A-Level Dilemma

Let’s face it this corona-19 virus has disrupted so many people’s lives and had such an impact on education. It is the current year 10 and 12s I really feel for though because it doesn’t look like any allowances are being made to their exams to account for the fact that they haven’t had the support of in-school. For some children they haven’t been able to access things, but for the likes of my teen they haven’t had that extra kick-up the derriere to get them working to their full potential.

4 boys in matching Marvel tops

I have to admit I could do more to nag him myself but as it is our second son to do A-levels I have learnt that he needs to want to do it himself, and I have far too much to focus on (such as his younger brothers). He managed to get great grades at GCSE by coasting (as did his older brother) and they were good enough to get into the same super-selective grammar school as his younger brother. Even whilst in school he had managed to gain a few “behaviour” points for failing to hand in homework. But now they are working from home the school are being even more lenient. He was invited into school for a couple of weeks, but it was optional and so he didn’t go. See the problem with optional is that it is never going to be an option. Besides I think there was a lot of Overwatch League going on! I think if he had been in lessons then there would be some element of proving he was good as his peers that being at home just isn’t doing – and he is skipping doing whatever he can!

The A-Level Dilemma

But now he has an A-level dilemma. When they start year 12 the school like them to take 4 A-levels so that they can either try something they wouldn’t have normally or so that they can drop one and still have three at the start of year 13. In fact they say that very few students are at an advantage of taking all 4 A-levels so most drop one around now. Normally they would have end of year exams, but they did not do these this year. They are told to drop the lowest grade and/or the one they enjoy the least. If they wish to drop one of the other subjects which is not their lowest grade they have to explain why. Now first of all I want to say that our teen’s predicted grades are amazing, especially in the subjects they are in, and given his background. He had opted to add Economics to the mix for his additional grade and it is now the degree course he is currently looking at. This is such a big shift but it is still a maths based course (like his original ideas). You know what is coming though don’t you – yes Maths is his lowest predicted grade! In terms of the grade predicted and enjoyment compared to the other subjects it would make sense to drop it. But if he hopes to go to any of the Red Bricks (he has no interest in Oxbridge) then he will need Maths. He hasn’t really tried as I said, and with dropping a subject and a bit of work he could achieve the same grade as predicted in other subjects. I think he has decided that he is going to drop physics – but that was crucial to his original career path – and he is very good at it.

It is very young to be cornered into making such decisions in my opinion as he is still only sixteen. I believe he can work on his Maths through the summer and then decide at least. This means he would be a grade lower for his UCAS application though too. He also needs to not feel disheartened with such an excellent grade – he is just comparing himself with his peers at what I say is a super-selective grammar school. Whatever he decides we are super proud of him and think he is really clever.

4 thoughts on “A-Level Dilemma”

  1. I think it’s been so hard for kids this year, especially those in upper high school, transition to high school and primary. Nothing is normal and no one knows how it will all play out. We can only help guide best we can, but as you say, we are proud of how they are handling it. I wish your son all the success in what he chooses and going forward xxx

  2. It’s a tough decision, but it sounds like, whatever he decides, he will make it work. In many ways he is actually in a very fortunate position because most schools don’t let them even start the four A Levels, so at any other school, he may have ended up not taking his favourite subject in the first place. It’s nice to have that extra year to decide, although I know it is much harder when they’re not actually in school with the extra support that brings.

  3. It is so hard for them at this age and such a big decision to take when they aren’t sure what they want to do in life. It sounds as though it would be the sensible thing to carry on with the maths but can you get advice from the school when he goes back and see what they think. I know some students carry on with four but that is tough on them as they have a lot of work in Year 13 and not much free time. Good luck with the decision


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