A-Level English Lit or Economics?! Please help!


    Rep:
    Hi everyone, as you can see I have a bit of a dilemma

    I've decided on the following A-level choices already:

    - Maths
    - Further Maths
    - Chemistry
    - Biology

    But I can't seem to decide on whether I should take English Literature or Economics as my fifth choice. I'm studying both at GCSE and I'm predicted an A* in both but as I'm studying A-Level Maths at the moment (I did the GCSE in year 10), I know that doing well at something at GCSE doesn't translate to doing well at A-level (i.e. A/A*).

    My teachers for both subjects are encouraging me to do it (then again, they encourage a lot of people) but my English teacher is more persistent and says that English Lit is my "thing" and more or less said it would be a waste if I didn't pursue it to A-Level at the very least. I'd like to point out that I enjoy both subjects but I'm sometimes frustrated by English as there isn't one answer (which is what I prefer) and I suppose you could say whilst I'm naturally good at English Lit and I'm constantly told this, I am unsure of my abilities and always walk out of an English Lit exam/assessment feeling I've done badly. With Economics, I think I could do well at A-Level as it's a case of understanding the content, knowing how and where to apply it and articulating my answers well and knowing what the examiner wants. English is more unclear for me and whilst I enjoy it and the texts being studied, I'm not confident that I would do well. In terms of grades, the Economics department at my school has some of the highest grades and most people get at least a B and no one who having studied it at GCSE and got a C, has attained less than a B at A-level. English, as a creative subject I understand is harder to get an A* in which is what I'd like to get in my fifth subject choice. The main thing that worries me is the workload for Lit as I've been told it will involve a lot of reading and weekly essays (not quite sure about this) and I'm worried the workload may be too heavy with my other subjects.

    Ideally, I want to study Medicine at University but as it's very competitive, I want to keep my options open (although, if I wasn't successful the first time, I'd most likely take a year out and reapply) and so my choices need to reflect this. If I don't study Medicine (i.e. after more than one unsuccesful attempt), the courses I could see myself realistically applying for and studying are Chemical Engineering and Economics. They're both very different and I'd prefer to study Economics more than ChemEng as I'd really like to go down the Development Economics route.

    Basically, if I don't know if I should apply with my back-up's in mind? Will take Economics make my choices appear too narrow (heavily quantitative)? Would Lit be unmanagable with my A-level choices?

    Sorry for the waffle :/ and I'd really appreciate any help.

    Rep:
    (Original post by elle77)
    Hi everyone, as you can see I have a bit of a dilemma

    I've decided on the following A-level choices already:

    - Maths
    - Further Maths
    - Chemistry
    - Biology

    But I can't seem to decide on whether I should take English Literature or Economics as my fifth choice. I'm studying both at GCSE and I'm predicted an A* in both but as I'm studying A-Level Maths at the moment (I did the GCSE in year 10), I know that doing well at something at GCSE doesn't translate to doing well at A-level (i.e. A/A*).

    My teachers for both subjects are encouraging me to do it (then again, they encourage a lot of people) but my English teacher is more persistent and says that English Lit is my "thing" and more or less said it would be a waste if I didn't pursue it to A-Level at the very least. I'd like to point out that I enjoy both subjects but I'm sometimes frustrated by English as there isn't one answer (which is what I prefer) and I suppose you could say whilst I'm naturally good at English Lit and I'm constantly told this, I am unsure of my abilities and always walk out of an English Lit exam/assessment feeling I've done badly. With Economics, I think I could do well at A-Level as it's a case of understanding the content, knowing how and where to apply it and articulating my answers well and knowing what the examiner wants. English is more unclear for me and whilst I enjoy it and the texts being studied, I'm not confident that I would do well. In terms of grades, the Economics department at my school has some of the highest grades and most people get at least a B and no one who having studied it at GCSE and got a C, has attained less than a B at A-level. English, as a creative subject I understand is harder to get an A* in which is what I'd like to get in my fifth subject choice. The main thing that worries me is the workload for Lit as I've been told it will involve a lot of reading and weekly essays (not quite sure about this) and I'm worried the workload may be too heavy with my other subjects.

    Ideally, I want to study Medicine at University but as it's very competitive, I want to keep my options open (although, if I wasn't successful the first time, I'd most likely take a year out and reapply) and so my choices need to reflect this. If I don't study Medicine (i.e. after more than one unsuccesful attempt), the courses I could see myself realistically applying for and studying are Chemical Engineering and Economics. They're both very different and I'd prefer to study Economics more than ChemEng as I'd really like to go down the Development Economics route.

    Basically, if I don't know if I should apply with my back-up's in mind? Will take Economics make my choices appear too narrow (heavily quantitative)? Would Lit be unmanagable with my A-level choices?

