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How Important Are A-Levels?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've just taken my A-Levels and I'm going to University in September.

Throughout my education I have achieved average grades, nothing like straight A's but more a long the lines of B's and C's.

Exactly how important are your A-Levels? For example if i got a 1:1 which in reality is very unlikely or a decent 2:1 would a future employer overlook the average A-Levels and see the effort put in to achieve the degree? or would a candidate with straight A's at A-Level and just scraped a 2:1 or has a 2:2 stand a better chance?

I'm just wondering as it concerns me with wanting to pursue a career in Law as the expectations and grades needed are high.

Thanks for any opinions given or advice offered in advance!
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As a general rule people only care about the most recent thing.

    So once you've got your A levels, people care less about your GCSEs, once you get your degree, no one is too fussed about your A levels.

    The usual excepts apply though, Investment Wanks and magic circle law firms may want a top degree and a top A levels.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    The usual excepts apply though, Investment Wanks and magic circle law firms may want a top degree and a top A levels.

    That's what worries me, for small high street firms would average A Level's not be such a big issue then?
  • BunnieBunnie TheSite's sweetie pie Posts: 6,099
    I would love to say they werent that important, but knowing what you want to do, I would say they are. I have been reliably informed that the reason I havent got a training contract is due to my A levels.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yes they are important, alot of jobs require 280-300 points.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Bunnie wrote: »
    I would love to say they werent that important, but knowing what you want to do, I would say they are. I have been reliably informed that the reason I havent got a training contract is due to my A levels.

    I thought it may be a problem. What are your A-Levels like? Have you applied to small firms and still not had much luck?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As a general rule people only care about the most recent thing.

    So once you've got your A levels, people care less about your GCSEs, once you get your degree, no one is too fussed about your A levels.

    The usual excepts apply though, Investment Wanks and magic circle law firms may want a top degree and a top A levels.

    This is what I thought.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Anyone else have any thoughts on the matter?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    All the graduate jobs I applied for said you had to have a minimum of 280 UCAS points (excluding General Studies) and some ask for at least B in GCSE Maths and English but they assume that since you're applying in the first place that those two criteria are merely formalities.

    I think my job was 280 points :chin:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    I think my job was 280 points :chin:

    So if you didn't have the 280 points you couldn't apply for the job you wanted even if you did very well in your degree and had a lot of work experience in that field?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you want a 'horses mouth' answer, try getting in touch with a couple of the type of places you might want to work for, and find out what they look for and how they weigh A levels against degree and experience.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    All the graduate jobs I applied for said you had to have a minimum of 280 UCAS points (excluding General Studies) and some ask for at least B in GCSE Maths and English but they assume that since you're applying in the first place that those two criteria are merely formalities.

    I think my job was 280 points :chin:

    I am old school, what is 280 points?

    I think A Levels are important. If there are 2 candidates and you both have 2:1s and similar experience, but one has 3 As and one has 3 Cs, guess which one will get the job?

    Although I went to a former poly for my degree, I did well in my A Levels which I think helped me stand out on applications.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you want a 'horses mouth' answer, try getting in touch with a couple of the type of places you might want to work for, and find out what they look for and how they weigh A levels against degree and experience.

    Yeah I will do :) never thought to ask when i went before, just waiting till I've started university now as there isn't too much i can do atm in such places.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    katchika wrote: »
    I am old school, what is 280 points?

    UCAS Points, for example to get 280 points you need BBC at A Level as a B is 100 points and a C 80 points.

    Like my above example to begin with what if one had a 1:1 and average A Levels and another 2:1 and good A Level's would the one with good A Levels still have the best chance?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you were applying for a job in which you needed a degree, it used to be the case that your A-Levels were almost irrelevant. However, with the massive numbers coming out of university now with degrees, employers have to start taking other things into account - how else are you going to distinguish between 100 people with a 2:1 degree?

    My personal opinion? The system is a complete sham.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote: »
    If you were applying for a job in which you needed a degree, it used to be the case that your A-Levels were almost irrelevant. However, with the massive numbers coming out of university now with degrees, employers have to start taking other things into account - how else are you going to distinguish between 100 people with a 2:1 degree?

    My personal opinion? The system is a complete sham.

    Yeah i agree. It's a shame really because at 16/17 you still aren't really entirely sure what you want to do with your life, it's a big decision to have to make. You could do excellent in a degree because you know what you want out of life but back when you did your A Levels you didn't. You probably didn't work as hard as you could have done despite doing great at degree level and then it turns out A Levels are just as important and it can make your dream harder to achieve or even impossible.

    Hope that makes some sense atleast to someone!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    katchika wrote: »
    I am old school, what is 280 points?

    I think A Levels are important. If there are 2 candidates and you both have 2:1s and similar experience, but one has 3 As and one has 3 Cs, guess which one will get the job?

    Although I went to a former poly for my degree, I did well in my A Levels which I think helped me stand out on applications.

    I actually don't know how they do it these days. I'm also old school where A=10, B=8 etc.

    I just guessed that I would be safe with AAA.
    squeal wrote:
    So if you didn't have the 280 points you couldn't apply for the job you wanted even if you did very well in your degree and had a lot of work experience in that field?

