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Author Topic: A -LEVEL STUDENTS  (Read 7294 times)

Offline Fabi18

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A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« on: 22/08/2005 15:48:52 »
Is any one here doing a -lel physics? If so let us know what itis like!!!!Any tips for beginners.


 

Offline rosy

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #1 on: 26/08/2005 22:53:12 »
I did A-level physics on the last year of the old system (pre- AS/A2) I don't know what the now system's like, but as it (like my A-Level) tends to be done as a modular course my big tip is:
if you're planning to use your physics beyond A-Level, don't just cram for the exams, learn it as you go along.... I got an A grade by learning the modules and answering the exam questions and not bothering to look again at the work I'd done unless I needed it for the next module (which I often didn't) the result of this was that despite a reasonable set of marks when I got to uni 15 months after my final exam I'd forgotten most of my physics... I ended up specialising in Chemistry for which I'd had to sit all my exams at the end of the course and so had to understand it well enough to know all of it at once.

Good luck with the A-level(s)
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #2 on: 30/08/2005 14:21:18 »
I was one of the first years to do the AS/A2 physics course. It's a bit tricky as you have exams within the first year. What rosy said was really good, if you can get a good understanding of the topics as you go along it's a lot easier. The formula sheet you have is useless in the first year exams and you need to be able to remember a lot of equations, it's a lot easier if you understand them and can tell if you are using it wrongly. The coursework you get to do is pretty fun and is mostly up to your own choice. I did my practical coursework in the second year on "Factors and limits effecting the ouput from a photovoltaic cell" which meant I dossed around in the dark room on my own with a lightbox and a spectroscope. All the cool stuff you see hanging around a physics lab at school you get to use at ALevel, as long as you can think of a reason to use it... you can :D. My coursework was inconclusive since the schools filters weren't good enough for me to investigate wavelength of light :). If you like physics and aren't scared of a little bit of Maths you will probably enjoy it!

wOw the world spins?
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #3 on: 31/08/2005 01:48:28 »
Can someone tell this poor ignorant American what an A-Level is?

David
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #4 on: 31/08/2005 02:52:54 »
David
In the uk at sixteen children in there final year of school sit exams called GCSE's.  However if they wish to continue with their schooling they can go to 6th form college and take an advanced level of the same subjects that they took their GCSE's in called
A-Levels.
After that at 18 if they still wish to continue with their learning they can then apply to go to university
« Last Edit: 31/08/2005 02:53:46 by ukmicky »
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #5 on: 31/08/2005 03:21:06 »
My son Patrick is 16 now, and a sophomore in high school. He is on a college bound course of study with most of his courses being described with an adjective of honors, advanced or AP. Advanced Placement courses count as a college course.

Colleges here range from very easy to very hard, so would be employers often look at what college you attended to grade your competence. Most kids can't make the hardest schools because the public school system doesn't teach them to work hard enough to make it though a highly competitive college. The bright kids find they can cruse though high school on very little effort, and really are not ready to be challenged by a hard college.

About half of the high school graduates will try some college, but only about 25% of high school grads actually complete a 4-year degree. I am glad to see Patrick is actually doing homework tonight; he had a hard assignment, as he is one of those cruising though school.

What I can't figure out is how Americans do so well in the world when you folks have a more difficult education system, and supposedly produce better-educated graduates.


David
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #6 on: 31/08/2005 08:50:36 »
David, I wouldn't count on it. Plenty of idiots at university where I'm at in the UK! For less popular courses such as science and maths universities will let any twerp with a bad attitude and a GNVQ in human geography in. For some reason everyone has it in their heads that you go to university to get a high paid job at the end rather than just for the sake of LEARNING! I find this especially funny when some one doing “Film & TV Studies” wonders why their degree means jack **** in the real world. Since everyone comes out with a degree employers look at which university you went to… since polytechnic colleges (where you used to take GNVQs) were disposed of now all the plebs that just think education is a means to an end get mixed up and come to university. I’m all for equal opportunities but if you aren’t good enough, and you have had the same opportunities why should I have to sit through hours of students asking questions in lectures. It’s called A BOOK they are full of interesting information that will help you… oh yeah I forgot reading is for “geeks” and should be avoided at all costs… I’m doing Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence, I know for sure from doing this year in a job I don’t want to continue working in this field but I do want to study it!
I remember some program where Tony Blair talked to “the young people” and there was some chavy girl who had done “Media Studies” at university; she was mouthing off at the Prime Minster no less, about how the government had promised/guaranteed people who go to university jobs with a salary starting at £20k. I can just remember spurting out my drink and laughing my head off at this!
Society is falling apart people believe they can get something for nothing, and that mass retardation is better than any interest in education!

