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Forums > Social Discussion > A level / GCSE's getting easier

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linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

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Posted:every year around this time the newspapers parade a host of head lines screaming that A levels etc are getting easier

is it just me that finds this very demeaning and annoying?

i have just got my results (AAbC: phsyics, maths, general studies and further maths)

and found it very annoying and mildly sickening that the day before they arrived newspapers were claiming the 14 odd exams id jsut sat were getting easier and were worthless

yes this is a bit of a rant but personally i find it insulting that the press can, as a group, take an increase in our scores (we couldnt possibly be getting better?) and use it as an excuse to put down an entire generation as less worth

while yes the exams may be getting easier and things may be changing **but** we are under more stress than ever before and this sort of thing dosnt help especailly in the days preceeding the results which are always nervous and horrible times

ok rant talk etc over - anyone else agree?


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Fine_Rabid_Dog


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Posted:I choose to ignore it...

Its mostly the tabloids, and they get offended by *everything*....

Bollox to newspapers is what I say


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

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Posted:lol true

but i think its most of the newspapers

ignoring it is the only way - i just find it depressing that they feel the last 13 years of my school life has resulted in a series of certificates that they wont acknowledge

btw man good luck for tomorrow biggrin


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_Aime_
SILVER Member since Jan 2004

_Aime_

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Posted:Meh maybe it is true? Maybe they have got easier? I can't know..
What I do know is that you still have to work to gain these qualifications. If you don't work, you don't get the grades. Simple as..

I didn't sit lordy knows how many exams to gain 15 GCSE's only to be told that it was 'easy'. God dammit it was f*cking hard, and I'm proud of the work that I've done.


I suggest we get the arse biscuits that are saying things to sit the exams themselves, whilst shouting into their ears that they are pathetic little weasles smile Not so ruddy easy now is it?


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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

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Posted:damn you, kids today! In my day.................

They've said it every year for just about ever, including the year i passed (well sorta passed anyway). I think alevels are getting different, I don't think you can compare an alevel today to an alevel 30 years ago, for a start half the subjects didn't exist. I also think the education system is getting better (although it's rare for a tabloid to actually praise the eeducation system rather than pick it to bits) and more people are enoucouraged to take alevels, given support etc would would have been previously outcast.

The sad truth is however, if you plan to goto uni, GCSEs count for nothing. If you plan to do a masters then alevls count for nothing. If you do a degree after working for a few years then alevels don't count either. I worked bloody unhard for my alevels and ended up on my 1st choice course at uni after doing a foundation year.


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_Aime_
SILVER Member since Jan 2004

_Aime_

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Posted:ah yip I'm with you flid, gcse's are a mere stepping stone, on the pond of edumacation.
you work hard to get onto the next level, where you work ahr dto get onto the next level..*repeat*


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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

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Location: York University

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Posted:Basically, all you need at GCSE is 5 passes if your school has it's own 6th form, or whatever grades your college requires. That's it. I'm pretty confident that everyone on here can get 5 C's, because i've talked to some of you biggrin

That said, Good Luck people! hug


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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

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Posted:my brother had his AS level results back - he's a pretty big swat and he got a few b's and c's - they're not getting easier - students are studying harder - hell They'd say they were harder if a majority got low grades!

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

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Posted:I agree, they say every year it's getting easier and i think that's a load of crap. (oops)
if anything i think the syllabus is getting better known to the teachers who can come up with better teaching methods. they are NEVER easy (although give me 10 exams over 1 peice of course work coz i prefer exams)
If they were getting easier every year then by now my hamster would be able to pass. But i do feel that teachers spend more time teaching whats on the syllabus coz their ass is on the line, when i did my gcse's we spent 1 term learning how to code-break in maths and that wasn't even on the syllabus, but the teachers thought it would relax us.

WELL DONE to all who got the results they wanted and if you didn't don't worry, i've got a biology and sport degree and work in international shipping, so there you go, lifes not over.

(1 warning about uni you A-level bods...no guarentee you'll get a degree but you will get a lot of debt PLEASE do a course you'll enjoy as it makes life easier. my course only had a 30% pass rate)


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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VampyricAcid
SILVER Member since Jun 2005

VampyricAcid

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Posted:its Evolution, people are getting smarter, there is a greater range of subjects so as mynci said, if you do a course you dont enjoy, you're more likely to fail.

P.S. mynci, v jealous of the code-breaking term!! i'd love to have done that!!!


