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Do I need A-level English Language?

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    Hello,

    Could anyone please help me decide or just hint from their personal experiences, I am really lost at the moment .

    A levels I would like to do and really enjoy:
    AS Maths
    AS Further Maths
    AS Physics
    AS Computing

    However, I went to many sixth form interviews and many said I need some written subject, because my all subjects are associated with Mathematics and many universities like 'traditional subjects' such as English Language.

    So, I'm thinking of taking A-level English Language for my fourth, however the problem is that I really like/enjoy all the subjects I have chosen and I don't know which subject I could change, probably AS Physics or AS Computing

    As far as I know people who take A-level English don't do good overall, which would be even harder for me, as I'm only one year in UK.

    But again, as I'm only one year in UK, it would be good to learn English properly as I will need to use it a lot at any uni.

    At uni I want to do Computer Science degree and then follow video game programming career.

    What do you think? Do I need it? If yes, what subject I should I change, from the ones I have chosen? Do people really do bad in A-level English? and, is it worth it? (as I don't really like doing English Language)
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    English Language is pants. You'd be better off doing Literature if you want a writing subject, or history.

    You need to make sure you have a decent grade in English Language at GCSE, but not necessarily at A-Level? I haven't seen anyone mention a 'writing subject'. You need to make sure you have maths, it is useful to have further maths, and then another subject of your choice. What you have chosen looks alright.
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    (Original post by CJG21)
    English Language is pants. You'd be better off doing Literature if you want a writing subject, or history.

    You need to make sure you have a decent grade in English Language at GCSE, but not necessarily at A-Level? I haven't seen anyone mention a 'writing subject'. You need to make sure you have maths, it is useful to have further maths, and then another subject of your choice. What you have chosen looks alright.
    So you think I don't need a writing subject to get to a decent uni?
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    (Original post by LoneWolf)
    So you think I don't need a writing subject to get to a decent uni?
    I doubt it. What unis are you hoping for?

    Cambridge want:

    Essential - Maths
    Prefered - Physics, Further Maths
    Useful - Chemistry, Electronics, Computer Science (Computing)

    So no.

    Look on different uni websites and you'll find out. Career advisers are stupid.

    Your options look good.
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    (Original post by CJG21)
    I doubt it. What unis are you hoping for?

    Cambridge want:

    Essential - Maths
    Prefered - Physics, Further Maths
    Useful - Chemistry, Electronics, Computer Science (Computing)

    So no.

    Look on different uni websites and you'll find out. Career advisers are stupid.

    Your options look good.
    Everyone I met said the options are OK, but some said I need a written subject, that's why I am confused.

    The requirements are simple and straight-forward for many uni's but I think many of them still look at other subjects like English and prefer people who can write and speak clearly in it, rather than people who know a lot of physics or computing itself (as they tend to teach computing from basics as far as I know)

    Or am I wrong?
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    (Original post by LoneWolf)
    Everyone I met said the options are OK, but some said I need a written subject, that's why I am confused.

    The requirements are simple and straight-forward for many uni's but I think many of them still look at other subjects like English and prefer people who can write and speak clearly in it, rather than people who know a lot of physics or computing itself (as they tend to teach computing from basics as far as I know)

    Or am I wrong?
    What did you get in your GCSEs for the written subjects like Language and Literature and the humanities?
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    You don't need to worry about doing an essay based subject at AS/A Level for Computer Science at university. If you're still in doubt all you need to do is take a look at entry requirements regarding CS for the universities you may want to apply to but in all honesty I actually think your AS choices are pretty good for Compter Science at degree level. Cheer up and relax!
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    (Original post by CJG21)
    What did you get in your GCSEs for the written subjects like Language and Literature and the humanities?
    I don't know the exam grade yet (which is 40% of the course), but I spent a lot of time doing English GCSE and I got A* for coursework, however I don't like doing it, so it would be really painful to do A-level English (but better than History or Literature)
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    For pretty much any Maths/Physics/Computing course the A levels you would like to do are perfect, I can't see any prospective Uni turning you down because you don't have a 'written' A-level (unless you were applying for a degree in say, English, which you're not).
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    You don't need a written subject, I do maths, further maths, physics, computing and English and it's not going to strengthen my application at all!
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    (Original post by Damask-)
    You don't need a written subject, I do maths, further maths, physics, computing and English and it's not going to strengthen my application at all!
    It won't probably strengthen your application, because English is your first language, however as it is my second, I'm not sure if I need it.
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    This is going to be an Oxford answer, but hopefully a useful one to you, as we're not that dissimilar to other top unis, and the points made earlier in the thread.

    Our standard offer is A*AA, with at least an A in Maths. The A* has to be in either Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Computing. Maths is therefore essential to us. Computing is a mathematical subject, especially in the way we approach it at Oxford. So you will need to have developed your ability in mathematical thinking. We think doing both Maths and Further Maths to A2 is the best way of doing this, but we recognise that some schools are unable to offer this combination. We also suggest a science subject such as Physics. Our courses start from first principles so we're not looking for any specific knowledge in Computing (although we are looking for a genuine interest in the subject.) Some students come to us with Computing A/AS Level; others don't. So you've got an excellent choice of A Levels for us in the ones that you list. We make offers based on three A Levels. We'd notice any in addition to that but it wouldn't form part of an offer we made.

