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Choosing your A levels? Your questions answered here!

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    (Original post by USB)
    If I were to take FM in year 13, and wanted to apply to universities and courses which needed FM, would they consider that fact or look solely at my Maths AS?
    It's probably worth checking with the Depts/Unis you're applying to but it's something we quite often see applications from students who took A Level Maths in year 12 and Further Maths in year 13; or students haven't yet cached in the modules. (We don't actually require Further Maths, but we do strongly recommend it.) When we're considering applicants we look at everything we know about you:
    * your performance across a range of subjects at GCSE (or equivalent),
    * your AS/A level or module results if you have any, and/or predicted grades
    * your personal statement on the UCAS form,
    * the confidential reference (and estimated grades for future exams) on the UCAS form,
    * your performance in the Aptitude Test that our candidates sit
    * your performance in the interviews.

    So we'd take both into account. Just make sure you include what you haven't done in the further exams bit of the UCAS form.
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    Hi everyone, i think this question might've been asked before, but what is A level English literature like? Is it difficult in terms of getting the points correct in exams like some say? :confused:
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    (Original post by mintbear)
    Hi everyone, i think this question might've been asked before, but what is A level English literature like? Is it difficult in terms of getting the points correct in exams like some say? :confused:
    Yeah I'm wondering this too. Is anyone doing English lit and the exam board as AQA?
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    (Original post by mintbear)
    Hi everyone, i think this question might've been asked before, but what is A level English literature like? Is it difficult in terms of getting the points correct in exams like some say? :confused:
    (Original post by Safiya122)
    Yeah I'm wondering this too. Is anyone doing English lit and the exam board as AQA?
    I'm not AQA, but A level English Literature is the perfect subject if you're interested in books, poems and their backgrounds.

    The exams are in some ways very similar, and in other ways very different. The allocated marks are pretty much identical to GCSE, however at A level you are expected to formulate and hold your own opinions, views and arguments. A level also probes much more into the context of the literature (When it was written, why it was written, what social/ political implications (on) its history could have). You also have to study criticisms and reviews of all the pieces you study, and be prepared to quote/ use those reviews in your essays and extended answers. The sort of essay standard is: A at GCSE is roughly B/C at AS. However, you will learn to develop and improve your essay skills (but it helps to already be good). Hence, I would recommend A level EngLit to people who are expected A/A* at GCSE. But if you're hard working and enthusiastic then by all means go for it.

    The "should I do english literature" question is very simple actually; (unless you're absolutely brilliant) do it if you enjoy reading and analysis (and perhaps re-reading). Don't do it if you find reading a bit of a chore. Also be aware that the subject is very heavily essay focused, it is by no means a soft A level.
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    (Original post by Llewellyn)
    I'm not AQA, but A level English Literature is the perfect subject if you're interested in books, poems and their backgrounds.

    The exams are in some ways very similar, and in other ways very different. The allocated marks are pretty much identical to GCSE, however at A level you are expected to formulate and hold your own opinions, views and arguments. A level also probes much more into the context of the literature (When it was written, why it was written, what social/ political implications (on) its history could have). You also have to study criticisms and reviews of all the pieces you study, and be prepared to quote/ use those reviews in your essays and extended answers. The sort of essay standard is: A at GCSE is roughly B/C at AS. However, you will learn to develop and improve your essay skills (but it helps to already be good). Hence, I would recommend A level EngLit to people who are expected A/A* at GCSE. But if you're hard working and enthusiastic then by all means go for it.

    The "should I do english literature" question is very simple actually; (unless you're absolutely brilliant) do it if you enjoy reading and analysis (and perhaps re-reading). Don't do it if you find reading a bit of a chore. Also be aware that the subject is very heavily essay focused, it is by no means a soft A level.
    Tbh poems can bore me if I've been learning about them for so long, however I do find reading interesting and like doing essays. I plan on getting a B for English Lit in Foundation, will I still have a good chance of getting a good grade overall?
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    (Original post by Safiya122)
    Tbh poems can bore me if I've been learning about them for so long, however I do find reading interesting and like doing essays. I plan on getting a B for English Lit in Foundation, will I still have a good chance of getting a good grade overall?
    Mm well there are different kinds of poems I guess. You don't have to like anything by the way, if you can justify why you think something isn't good/ doesn't work that is worth just as many marks as saying it's good.

