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Very confused need a not so help!

  1. Mar 9, 2010 #1
    Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    Hello everyone,
    Im new to physics forums....well to anything other than online gaming forums...So if this topic has been already posted please tell me so i can redirect this topic and merge it with them.

    I am a space loving (space travel and techies) person since i was 4 years old (oddly i knew about it that early!) and i study in the United Arab Emirates. My nationality is Iranian.

    any help and tip would be very appreciated since its time for me to tell my school how i will taking either my AS or A levels.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2010 #2
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    what is your question ariana?
  4. Mar 9, 2010 #3


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    Gold Member

    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    Welcome to the forum!
    In what can we help you? If it's for problem solving, please post your questions and attempts in the homework forum, you'll get a lot of help.
  5. Mar 9, 2010 #4
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    I am interpreting this to mean:

    "What A levels should I take if I am interested in Astronomy?"

    If this is what you meant to ask, Maths and Physics are the two main choices. Further Maths can help a great deal as well for getting into a good university.
  6. Mar 12, 2010 #5
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    after reading what i wrote again i realized i didnt even ask my question :P silly me.

    Well basically the question is:

    Whats the difference between AS and A?

    i understand its 12 and other is 12-13 but is A levels a must for attending universities? I ask this because i read it in Uni of toronto that i need x2 A levels but i see many people graduating from their uni doing only 4-5 AS levels... so im a bit confused.

    I also heard something about a 250 points needed to get in university...whats that?!

  7. Mar 12, 2010 #6
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    I have never seen a university which will take people with AS levels but no A levels. It would be quite unusual to do only AS levels - they're sort of considered as half a course. What is common, is to do for instance 4 subjects for 1 year (up to AS), then drop the one you are least interested in and take only 3 of those for the full A level. In that case you would have 3 A levels and 1 AS level. As Sankaku said, physics and maths, and maybe also further maths are good A levels if you are interested in physics or astronomy.

    That sounds like the UCAS tarriff. Look here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCAS#Tariff and http://www.ucas.ac.uk/students/ucas_tariff/tarifftables/ . On the second page, the points for A levels and AS levels are under the heading "GCE and VCE". Basically, different qualifications are worth different amounts of points, and your total number of points is the sum of the values of your qualifications. For instance, since a B at A level is worth 100 points (see the second link), and at AS level a B is worth 50 points, then 2 B's at A level and 1 B at AS level is worth 250 points which would just meet the mimum requirements for that university.
  8. Mar 12, 2010 #7
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    Keep in mind that the A-Level system is from the UK and the University of Toronto is set up to take students from the Canada high-school system, which is more like the USA.

    A-Level courses will cover material that is usually taught in the first year at Canadian and US universities so, if you have an A-level, you can usually get credit for one or two 1st-year courses in that subject.

    UT may allow people to apply with only AS-Levels, but remember that meeting a minimum condition isn't the same as being accepted. The stronger your background, the more likely you will be offered admission.
  9. Mar 13, 2010 #8
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    Thank you for your answers,

    Ah all right i had thoughts that it might be this way. since studies are supposed to get more focus on one matter than spread (like how i do IGCSE now with 8 subjects).

    Well I am migrating to Canada (hopefully) and i aim to study/live there. ultimately move to america if everything goes well (the usual dream of working in NASA). So therefore i assume they would allow me, from a British system to attend their uni, quite sure of that.

    Actually this is my own theory as well. But the whole question of going to year 13 (A levels) came from the result of a discussion with my father where the dilema was that we see almost 80% of people here (united arab emirates) go to their unis after finishing year 12 (AS) . Thought my father's info is quite low on these matters since he didnt study in anything close to a british system. Well over all his idea was that A levels will simply waste a whole year of my time which could be done in a university with some courses that you take before you attend uni (not sure if their undergraduate courses or what? no clue).
    Even thought i think thats a bad idea since it wouldnt really help my records/background as someone already mentioned.

    Does that mean I will be doing exams for the subject that i will be dropping after AS? well my choice would be IT since i need/like maths-physics-chemistry. So that means i will be focusing alot on IT too, but just for one year....and also would the 1 year of studying IT (or any other subject) help me later on. As in if i score a high mark, that would help me in applying for uni or will be useless since its only a "half course"?

    After reading the WIKI page i see that its for unis and UK, well i did hear this from a friend of mine and my physics teacher, both from Britain and studied there. So i guess thats why they mentioned it, since they didn't know i was trying to apply in Canada. Again going back to U of T i guess insted of this "Tariff" they have simpler (thank god!) versions that says : for example "Min: 4 subjects which 3 should be B and above including maths and physics."

    Guess im giving you all a headache:shy:
    Well if im wrong in any of those stuff i said above please correct me.

    Also if anyone could answer the tiny questions inside the text walls i would be more than happy.
  10. Mar 13, 2010 #9
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    I should say that I know very little about A levels taken outside the UK, or about how non UK universities consider A and AS levels, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    Yes. In the UK, the standard procedure is to take exams in all your subjects at the end of the first year. Then, you might choose to 'drop' one or two subjects, taking the rest for a second year and then doing a second set of exams in those. So you do two sets of exams for A levels, and one set for AS. You should ask your school if you want to know the precise way they implement it.

    That is similar to what I did at A level. I would say that it is worthwhile to do an AS in IT if it is a subject which interests you. It probably wouldn't be hugely decisive in a university application (I guess!), but I would definately not say it will be useless.

    I looked at the admissions criteria for the University of Toronto http://www.adm.utoronto.ca/adm-awar...2E2222222222222&selections.studentType2.key=", which indicates that they would consider 4 AS levels acceptable (if you also have 5 GCSEs). I would suggest finding an appropriate email address for University of Toronto admissions to ask about these sorts of things in more detail (e.g. what would they consider 'good', rather than just acceptable). My personal opinion however, is that if you are taking A/AS levels you might as well go for the full A levels (in your core subjects). I would also advise you not to put all your eggs in one basket in hoping to be accepted by one particular university - you should keep lots of options open (although I guess you already know that and are just using U of T as an example :smile:).
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  11. Mar 13, 2010 #10
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    One thing to think about is whether the A-level will help your admission chances and, if you get credit for the A-level, is it less expensive to take the A-level where you are now or to take the same course at university?

    A-level credit information for some Canadian universities is found at the following:


    https://you.ubc.ca/ubc/vancouver/bpe.ezc [Broken]


    Each university handles the extra credit in a different way - make sure you do lots of research. U of T is a well respected university but, if you are flexible, there are many other good Canadian universities as well. All the major universities will offer a similar level of quality at undergrad level. Unless you have other reasons that you want to be in Toronto, the other Universities will be just as good.

    A few things to think about!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Mar 14, 2010 #11
    Re: Very confused....need a not so urgent help!

    Thank you for all your help.

    Since we're on the topic, to recap, i was aiming to study in fields of astronautic. Or simply engineering that happens in space.

    So my (i guess) last question is that:

    Is it better to start off in the aerospace field and build up to astronautics or starting off with something more wide like mechanical engineering, then hoping to astronautics field in higher levels?
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