Well there are a few factors to consider before making your choices.
First off, which qualifications are you going to undertake? There are three main choices:
• Pre-U (Pre – University)
• I.B (International Baccalaureate)
A-Levels are the most common. They’re more flexible than Pre-U, you can re-sit them twice in a year. There are two sittings for A-Levels, January and June. That means that if they don’t go according to plan first time, you can always retake them. In fact you can sit an A Level unit as many times as you want, although the government is looking to stop this. (You’ve still got a few years!) A-Levels are said to be slightly easier than the Pre-U or I.B qualifications. There is not as much content as you focus on your three chosen specific subjects.
The Pre-U exams are sat at the end of the two-year study period, meaning that you only have one shot! You have to sit the whole course again from day one should you fail! So, while the Pre-U is in no way as flexible as A-Levels they are better regarded. Introduced in 2009 the Pre-U qualification is very popular among leading Schools and Colleges throughout the country, e.g Oundle and Charterhouse. In addition universities now consider Pre-U to be ‘above’ A-Levels, they believe Pre-U is a tougher qualification, thus rating it higher than A-Levels. However, this is not universal, most Universities require points for entry. (120 –A, 100-B, 80-C, 60-D and 40-E.)
Although Pre-U is considered harder than A-Level and more in-depth, many good Universities accept it.
Garry Linker certainly does not like the Pre-U structure!
I.B. The I.B is as it sounds, worldwide and international. You can sit the I.B anywhere really and all universities accept it for entry into University. The Diploma Programme for 16-19 year olds takes your depth and knowledge on a range of subject’s to a new level. Over the course of the two-year programme students study six subjects chosen from six groups, write an extended essay, follow a theory of knowledge course and take part in creativity, action and service.
Once you’ve decided on one of those options, there is then the matter of which subjects to choose?
What do you want to do at University? That’s not an easy decision to make. There are so many choices. You can do a joint honors degree (two subjects) a degree in Law, Medicine, Psychology, English or how to be Lady Gaga. (Well, not yet, but I’m betting 2014!)
Another factor to consider is what specific subjects do Universities require for entry? Obvious ones like Medicine require Biology and Chemistry, not so obvious is Mathematics as a pre-requisite for some Psychology courses. You really should take the time to have a look at the course structure and entry requirements.
Finally, although it’s not easy you really need to undertake a subject that you enjoy, that you have a passion for, which really excites you.
My advice here would be to speak to an educational adviser, who can go away and work out the best options for you.
Best of luck for Thursday everyone.