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_Clare_
BRONZE Member since Oct 2002

_Clare_

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Posted:Well done Linden on great results hug

(And everyone else who got results today - good luck for your next step)

The point of exams was to make it easier for employers and universities to find the people most suitable for their course/job.

Whether the exams are getting easier (which I doubt), or teachers are becoming more skilled in shaping students to get through exams (more likely - and more unfortunate, that's not really an education) - the fact is more people are passing, so the definition between abilities is becoming lost.

The universities are already calling for a replacement.


Getting to the other side smile

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linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

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Posted:Written by: flid

The sad truth is however, if you plan to goto uni, GCSEs count for nothing.




thats not completly true mate tongue they're actually being looked at a lot by the very top universities

i applied to oxford (didnt get accepted but meh) and one thing i learnt is that they base it very heavily on the interview

GCSE's and A levels are almost equal to them. mainly because those applying will have been predicted 4 or 5 A's at A level and will probably get roughly that. GCSE's are often used for tie brackers and to see hoe motivated the person has been. strange but true biggrin

either way dont apply to oxford or cambridge unless you really want a grilling - tis one of the most nerve wracking weekends ive ever had - met some cool people though biggrin


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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

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Location: York University

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Posted:Yeah, the GCSEs are only used in high end competition or places where there are lots of applicants.

Failing that, if you leave school, they determine your job wink


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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87wt2gxq7


87wt2gxq7

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Posted:Hey linden,

Firstly congrats for the great results! You should be proud of your achievements and pah! to the tabloids, they say the same thing every year. In fact, as a general rule it's best to rigorously ignore everything tabloids have to say (and that includes The Times, grumble grumble News Corp grumble Murdoch grumble).

I do have a question though. Did you study vectors in your maths A-level? (not further maths, I'm assuming that if standards have slipped objectively they haven't slipped that much!) Is there any way that you could have got through a maths A-level without covering vectors, say by choosing your modules cunningly? What about complex numbers? (anyone else who did maths A-level is also free to answer!)

Reason I ask is because I used to teach maths for physics undergraduates and I was shocked to hear that some of them *claimed* that they'd never studied vectors or complex numbers before, and I clearly remember messing with them at GCSE. Mind you I went to a pretty good school, and the students in question would've said anything if it meant drawing fire from the fact that they were plain lazy wink


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ZeeBoo
BRONZE Member since Aug 2004

ZeeBoo

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Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 167
Posted:Some truth from the other side of the arguement....

I was the last years of 'O' levels before GCSE's came along (many many years ago eeek ) I failed Chemistry got a D (that was a fail in the old days) did the retake and got an E so pretty
conclusive that I didn't understand chemistry.
Then I did the GCSE in one year and got a B (if I'd done any revision I would have got an A).

I found the syllabus so much easier and there where fundemental things that I could not understand at 'O' level that wheren't even mentioned at GSCE.

I'm not saying all subjects became easier (some may have got harder), I'm just saying be open minded about things.

PS congratulation and now welcome to the real world! wink


Just because I'm an adult doesn't make me responsible.

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.:star:.
SILVER Member since Jan 2005

.:star:.

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Posted:ok here is my 2 cents worth

I was in the last year of A-levels before they changed the sylabus and encouraged AS levels more etc. 5 years ago i think

When looking at the new syllabus i noticed that there was a lot left out compared to what we studied.

I am not saying that the exams are easier because i have no idea seeing as i only sat the old exams. It just seems that some A-levels seem to be covering less than the old ones.


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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

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Posted:A-Levels are definitely becoming easier!



When I was revising for my Chemistry A-Levels, I was given past papers from waaaay back, 1995/96. I was achieving 40% or maybe 50% max! When it came to the actual exam, I got 81%. :s



Plus, just ask any exam-setter. A guy wrote into our local paper, he had been setting Chemistry A-level questions for 25 years, and he said that over the years, the questions he was told to set were easier and easier...



I got BBC in my A-Levels back in 03. Chemistry, Geology, and Physics. eek

EDITED_BY: Lemonkey (1124984085)


Willy - is bad for your health...

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Mynci
BRONZE Member since Apr 2005

Mynci

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Posted:I do think things are changing but mainly because the educational system is under such pressure to achieve results. And as time goes by there are more exam papers to study and the same questions DO pop up again and again. I think the use of the internet, different study techniques and improved teaching methods and technology all swing towards the trend of better results.
Come on its not fair to lower peoples opinions of their results by saying the exams have een getting easier for 20 years. to quote who wants to be a millionaire "they're only easy if you know the answers"
if they were getting easier every year how come we are still making advacnces in nearly every field?
Again WELL DONE EVERYONE (and linden, you don't look that clever wink, crikey beaten by a dude in eyeliner and pyjama's)


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.

