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Transcript: The Result? A level Live Chat
August 2001

BBC Host: Hello, and welcome to The Result? A level live chat with our careers angels, Lynne Davies and June Jensen. Here's the first question:

Nasir Bolis: OK, my question is why has the government introduced these new AS level exams? It has caused more problems than solving problems

June: It’s the opportunity to give students a broader range of subjects. Because many weren’t able to choose 3 satisfactorily, the first year will always have problems. Things will improve as the government realise some of the difficulties that pupils have had this year. The idea that they are having exams in year 12 and 13 keeps pupils on target instead of perhaps wasting year 12

Tom: Do I have to wait for my chosen university to reject me before I can look elsewhere?

Lynne: Yes, basically you could approach other universities but please, please check your chosen ones... you may be pleasantly surprised! If it's an unpopular degree, with not many applicants, grades and points can drop substantially and this normally means that the job market at the end could be equally undersubscribed

Stephanie Pilborough: I got three Bs for my results and I wanted to become a vet, I’ve got a year of work experience organised. do I need to think about doing resits as I only just missed getting A’s or will the uni’s not accept this?

Lynne is a Careers Adviser for Careers Wales Mid Glamorgan and co-author of the careers guide 'Into the Future'.

Lynne: Assuming that you are talking of A Levels... you could resit. In our experience it may not make any difference, veterinary courses are so oversubscribed they may need to be drastically convinced that they should pick YOU. In fact... you could do better by taking an alternative degree and then taking a veterinary science degree... but that's a BIG commitment!!

Dart Romford: Hi, I have just got my exam results back and I didn't get any grades, I don't know what to do now, I don't want to work for fast food restaurants for the rest of my life, nor can I afford to do college again. What can I do?

June: Go and see a careers advisor at the local careers office. They will be able to advise if there are any foundation courses or job opportunities with training provided

Graham Jones: How do I get a CEF? because I don’t want to go to my insurance university

Lynne: You accepted an insurance offer. If you have met the grades, it is classed as a LEGALLY binding agreement. You could speak to the university but they are NOT obliged to release you into clearing

Jeanette Bolton: My first choice has not yet confirmed my place and in the meantime I feel that many places are being taken already in clearance. Is there anything I can do to help myself?

June is Head of CEG at St Cyres School, Penarth and author of the BBC Wales Careers Education booklet.

June: I would say hang on... some unis are still waiting for results to be confirmed but to keep contacting them

Lynne: Ask them WHEN you can expect an answer?

Melisa Richmond: Please can you give me some advice on what I should do now, I've got the grades to get into my insurance offer but should I go or should I forget about it and go and get a job?

Lynne: Why did you want to go to university in the first place??...if getting a degree is so important to you, then does it really matter WHICH university has offered you a place?

Sean Thompson: I missed my conditional offers by miles but it is the only course I wanna do.. what options do I have?

June: If it is REALLY the only course you want to do...there are resits...but I’m not in favour of resitting the year. Have a look again and see if there are any other courses that are similar and require lower grades, and go through clearing

James Scott: HI Lynne, I wanted to know why the government sees Ds & Es as a pass and not universities?

Lynne: Ds and Es are passes and there are many students tonight that would kill for those Ds and Es. There are lots of unis out there offering excellent degrees and HNDs who will welcome you with open arms

Joan Boyd: My daughter has changed her mind about her applied for course. She got 3 As in her A levels and has offers for law at St.Hildas in Oxford and Kings College, London - they are for 2002 as she plans to take a gap year - she now says she's wants to do economics - she won't take up a place and wants to reapply next year - how will this look to the universities - will they take a dim view of her indecision?

June: I don’t think that this would make any difference as next year is a NEW application form and any university would welcome anyone with 3 A Grades

Joe Ball: I needed to get 1 A and 2 Bs but I failed badly as I was ill during my exams. I don't know what to do. I am so confused and stressed. I only managed to get a C and 2 Ds and the last 2 years have been wasted

Lynne: You need to speak to someone TOMORROW!...I would suggest that you contact your careers advisor who can be objective and help you see the positives of the last two years and suggest a range of courses that you could enter

HOT TIP!

