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Posts Tagged ‘AS level’

Choosing A Level subjects

Monday, March 4th, 2013


It’s that time of the year when students in year 11 are deciding if they want to go onto sixth form or college and study A Levels. This is also the time when they have to decide what subjects they want to study. So if you are in this position how do you begin to pick the right subjects for you?

  • The first thing to do is not panic! Not many people have a good idea of what they want to do with the rest of their life at 15.
  • If you have a rough idea of a future degree or career then you’ll probably need subjects in that area. But it’s also worth considering a back up plan. So, for example, if you want to study Medicine and become a doctor you need specific science subject. You might also want to consider taking something that sits well alongside (such as psychology) to give you alternate career/degree choices or something entirely different (such as French) if you decide that career path isn’t for you half way through your A Levels.
  •  Always check university requirements in detail, if you have an idea of what you want to study at Uni thenyou need to check if they have any specific A Level requirements. Not all courses or universities do but make sure you know this before making A Level choices.
  • The Russell Group is an association of 24 UK Universities. These tend to be quite prestigious and they publish a list of “facilitating subjects”, the advice is to pick two of these as A Levels if you want to apply to a Russell Group Uni.
  • Don’t be pressured into taking subjects you don’t like or don’t want to study – two years is a long time to stick at something you hate.

You can find more useful advice in this article. If you want to know more about one to one private tutoring at GCSE or A Level in Manchester or Cheshire you can contact us here.

All change for A Level

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Hot on the heels of planned reforms at GCSE level (discussed on our blog last month) there are now rumours of changes at A Level. This is an often see pattern in educational reform, changes are made at school level and then followed by changes at sixth form/college/A Level. The suggested changes seem to be as a result of the continual rise of pass rates at GCSE and A Level over the last few years and the implication that the system has been dumbed down. Many educators now want to see a return to a more academically rigorous system where there are less modules and more end of year/course exams.

This summer Ofqual (regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England) will consult on moving away from the A Level modular system. Recently Ofqaul compared exam papers over the last ten years and found they were easier – there are now fewer essay questions and more multiple choice (often referred to a multiple guess) questions.

So what might exam reform at A Level look like?

  • It might involve a return to traditional end of course exams which means slow and steady progress will be needed throughout the whole of the course.
  • The type of questions in exam papers may be changed to involve more essays and critical thinking.
  • There may be the introduction of other qualifications alongside the A Level including Diplomas.
  • There may be more focus on children learning independent study skills – this is where a private tutor can really help embed those skills.

If you need help with A Level study (English, Maths, Biology, and Psychology and other subjects ) in Manchester and Cheshire (including Stockport, Bramhall and Wilmslow) then contact us.



How to find a tutor for your GCSEs, AS & A2

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

People think that it’s parents who find tutors for their children but at 121 Home Tutors we often find it’s the children that are in control of their own learning.

At GCSE and A level (AS/A2 level) we find it’s the students as much as the parents searching for a tutor. As the person sat in class every day it’s usually you who recognises that you have a problem with a certain subject or topics within that area. Recognising that fact and finding a tutor to help can be the easiest way to overcome any problems, boost your confidence and improve your grades. If you’ve found yourself in this position how do you find the right tutor? Here are our top five tips:

1. You’ll probably start by looking on the web. There are lots and lots of tutoring websites but what you want is a website where you can get a specialised, matched tutor recommendation rather than a list of names where you have to call lots of different people. Here at 121 Home Tutors we take details of the subjects you need a tutor for, which areas you are particularly struggling with and then work through our extensive list of qualified tutors till we find just the right match.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask if the tutor has experience at your level and subject area, do they know the course and syllabus you use? Are they familiar with what questions will come up on your exams and any ‘favourite’ questions exam boards use? Ask if they have references and if they approach tutoring in a reactive way (going through work done) or proactive way (helping you get ahead and learn what’s needed for the exams). At 121 Home Tutors we check references and qualifications, plus a tutor’s track record and whether they’ll be a good fit with you.

3. Once you’ve got a match make sure you meet your tutor and like them. If you don’t then go back to the tutoring company and ask for another tutor. This relationship will make a real difference to your future so it has to be right.

4. Cheap doesn’t mean good. Tutoring costs money but don’t fixate on price when you are looking for a tutor. Your education is the start of your future and you want a high quality tutor who cares about your education, not the cheapest one on the market.

5. Once you’ve started the tutoring process check your progress. Ask for feedback from your tutor and check in with your teachers/tutors at school or college. Can they see a difference?

If you are looking for a tutor for GCSE, AS and A2 subjects such as Maths, English, History, French and German or Science in Manchester, Stockport, Wilmslow and Cheshire areas get in touch with us at 121 Home Tutors. We can help.

Disappointing A level results at AS?

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

In our earlier post we took a quick look at the best course of action to take if your A level results and A2 grades weren’t as expected.

But what about if you’re in the same situation a year earlier – you’ve just completed Year 12 and your AS results are not as expected or not quite as good as you’d like? Of course, your situation isn’t quite as critical as those not getting the A2 grades needed, because you don’t have to deal with the potential upheaval of a missed University place. Also, if you’ve only underperformed in an AS that you’re not planning to take through to A2 (and which, therefore, won’t be the basis of a university application) you don’t have too much to worry about.

However, you could still have some problems that you need to deal with, especially if you’re planning to go to university.

First, a generally poor performance at AS level can be a sign that you’ve picked courses that don’t really suit you. If you think that’s the case, you could be better off in the long run starting again with new AS level courses in different subjects. Your school or college will be able to offer advice on this: it’ll take another year, but you’ll be a more mature and experienced student and should stand a greater chance of success.

If you decide to go forward with the grades you’ve got, you won’t be able to retake any of the modules you’ve messed up until after you’ve put in your UCAS application. Universities vary in how much notice they take of AS level results – many admissions tutors are aware that students often go through a process of rapid intellectual and emotional maturity during Year 13, and are inclined to give more weight to predicted grades than to AS results.

All the same, a set of disappointing results can cause application problems. They can also knock your confidence and the confidence that your teachers have in you – which could be a problem when it comes to securing good predicted grades.

So what’s the best course of action to take?

  • If possible, talk to your teachers about how and where things went wrong. They may recommend trying the appeals process. At any rate, it’s important to show them that you recognise you have underperformed and you want to take action to improve.
  • When the new term starts, really make sure you hit the ground running. As well as lots of work, you’re going to be thinking about university applications. Your school or college will give you advice on how to present yourself in the best light on your application – and it’s all the more important that you listen carefully and give the application process your best shot if you’re going into it with lower AS grades than you’d wish.
  • With disappointing AS level grades, a good UCAS Personal Statement could be more important than ever. Remember that if you get stuck writing your Statement, 121 Home Tutors can help.

If you’d like to talk  about A level results, AS results and AS grades try the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000. Alternatively, if you think you might need a little extra help with your AS or A2 level studies in general, 121 Home Tutors has a wide selection of tutors experienced in coaching A Level students at both AS and A2. So if you live in the Manchester, Stockport, Macclesfield, Wilmslow & Cheshire areas then  get in touch with us today for a no obligation chat about how our tutors can help boost your A Level chances!