    Non-native English speakers do need to meet our English language requirements, but you could do this, for example, by getting a grade B in English Language GCSE. An A Level in English isn't going to help convince us of your potential to be a good computer scientist, so wouldn't particularly be a plus on your application. Yes, you're going to need a good level of written and spoken English, and you're going to need to demonstrate that to us during the application process. But you don't need an A Level in English to do this.

    The exception to this is if you're considering our joint degree in Computer Science and Philosophy, when recent experience of an essay-based subject at A Level can be useful. But event then it's by no means essential.
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    No you don't need it, don't do it unless you want to.

    A Levels are probably the most highly specialized 16-18 qualification in the world. You are expected to do 3/4 subjects while countries like France do 8/9. The 'beauty' of this system is that universities in this country are very focused on your interest in the subject so will only be concerned about maths related subjects, if that is what you want to do.

    Yes, the system leads to very one directional learning, but use it to the best you can and if you feel you wouldn't be good at English, then don't do it as it can only do harm to your grades and higher education opportunities.

    Good luck!
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    (Original post by Oxford Computer Science Dept)
    This is going to be an Oxford answer, but hopefully a useful one to you, as we're not that dissimilar to other top unis, and the points made earlier in the thread.

    Our standard offer is A*AA, with at least an A in Maths. The A* has to be in either Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Computing. Maths is therefore essential to us. Computing is a mathematical subject, especially in the way we approach it at Oxford. So you will need to have developed your ability in mathematical thinking. We think doing both Maths and Further Maths to A2 is the best way of doing this, but we recognise that some schools are unable to offer this combination. We also suggest a science subject such as Physics. Our courses start from first principles so we're not looking for any specific knowledge in Computing (although we are looking for a genuine interest in the subject.) Some students come to us with Computing A/AS Level; others don't. So you've got an excellent choice of A Levels for us in the ones that you list. We make offers based on three A Levels. We'd notice any in addition to that but it wouldn't form part of an offer we made.

    Non-native English speakers do need to meet our English language requirements, but you could do this, for example, by getting a grade B in English Language GCSE. An A Level in English isn't going to help convince us of your potential to be a good computer scientist, so wouldn't particularly be a plus on your application. Yes, you're going to need a good level of written and spoken English, and you're going to need to demonstrate that to us during the application process. But you don't need an A Level in English to do this.

    The exception to this is if you're considering our joint degree in Computer Science and Philosophy, when recent experience of an essay-based subject at A Level can be useful. But event then it's by no means essential.
    Thank you for your reply! You have mentioned that the AS English wouldn't be a plus on my application, but it would help me during the application process. Could you please elaborate, because I'm not sure what you meant by that? I would be really grateful.

    I'm still thinking of doing AS English, because I find AS Computing a bit boring and redundant as I already have 3-4 years of self-taught programming experience with C++ and 2 video games made using Ogre3D Graphics Engine, DirectX and OOP, and I found that learning loops and conditional statements in Visual Basic is unnecessary, especially when universities tend to teach programming again from the basics. On the other hand, I found AS English hard, because English isn't my first language and I have been in UK for just one year. Eventually, English would be way harder for me than Computing at AS.

    Would you think the English that I have at the moment would be enough to perform well in the application process (assuming that my English ability won't improve)?

    P.S. I've got B from English exam and A* from coursework, which gave an overall grade A, however only B from History, so I am not really strong at either of my essay-based subjects that I've taken at GCSE.
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    (Original post by LoneWolf)
    Thank you for your reply! You have mentioned that the AS English wouldn't be a plus on my application, but it would help me during the application process. Could you please elaborate, because I'm not sure what you meant by that? I would be really grateful.

    I'm still thinking of doing AS English, because I find AS Computing a bit boring and redundant as I already have 3-4 years of self-taught programming experience with C++ and 2 video games made using Ogre3D Graphics Engine, DirectX and OOP, and I found that learning loops and conditional statements in Visual Basic is unnecessary, especially when universities tend to teach programming again from the basics. On the other hand, I found AS English hard, because English isn't my first language and I have been in UK for just one year. Eventually, English would be way harder for me than Computing at AS.

    Would you think the English that I have at the moment would be enough to perform well in the application process (assuming that my English ability won't improve)?

    P.S. I've got B from English exam and A* from coursework, which gave an overall grade A, however only B from History, so I am not really strong at either of my essay-based subjects that I've taken at GCSE.
    Suzanna ("Oxford Computer Science Department") is on her holidays, so I'll reply for her.

    Any AS Level will be useful to you, but some will be more useful than others. The subjects we think are normally most useful are Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Computing. The reason we include Computing is that we like to see some evidence that candidates know what Computer Science is about and that they have some aptitude for programming; but you seem to have experience already, so perhaps something else would be more useful in your case.

    Based on what you've written, your English seems pretty good, but could improve further. It will improve a lot from being in the UK, and talking English. You can also improve your English by reading -- even if it's just novels and magazines. Doing an essay-based subject would also help, as you would have a teacher correcting your English -- but I wouldn't say that it's essential.

    I guess my advice would be: if you want to do English, then do it; if you think you'd enjoy something else more, then do that.

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