Sixth Form

FAQs for 2017 entry into Sixth Form

How do I choose my subjects for the Sixth Form?

You will be studying a much narrower range of subjects than in the past and spending more time on each of them, so it certainly makes sense to choose subjects you know you enjoy! Equally, your results in these subjects will be your passport to Higher Education, so they should also be subjects in which you can reasonably expect to achieve good results. A combination of subjects offering a degree of variety of study is often a good idea. If you have clear future intentions for university and beyond, check if you should take certain subjects at Advanced level. If you are not sure what you want to do beyond the Sixth Form, it’s best to choose a range of subjects that keeps your options open. Take advice as widely as possible and visit the Student Guidance department.

What is meant by AS and full A Level?

KES does not offer any AS subjects.  AS stands for Advanced Subsidiary and represents the first half of a full Advanced level course, consisting of two or three assessment units. It is an independent qualification in its own right and is worth just below half the UCAS points tariff of a full Advanced level. The full Advanced level course, also consisting of two or three units is a two year linear course and fully examined at the end of the Upper Sixth.

What’s the difference between an A* and an A grade?

The A* grade was introduced in summer 2010. It is awarded when you achieve 90% of the maximum uniform mark on the full A level course.

Should I do 3 or 4 full Advanced levels?

Further Mathematics, Mathematics, plus two other subjects is the traditional four-subject combination, but you can take all four of your subjects forward to full A level if you wish, whatever combination you are studying. It is important not to under-estimate the potential demands of any four-subject Upper Sixth course of study, and to take advice as widely as possible. Taking four full Advanced levels generally does not enhance your chances of obtaining a university place and may, in fact, result in your being made a more demanding offer.

Which subjects are the best preparation for university later on?

The School believes that all the subjects offered at Advanced level have good academic credentials and are suitable for study by Sixth Formers intending to enter Higher Education. Some HE courses have specific subject requirements, very many do not. Students who are concerned whether their Advanced level subjects are appropriate preparation for their intended course of study at university should consult the website of the university concerned or look at the entry profiles for courses featured on UCAS Course Search.

When do I have to decide which subjects I want to carry on to full A Level?

Having chosen four subjects for your Lower Sixth year, you don’t have to decide which three you will carry on with in the Upper Sixth until the Spring term of the Lower Sixth year. It is then that you will be asked to confirm your choice of Route 1 [3 A level subjects] or Route 2 [4 A level subjects]. Requests to change your choice of subjects after that will be considered but will be subject to considerations such as staffing, set numbers and timetabling implications.

We do ask you when making your initial choices to indicate which of the four subjects is likely to be your Lower Sixth only option, if you intend to follow Route 1. The reason for asking this question is that it enables us to create teaching sets in such a way as to maximise continuity of teaching from Lower to Upper Sixth. The Spring term of the Lower Sixth year is when you will be asked to confirm your intentions for the Upper Sixth.

Can I drop my fourth A Level subject in the Upper Sixth?

You should consider the demands of a four A level course carefully before embarking on it. If, however, the School agrees that it would be in your best interests to reduce the number of full Advanced level subjects, you will be allowed to drop the fourth subject. Making such a change in the Upper Sixth year itself may, however, involve changes of teaching set.

Will I have the same teachers in both years in the Sixth Form?

Continuity of teaching cannot be guaranteed, as we will need to make some rearrangements to teaching sets in the light of choices for Upper Sixth, but we will do our best to provide continuity for as many sets and students as possible.

Will subjects be examined in both the Lower and Upper Sixth?

Yes. All subjects will be examined in the summer term of the Lower Sixth year either internally or externally, and full A level subjects will be externally examined in June of the Upper Sixth year. In the January of the Upper Sixth year, there may be some form of internal assessment arranged by subject departments. There are no external examinations in the January of the Lower Sixth or Upper Sixth years.

Can I resit units?

No-there are no opportunities to re-sit any examinations following the A level reforms.

What are Open Forum and Foundation Studies?

In the Lower Sixth year every student will enter the Foundation Studies programme and attend a series of weekly sessions designed to equip students with key skills and to extend their education beyond the examined curriculum. For students opting for Route 1, Foundation Studies continues in the Upper Sixth year where it becomes a series of five short courses chosen from a wide ranging list. Full details of these will be made available in the Spring Term of the Lower Sixth year. In addition, all Sixth Form students will attend Open Forum, a series of weekly presentations by staff and guest speakers, intended to interest, inspire and broaden the experience of all students

Any questions you might have which are not answered above should be addressed to

Dr B M WaymarkDeputy Head Academic023 80704561 afd@kes.hants.sch.uk