#### The Telegraph is reporting that Cambridge Universitie’s head of admissions has warned that a major overhaul of A-levels will result in thousands of “overambitious” sixth-formers applying to Oxbridge when they have no chance of winning a place…

Government plans to effectively scrap AS-level exams – taken in the lower-sixth – are likely to leave students making “several unfortunate choices” during the admissions process, said Mike Sewell.

He said the AS exam currently acts as a “reality check”, sparing teenagers the “upsetting” experience of applying to Oxbridge when they do not have a realistic chance of getting in.

Without it, leading universities could be inundated with applications from pupils who take a string of top GCSEs taken at age 16 as a sign that they are Oxbridge material, it was claimed…

Mr Sewell said AS-levels traditionally acted as a guide to students considering applying to leading universities, warning that some may struggle to make sensible choices without them.

“AS-level results give some children the confidence to apply,” he said. “At the other end of the scale, we have a pastoral worry about overambitious students.

“At the moment, we can speak to potential applicants who say ‘here are my AS results, will I be a competitive applicant?’ And we can give them a really honest reply. We can say gently ‘look, don’t waste a choice or wait to apply after you have your A-level grades’.”

He added: “We worry that if some of these young people, on the basis of good GCSE results, make three or four applications that turn out to be overambitious, where do they go to university?

“There is a worry that without the AS-level reality check, they are at risk of making several unfortunate choices and that is awful for them. With AS results, they can sit down with their teachers and make realistic choice and target their universities quite sensitively.”…

More at: A-level reform will lead to flood of ‘overambitious’ applications, says Cambridge admissions chief

Interesting comments from Mike Sewell – but is it not the case that GCSE grades give virtually as accurate an indication of A level grades as do AS levels? Your thoughts on this? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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Annette1Hardy

SchoolsImprove Surely this is where teachers will get involved and advise students?

Mktadvice4schls

Annette1Hardy SchoolsImprove it’s a lot easier when you’ve hard evidence. GCSE performance doesn’t always correlate to A level

Annette1Hardy

Mktadvice4schls SchoolsImprove Can see that. True, there’s a huge leap in difficulty from GCSE to AS now.

OoberKidsRepub

SchoolsImprove we shld celebrate the fact that so many will want to try. Even failing is a good life lesson, nursing ‘what ifs’ is not

ruthkennedy

SchoolsImprove no GCSEs do not discriminate as well. Cantab finds AS results correlate closely w/ Tripos success.

FionaTipper

SchoolsImprove The current UCAS system is a colossal waste of time and energy. In Europe you get your results THEN apply. #Seemples

SchoolsImprove

FionaTipper seems such an obvious solution to many issues but apparently unis not up for it

FionaTipper

SchoolsImprove They may have administration teams that would be defunct if it was all simpler I suppose.

TutorMe123

FionaTipper SchoolsImprove just sounds so much more logical.

sjwilk

ruthkennedy Is there anything published re AS correlation with Tripos? This seems to contradict other research.

ruthkennedy

sjwilk my husband will know – hang on I’ll ask

ruthkennedy

sjwilk apparently there’s lots published. I’m looking at a recent ppt that summarises…

ruthkennedy

sjwilk “A large study showed there to be an excellent correlation between AS module marks (UMS) and subsequent performance in Tripos”

ruthkennedy

sjwilk Correlation especially strong in science subjects; AS UMS a significantly better predictor than GCSE, BMAT, TSA – than anything else

ruthkennedy

sjwilk send me an email address and I can ping it over to you

sjwilk

ruthkennedy Thanks for the quote – found the report. Interestingly the correlation is not there for maths!

CurlyMan66

ruthkennedy SchoolsImprove and I get the impression DFE were heavily influenced by Cantab Maths dons

Stylishstems

The Universities should work to changing their academic year and look at applicants after their results. Students can then make a more realistic choice of University and the course to study.