    Sorry for the waffle :/ and I'd really appreciate any help.
    Firstly, GCSE grades are a fairly good approximation of A level grades for most subjects.

    Your choice of subjects is obviously very personal, and should be decided by your interests and aspirations. From what I gathered from your post (natural at English lit, want to keep options open, enjoy the texts, want to do medicine, worried about workload) I would definitely do English Literature. Eng Lit is less work than econ, Eng Lit is a LOT less boring than econ, eng lit will help to keep your options open and it is great preparation for university tests and interviews for medicine, and Eng Lit is so easy if you enjoy it.

    You voice certain worries about EngLit being subjective. Whilst this is true, it is also not true. The examiners look for original and logical answers that are backed up by evidence. e.g. the answer to "Is Iago a villian" has about 2000 answers, which could all be correct. What gets you marks is you style, structure and logic in your explanation and analysis. There is a correct answer, in that the conclusion or overall point doesn't matter, but you need your answer to be logical (and somewhat believable).

    Economics is a bit dull in my opinion. You do not need Econ for most university Econ courses. Econ is not very mathematical at A level, but it is monotonous.

    I'd also throw in a final thought: what about Physics? Physics and further maths go hand in hand (you mentioned you're good at maths), physics may be a very good option for you. There is very little work involved in physics, it's mostly about understanding, and a lot of it will overlap with your maths. Physics is also good for courses like Chem. Engineering. If you don't like physics or struggle then that's fine, but I'm just suggesting it as an alternative.

    Rep:
    (Original post by Llewellyn)
    Firstly, GCSE grades are a fairly good approximation of A level grades for most subjects.

    Your choice of subjects is obviously very personal, and should be decided by your interests and aspirations. From what I gathered from your post (natural at English lit, want to keep options open, enjoy the texts, want to do medicine, worried about workload) I would definitely do English Literature. Eng Lit is less work than econ, Eng Lit is a LOT less boring than econ, eng lit will help to keep your options open and it is great preparation for university tests and interviews for medicine, and Eng Lit is so easy if you enjoy it.

    You voice certain worries about EngLit being subjective. Whilst this is true, it is also not true. The examiners look for original and logical answers that are backed up by evidence. e.g. the answer to "Is Iago a villian" has about 2000 answers, which could all be correct. What gets you marks is you style, structure and logic in your explanation and analysis. There is a correct answer, in that the conclusion or overall point doesn't matter, but you need your answer to be logical (and somewhat believable).

    Economics is a bit dull in my opinion. You do not need Econ for most university Econ courses. Econ is not very mathematical at A level, but it is monotonous.

    I'd also throw in a final thought: what about Physics? Physics and further maths go hand in hand (you mentioned you're good at maths), physics may be a very good option for you. There is very little work involved in physics, it's mostly about understanding, and a lot of it will overlap with your maths. Physics is also good for courses like Chem. Engineering. If you don't like physics or struggle then that's fine, but I'm just suggesting it as an alternative.
    Thank you so much for your input, out of interest, have/are you studied English Lit? Ah okay, I wasn't aware of that part of the BMAT, is that the same for the UKCAT?

    At one point, I was seriously considering doing Physics but I don't really like it so I probably wouldn't do as well as I could but thanks all the same!

    Rep:
    (Original post by elle77)
    Thank you so much for your input, out of interest, have/are you studied English Lit? Ah okay, I wasn't aware of that part of the BMAT, is that the same for the UKCAT?

    At one point, I was seriously considering doing Physics but I don't really like it so I probably wouldn't do as well as I could but thanks all the same!
    I was studying English Lit (and enjoying it), but I had timetable and teacher complications (my teacher randomly quit in November and she was the only available A level teacher).

    The UKCAT is a strange test, you can look up their website but it's all abstract reasoning and logic. The BMAT has an essay question as one part (The BMAT is only for Oxbridge though). But if you apply for medicine you will be tested at interviews on formulating, holding and discussing an opinion or argument. EngLit does also help "prove" that you're more than just a science guru, you're a more 'well-rounded person'.

    If you don't enjoy physics, it would be silly to do it for A level, that's completely fine. You're obviously quite bright so I would say pick your favourite (or the one you are best at) out of: A modern language, RS, philosophy, History, econ, EngLit, Latin, Greek, Music, Geography. They will all be recognised as very good subjects. My personal advice would be to slightly favour either EngLit or maybe history, as those subjects will help your essay and discussion skills.

    Rep:
    (Original post by Llewellyn)
    I was studying English Lit (and enjoying it), but I had timetable and teacher complications (my teacher randomly quit in November and she was the only available A level teacher).

