Author Topic: A level options  (Read 10087 times)

Re: A level options
« Reply #50 on: July 25, 2016, 03:03:26 pm »
New ones are probably harder (although how that relates to grades is anyone's guess),  and are decoupled from AS, so backloads all the pressure to Year 13. Good news for procrastinators!

Back to how they used to be, then? We had our exams at the end of Upper Sixth; Lower Sixth was for procrastination.

Re: A level options
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2016, 03:28:44 pm »
Other possible good news for you is that Ofqual produced a study of grade disparity between subjects, and found there was a two grade difference in difficulty between the easiest and the hardest subjects at A level (phys, chem, f.maths, multiple being the hardest) and are running a consultation on how to redress this.

How do they measure that?  Even if there is an objective way to measure the hardness of Physics compared to, say, Geography, wouldn't the same technique be able to settle once and for all that bollocks that old people talk about exams getting easier?

They measure it in a variety of ways  ;)

If interested go and find the Ofqual inter-subject comparability study published this year, or see the Coe study of 2006 by Prof Coed of Durham University which drew similar conclusions.


Re: A level options
« Reply #52 on: August 24, 2016, 10:25:06 am »
Sums, Stuff, Stinks and Frogspeak here. I'm an academic now...

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Re: A level options
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2016, 10:39:58 am »
GCSE results day tomorrow - yikes!
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Re: A level options
« Reply #54 on: August 24, 2016, 08:13:51 pm »
Nephew #10 gets his tomorrow AAW. Wants to be a lawyer. Suspect he'll choose Arts, probably Drama and 3 Serious Subjects.

Re: A level options
« Reply #55 on: September 06, 2016, 02:05:31 pm »
New ones are probably harder (although how that relates to grades is anyone's guess),  and are decoupled from AS, so backloads all the pressure to Year 13. Good news for procrastinators!

Back to how they used to be, then? We had our exams at the end of Upper Sixth; Lower Sixth was for procrastination.

Depends where you went I guess. At my sixth form college we sat mock exams at the end of Lower Sixth (1993). There were exceptions but the general rule seemed to be that, based on the mocks, anyone predicted anything below a C for an A-Level was pushed down to AS level, and anyone predicted anything below a C at AS level was booted off the course.

This was at the height of league table shenanigans. 3rd best A-Level results in the country the year I got mine (1994), best state school (#1 and #2 in the country were rather famous private schools).

I procrastinated lots but survived the cull.
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Woofage

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Re: A level options
« Reply #56 on: September 06, 2016, 05:01:08 pm »
Don't remember personally. I do remember sitting my last paper (Physics) and heading off to my first Glastonbury that afternoon. I think tickets were about £13 in those days (about £40 in today's money). We did something called AO Maths at the end of L6. I guess that's been replaced by AS levels. Pretty sure everyone got an A.

Miss W came home from her first day in 6th form yesterday to tell us that there are 7 people in her Maths class :thumbsup:.
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Re: A level options
« Reply #57 on: September 06, 2016, 05:13:17 pm »
I did English, History and Archaeology.

I now work as a transport planner/modeller and spend all my time doing numerical and statistical analysis.  A maths A Level would probably have come in handy.

fd3

Re: A level options
« Reply #58 on: November 12, 2016, 11:05:59 pm »
...wouldn't the same technique be able to settle once and for all that bollocks that old people talk about exams getting easier?
A simpler technique would be to look at the papers from 5 years ago, 10 years ago and last year.  At the end of the last spec they were setting questions worth 1 mark when the same thing was worth 3 marks five years earlier.  The previous spec? Don't make me laugh!
...
I have no experience of A levels from 20+ years ago though, so they could have been hard as nails.
[/I could be wrong]

Re: A level options
« Reply #59 on: November 13, 2016, 09:06:23 am »
Started with sums with levers, electrickery, and stuff.

Finished with psychosis, a speech impediment, and an AS level in reading books. Ended up an academic psychologist (via Access when you could still do it whilst signing on JSA and smiling sweetly at the advisor meant no questions asked). Even in the state I sat through maths with mechanics, I took away enough to be the kid who found stats easiest on my degree, and could go toe to toe with faculty from second year on. I think admissions have figured out how vital maths is for psychology; a maths a-level is very desirable on our course, and a B at GCSE is minimum (in the context of us asking for AAA at A-Level).

Re: A level options
« Reply #60 on: November 13, 2016, 06:09:51 pm »
I did Latin, History, English at A level. Classics at university. I am now retired but all my working life I was a programmer/software engineer. I was mostly involved with operating systems software. In those days a lot of programmers were recruited as graduates without necessarily any knowledge of computers and the recruiters trained them themselves. The maths I needed during my career was trivial.