GNVQ stands for something “real” but mostly: Generally Not Very Qualified works
Chav http://www.chavscum.co.uk
http://www.chavscum.co.uk/whattheysay.php Read the top post on this page and you get some idea of what the UK is like!
No more top hats, sword canes and pistols at dawn... the UK has fallen in to a desperate malaise of retardation, and there is no way out!

wOw the world spins?
« Last Edit: 31/08/2005 18:10:50 by Ultima »
 

Offline gsmollin

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #7 on: 31/08/2005 16:47:55 »
What a shame. Whatever happened to us? Here in America kids graduate high school and can't read, or tell you where Europe is on a map. I'm pretty sure we have lost our work ethic. Somewhere along the line it became an "entitlement ethic". It seems to permeate all of our society as well, not just 16 year olds. School kids don't want to work for their education,so they cheat at school, and CEO's don't want to work for their millions, so they falsify the books.

"F = ma, E = mc^2, and you can't push a string."
« Last Edit: 31/08/2005 16:54:17 by gsmollin »
 

Offline David Sparkman

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #8 on: 04/09/2005 04:23:52 »
I don't think much has changed but the labels. My Grandfathers both got college degrees shortly after the Great War (wonder how many know that name). One was a 2 year degree in bookeeping from which that Grandfather went on to run a plant. The other was a 4 year degree in law, which was enough to be a lawyer at that time.

Back then only 5% of the poplulation got a degree. If we assume there was an equal 5% of women with the same ability, then an equal education today would include only the top 10% of the student body (i.e. a Doctor's or PhD degree). If you educate 25% or even 50% of the population, you are not going to make them as intelligent or as motivated as my grandparents.

We have a saying over here: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him think...

(sorry that was drink)

David
 

Offline Simmer

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #9 on: 04/09/2005 09:04:17 »
quote:
Originally posted by Ultima


GNVQ stands for something “real” but mostly: Generally Not Very Qualified works


Tch!  Everyone take the pee out of GNVQs, that's why so many people go for easy degrees instead!  It's also the reason you have to pay £50 an hour for a plumber and media studies graduates can't get a job :)
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #10 on: 04/09/2005 11:14:14 »
Learning a trade is way more profitable than getting a degree! There is a massive need for skilled joiners, plumbers, electricians etc. For some reason people think this is less worth while [:S] I would rather do an apprenticeship in a trade than some worthless degree for three+ years. The world is just messed up, I don’t understand people who have no moral qualms with benefit fraud/leeching either; they really piss me off. They tend to be the people who are utterly nationalist to, saying stuff like “Them im-o-grants are stealing our jobs!” yer right you have to want to get a job first! Stupid chavs they need to die... (feel the hate)

wOw the world spins?
 

Offline Solvay_1927

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #11 on: 06/09/2005 21:49:14 »
To our american brethren (sparkman, gsmollin et al):
I’ve realised that I’m actually very ignorant of the american education system, and I’m curious to know a little more.  Could you give a brief summary, or a link to a site which describes the system, which explains things like:
-   Up to what age is school attendance compulsory? (It’s 16 in the UK.)
-   What is “sophomore” (is it like the UK’s “6th form” covering ages 16-18?) and what are 8th / 10th / 12th graders, etc?  (In the UK, someone in “Year 11” will turn age 16 that year.)
-   How many distinct subjects do schoolkids study up to age 16 and then to 18?  (In the UK most students study around 10 GCSEs, then specialise beyond age 16 by studying just 3 or 4 A-levels.)
-   Do kids leave school with a single qualification (a “diploma” ?) covering all subjects, or with a series of individual qualifications (one for each subject)?   (In the UK, you might say you’ve got “9 GCSEs and 3 A Levels”, say – i.e. 12 separate qualifications – and you get a separate grade for each qualification, e.g. from grade A down to grade E at A-level.)
-   Are there a number of different “tiers” of universities?  I’m aware of the 8 Ivy League ones, but are the ones below that grouped into different levels of importance too? (In the UK there are, arguably, 3 tiers – Oxbridge, then the other proper universities, and then former polytechnics that are now allowed to call themselves universities.)
-   And can a US university be a  prestigious, ‘top’ university for one subject but just mediocre for other subjects?  Or is it only which university you go to that counts, not which department?  (For example, Warwick Uni in the UK is – or at least used to be – quite prestigious for mathematical sciences – i.e. it’s not very easy to get accepted onto one of their maths degrees – but it’s nothing special for most other subjects.)

I hope this isn’t too dull a thing to ask (or too irrelevant – I know this is a physics forum), it’s just that I’m genuinely curious.