    The UKCAT is a strange test, you can look up their website but it's all abstract reasoning and logic. The BMAT has an essay question as one part (The BMAT is only for Oxbridge though). But if you apply for medicine you will be tested at interviews on formulating, holding and discussing an opinion or argument. EngLit does also help "prove" that you're more than just a science guru, you're a more 'well-rounded person'.

    If you don't enjoy physics, it would be silly to do it for A level, that's completely fine. You're obviously quite bright so I would say pick your favourite (or the one you are best at) out of: A modern language, RS, philosophy, History, econ, EngLit, Latin, Greek, Music, Geography. They will all be recognised as very good subjects. My personal advice would be to slightly favour either EngLit or maybe history, as those subjects will help your essay and discussion skills.
    Apologies this is so late, thank you I looked up the UKCAT, BMAT, as well as how some Uni's conduct the interview process (if I was fortunate enough to make it that far) and found that some conduct group-based discussions so I've decided that EngLit would be better for me.

    I'm also in-love with next year's Lit list at my school so that swayed it considereably! Thank you so much for your help!

    Rep:
    (Original post by elle77)
    Hi everyone, as you can see I have a bit of a dilemma

    I've decided on the following A-level choices already:

    - Maths
    - Further Maths
    - Chemistry
    - Biology

    But I can't seem to decide on whether I should take English Literature or Economics as my fifth choice. I'm studying both at GCSE and I'm predicted an A* in both but as I'm studying A-Level Maths at the moment (I did the GCSE in year 10), I know that doing well at something at GCSE doesn't translate to doing well at A-level (i.e. A/A*).

    My teachers for both subjects are encouraging me to do it (then again, they encourage a lot of people) but my English teacher is more persistent and says that English Lit is my "thing" and more or less said it would be a waste if I didn't pursue it to A-Level at the very least. I'd like to point out that I enjoy both subjects but I'm sometimes frustrated by English as there isn't one answer (which is what I prefer) and I suppose you could say whilst I'm naturally good at English Lit and I'm constantly told this, I am unsure of my abilities and always walk out of an English Lit exam/assessment feeling I've done badly. With Economics, I think I could do well at A-Level as it's a case of understanding the content, knowing how and where to apply it and articulating my answers well and knowing what the examiner wants. English is more unclear for me and whilst I enjoy it and the texts being studied, I'm not confident that I would do well. In terms of grades, the Economics department at my school has some of the highest grades and most people get at least a B and no one who having studied it at GCSE and got a C, has attained less than a B at A-level. English, as a creative subject I understand is harder to get an A* in which is what I'd like to get in my fifth subject choice. The main thing that worries me is the workload for Lit as I've been told it will involve a lot of reading and weekly essays (not quite sure about this) and I'm worried the workload may be too heavy with my other subjects.

    Ideally, I want to study Medicine at University but as it's very competitive, I want to keep my options open (although, if I wasn't successful the first time, I'd most likely take a year out and reapply) and so my choices need to reflect this. If I don't study Medicine (i.e. after more than one unsuccesful attempt), the courses I could see myself realistically applying for and studying are Chemical Engineering and Economics. They're both very different and I'd prefer to study Economics more than ChemEng as I'd really like to go down the Development Economics route.

    Basically, if I don't know if I should apply with my back-up's in mind? Will take Economics make my choices appear too narrow (heavily quantitative)? Would Lit be unmanagable with my A-level choices?

    Sorry for the waffle :/ and I'd really appreciate any help.
    I love English and really, really enjoy it and think it would balance out your other subjects too. If your teacher thinks you can do well, I'm sure she's right.
    BUT it is undeniably a lot of work. You have to read widely and the exam technique is very tough. It's my favourite subject and supposedly my best but crazily it's the one where I am utterly uncertain of what mark I am going to get, whereas in the other 3 I'm aiming for as close to full UMS as possible. So go for it by all means, it is amazing, but go with your eyes open and not expecting it to be an easy 5th option.

    Rep:
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    Rep:
    (Original post by Kalliope)
    I love English and really, really enjoy it and think it would balance out your other subjects too. If your teacher thinks you can do well, I'm sure she's right.
    BUT it is undeniably a lot of work. You have to read widely and the exam technique is very tough. It's my favourite subject and supposedly my best but crazily it's the one where I am utterly uncertain of what mark I am going to get, whereas in the other 3 I'm aiming for as close to full UMS as possible. So go for it by all means, it is amazing, but go with your eyes open and not expecting it to be an easy 5th option.
    You sound so much like me! I'm planning on doing a lot of background reading this summer and work on my other subjects as I'll be doing the EPQ as well (yes, I'm crazy).

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: June 21, 2012

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