    If you like reading and writing essays and perhaps thinking outside the box (having your own ideas) then I would say you'd probably be ok for A level English. The grade you get will ultimately come down to how much hard work you put in, not just in learning but also thinking about the books and poems in your own time, and developing ideas and points you could develop.

    Overall, EngLit A level is similar to GCSE, so I'd make the decision based on that more than anything.
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    (Original post by Llewellyn)
    Mm well there are different kinds of poems I guess. You don't have to like anything by the way, if you can justify why you think something isn't good/ doesn't work that is worth just as many marks as saying it's good.

    If you like reading and writing essays and perhaps thinking outside the box (having your own ideas) then I would say you'd probably be ok for A level English. The grade you get will ultimately come down to how much hard work you put in, not just in learning but also thinking about the books and poems in your own time, and developing ideas and points you could develop.

    Overall, EngLit A level is similar to GCSE, so I'd make the decision based on that more than anything.
    I've already done part of my English lit and passed the poems part but right now we're doing inspector calls and of mice and men and I enjoy it..most of the time :L thanks for the advice. I'm going to choose it as an A-level and will hopefully do well and enjoy it
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    (Original post by Llewellyn)
    I'm not AQA, but A level English Literature is the perfect subject if you're interested in books, poems and their backgrounds.

    The exams are in some ways very similar, and in other ways very different. The allocated marks are pretty much identical to GCSE, however at A level you are expected to formulate and hold your own opinions, views and arguments. A level also probes much more into the context of the literature (When it was written, why it was written, what social/ political implications (on) its history could have). You also have to study criticisms and reviews of all the pieces you study, and be prepared to quote/ use those reviews in your essays and extended answers. The sort of essay standard is: A at GCSE is roughly B/C at AS. However, you will learn to develop and improve your essay skills (but it helps to already be good). Hence, I would recommend A level EngLit to people who are expected A/A* at GCSE. But if you're hard working and enthusiastic then by all means go for it.

    The "should I do english literature" question is very simple actually; (unless you're absolutely brilliant) do it if you enjoy reading and analysis (and perhaps re-reading). Don't do it if you find reading a bit of a chore. Also be aware that the subject is very heavily essay focused, it is by no means a soft A level.
    Thank you for your reply I haven't done the exam yet but i'm predicted an A at GCSE. I got a B last year (will resit, i was 5 marks off) in english language GCSE and was probably a effected by that in making the decision of whether or not to do eng lit at A level.

    (Original post by Safiya122)
    I've already done part of my English lit and passed the poems part but right now we're doing inspector calls and of mice and men and I enjoy it..most of the time :L thanks for the advice. I'm going to choose it as an A-level and will hopefully do well and enjoy it
    Same here~ But i've studied An inspector calls and of mice and men first, now i'm onto the poems...
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    (Original post by mintbear)
    Thank you for your reply I haven't done the exam yet but i'm predicted an A at GCSE. I got a B last year (will resit, i was 5 marks off) in english language GCSE and was probably a effected by that in making the decision of whether or not to do eng lit at A level.



    Same here~ But i've studied An inspector calls and of mice and men first, now i'm onto the poems...
    Haha Which one do you find better?
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    (Original post by Safiya122)
    Haha Which one do you find better?
    I quite like both of them
    An Inspector Calls got a bit boring because I read it when I was doing my English language GCSE. Reading it the second time was dull because we knew how it ends. But i remember when i first read it, it seemed very cleverly written because everything is linked at the end.