Ta very much.
Solvay.
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #12 on: 07/09/2005 14:20:09 »
Yeah I wouldn't mind knowing that to Paul.

My school made me do 12 GCSE's! its no surprise I got a Z in Music :), spent all my time doing other work in Music lessons. I had to do 5 AS and 3 A Levels, tbh im amazed people have the nerve to say some of these qualifications are getting easier. A Level was the most work I've ever had to do, University is a holiday in comparison, and real world work all I do is sit around happily programming. The reason there are more higher grade results from GCSE and A Level is that people are more aware that they need to attain some basic academic level to get any kind of job.

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Offline David Sparkman

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #13 on: 08/09/2005 05:36:54 »
An American Education

Kids can start school in what is called Head Start - a federal program for poor families as early as 3 years. This is not for most, but tries to expose children to reading, assuming that middle and upper class families read to their kids, and poor families don't. This program is free to those who qualify. There are also special schools and nursery programs for the working middle and upper classes that cost money.

Kindergarten is generally a half day program for children that are 5 years old by the time school starts in late August or early September. Kids are exposed to being away from mother, group activities, reading, naps, social behavior etc. This program is free but not mandatory in most states.

Regular school starts at 6 years of age +/- a few months depending on local rules. It goes from 1st to 12th grades. Generally they call grades 1-6 Elementary School, 7th and 8th junior high or some other names, and 9th though 12th high school, though sometimes 9th is thrown in with Junior High. We use the terms Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior for the four years in high school, and also for the first four years in College. School is mandatory, though you can opt out if you go to a private school or are home taught (i.e. one or more parents).

Private schools are often religious based. The catholic schools are generally excellent at instilling learning and discipline (unbiased: I am not Catholic). But they are suffering from funding and are becoming fewer. Some fundamental Christian religions, Jewish religions, and Moslem religions maintain schools to control religious content, and teach science their own way. In general they do a fair to good job simply because the parents are motivated, and press the kids to learn.

The home schooling programs in many states are under attack by interest groups that don't like the concept (read Teachers). There is a fairly rigorous requirement for home schooling including required subjects and often required testing. These students may miss out on social skills, but they greatly out perform public schools in standardize testing (probably due to parent interest and motivation).

There are also charter schools: private corporations that run a school at a higher cost per student, that do better than public schools. And of course there is the public school at the bottom of the pack.

Public schools are funded by a combination of the local government and the home/land owners in the school district. This means my sons go to a well funded school because of the expensive homes around where I live, and inner city kids go to a poorly funded school in the dying city centers.

This is what the federal government is trying to change, but the State governments have final say in the matter. In the worst cases where it can be shown that public schools are not working, the Bush administration has proposed vouchers that parents could use to pay for most of a private education. The Teachers union is opposed to vouchers as a threat to their jobs. (public schools pay better than private). This has cast the Democratic party as on the teachers side, but against the blacks and other poor who very much favor vouchers. Vouchers would greatly benefit the Catholic schools, and probably set up a growth industry where competition would improve education.

Better schools develop on their own several educational paths including vo-tech (vocational technology),college prep, and just general education. The problem is that many schools have troubles coping with disruptive kids that would prefer not to be in school. Though 12 years is mandatory, enforcement can be spotty, especially in under funded inner city schools. The kids find that selling drugs and other crime is more fun than attending school. I don't remember the degree of literacy (ability to read at an 8th grade level) is but it is below 90%.

There is no national course of study, but different college and technical schools publish their requirements, and guidance councilors keep the kids informed on what they need if they intend to continue schooling after high school. One difference is that we have physical education as part of our school system. My son Patrick is on the school cross country team in the fall, and on the track team in the spring, and in the band all year long. In addition he has a physical education course he takes. It may just be exercise, or swimming. Track, band and Cross Country are before or after school, but he will take a music course during school. The extra he puts in before and after school assure him of a high grade in the school time courses of Physical Education and Music.

Grading systems are generally A,B,C,D and Fail with A = 4.0, B= 3.0 etc. Some systems are a little more complex, but if someone has a 4.0, he is a straigt A student and in the running to be Valedictorian (head of his year's class).

Subjects offered will include: General Math, Trig, Algebra I and II, Geometry, and possibly some simple form of Calculus (Patrick is in precalc this his 11th year).
Biology, Chemistry, General Science, Physics, Earth Science, World History (possibly multiple levels), U.S. History, State History, English every year (12 year is generally British writers with maybe a little Moby Dick thrown in). Foreign language is offered but generally not required. Generally most schools offer Spanish and French. Some will offer German. Latin is very uncommon and all other languages are even more so. English, Physical Education, basic math and history are the only required ones for a high school diploma. But if you are going on to college, you will need some or a lot of the science courses.