Woofage

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Re: A level options
« Reply #61 on: November 13, 2016, 09:36:32 pm »
It seems many 6th form students also do a project called EPQ which looks like it could be a lot of fun, and is worth half an A-level. Miss W is taking hers in an art type subject (she took art at GCSE and got an A) rather than adding more SCIENCE.
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Woofage

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Re: A level options
« Reply #62 on: August 24, 2018, 02:46:58 pm »
I'm pleased to report that Miss W now has some A levels and will soon go to a University to study some SCIENCE.

it's all good :thumbsup:
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Re: A level options
« Reply #63 on: September 03, 2018, 08:53:09 am »
 :thumbsup:

Congratulations  :D
Quote from: Kim
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Woofage

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Re: A level options
« Reply #64 on: November 04, 2019, 03:21:20 pm »
Woofage jnr has some GCSEs (9s and 8s, clever b***er) and is studying Babbage, sums and stuff at A-level.

He wants to study even more Babbaging at University. Does anyone have any inside info or advice?
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Re: A level options
« Reply #65 on: November 05, 2019, 10:53:32 am »
I did an MSc in Computing Science at Newcastle in 2002-03 (as a mature student; my 1st degree was in Chemistry, back in the early 1990s), and now work as a software tester.
What sort of information / advice are you looking for?

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: A level options
« Reply #66 on: November 05, 2019, 12:24:55 pm »
I did (amongst other, less successful things) Computer Science at Kent (then UKC) in 2001-2003.  The department was notable for having an extremely hands-on approach, without the over-emphasis on gratuitous Hard Sums that people like to cram into STEM subjects to add credibility.  I'm not sure the department is as well respected as it used to be thobut, which is a shame, given its history as one of the first in the UK.

My advice (especially if you're good at Hard Sums[1] or have more than a passing interest in hardware) would be to give serious consideration to related fields, such as Software Engineering, CSE or EE.  Or even something specialist like Avionics.  Lower-level stuff isn't sexy, but is probably a good career move.  You're going to be learning the specifics of whatever you end up doing by googling anyway, so a thorough grounding in the fundamentals is more valuable in the long term than whatever the current fad is while you're a student.

And the golden rule of not applying to any university that is in the process of building a Shiny! New! department with bleeding-edge facilities that will totally be ready[2] in time for September applies.


[1] Top tip: don't go near an engineering course unless you think Further Maths (or modern equivalent) sounds like fun.
[2] Spoiler:  It won't.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Woofage

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Re: A level options
« Reply #67 on: November 09, 2019, 12:41:39 pm »
I did an MSc in Computing Science at Newcastle in 2002-03 (as a mature student; my 1st degree was in Chemistry, back in the early 1990s), and now work as a software tester.
What sort of information / advice are you looking for?

I know it was a long time ago, but is Newcastle somewhere you can recommend for CS?
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Woofage

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Re: A level options
« Reply #68 on: November 09, 2019, 04:22:38 pm »
I did (amongst other, less successful things) Computer Science at Kent (then UKC) in 2001-2003.  The department was notable for having an extremely hands-on approach, without the over-emphasis on gratuitous Hard Sums that people like to cram into STEM subjects to add credibility.  I'm not sure the department is as well respected as it used to be thobut, which is a shame, given its history as one of the first in the UK.

My advice (especially if you're good at Hard Sums[1] or have more than a passing interest in hardware) would be to give serious consideration to related fields, such as Software Engineering, CSE or EE.  Or even something specialist like Avionics.  Lower-level stuff isn't sexy, but is probably a good career move.  You're going to be learning the specifics of whatever you end up doing by googling anyway, so a thorough grounding in the fundamentals is more valuable in the long term than whatever the current fad is while you're a student.

And the golden rule of not applying to any university that is in the process of building a Shiny! New! department with bleeding-edge facilities that will totally be ready[2] in time for September applies.


[1] Top tip: don't go near an engineering course unless you think Further Maths (or modern equivalent) sounds like fun.
[2] Spoiler:  It won't.


Excellent advice as usual Kim. He's really enjoying the HARD SUMS at the moment (I told him he would) but I still think he'd prefer a course that's isn't too theoretical (probably rules out Cambridge, which is a bit of a relief). I doubt that he would choose EE as he has no apparent interest in h/w.