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linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

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Posted:lolthkas for all the nice well dones guys

and mynci you still owe me for that burger tongue and remember - never judge a person by the PJ's he wears around the campsite smile

zeeboo - smeg the real world - my ones much more fun

87wt2gxq7 - vectors are covered in the las module of pure at A level.complex numbers arnt in the main maths sylbus any more as i (think) most schools do half pure half applied, P4 (which is the first pure further maths module) covers complex numbers

vectors are also done in GCSE briefly if i remember correctly

also i would be inclinded to agree that a lot of the exams are getting watered down not much but a little year on year. my real gripe is with newspapers (not just tabloids as well which is sad) parading the fact as people get geared up to recieve their results

it just strikes me as really maknig people feel worthless
especailly this year with the high number of A's and A*'s at GCSE its like "well done you did it" but for anyone who looks at the papers you instantly feel bad because GCSE's are "so much easier everyones getting A's"

this isnt the student's fault...


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Fine_Rabid_Dog


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Posted:My dad was saying just this evening that when he was helping me revise, he found that most of the stuff he did, he found was actually common entrance standard when he was at school...

Maybe the standard has slipt a bit... but i dont much care.... a pass is a pass biggrin


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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ZeeBoo
BRONZE Member since Aug 2004

ZeeBoo

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Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 167
Posted:Written by: Mynci

if they were getting easier every year how come we are still making advacnces in nearly every field?




I think you are confusing education with intelligence, there aren't many school leavers who will make an immediate impact on a field (unless they go potato pickin wink ).

Smeg the real world for as long as you can but just watch out it bites back.


Just because I'm an adult doesn't make me responsible.

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flid
BRONZE Member since Aug 2002

flid

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Posted:Written by: FRD
common entrance



most people don't know what common entrance is wink

When i did common entrance at 13 the french paper (section C, the hard bit which only a few selective public schools like mine required) was certainly GCSE standard (I reckon I could have gotten a B aged 13), and it was common (at least half of the 130ish students) to do GCSE french a year early at my school. My common entrance oral exam was way harder than my GCSE one was.


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87wt2gxq7


87wt2gxq7

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Posted:Written by: linden rathen

87wt2gxq7 - vectors are covered in the las module of pure at A level.complex numbers arnt in the main maths sylbus any more as i (think) most schools do half pure half applied, P4 (which is the first pure further maths module) covers complex numbers

vectors are also done in GCSE briefly if i remember correctly




Ah, ta.
also, eep! eek


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linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

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Posted:yea

complex numebrs are fun biggrin


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87wt2gxq7


87wt2gxq7

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Posted:ah mate, wait'll you hit complex functions and integrating over the Aargand plane. (I presume with those subjects you're off to do physics or maths at uni?)

Now they're sexy smile


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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

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Posted:Written by: linden rathen

yea

complex numebrs are fun biggrin



|z| = 16 + 4i.

smile


Willy - is bad for your health...

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

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Posted:*covers eyes* I did not read this thread eeeeep I hate algebra

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

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Posted:hee hee

ive done a bit of complex mapping thats good fun

|z|=|w + 1|

going off to do physics @ UCL soon smile s' gunna be goooood biggrin


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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

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Posted:Written by: linden rathen

hee hee

ive done a bit of complex mapping thats good fun

|z|=|w + 1|

going off to do physics @ UCL soon smile s' gunna be goooood biggrin



Ahhh Physics, the degree with the male:female ratio of 99:1. tongue


Willy - is bad for your health...

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Stainless Munchkin


Stainless Munchkin

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Total posts: 246
Posted:ok, i was pretty chuffed with my results but some of these comments on the BBC website are actually hurtful, it just pisses me off how we actually work pretty hard, and yet the older generations assume that we dont work at all. angry
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/4182302.stm


Are you that clever that you smile forever? biggrin

What's from the Earth is of the greatest worth

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linden rathen
GOLD Member since Mar 2005

linden rathen

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Posted:ah well i can always find sexy spinners - more fun anyway biggrin



just read some of those comments on the bbc - some people really know how to kick you in the teeth dont they?

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