Clearing vacancies are available on the UCAS website, in newspapers, on BBC2 Ceefax and ECCTIS

Adam: I hear that you can remove yourself from the UCAS system and then contact individual universities and go elsewhere if you do not longer wish to go to your chosen uni, is this true?

June: Officially if you withdraw from the UCAS system you are NOT supposed to apply until the following year

Danny: Hi. I wanted to do sports science or studies and needed a B in PE and a C in another subject. Unfortunately I got a C in my PE but failed to get anything else (I got an N and a U). I’ve been ringing the uni I want to go to all day but have to wait till tomorrow now. Do u have any idea what will happen?

Lynne: The uni MAY offer you a place on a sports related HND course.. or a foundation degree...if they reject you, you could look for the same offers at other unis via clearing

Andrew Cox: What I need to know is what contribution does the AS account for at the end of my two year course?

June: All AS exams have a tariff which can be included in the final tally of exam results

Katherine Thackray: Could you explain to me the UCAS points system and how many points equal an A, B and a C. Also when’s the dead line for cashing in your results?

Lynne:Under the current A level system an A is worth 10 points, B 8 points and then they go down by 2 each grade. Under the AS system, an A grade is worth 60 points and then go down by 10 points each grade

Dart Romford: I am currently on social security, and I don’t wanna become a cleaner, can I get money to help me back into college?

Lynne: If you are 18 you can apply to your local education authority for a student loan. Your parents’ or guardians’ incomes will be assessed to see if they need to contribute to your overall fees. If you are older than this it may be a good idea to speak to a careers advisor or job centre advisor to see what money is available

Heather Sanders: Please can you give me some advice. I got my AS results today and got 2 U’s and a D. What options do I have for uni next year or shall I just quit college altogether?

June: Assuming you are a year 12 pupil, you need to consider which A level subjects you are going to continue with next year

Adam Lloyd: I've changed my mind about my course, shall I ring them to cancel it? It was only a conditional offer. I think I want go elsewhere.

Lynne: If you accepted the offer, and you got the grades, officially you HAVE to go there!!! or don’t go at all...

Jeanette Bolton: Does my insurance offer stay open if I haven't received a final decision from my first choice?

Lynne: YES the insurance offer is as binding on the UNIVERSITY as offers are on YOU

Adam: Do I need to telephone the uni to confirm I am taking my place?

June: The uni should contact you within the next few days

liz lane: I missed my grades for medicine (ABB) and got BCC but I don't know if I should retake in Jan or go into clearing and try to enter medicine as a graduate

Lynne: You could go into clearing take a related course, e.g. Bio Chemistry, or Bio Medical Studies and then try and enter medicine as a graduate...have you spoken to the uni? Would they accept you NEXT year...if you get more work experience for example?

Liz Lane: Yes, they both rejected me but one said they will look into my circumstances if my school send them a letter detailing them (as there were family problems during my A level course) But if I were to take the clearing option, would there be any funding available to me (I’m from a very low income family-would that be taken into consideration?)

June: The school should be quite willing to send a letter to back up the problems that you had during exams. If you are applying to uni, a student loan is available, through the LEA. If you have financial problems, again contact the LEA student support department to see if they can help you

Charlene Whitcher: Hi, I was just wondering if universities counted two different AS subjects as a whole A level?

June:Many unis are still trying to understand the AS system. MOST are still looking for the A LEVEL/A2 as the qualification to enter but...there may be some who are willing to take the two AS levels

Heather Sanders: I’m not sure whether to go back to college or not because you can not continue the A2 without an E or above. I don’t know what to do as I got 2 U’s

Lynne:You need to ask yourself WHY the AS grades were so low? Most colleges will accept you to do the A2 at the moment as the system is so new so speak to the college over the next few days

Melissa Maddison: How can I find out about AS level results throughout the country. Is there a website I can log onto if you are unable to help me?

June: As the AS exams are organised by the four examining boards it is probably unlikely that you will get a website which gives you the whole picture. You probably need to look at the individual examining boards' details

Hussain Malik: I didn't make the grades for my course, but want to transfer course at the same University - what is the likelihood of me getting excepted?