Interestingly, Leeds is in the process of building a Shiny! New! facility with a target completion in about a year's time. This still leaves almost a year before Woofage jnr would start University, should he decide to go there.
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Re: A level options
« Reply #69 on: November 09, 2019, 08:58:15 pm »
No1 & No2 Sons did All The Hard Sums & both got A* & A* @ A level. No1Son went to Warwick (2013-16) but pissed it away and finished with nothing- he did Decision Maths and didn't hand in his dissertation. No2Son went for something Purer @ York and has a First - but given he was supposed to come out with a Masters you can see they both lack sticking power. Most important thing is that they needed to know what they're doing it for. Neither son had has a clue.
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Re: A level options
« Reply #70 on: November 09, 2019, 10:37:37 pm »
Speaking from a EE perspective

As per Kim, definitely go for as general a course as you can.  So not as per Kim, don't go for 'Avionics' or whatever, go for vanilla CS, or even a joint CS-Maths degree if that takes your (or rather, his) fancy.  There will be stuff that you think you're interested in beforehand but which turns out to be either hard or boring, and there will be other stuff that you didn't think you'd like until you get there.  Similarly, try to go for a department that is part of a larger faculty so you can move around a bit if you want. 

A case in point: muggins.  My degree is in Electronic Engineering, which is notable for the absence of a "Electrical and ... " prefix; unlike most EE (a.k.a. EEE) departments, mine had no power engineering courses.  I ended up specialising in electromagnetic stuff that was right up next to that sorta thing, and a couple of those courses at undergrad could have opened up a whole new sector of jobs to me.  Not to worry, I've done okay for myself but I do see a whole load of people in industry who have physics degrees and are also doing perfectly well for themselves.  It's always easier to specialise later rather than try to climb out of the over-specific hole you've dug for yourself.

Kim

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Re: A level options
« Reply #71 on: November 09, 2019, 11:35:09 pm »
As per Kim, definitely go for as general a course as you can.  So not as per Kim, don't go for 'Avionics' or whatever, go for vanilla CS, or even a joint CS-Maths degree if that takes your (or rather, his) fancy.

My thinking behind 'Avionics' was that being a combination of lower-level CS, a large helping of EE and enough Aero Eng that you don't break out in cold sweat whenever someone mentions "fluids and thermodynamics", it gives you a load of really useful general skills, even if you don't actually end up debugging 737s.  I expect the same applies if you mix CS up with, I dunno, medical physics or something.  CSE certainly doesn't seem like a bad idea, anyway.  But then neither does straight CS, physics or indeed Hard Sums.

Whereas CSish courses focused on things like AI or graphics techniques or computer security or whatever the cool kids are doing these days do seem much more likely to specialise you into a corner.

Interestingly, a friend on my E&EE course was studying it because he wanted to be a diplomat.  He was Good With Computers, and reckoned a solid engineering background was as good as anything else as a starting point.  Which makes at least as much sense at the coursemate who was Good At Maths and applied for E&EE because her school careers advisor told her to.  She was extremely bright and got fantastic grades, but had no love of the subject matter.

If I've learned one thing, it's that interest and enthusiasm are no substitute for cleverness and hard work.  Okay, that's probably two things, but you know what they say about off-by-one errors.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: A level options
« Reply #72 on: November 11, 2019, 03:21:15 pm »
I did an MSc in Computing Science at Newcastle in 2002-03 (as a mature student; my 1st degree was in Chemistry, back in the early 1990s), and now work as a software tester.
What sort of information / advice are you looking for?

I know it was a long time ago, but is Newcastle somewhere you can recommend for CS?
Yes, I would say so. It is quite an old department (this is a good thing - I mean they have been teaching and studying CS for a long time as these things go). I was happy with the teaching I got there.
I should add that I chose Newcastle so that I could sponge off live at home with my parents for the year. So I can't really comment on the aspects of being a student outside of the course. Though the reputation of Newcastle's night-life is well-deserved!

Re: A level options
« Reply #73 on: November 11, 2019, 08:22:05 pm »
I did (amongst other, less successful things) Computer Science at Kent (then UKC) in 2001-2003.  The department was notable for having an extremely hands-on approach, without the over-emphasis on gratuitous Hard Sums that people like to cram into STEM subjects to add credibility.  I'm not sure the department is as well respected as it used to be thobut, which is a shame, given its history as one of the first in the UK.

My advice (especially if you're good at Hard Sums[1] or have more than a passing interest in hardware) would be to give serious consideration to related fields, such as Software Engineering, CSE or EE.  Or even something specialist like Avionics.  Lower-level stuff isn't sexy, but is probably a good career move.  You're going to be learning the specifics of whatever you end up doing by googling anyway, so a thorough grounding in the fundamentals is more valuable in the long term than whatever the current fad is while you're a student.

And the golden rule of not applying to any university that is in the process of building a Shiny! New! department with bleeding-edge facilities that will totally be ready[2] in time for September applies.


[1] Top tip: don't go near an engineering course unless you think Further Maths (or modern equivalent) sounds like fun.
[2] Spoiler:  It won't.


I did software engineering, I wasn't very good at maths when I started but was by the time I finished. Lots of it suddenly made sense when I had something to apply it to.

I tend to do Architecture these days which is less direct programming and more spreadsheets, and smashing technologies together to see they will work.
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