    Of Mice and Men was so sad It's quite clever too as everything mentioned at the beginning comes back at the end and every detail told by the author is needed to get the whole picture of the story.

    It's great, there's another class whose doing To kill a mockingbird instead of Of Mice and Men though. Don't know which ones better!

    What other A level subjects are you planning to take?
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    Psychology, law and sociology. I take sociology as an extra GCSE and I remember when my teacher was off and when we had a supply for six weeks, I really enjoyed the homework she'd give and how she would teach but my main teacher is back and no disrespect to him and all but the way he teaches is really dull. Kinda makes me worried that if I choose to do it as an A-level, the teacher will make it dull too.
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    Do you know what you want to do in university?

    The other subjects I'm doing are History, Economics and Music.
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    (Original post by Safiya122)
    Seriously, your answer has definitly calmed me down since I was really stressing out about it. I hope it only concludes up to around that :L Anyhow, thank you for your help. I notice you're also doing English Literature and I plan on doing so for that. I know you need to be interested in reading since it provides a lot of that, I'm not somebody who spends all my time reading, I used to do a lot more reading in the previous years than I do now since I have so much exams I need to prepare myself for. So could you give me a brief idea on English Literature as an A-level? I'm planning on getting a B in English Literature and Language and I'm only doing foundation, do I still have a chance of doing well? Thanks
    I'm glad it helped- you really have no reason to stress about it I used to read a lot too, but generally I've been reading less and less too due to the increasing amount of work!
    I'd recommend reading a few classics so that it's easier when you start and look at the college you're applying to and see if they say what book you'll be studying-if they tell you it'll be a lot of help; we're doing Wurthering Heights at the moment and I think having read the book before has really, really helped. Don't worry about only doing foundation- it means you may have to put in extra effort but teachers are always there to help and there is a lot of resources online and in books.
    The thing with English Lit though is that I really enjoyed it at GCSE but found it more dull at A level, which to be honest surprised me because it used to be my favourite subject- it's not because its hard or anything but I think I just didn't enjoy the poems (Philip Larkin) and play I was studying (murmuring judges) so again I'd suggest looking at the course and seeing if you enjoy it. I didn't enjoy that first unit but i'm enjoying the coursework- we have to write a short story and a commentary and then a essay on Wuthering Heights; it might seem a lot but considering we don't have any exams in May for English it's not that bad.
    I don't think you should worry though, if you enjoy writing and reading as a whole then go for it, there are people in my class with all different grades; getting and A* at GCSE doesn't guarantee and A at A-level and people who came with Bs and Cs are getting top grades.
    So in short try some classics, see how you feel with them, at the end of the day to me writing essays in Eng Lit is just about forming your own interpretations, there's no right or wrong answer as long as you can back up your opinion.
    Hope this helps
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    (Original post by USB)
    If I were to take FM in year 13, and wanted to apply to universities and courses which needed FM, would they consider that fact or look solely at my Maths AS?
    Undoubtedly they would acknowledge it but it really wouldn't do a whole lot of good. Courses that require FM are invariably competitive - Economics, Engineering etc. And so most of the applicants will have FM at AS and A2, especially now that it's being advertised as a "strongly preferred" or necessary subject.

    If I were you, I'd just go for FM from AS. I'm doing it at AS Level at the moment, and it's pretty easy. To be honest, the main challenge is looking out for silly mistakes. And if you plan on doing a course at uni that specifies FM, you can safely assume that the course will be VERY maths-based so it's best to get a good footing with FM from the start.
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    if i dont take igcse economics will it be significally harder to just do the a level?
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    (Original post by Irokat)
    if i dont take igcse economics will it be significally harder to just do the a level?
    No but it would be better to take business or economics-all you will really need is a good set of maths skills and be able to apply them to real world problems in businesses.I'm not expert though.Colleges do only require grade B+ in Maths so you should be able to do a-level without any business or economical experience.
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    I'm confused about alevel physics and alevel chemistry. I definitely will be doing A-level Maths and Business, for the second year, maybe further maths I'm am predicted an A in gcse maths and I reckon I will get an A and I like Maths. However In GCSE additional science the math involved for physics is boring as it's too easy (we only stick in numbers in a boring formula triangle without any real fun maths like trigonometry, cosine rule, sine rule, rearranging equations etc) and because learning about englishy topics like radioactivity, nuclear physics and static electricity is boring for me. The chemistry unit I fished in additional science was very fun , but only because it had a good balance between maths and english whilst having cool topics like the haber process, types of atome bonding, equilibrium yield etc