Lynne: If you didn’t make the grades, contact the uni and ask them. Word of warning... if you're going for a popular course, like Law, Accountancy, they may not accept you...

Andy Cox: Lynne, could you inform of how the AS contributes to my overall two year course and tell me whether if I achieved very good A levels that exceed the AS grades considerably, would the Uni consider them instead as my hopes have diminished with what I achieved in my AS especially with the high targets of applying for Oxford or Cambridge next year

Lynne: Oxford and Cambridge will ALWAYS look for three A grades potential. Speak to your head of sixth or academic tutor about WHY you feel you were disappointed with the grades and see if they would support your application to very high universities

Dart Romford: Can I do some kind of home study course, if yes how do they work?

HOT TIP!

Did you know that although most A level leavers go onto university, 10% to 15% start work?

June: If you are considering a degree course for home study I would contact the open university. Their adverts are on TV quite regularly at the moment, and their year starts next February, so you have plenty of time to look at the course

Stephanie Pilborough: Is there any alternative degree courses to veterinary medicine that could then lead quite easily into entering uni as a graduate for veterinary medicine?

Lynne: You could look at animal behaviour, or veterinary nursing or even zoology as useful back ups to veterinary work

Chris Warren: Is it true that the A levels have changed so that failed exams cannot be retaken next year?

June:I believe that next year is the last year that the A Level can be taken

Marie Bowler: I have 3 Cs in Geography, English Lit. and Art & Design (20 points). My interests are literature, art, English history, and cultural based study. What course would you recommend? (preferably at Sheffield Hallam University)

Lynne: I can't comment on the specific university tonight. What about looking at something like...creative writing, history of art, cultural studies, war and peace studies. It may be a good idea for you to speak to your careers advisor

Blink 182: I’m really scared of becoming a failure, I need to get into this uni because I want to make something of myself. Shall I wait for my uni to contact me or shall I go through to clearing now?

Lynne: If you've got A levels you are NOT a failure, have you contacted the uni to see what they suggest? If they won’t take you, get hold of the vacancy info tomorrow, contact your teachers, tutors or your career advisor to talk things through

Fred Wall: I would like advice on training for a career in IT as I have failed my AS levels which were aimed at engineering?

June: Contact your careers advisor to see if there are any opportunities for IT training in your neighbourhood

Paul Walker: Hi, I have made my first choice offer for a uni place but if I don’t want to go there can I go to my insurance uni?

Lynne: As we've said before...uni offers are LEGALLY BINDING and if you've made the grades you go there!

Dan Smith: Do you have to put your January AS results on your Ucas appliaction, even if you intend to retake them?

June: No you don’t have to include your AS results on your UCAS form

Helen Jones: My A-level grades are below requirements for BSc physiotherapy. Are there recommended foundation or access courses available leading to physio or should I re-take A-Levels to improve my grades?

Lynne:There's no foundation courses that I know of. I would consider retaking one or possible two of your subjects and enhancing your application by getting lots of work experience

Hussain Malik: I applied to study Economics and Maths at Bristol but didn't get the grades - what is the likelihood for me getting excepted at another economic course at the same university?

June: Unless the uni offers a variety of economics or maths courses I would think it's unlikely that you would be able to get a place in the same uni

Richard Stone: AS levels - what if you do not get the results hoped for and your school tells you that you cannot come back for Year 13 and that if you want to reject results and retake them, then you can but not at the school in question you have attended for the last 6 years?

Lynne: You need to query whether another year at this school would benefit you it may be that a brand new place, brand new teachers, brand new approach might be the push that you need to improve your grades

Alice Stonebanks: I got really bad results (2 Ds and a U) and I really don't want to re-sit. BUT I really want to go to uni and study English. Do I have any chance of getting in at all or do I have no choice but to re-sit?

June: There is still a possibility that you can go to uni through the clearing system but you may have to look at other courses other than straight English

Alice Stonebanks: But in the clearing things in the paper they say they want about 22 pts. I'm worried I'll end up sitting around doing nothing if I take a gap year though

Lynne: It depends what you do in your gap year you could do work experience, voluntary work, some of which will pay a small amount of money and this can only enhance your application. Go and visit your local library for ideas or speak to a careers advisor or the staff at your college/school

Richard: I got much better grades than I expected, and can easily get the university place I had been offered. But I'm not sure I want to go now, and am thinking of taking a year off.

