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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 13:48 
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Mel wrote:
EBD certainly doesn't realise the importance of exams as during the first year in Switzerland they decide not to bother with them. Unless that is just a ruse to get girls to say on for another year...


They did have a flower show instead. No doubt that looked very impressive on their university application forms :wink: .

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 16:27 
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I wonder how Biddy managed to get into Oxford, when it appears from the Highland Twins quote that she didn't even have the 6 subjects required for a basic School Cert., let alone the credits needed to matriculate...

Another case of the great Sir James Russell having friends in high places? :P

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 16:29 
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Beth R wrote:
When I was doing my A levels (1964-66) we had to do a curious little exam called "Use Of English". It was assumed that everyone doing A levels would be going to university and it was needed , I presume, to prove we could read and write correctly.
I still have the GCE certificate.


Yes I did that too in 1967 - remember it well, and still have the bit of paper. There was also something called a 'General Paper', that apparently equated to an O level, which I think we took in Lower VI

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 19:13 
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abbeybufo wrote:
Beth R wrote:
When I was doing my A levels (1964-66) we had to do a curious little exam called "Use Of English". It was assumed that everyone doing A levels would be going to university and it was needed , I presume, to prove we could read and write correctly.
I still have the GCE certificate.


Yes I did that too in 1967 - remember it well, and still have the bit of paper. There was also something called a 'General Paper', that apparently equated to an O level, which I think we took in Lower VI


Yes I did both these. General paper was an O level we took in the Sixth Form. Use of English didn't count as anything, but I think it was a requirement for a State Scholarship, for which we took an extra "S" level paper for one or more other subjects. (State Scholarship meant funding came from central government funds rather than the local county which funded a County Major Scholarship, which changed into a County University Award in 1960, that being a mandatory grant if you got your place at University, whereas a County Major Scholarship was competitive and you might get a University place but have no funding. )


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 17 Mar 2016, 19:42 
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I just missed our Higher and Lower system. We were the first year to do O grades and the first whose Higher passes were marked A to E (I got an A for Higher English and am still convinced it was an error!). We sat Higher in Fifth Year.

IIRC, University entrance required at least three Highers, of which one had to be English, and at least two O grades, one of which had to be Arithmetic. You submitted your grades then received a certificate which said you were qualified to attend a university in Scotland and specified the faculties to which you could apply - Arts, Science, Medicine etc. Then, of course, you had to apply then wait to see what conditional, or unconditional offers came your way.

My best friend, resident in Michigan these many years, was the only person I ever knew who received a 'qualified for any course' certificate, her six Highers being English, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, History and Latin. Bright lass, our Jacq!


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 18 Mar 2016, 15:16 
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ivohenry wrote:
abbeybufo wrote:
Beth R wrote:
When I was doing my A levels (1964-66) we had to do a curious little exam called "Use Of English". It was assumed that everyone doing A levels would be going to university and it was needed , I presume, to prove we could read and write correctly.
I still have the GCE certificate.


Yes I did that too in 1967 - remember it well, and still have the bit of paper. There was also something called a 'General Paper', that apparently equated to an O level, which I think we took in Lower VI


Yes I did both these. General paper was an O level we took in the Sixth Form. Use of English didn't count as anything, but I think it was a requirement for a State Scholarship, for which we took an extra "S" level paper for one or more other subjects. (State Scholarship meant funding came from central government funds rather than the local county which funded a County Major Scholarship, which changed into a County University Award in 1960, that being a mandatory grant if you got your place at University, whereas a County Major Scholarship was competitive and you might get a University place but have no funding. )


I took the Use of English paper and the O level General Paper in 1974 alongside my A levels and O level Spanish when I was in the 6th form.

As far as I recall, we were recommended to take the Use of English paper, but it wasn't compulsory. Regarding doing the General Paper rather than A level General Studies as many others did, we had to make a choice and the A level seemed too much like hard work on top of my other studies.

Unlike today when pupils seem to routinely take 5 A levels.

