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A-level choices, History vs Chemistry?

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    For my sixth form applications I stated; Chemistry, Biology, English Lit and Psychology as the four subjects I wished to study at A Levels. However I am now considering swapping Chemistry with History instead. Would Biology, English Lit, History and Psychology be a feasible combination? I realise that the first combo is more common and I know that Chemistry is the base for most degrees but is it really worth me spending two years studying something I do not enjoy? I am currently doing Additional Chem and I got an A* in core but I find the lessons somewhat tedious and the mathematics element difficult to grasp.

    I'm not really sure what I want to study at Uni but I'm very interested in Psychology. So theoretically which four subjects would complement this the most? It's also worth mentioning that I did not pick History at GCSE level so would this hinder my chances? I'd appreciate hearing of the experiences you've had studying any of these subjects and which subject you think I should go for.

    Any advice is welcome and thanks in advance

    Thanks for all of your replies guys! They've been very helpful...I just wanted to add that say if I wanted to study Law at Uni, which subject would be the better option? I really have no idea what field I want to go into and would like to keep my options open as much as possible.
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    Well I am a massive history person, so I do approve I'm picking my A-Levels myself, and I've notice that every college I've looked at doesn't require a History GCSE, giving the impression it's not needed. A-level and GCSE history are very different, apparently, so you could probably take it up from scratch.

    However, realistically, chemistry would be more useful for studying Psycology(sp?), and it's THE A-level you need to study most science based subjects. I wouldn't suggest studying something you dislike normally, but it would be the qualification you'd need. History's a very useful qualification, but maybe not for the route you're looking at.
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    A few of my friends do psychology and as far as I'm aware you need 1 or 2 sciences which you would have with bio and psych? Might be worth looking at a few unis entry requirements to see what subjects they require?
    I did chemistry A Level and it's hard I won't lie so if your heart isn't really in it I would say pick history. Although history as far as I'm aware has a lot of content?
    A boy in my year did history A Level without doing it at GCSE and he got an A or A* so it can be done
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    For psychology either comb. will be fine, the second maybe a little better. Maths might be useful too, maybe sociology. Do what you'll enjoy, if you think you can get a good grade in it. Chem isn't necc. for psychology. I get the point that Chem is better for sciences but then you'd probably want maths too, depending on where you're applying. It's difficult at A-level to keep routes into science and arts open at the same time - you really have to make a choice.

    Don't worry about not having done History. I'd not done it before A-Level (I'd done Class Civ, which is a lot easier) but I was fine. You've done eng lit/lang at gcse, so will have the essay-writing skills you need.
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    Chemistry
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    (Original post by Kayla95)
    I'm not really sure what I want to study at Uni but I'm very interested in Psychology.
    Do you mean something like Social Psychology or Experimental Psychology? For the latter, I'd strongly recommend maths and taking the statistics modules where available.
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    Chemistry is one of those subjects which if you do not enjoy it you will get bored so go with what you enjoy. Ignore what is the norm, go for what is going to be the best for you, you might hate Chemistry and get a lower grade or do History and perhaps get a higher one. When I tell people I'm doing Biology, Chemistry, History and German they think I'm nuts. So in short go for what is best for you whether it's enjoyment or typicality, which ever is more useful for you. As for GCSE History my friend just went in at A-Level and she is doing great.
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    (Original post by Alice.)
    A few of my friends do psychology and as far as I'm aware you need 1 or 2 sciences which you would have with bio and psych?
    I didn't realise Psychology was considered a science? & Thanks a lot for the advice
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    (Original post by KMLeeson)
    When I tell people I'm doing Biology, Chemistry, History and German they think I'm nuts.
    Since you study them both, may I ask which one you find more enjoyable and/or easier? Oh and how are you finding Biology?
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    (Original post by cambio wechsel)
    Do you mean something like Social Psychology or Experimental Psychology? For the latter, I'd strongly recommend maths and taking the statistics modules where available.
    Well I was doing some research last night and I was particularly interested in Occupational Psychology and Forensic Psychology. This is based on reading a couple of articles so its nothing concrete. But would I have to take maths because it really isn't my strong point. Also would not taking maths affect my chances of landing a degree in any field associated with psychology? Much thanks
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    chemistry!
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    (Original post by Kayla95)
    Since you study them both, may I ask which one you find more enjoyable and/or easier? Oh and how are you finding Biology?
    Well I've already had an exam for Chemistry which I haven't yet for History so that makes the decision harder. I do enjoy both, Chemistry is probably easier as it's split into 2 exams and an internal assessment while I have both my History exams in May. Chemistry is more numbers while History is very wordy and you have to know a lot of key dates and people. History is harder but for me more enjoyable. As for Biology I love it, I've done 1 exam and my internal assessment both of which were pretty easy. Statistically I've been told Biology and Chemistry are the hardest but obviously that is different for each individual as I'm finding those 2 the easiest.

