses that teach the syllabus of the exam board that you want to sign up with).
If you want me to give specific examples for maths, I can do (you will have to find the colleges that do A Level Business Studies and Computer Science).

So "dropshipping services" or arbitraging services? For example if you want to develop a web design agency, you hire freelancers who you pay at a cheaper rate than you charge to design the website for you, whereas you focus on front office and making sales. Is this what you mean?

The sectors are fine. However, I would still be asking for the specific role. There are dozens of qualifications out there for both sectors, and I can be here all day going through each one.
In finance for example, do you prefer customer facing and salesy, or less customer facing and more operations focused? Do you like calculations more than selling? Which area of finance are you particularly interested in: mortgages, stockbrokering, insurance, banking, financial advisory, pension, investment banking, asset management, fund management, consulting, etc.?
In IT, there are various areas you can go into: software development, cybersecurity, web development, cloud computing, database, data management, etc. Is there a particular area that interests you more than the others? Why is this?
It's going to be significantly easier if you can give me a description of your character/personality as well as your specific reasons to why you want to go into the sectors. If money is your only motivator, then you might struggle to find a suitable role. If you do it because there's an aspect of the job that you really enjoy, then you can have a chance of getting in and lasting.
By the way, irrespective of whether you get a degree or not, once you have a professional qualification you can be qualified to go straight into the job. For example, if you got a stockbrokering qualifcation over the summer before or during your degree, you will be a qualified stockbroker irrespective of when you get your degree. It will show that you have enthusiasm for the job and that you have done your homework when applying for the role, and it makes getting internships easier if you know precisely which roles you are going for. However, if the rumours about some employers are true, then there's a chance they will try to get you to drop your degree and just go straight into the job. I would recommend finishing the degree first irrespective of what the employer says (and they can be persuasive).

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