Progressing from GCSEs to A-levels at Kings London
Nguyen Hung Viet Tung (Tom) is studying A-levels at Kings London after taking his GCSEs with us last year. We chatted to him to find out how this academic year is going, how it compares to last year, and his plans for university.
Hi Tom, how are you? How was your summer?
Well it was great! I travelled around the country with my mum [his home country Vietnam], because I went back home. But it was a bit sad that I got rejected for my Mexican visa [Tom had planned to visit a friend and former student, Giselle, in Mexico].
What course are you studying at Kings, and how is that going?
I'm taking A-levels this year, and my subjects are Maths, Economics and Politics. It's going really well; I’m taking subjects that I like and preparing for university because I know it will be really competitive. I only made up my mind about what to study and what course to do at university last year!
What are you hoping to study at university, and where?
I'm thinking of PPE, Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Maybe at UCL.
Which subjects are you most enjoying so far?
Well, I like them all, what I'm interested in is social science, and besides Politics and Economics, I look forward to reading papers and articles in terms of psychology and philosophy, so that keeps me busy most of all. And for Maths, well I always really like Maths, probably because I'm from an Asian country it's sort of typical.
Maths is the same in any language, right? And how are you finding this year compared to last year?
This year actually the workload is less, and also the number of lessons is less, not as much as last year — because last year I was doing GCSE and I took 7 subjects, so I had to go to school from 8.40am to 4.30pm last year. But then this year I have loads of gaps in between classes [for self-study]. I only have 24 lessons per week, so it feels more relaxing.
And how did you do in your GCSEs? Do you mind telling us?
So I did really well in Maths and Business, I got two A*s. And for Science and stuff, which is not really my cup of tea, so I got a B for all those subjects. A bit disappointed in my English for GCSE but I think it's because of the way I write, because I write in a very IELTS way and for GCSE it is different.
It sounds like it was a great year for you. And what has been the highlight of this year so far? What have you been up to?
I'm doing Clubs and Societies. I'm doing Book Club, Debating and Kings Enterprise.
Great! How is that going?
I love Kings Enterprise, it is always interesting, and one of my favourite things to do. I love getting into a group and starting work on marketing or advertising a new idea, learning how to make a business successful. And for Debating, I love debating, it's really fun! Doing social science and debating helps a lot with my skills for counter-arguments, it's fantastic! And Book Club, well it's books, so improving reading and general skills.
You had lots of lovely friends last year. Are you missing them, and have you made new friends this year?
I've met some new friends but still that feeling from last year, it's still there. I'm keeping in touch with all of them from last year and in fact I'm going on a trip with one of them during Christmas. So I miss them, but they've moved to another city. And making new friends isn’t that bad, so you get to meet new people, it's a new beginning.
Are you in the same accommodation as last year, with your host family?
Yes! I love them so much! Yesterday I just had dinner with them and it was one of their son's birthday. They just feel like family!
Do you like the new coffee shop in Beckenham?
Yes! That one it's so fancy. I love the ambience! The snacks and drinks are great and they have incentives to make you go, like a loyalty card.
What are you most looking forward to in the next few months?
I think improving my current grades. I need to learn more about how to do analysis and evaluation in my essays, so I'm looking forward to getting that and getting more knowledge, and also to study Spanish [Tom was the best-attending member of Spanish Club last year, and is doing lots of self-study this year].
Sounds great, keep up the good work Tom!