Lynne: Contact your Uni. See if they'll defer your entry and enjoy your year out! Most employers and unis rate gap years (PRODUCTIVE GAP YEARS!) as VERY VERY useful!

Eddy Evans: What do I do if I think a result is wrong?

June: If you are VERY sure that your result is wrong you must speak to the teachers at school and ask for a remark. It will cost, and it will take some time

Chris Barnard: What do I do now for AS level resists?

June: When you go back to school or college I am sure the teacher responsible for exams will ask for the names of people who wish to resit their AS exams

Christian Lucas-Flouch: I’ve just received my AS results 1-C, 3-E's. My best marks were for practical subjects media for the film production-B and theatre studies-B. I've talked with my parents and suggest I maybe focus on something more practical. What sort of production course could I do?

Lynne: There are HUGE amount of media based courses and if you check the content carefully, you will be able to find one to suit. I would also suggest that any examples of your practical work are put to one side to make up a portfolio

Graham Jones: I got 10 points and Derby offered me 16 points but they said they will still accept me but I’ve just seen universities nearer to home which have my course in clearing can I choose one of these instead?

June: If you have not got the points required for Derby, you are not legally bound to them and you can go through clearing

Iestyn G: I heard yesterday that people who go through clearing are more likely to drop out of university. I've got to go through clearing to find a medicine course. Do you recommend I wait a year and reapply/retake rather than entering clearing and potentially ending up on a bad course? I missed out by two points.

Lynne: There is concern about the amount of people dropping out of courses if you research the place the institution and the course then you should at least be satisfied that you've chosen the best course for YOU

HOT TIP!

Read about students' first hand experiences of going through clearing and resitting exams

Chris Barnard: If the Exams are so hard and they are withdrawing them next year why should us AS level students have to keep our results that are so low in my school?

June: I don’t think that the level of work for next year's AS exams will be any different to this year. Consequently your grades will still be valid in comparison to those next year, the only difference will be the length and the number of exams taken not the difficulty

Charlotte Stace: I am trying to find out the entry requirements for a mature student for a university course in speech and language therapy, and whether an NVQ in child care is valid?

Lynne: Contact the admissions department of your chosen uni to check their requirements. An NVQ in childcare may well be valid, although unis may ask you to complete an Access course or even just one AS or A Level to prove you can cope with the academic content

Barbara Richardson: My son has 1D and 2Es at AS level he has yet to sit Art. I am worried about his results, will he be able to carry on to next A2 level? Will these grades affect his prospects of studying Illustration and Design at university?

June: It will depend on your son's school or college as to whether he can continue. I would hope that he can! And if he can do better in his A2 exams, they are the ones that will count

Paul Walker: I got enough points for my first choice uni but if I don’t want to go can I accept my insurance offer

Lynne: You may have missed our earlier answers...if you have accepted an offer conditional or not, it is classed as legally binding. The simple answer is NO YOU CAN'T ACCEPT YOUR INSURANCE OFFER OVER YOUR FIRM

Rachel: Are Key Skills worth it?

June: There's been a lot of bad press about key skills BUT....they are WORTH having and unis will be looking for EVIDENCE of key skills if you haven’t got the key skill examinations

Tony Mears: I got an A, B and a C. I needed three Bs to be accepted at my chosen University. I realise that I got a C in one subject but will the A compensate? Will I be accepted?

Lynne: Unless the uni INSISTED on one of the Bs in the subject that I got the C in...they should accept the ABC as equal to the 3 BS

Liz Lane: In clearing, do unis prefer a letter with a copy of your personal statement and results slip(s) or you phoning them direct, or both?

Lynne: Phone them... be prepared to visit them, they may offer you an interview. GO! The letter may get lost with the huge amount of paper that unis get what may be important would be a reference from your school or college

Dan Smith: Do key skills count in the AS point system?