    Since most of the application is done online then sadly they would probably weed you out. One of the first questions on the application is 'Do you have 280+ UCAS points' and if not, then the application doesn't go through. Perhaps it's not as cut and dry as that but that was the impression I got.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Since most of the application is done online then sadly they would probably weed you out. One of the first questions on the application is 'Do you have 280+ UCAS points' and if not, then the application doesn't go through. Perhaps it's not as cut and dry as that but that was the impression I got.

    I didn't realise that, i seriously hope i manage to scrape BBC then!

    Well done with the AAA, very impressive.

    What kind of jobs were you applying for?

    I find that quite annoying how they wouldn't even give you a chance. Someone very clever academically would get an interview but could lack social skills and other key aspects needed for the job but then someone with all of that is over looked just because they didn't have 280 points.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    As a general rule people only care about the most recent thing.

    So once you've got your A levels, people care less about your GCSEs, once you get your degree, no one is too fussed about your A levels.

    The usual excepts apply though, Investment Wanks and magic circle law firms may want a top degree and a top A levels.
    This is really incorrect. Lots of graduate firms specify they want 280/300 UCAS points on top of a 2.1 degree. Not just top firms like investment banks, even accountancy firms like PwC/Deloitte, marketing/advertising firms, and general blue chip grad employers will specify this. And yes, if you get BBC at A-Level then pull your finger out and get a 1st class degree, you still won't be able to apply to lots of good grad jobs, this has been well documented on lots of grad articles/forums. The minimum for a lot of top grad jobs is 300 points ie BBB/ABC, and on top of that a lot want a 2.1 degree - you hardly need a 1st for anything on the other hand. And as opposed to this stringent A-Level requirement, GCSEs often don't matter much at all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    squeal wrote: »
    It's a shame really because at 16/17 you still aren't really entirely sure what you want to do with your life, it's a big decision to have to make. You could do excellent in a degree because you know what you want out of life but back when you did your A Levels you didn't. You probably didn't work as hard as you could have done despite doing great at degree level and then it turns out A Levels are just as important and it can make your dream harder to achieve or even impossible.
    I think I could have done a lot better in my A-Levels. In my diary at the time, I described my results as "distinctly average". That is, they weren't great, but weren't terrible either. Whilst a side of me does find it refreshing that MMU weren't too fussed about that, I'm well aware the reason they took me on is because I help to add up the numbers. More mature students equals more government money under the rigged funding system.

    Earlier today, I checked my emails. One of them was from Futuretrack. Basically, I signed up last year to be part of a study they are doing. They're following students who started in September 2006 for a number of years to see what they're up to. One question I was asked was - one year on, are you any clearer as to what you want to do with your life?

    My answer, yet again, was "no". I mean, I'm 22, for God's sake. I'm not some insecure teenager anymore. Surely I should know by now?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ha, I'm 25 next week and still don't know what I want to do with my life. You're not alone by any means.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    squeal wrote: »
    I didn't realise that, i seriously hope i manage to scrape BBC then!

    Well done with the AAA, very impressive.

    What kind of jobs were you applying for?

    I find that quite annoying how they wouldn't even give you a chance. Someone very clever academically would get an interview but could lack social skills and other key aspects needed for the job but then someone with all of that is over looked just because they didn't have 280 points.

    Cheers, though it was aaaages ago.

    Got onto the RBS Grad scheme which is pretty tasty. Same starting salary as my mates at Goldman / UBS etc. and a lot more than mates doing Big 4 accounting.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    squeal wrote: »
    Like my above example to begin with what if one had a 1:1 and average A Levels and another 2:1 and good A Level's would the one with good A Levels still have the best chance?
    Someone who gets just BBB and a low 2.1 is generally more employable than someone who gets BCC and the highest 1st in their uni, or someone who gets AAAAA and a high 2.2 (assuming uni prestige etc is the same). This is because so many companies seem stringent on their 300 UCAS + 2.1 requirement which the latter two don't match. Shambolic I know but that's how it is, just play the system.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think i need to think of a very good Plan B :p unless a miracle happens !!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    xsazx wrote: »
    surely not knowing what you wanted to do for definate would just motivate you further to do your very best at A Level in order to open as many possible doors for the future though?

    Not necessarily, if you don't know what you want to do there isn't anything to motivate you to do well, apart from wanting to do well like you said but that didn't really work for me, I've never thought much of myself academically.

    Now i know what i want to do though i will try my very best to achieve that and if my A Levels stop me from doing that then i will just have to take an alternative route. Hopefully though i will meet someone who will see my potential and give me a chance! I'm sure it's all about networking :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    xsazx wrote: »
    surely not knowing what you wanted to do for definate would just motivate you further to do your very best at A Level in order to open as many possible doors for the future though?
    And you expect the average 16-year old to have this mentality? Well, given the amount of nonsense our education system preaches, anything's possible.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i always knew what i wanted to do :yes:

    but stop scaring me, my a level results turn up in august :crying:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i always knew what i wanted to do :yes:

    but stop scaring me, my a level results turn up in august :crying:

    Less than a month now! I'm so worried about my Travel and Tourism! Good Luck!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    but stop scaring me, my a level results turn up in august :crying:
    Stop worrying. You'll be fine. No matter what your results are, there are always options.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote: »
    Stop worrying. You'll be fine. No matter what your results are, there are always options.

    Yeah but either way i wouldn't want to be a year behind :p
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    xsazx wrote: »
    thanks... really. We're not all air heads that don't give a toss about others/our lives.

    So because at 16/17 i still didn't know what i wanted to do it meant i didn't give a toss about my life?
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