    Which courses for each subject are your school doing? Perhaps I can help more if we're doing the same course.
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    (Original post by Kayla95)
    I didn't realise Psychology was considered a science? & Thanks a lot for the advice
    Yeah normally
    I just had a look at a few unis, I'm not sure where you're thinking of but Cambridge don't except pyschology as a science and require at least 2 from bio/chem/maths/physics. UCL require 2 but except psychology as a science.
    Might be worth just having a little look around to see what others say
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    Chemistry it's well worth taking looked at the content it looks fun
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    (Original post by Kayla95)
    For my sixth form applications I stated; Chemistry, Biology, English Lit and Psychology as the four subjects I wished to study at A Levels. However I am now considering swapping Chemistry with History instead. Would Biology, English Lit, History and Psychology be a feasible combination? I realise that the first combo is more common and I know that Chemistry is the base for most degrees but is it really worth me spending two years studying something I do not enjoy? I am currently doing Additional Chem and I got an A* in core but I find the lessons somewhat tedious and the mathematics element difficult to grasp.

    I'm not really sure what I want to study at Uni but I'm very interested in Psychology. So theoretically which four subjects would complement this the most? It's also worth mentioning that I did not pick History at GCSE level so would this hinder my chances? I'd appreciate hearing of the experiences you've had studying any of these subjects and which subject you think I should go for.

    Any advice is welcome and thanks in advance

    Thanks for all of your replies guys! They've been very helpful...I just wanted to add that say if I wanted to study Law at Uni, which subject would be the better option? I really have no idea what field I want to go into and would like to keep my options open as much as possible.
    it makes perfect sense to do biology and chemistry with english lit and psychology. HOWEVER you seem more of an English person along with what you said about finding the maths concepts hard in chemistry. A-level chemistry compared to gcse chemistry is a big step up, particularly the first unit (not sure what exam board your sixth form college will do ) where there involves many calculations. as an A2 chemistry student, things will get slightly tougher as usual when moving from AS to A2 but if you have the determination, then you can succeed.

    remember that you can always swap for a different subject if your finding it hard to cope with. Best of luck!
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    (Original post by NutterFrutter)
    Chemistry
    :woo:
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    Swap now, you will never make it through Chemistry if you dislike it.

    History A Level and GCSE are also world aparts so you won't be disadvantaged. By doing English Lit I assume you are fairly confident in your writing abilities and that's all you need for History.

    By the way, I take both History and Chemistry at A-Level
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    A-level Chemistry is HARD-no point in lying to you. If you don't like it I really wouldn't recommend you take it, it'd be way better for your uni application to have a good grade in history than a poorer grade in chemistry.
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    (Original post by KMLeeson)
    Well I've already had an exam for Chemistry which I haven't yet for History so that makes the decision harder. I do enjoy both, Chemistry is probably easier as it's split into 2 exams and an internal assessment while I have both my History exams in May. Chemistry is more numbers while History is very wordy and you have to know a lot of key dates and people. History is harder but for me more enjoyable. As for Biology I love it, I've done 1 exam and my internal assessment both of which were pretty easy. Statistically I've been told Biology and Chemistry are the hardest but obviously that is different for each individual as I'm finding those 2 the easiest.

    Which courses for each subject are your school doing? Perhaps I can help more if we're doing the same course.
    Here is a copy of the course description on my schools website:

    Unit 1: Historical Themes in Breadth:
    Stalin’s Russia 1924-1953,
    Ideology, Conflict and Retreat: the USA in Asia, 1950-73
    50% (AS Level)
    25% (Total)
    Unit 2: British History Depth Study
    Britain, c1860-1930: The Changing Position of Women and the Suffrage Question
    50% (AS Level)
    25 % (Total)
    A2 Units
    Unit 3: Depth Studies and associated Historical Controversies
    The United States 1917-1954: Boom, Bust and Recovery
    60 % (A2 Level)
    20% (Total)
    Unit 4: Historical Enquiry Coursework
    40% (A2 Level)
    20% (Total)

    None of it makes any sense to me but what's your view on these topics? & If you happen to be studying them, how are you finding it? + The numbers aspect of Chemistry is exactly what I'm dreading!!!
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    (Original post by Kayla95)
    Here is a copy of the course description on my schools website:

    Unit 1: Historical Themes in Breadth:
    Stalin’s Russia 1924-1953,
    Ideology, Conflict and Retreat: the USA in Asia, 1950-73
    50% (AS Level)
    25% (Total)
    Unit 2: British History Depth Study
    Britain, c1860-1930: The Changing Position of Women and the Suffrage Question
    50% (AS Level)
    25 % (Total)
    A2 Units
    Unit 3: Depth Studies and associated Historical Controversies
    The United States 1917-1954: Boom, Bust and Recovery
    60 % (A2 Level)
    20% (Total)
    Unit 4: Historical Enquiry Coursework
    40% (A2 Level)
    20% (Total)

    None of it makes any sense to me but what's your view on these topics? & If you happen to be studying them, how are you finding it? + The numbers aspect of Chemistry is exactly what I'm dreading!!!
    I'm doing a different course, 60's Britain, French Revolution and Cold War. Yours sounds very interesting. As for the Chemistry if you dont like numbers don't do it, though you do have more time to revise as we finished the course early and had alot of time to revise. How do you find Moles?

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Updated: April 9, 2012
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