You leave school with either a high school diploma or can take a high school equivalency exam. The exam is not very well accepted but it does exist for people who drop out of school due to delinquency or pregnancy.

If you want to continue your education, you generally take one of two national tests the SAT or ACT. (Scholastic Aptitude Test and American College Test). These, plus your grades and the courses you took in high school, are used by the various colleges to determine if they will accept you into their programs. (If you are turned down, you can go to a lesser college, do well and reapply.) Both tests give you a separate score in English and in Math ability. The SAT tests also allow testing in specific areas of Chemistry, Physics, Math, and other areas. The best colleges require these extra tests and good scores for acceptance. Colleges also look for personality indicators for acceptance. Involvement in school activities and sports can help you win a place in many schools over someone of equal scholastic qualifications.

As far as colleges, there are thousands here in the states. A university is a school with multiple colleges. I got my undergraduate degree from the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma (majored in football appreciation lol). It was a state sponsored school (cost less than a private school) and offered a medium level of education.

My two sons with degrees graduated from Perdue University, considered a competitive College (little tougher than my college, actually rated 5th best undergraduate Engineering College). Highly competitive colleges would be famous names like MIT, Cal-Tech, Yale, Harvard, etc.

We also have a lot of 2-year community colleges that take warm bodies (very easy to pass), but many are tied to state colleges so if you do well you can advance. Some kids who botched their high school education, are going back to school and with added maturity, applying themselves and getting an education.


David
 

Offline Ultima

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #14 on: 08/09/2005 14:29:58 »
David thanks!

I'm amazed by your pre university level education. Starting at age 6! It's 4/5 in the UK. I was just 5 when I started in the mandatory first two "Reception" years. Before that I went to a village preschool (play group) equivalent to your Kindergarten aged 3-4. There is a strict curriculum from age 5 - 15 through Reception -> Infant -> Junior -> Secondary (up to GCSE Level < 15/16) schools. Involving balanced time to all subjects, with strict legal requirements on Religious Education (RE) and Physical Education (PE), i.e. you have to do them :). Even after age 15 you have to do at least an hour of RE and PE a week. At GCSE (in my school) you had to take at minimum of:

General Science (as two GCSE's), Mathematics, English Language,
Another Language: French, Spanish, Russian;
At least one/two of: Geography, Religious Education or History;
At least one of Music, Art or Drama;
Design & Technology specializing in: wood/metal work, graphic design, electronics, control systems or textiles;
With the sort of choice between two of: I.T. , Business Studies, Physical Education.

So you had to do Maths and Science! It shocks me that a country with so little written history has three history subjects and makes students take them and not SCIENCE!

If you did fairly well in your SATS or in class end of year exams you got the options of:
English Literature
Statistics (as a separate GCSE)
Separate Physics, Biology and Chemistry instead of General Science

Then after GCSE's 16/17 years old, you can optionally apply for (AS/A2) A-Levels in subjects you were predicted to do well at in GCSE. You take 4 at AS Level in your first year at college or "sixth form" then drop a subject after a year and take those three on to A2 Level. To get in to university aged 17/18 you need to have enough points from your grades in both AS and A2 levels. Popular courses at popular universities require more points. But subjects like Maths, Physics and Classics are nearly always low on requirements.. but might require a specific A2 Level subject to have been studied. So if you knew you could pass ALevel I.T. and English with a low score you could in theory get into a popular university doing Library Studies (or similar) and then after a year or less move to some other degree like Computer Science etc. This is a good way to get to go to the university you want but get around entry requirements. A lot of my friends did this, they tend to be really bright but just didn't put any effort in to doing ALevel (which has a high work load).

So I have 11 GCSE's (stupid Z in music :() 2 AS Levels and 3 A2 Levels, and I only went to a government funded secondary modern school. Not a public or grammar school!

Im sure that my school was better than most secondary schools since it had extra funding for IT and Art, but the opportunity is there for anyone who wants to, to get an education.

Now I look set to get a first class honors degree to! :D

wOw the world spins?
« Last Edit: 08/09/2005 14:37:37 by Ultima »
 

Offline pyromaster222

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #15 on: 15/10/2005 18:19:54 »
i am doing a level now and im at the start of year 12. apparently it gets better in year 13, i sure hope so because thermal physics is dam boring, too many equations too little interesting facts. I think that Chemistry is more interesting and also easier at the moment
 

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Re: A -LEVEL STUDENTS
« Reply #15 on: 15/10/2005 18:19:54 »

 

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