I also have vague memories of having to send some sort of proof of matriculation - maybe a form? - off to Sheffield University, even though they had obviously received my A level results, since they confirmed my place. Whatever it was, it was definitely something I sent and not the school.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 18 Mar 2016, 15:22 
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Most people at my school did general studies A-level, and so did most people I knew who were at neighbouring schools. I rather enjoyed the exam, because it obligingly included an option to write an essay on the history of the Balkans, one of my pet subjects :lol:.

The timetabling may have changed now, but, at that time, the general studies papers were always the first ones, so teachers recommended doing it on the grounds that, if you were going to have a horrendous attack of exam nerves, it was better to get it over with in the general studies exam rather than messing up one of your main subjects. Or maybe my school was just paranoid about attacks of nerves :roll: :lol:.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 18 Mar 2016, 16:38 
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Everyone at my school did General Paper O Level alongside A Levels. Never did really see the point in it. Use of English at my school was for people on the Maths and Sciences side, who didn't write essays as part of their normal A Level curriculum. I did see the point in making sure they kept up their English skills - but then I didn't have to do it!

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 18 Mar 2016, 19:36 
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cal562301 wrote:
Regarding doing the General Paper rather than A level General Studies as many others did, we had to make a choice and the A level seemed too much like hard work on top of my other studies.


I did my A-levels in the mid-70s. The school put on General Studies "lessons" for an hour a week. We were often sent to work quietly in the library instead! After a few months of this, it became clear to me that the General Studies paper was just that, and any student with a broad general knowledge should manage a decent pass, so I stopped going to the lessons and went to the library anyway. I did no work to prepare for the exam and got a good grade. As Alison says, if you were lucky and got a question or two on pet subjects, it was a free A-level.


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 18 Mar 2016, 20:53 
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Was the General paper something like this? :P

I remember when we did Standard Grade English we were told to have a repertoire of two or three essays memorised, and when the exam paper with the choice of essay titles was given out, we were to tweak one of our repertoire to fit around it. One of the boys picked the title 'Going Places', and wrote a story about an elephant that escaped from a zoo and went for a stroll in the nearby town. :D

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 19 Mar 2016, 13:25 
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Gottfried wrote:
cal562301 wrote:
Regarding doing the General Paper rather than A level General Studies as many others did, we had to make a choice and the A level seemed too much like hard work on top of my other studies.


I did my A-levels in the mid-70s. The school put on General Studies "lessons" for an hour a week. We were often sent to work quietly in the library instead! After a few months of this, it became clear to me that the General Studies paper was just that, and any student with a broad general knowledge should manage a decent pass, so I stopped going to the lessons and went to the library anyway. I did no work to prepare for the exam and got a good grade. As Alison says, if you were lucky and got a question or two on pet subjects, it was a free A-level.


We had 3 or 4 40 minute lessons classed as General Studies on various subjects, which changed each term. One of them had always a quasi-religious focus, such as Ethics, because we didn't do RE in the 6th form.

I don't remember much about the differences in the exam, except that there were several papers for the A level, which included a translation paper. With hindsight, I should have been OK with that, as I did language A levels.

However, I managed to get into the Uni and onto the course I wanted, despite not getting the required grades from my other A levels, so 42 years on it really doesn't matter that much. :D

I have a feeling that some Universities (not just Oxbridge) were a bit snooty about accepting a good GS A level grade in place of one of your main subjects.

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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 03 Apr 2016, 10:20 
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General Studies, for which I received an A grade, made all the difference when it came to my university acceptance... I didn't have enough points from my "proper" A levels, due to messing up maths :roll: I wasn't heading for Oxbridge, though...

We had a range of lessons for it - English / arts stuff for people doing science-y A levels, basic science and maths for people on the arts side, a bit of politics, a bit of religion, a bit of music etc. I've always had a pretty decent general knowledge - I got through on that, I think (late 1980s).


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 Post subject: Re: School Certificate
PostPosted: 03 Apr 2016, 15:19 
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My daughter had the same luck in the 1990s, Caroline, when she made a complete hash of her History A level, but got A for GS and Royal Holloway accepted it after a chat with one of her teachers.

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