June: There are some unis that will include key skills in the tariff for university entry but at the moment it is not that many however, they still want evidence of key skills

Richard Hilton: In my results today came some pleasant news - As in all 4 of my subjects (IT DT Music and Physics A/S). However, I want to do either physics or computer science at university and most of these courses require maths. I have asked the staff at my school to try and timetable me in for maths A/S next year, but it is looking very unlikely that will happen. What should I do?

Lynne: I need to check the specific requirements for Oxford but there are a whole range of unis offering Physics or Computer Science who would accept your current subject

Chloe Smith: Is doing General Studies worth it? My mum says yes but lots of people say it's not.

June: There are some unis that will take General Studies into account. You need to look at the uni prospectuses to find out if the courses that interest you are interested in general studies or not

Dan Smith: I’m just going into yr 13, but have not done key skills up until now. Would you recommend taking them?......I WANT TO GO TO UNI!

Lynne: You may well be able to gain key skills from your current subject, just by providing some evidence universities will always start off by looking at the grades that you get with your A levels. Key skills would enhance your application, it wouldn’t depend on you getting full key skills

Myles: Is it worth contacting the university yourself to plead?

Lynne: YES is the simple answer! Just a few things though, PREPARE... make sure you KNOW what you want to say rather than you coming across as sad and desperate!

Robin: I've decided to go travelling for a year, is it too late to defer?

June: Contact your uni to find out if they are willing to defer your entry for a year you may find that they are willing, and there are many employers who feel that students benefit from a year out

Maureen Bello: Hi, I'm here on behalf of my cousin who is very sad because of her result. She did better in her last exams but they don't seem to have taken that into consideration with these results. What can we do?

Lynne: Sitting at home and being sad doesn’t solve the problem. She needs to speak to someone like a tutor or a careers advisor who can look at the grades that she got and tell her the options available

Charlotte Stace: What can I do if the uni does not know if NVQs are valid?

HOT TIP!

Be a good friend and send a good luck or congratulations e-card to your mates!

Lynne: You could contact Learning Direct to get their advice some places have advisors specialising in mature students and colleges may be a useful place to start or contact your local careers service who will help you deal with universities direct

Kay Smith: Hi, I need help understanding these results. If you got better grades in Jan, can you use those ones instead of these?

June: There is the possibility to resit your AS in January but remember you will also be doing your A2 exams and so there will be a lot of pressure on you

Richard Hilton: Where is the best place to find out about doing a year in industry?

Lynne: There's an organisation called 'A Year in Industry' and they can give you some advice contact your local careers centre for the numbers you'll also find a huge amount of books in your local library which will give you some ideas

Mandy Jackson: I've applied and been accepted to an university far away from home. Now I've changed my mind and don't want to leave home. Can I apply to another uni that's closer or do I have to wait and reapply next year?

June: If you have the grades for the university away from home and you withdraw, you will have to reapply next year

David B: I fancy taking a year off, should I go travelling or stay home to save money for uni?

Lynne: If you are going to just travel for the sake of it, then you need to analyse what you would get out of it and then try and sell this to the uni or employer there are some opportunities for you to work overseas or in Europe which means you can travel and earn money

Norman: I've done A levels, but fancy doing a Modern Apprenticeship course. But am I too clever, is this a course for people that's left school at 16?

June: It is possible for you to do a modern apprenticeship having completed A Levels. Make sure however, that it is in an area of work that you really want to spend a few years in order to get a HND and possibly go onto further qualifications

Kerri: I might have to re take my exams if I don’t get in to uni through clearing. Can I re take the 'old’ A levels or do I have to sit the 'new' AS level?

Lynne: Speak to your school or college about the possibility of resitting... if this is impossible you may be able to use your A Level knowledge to take an AS in one year and the A2 in the same year. At the moment unis have not given all the info about the new qualifications fitting into their requirements but this will be out very soon, speak to tutors or your careers advisor.

BBC Host: Sorry, but that is all we have time for. Here's our careers angels with a final word:

June and Lynne: Don’t panic, don’t give up!…All the best for the future! GOOD LUCK!

BBC Host: Sorry if your question didn't get answered - there just wasn't enough time to cover them all.

Read the transcript from the GCSE results live chat

 
 

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