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Thread: Being British XII

  1. #151
    psijupiter
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    Addie, just to add to Northumbrian's answer: vocational qualifications are necessary for many jobs. I did a vocational qualification after my A-levels, because of the work I started doing. Vocational qualifications go up to degree-equivalent levels (and possibly even post-grad.) Some vocational diplomas (which are basically the first two years of university) can be converted into a degree by doing an extra year studying. Sixth form colleges tend to just be for A-Levels, and only for 16-18 year olds. Other colleges do both vocational courses, and GCSE and A-Levels, and tend to have a wider range of ages from 16 upwards.

    The 'day release' is usually called a modern apprenticeship, and normally not for A-levels, but to complete vocational qualifications related to the job you are working in. So, a childcare apprenticeship would mean you worked in a nursery and went to college one or two days a week to complete a childcare qualification.

    Because the number of people going to university has increased, it means that employers are looking for more and more work experience and other evidence that you would be as good employer, rather than just a degree. Many many people I know who went to university and good decent degrees spend a year or more doing temping work, before finding something more pernament, which often involved them doing some sort of post-grad vocational course, in something like management etc.

    (Of course it depends what degree you do, vocational degrees like teaching, social work, nursing, medicine, etc, have an obvious route into work.)

    A-Levels can be a bit like death. With the new A-Levels, student in England take exams at 16 (GCSEs) 17 (As-Levels) and 18 (A-Levels) Some puplis take exams in January and May, in order to spread them out, or they may be doing retakes of previous exams to improve their grade, because for the competition for university places. It's a lot of pressure, and pupils are also taking more and more A-Levels, whereas before people took three, maybe four, now more people take four, some are taking five. Other pupils are doing courses to complete an A-Level in one year, rather than two years, in order to give them more time in the second year to concentrate on other courses. Add to this that univeristies want more extra-curricular activities to help you stand out from the crowd, and I think some 16-18 years are massively stressed! Especially those who want to apply for Oxford/Cambridge, or for medicine, because demand is so high.

    People keep saying A-Levels are getting easier, but I don't know if anyone has tested that! I know that when I was at school science A-Levels and GCSEs included a lot more topics and theories that would only have been covered at degree level before.

  2. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil
    So which college does not matter.

    The only exception (in my experience) is a University degree from Oxford or Cambridge.
    It does depend on the era, of course. These days there are a lot of universities, but there used to be fewer Universities and more Colleges of Higher Education and Polytechnics. These were certainly seen as a lesser type of education and degree, but they did offer a more diverse type of degree (hence mine in Creative Arts)

    As far as prestige universities go; yes, there's Oxford and Cambridge, but there are also old universities termed 'redbrick' that are seen as 'better' than the newer ones that used to be polytechnics or colleges.

    In the redbrick group are Manchester, Bristol, St Andrews, Warwick, York, Edinburgh, Durham, UCL (University College of London). There's probably a few more, I just can't think of them all.

    However, as Neil says, these days degrees don't actually seem to count much to an employer and vocational qualifications are the best way to get employment.

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  3. #153
    wishbones and witches
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    Quote Originally Posted by BloodRayne
    Hello! I have a question regarding university in England.

    So in the US, college is practically a must, and most jobs won't hire you without at the very least an associate's degree, if not a bachelor's or or a master's. Most people look down on you if you don't attend college. My question is, is it the same in England?

    Is University pretty much expected out of all teenagers? Is there also a rooted prestige to a college degree? What are a teenager's job prospects without attending university? Are there other options available? Also, I know that, for example, in Japan, not everybody attends Uni because the competition is so ridiculously fierce and the entrance exams grueling - is it the same in England? Are A-Levels death or are they kind of on par with SATs (although, they're two different things, so I guess it's not a great comparison).

    Thank you!

    -Addie
    I wouldn't say it's essential or expected for most teenagers to go to uni, or even for them to do A-levels. Though, of course, this depends a lot on your background and schooling. In my experience there's a big difference between schools since in some taking A-levels is a big deal and in others everyone's aiming for Oxbridge.

    I don't think a degree affects job prospects too much since people who don't go seem to have an easy enough time. Getting a degree is more a sign of an educated person, especially if it's from the Russell Group (a group of top universities that I think are the equivalent to American Ivy League universities). But going to a Polytechnic barely counts as anything in terms of degrees.

    As for A-levels, it really depends on what subjects your taking. There are the "classic" subjects which are very hard but count more in university applications. There are a lot of these, but they include the sciences, maths, latin, languages, economics, english literature and several other subjects. Other subjects - such as psychology, sociology, english language, food tech and business studies - aren't considered very highly and many high-achieving sixth forms won't even teach them.

    The normal amount of A-levels to take is 4 ASs and 3 A2s but at better schools there's a lot of pressure to take more. I think at better school's most people take 5 ASs and 4 A2s though that can vary (I plan to take 6 ASs and 3 or 4 A2s).

    As someone taking their A-levels at the moment, I can say they're pretty hard and you need to put a lot of hard work into them, although I can't really say how they are in comparison to the SATs since I've never taken SATs. A lot of people say A-levels are getting easier but I don't really think that's true, especially when it comes to classic subjects.

    xxSue

  4. #154
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    Out of curiosity, particularly since someone mentioned the SATs...

    How are A levels graded? For comparison, SATs are out of 2400, 800 each for vocabulary, math and writing, and pre-2005 used to be 1600 (just vocabulary and math).
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  5. #155
    wishbones and witches
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    It's the typical A, B, C and so on grading. A new A* grade has been introduced but only for your A2s (the second year). I'm not sure, but I think the lowest grade is U and everything below a D is a fail. At most sixth forms you can't study a subject in your second year if you got below a C in your first year.

  6. #156
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    All right, my British friends. I need some words or phrases that one might use to talk about a guy who is a bit of a ladies man. Not swear words. Here in the U.S., we would say "Ladies Man" or "womanizer" or "player" ... but I need words the Weasley brothers might use to describe this thing. Also, do you say, "trolling for girls" to mean a guy who is out trying to pick up girls? If not, got an alternative for me?

    Thanks so much.
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  7. #157
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    Lori, it depends (as always) on the era.

    Sirius could be described as a Ladies man, and I think Molly would use the term (Ron says 'scarlet woman' which he's got from her but is old fashioned). Other older words would be 'Lothario'.

    Womanizer is used here, as well as player (but I think that's a bit more modern).

    'Babe magnet'? Or the Weasley's could change that to 'witch magnet'

    I don't think we'd have said 'trolling for girls' in the 90's (Trio era), but a bloke (or a girl) would say they're 'going on the pull' or 'pulling' when they're looking for a snog or something more.

    You may need advice from someone who's still in the dating game, however.

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  8. #158
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    Weasley Mom- people do say trolleying but it's pretty derogatory. Some guys would say Casanova, player, lothario as a compliment (player could be wither I suppose). If you want it as an insult (I'm not sure whether this counts as swearing but I'll asterix just in case) man wh**e is probably your best bet, though I think that's a fairly recent thing (as far as I know).
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  9. #159
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    I have a quick question. What to Brits call a wireless internet connection? Do they just call it wireless, Wi-Fi, or what?

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  10. #160
    Seventh Year Gryffindor
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    If I'm at home, I'll just call it the internet, regardless whether it's wireless or not, but if I'm making a distinction, I'll say wireless internet. Wi-Fi I'll use regarding an establisment; 'I'm off to Starbucks to use their Wi-Fi', or, more recently 'I'm off the the pub to use their Wi-Fi'.

    I think we need a new thread. Not sure if I'm allowed to make one or not, though...

    Sarah x


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