    For core science (fully achived a B) I had to do foundation and for both chem and physics (for bio I got 67/69). I got 69/69. Now I am doing higher for gcse additional science (predicted A/A*) and for the chem unit I got 100/100 full marks-a*. But I haven't finished the physics unit and I don't even know what grade I am at.

    Should I do Physics alevel with alevel Maths? would it be much easier with maths? or should I do a-level chemistry instead of physics? How much maths is in alevel chemistry? How hard would alevel physics and chemistry be for me with the above grades?
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    (Original post by krisshP)
    I'm confused about alevel physics and alevel chemistry. I definitely will be doing A-level Maths and Business, for the second year, maybe further maths I'm am predicted an A in gcse maths and I reckon I will get an A and I like Maths. However In GCSE additional science the math involved for physics is boring as it's too easy (we only stick in numbers in a boring formula triangle without any real fun maths like trigonometry, cosine rule, sine rule, rearranging equations etc) and because learning about englishy topics like radioactivity, nuclear physics and static electricity is boring for me. The chemistry unit I fished in additional science was very fun , but only because it had a good balance between maths and english whilst having cool topics like the haber process, types of atome bonding, equilibrium yield etc

    For core science (fully achived a B) I had to do foundation and for both chem and physics (for bio I got 67/69). I got 69/69. Now I am doing higher for gcse additional science (predicted A/A*) and for the chem unit I got 100/100 full marks-a*. But I haven't finished the physics unit and I don't even know what grade I am at.

    Should I do Physics alevel with alevel Maths? would it be much easier with maths? or should I do a-level chemistry instead of physics? How much maths is in alevel chemistry? How hard would alevel physics and chemistry be for me with the above grades?
    I think you should do Chemistry because you find it so easy and i think you shouldn't do Physics because although you good at it-further maths would be better because you seem to want more maths than science but if you were looking for science,Physics would be the option.Maths+Business+Chemistry+ Further Maths and i feel i have to give you a warning here,if you want to do maths at uni i would strongly advise Physics or Further Maths,no maybe for second year because most universities won't let you in without either of them.

    Be careful though because maths and further maths are very tough at A-Level and most people who look at maths for university and do further maths get an A* easily at GCSE,like me 79/80 UMS for 1st unit,top in my year and my sister got a D at AS Maths never mind Further Maths and she got an A at GCSE.
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    But then again I am only predicted an A in gcse maths, not an A* so I might not be capable of doing f-maths and I may struggle. So it a big risk if I take f-maths. Also wouldn't physics alevel be easier with alevel maths than chemistry? physics is one of the sciences, so it is still respected.
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    (Original post by krisshP)
    But then again I am only predicted an A in gcse maths, not an A* so I might not be capable of doing f-maths and I may struggle. So it a big risk if I take f-maths. Also wouldn't physics alevel be easier with alevel maths than chemistry? physics is one of the sciences, so it is still respected.
    I read half his post, it's a load of poop.

    He got 79/80 in a Maths module if I read correctly- bull ****, it's out of 100 for a start.

    I got an A at GCSE, and I'm comfortably doing well at Core and Further Maths.

    A level physics would potentially be easier with taking A level maths (due to the mathematical aptitude involved). You'd be able to do Mechanics1 without learning it as a Maths module as you will have learnt most if not all of it in Physics AS.

    So there are clearly various advantages in taking Physics.

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Updated: April 20, 2014
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