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OPTIONS MEETING - A levels

2020
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The British Education system

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Linear A Levels
• A Levels are all studied on a two-year linear basis.
• The school no longer offers AS Level exams at the end of
Year 12
• AS Maths can be taken over two years with the exam
taken at the end of Year 13.
• All Year 12 also take the IELTS at the end of year.

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Making the choice
• Do what you are good at and what you enjoy
• Remember that in the UK, apart from medicine and architecture,
most graduate jobs require no specific degree as qualification.
• Choosing a subject because you feel you ought to study it can lead
to stress and underperformance.
• Don’t take on too many subjects. It is quality not quantity that counts.
The best way to keep your options open is to do well in your exams.
Good grades give you more options!

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Match up your skills
• Different A Levels can need different skills such as essay writing,
discussion and debate skills, mathematical skills, practical
techniques and so on.
• You should consider how your own skills match up with those
needed to do each subject.
• However, your A Levels are also designed to help you develop new
skills that will equip you for study at degree level and beyond.

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What grades do I need?

Usually at least a B grade.


For some courses, some additional qualifications are expected:
- Biology: usually also requires a B grade in Chemistry and in Maths
- Further Maths: an A* in Maths
- Economics: at least a B grade in Maths and an A in a humanities
subject (e.g. Geography or History)

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Subjects that go together

• Many subjects support each other eg: Maths and Physics; Physics
and Chemistry; Chemistry and Biology; French and Spanish; History
and English; English/History and French; Geography and Economics
• The beauty of A levels is that you can mix and match the subjects; it
is possible - and in many cases - desirable to study subjects from
different parts of the curriculum and this can add variety and interest.

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Subjects required for specific degree courses

For many university courses, specific subjects are required, but the
requirements can vary from university to university
A good place to start is the UCAS website. Sometimes there are
requirements in terms of IGCSE grades (e.g. a B in Maths for business
is often required, but not the A Level).
We also have access to an online research platform which all Year 12s
are introduced to in order to help them explore their choices.

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Spanish A level

• Doing Spanish as a fourth A Level is a sensible option for many


students, but this is a serious undertaking and recent syllabus
changes have made the course much more demanding.
• Anything less than an A* does not reflect very well on a native
speaker and there is a substantial amount of content to learn about.

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Maths
• There are three different options for Maths
• A Level Maths: choose this if you are really interested in and enjoy
Maths not because you have been told to do it.
• Further Maths: this is not extra Maths. It is only really for those who
want to study Maths, Physics and some types of Engineering at
university
• AS Level Maths: This is an option if you want to keep up your Maths
level and not drop it altogether.

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Spanish universities
• To go to a Spanish university students need a minimum of 3 A levels at E
grade or above.
• A maximum of four A levels will be counted. If more than four A levels are
taken the best four results count.
• If a student needs to gain a mark of more than 10 to gain access to a
course, they willl need to take the “Pruebas de Competencia Específicas”
or ask for acceptance of their A levels in the university faculty where they
plan to study.
• A large part of the PCE material is included in A level subjects.
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Who to speak to
• Subject teachers
• Form teachers
• Heads of VI Form
• Parents
• VI Form students

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What will I learn?

• It is tempting to think of some A Level subjects being


useful and others not. This often comes from a
misunderstanding of what we actually learn and what is
typically applicable in "real life". As well as looking at the
content that you study, you should also think of the skills
that you will learn and develop

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Some examples
History: the skill of researching, interpreting, evaluating and reporting.
Maths: the skill of problem solving.
Geography: the skill of analysing data and responding.
Literature: the skill interpreting and responding creatively.
Physics: the skill of planning and carrying out an experiment.
Whilst some of the topics studied might not have an immediately
applicable use in the job market, these are all skills that are hugely in
demand from employers.

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Making decisions

• Don’t choose too many subjects


• Don’t base decisions on what friends are doing.
• Don’t choose a subject just because of a teacher.
• Parents should resist the temptation to choose the options
for their children.

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Making decisions

• Do choose something you enjoy and are interested in


• Do choose what you are good at.
• Do discuss choices with tutors, teachers and parents

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Key Dates

• Options meeting for Year 11 pupils: XXX


• Options meeting for Year 11 parents: XXX
• Deadline for Year 11 options: XXX
• Final deadline for Year 11 options: XXX

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Options website
The Runnymede Options website

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Transferable skills
• Independent study skills
• Organisational skills
• ICT skills
• Communication skills
• Time management
• Creativity
• Flexibility
• Resilience
• Etc…

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Transferable skills

Link to article

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Extra info
http://www.6thformcollege.com Password: sixth form

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Emotional wellbeing
• The next few months can be stressful for the Year 11s.
• They may feel under pressure regarding decision making,
taking their IGCSE exams or other issues.
• If you are concerned about your child's emotional
wellbeing then please let us know.
• It is important that students get some time to rest and
relax over the summer.

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Signs of distress
Some signs of distress include: • Anxiety
• Poor sleep and bad dreams • Eagerness to please
• Becoming withdrawn • Fluctuations in appetite
• Overactivity and excitability • Tearfulness
• Attention seeking • Complaints about health
• Angry outbursts • Avoiding communication

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Summer Schools

• Rarely do these add any value to a university application


• Only do for interest not for CV building

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