Hey there Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Deciding on what AS levels to take through to A2, aiming for a CompSci degree

Announcements Posted on
Study Help needs new mods! 14-04-2014
Post on TSR and win a prize! Find out more... 10-04-2014
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I'm currently taking Maths, Economics, ICT and Business Studies, I've just finished my AS exams and am predicting ABAA respectively. I'm unsure on what to do for A2, I know I'm definitely taking Maths and Economics forward to A2 as they are quite well respected subjects but am unsure on whether to drop one of Business/ICT or just carry them both forward (As they are quite easy and I enjoy them.)

    I'm aiming to get into a top 15 university for Computer Science, I know Maths is a must and social science subjects are also attractive, which is why I have choosen Economics as well. However I've read that Business and ICT are considered 'soft' A levels so I'm wondering if I should just take them both through as then I will have two solid and two soft A levels.

    I was originally studying Physics instead of Business but stupidly dropped it after a few lessons having missed the first few lectures and not knowing what was going on, something I severely regret now.

    I'm currently learning C++ and want to have a good understanding of it as well as Python by the time I apply to a University, I also plan on reading up on a few computer science theory books so I have an insight into what I can expect with a degree, has anyone else been in a similar situation? Would it be more beneficial to just take all my AS levels through to A2? I've heard different stories from different place, some say Uni's only look at your top 3 A levels and just ignore the fourth, if that's the case I don't see why I should bother with a fourth subject.
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Should've stuck with physics to be honest, but not the end of the world.

    If you think you will be able to do well in Business and IT, just keep them both. It can't hurt. If you feel you want to drop one, drop business - economics is much more respected, maths is necessary, and IT, although "soft" (but no softer than business) would be more relevant to the course you wish to take.
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by I Gurn Hard)
    Should've stuck with physics to be honest, but not the end of the world.

    If you think you will be able to do well in Business and IT, just keep them both. It can't hurt. If you feel you want to drop one, drop business - economics is much more respected, maths is necessary, and IT, although "soft" (but no softer than business) would be more relevant to the course you wish to take.
    I know, I know and I really hate myself for it, if I could go back and change it I would but alas I can't

    If I do drop one it would likely be Business, I'm just wondering if Universities actually look at all 4 A-Levels though.

    Ideally I would of wanted Maths, Physics, Computing and Economics but my College, despite being a "Maths and Computing" academy only offers ICT.
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by woodhamboyluke)
    ..
    You don't need to make any decisions now, simply because you can't. You might get a lower grade in Maths or Economics than you're expecting, which may force you to take one of the other subjects to A2 if you got a higher grade in one of those.

    Ask this questions after AS results day so you know exactly what position you're in.
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by woodhamboyluke)
    I know, I know and I really hate myself for it, if I could go back and change it I would but alas I can't

    If I do drop one it would likely be Business, I'm just wondering if Universities actually look at all 4 A-Levels though.
    The fourth one is rarely included in the offer, but they certainly look at it. For example, one applicant may have A* A* A, but if another applicant has A* A* A A, they will definitely be given preference.

    You'll always be better off with more qualifications - if you think you can do both without compromising on overall grades, go for it.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    As you said, maths is a must. The rest of them don't really matter (as long as it's not general studies or anything else that a lot of places don't accept).

    Keeping 4 is bound to look better than 3, however you need to weigh it up against how much time you're willing to spend on them. The grade requirements are only ever for the top 3, sometimes asking specifically for maths to be at least a certain grade.

    I've applied for Comp. Science at Bristol, starting september. From what I recall of entry requirements, the only ones that have really been mentioned are:
    Maths is a must have.
    Further Maths is very much preferred (at some places).
    Physics is very good.
    Computing is nice apparently, but I've never seen it required or anything.

    As for extra work, C++ is a good place to start. I've done java myself, partly because of it's portability and partly because most universties use it to teach OOP, but it's the concepts rather than the actual language.

    Also, in case you haven't seen it before The New Boston is a very good place for picking up languages and techniques.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I've applied for com sci at Bristol this year. I remember from when I applied, they weren't too picky. Maths was always always required. Physics was often listed as preferred.

    Nowhere asked for computing, which I found strange, although I've been told it was because it's not taught widely enough.

    More A levels are obviously better, but AAA looks better than AABB.

    If you to pick up some subjects they really like, Further Maths and Physics are good ones.

    As for extra work, try to learn an OOP language (which you have with C++). I've just started python, and I've already done a fair bit of java.

    Also, a site you might find useful for learning things is thenewboston .

    Also, if you haven't already, check out a linux distro and the raspberry pi. You can mention them on a personal statement if need be, and linux is fun to crash and fix
    • 2 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I don't think the added stress would be worth it for taking all 4, I would say just take 1, ICT probably your best bet as it's related but obviously I don't know that much about you personally
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Although ICT and business are soft subjects, they won't be looked down upon so much if you already have 2 hard subjects. It would be a good idea to take all 4 since you're not taking physics or computing, but will it compromise your grades? It's better to have 3 a-levels at A/A* grade than 4 at B grades. I'd say take 4 but if your grades aren't as expected on results day, drop one.
    Is there any chance that you could take physics as an AS alongside your A2 subjects?
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by roflcakes1)
    Although ICT and business are soft subjects, they won't be looked down upon so much if you already have 2 hard subjects. It would be a good idea to take all 4 since you're not taking physics or computing, but will it compromise your grades? It's better to have 3 a-levels at A/A* grade than 4 at B grades. I'd say take 4 but if your grades aren't as expected on results day, drop one.
    Is there any chance that you could take physics as an AS alongside your A2 subjects?
    Drop Business and do Physics at AS you mean? Could be an idea there, although would an AS in Physics be more valuable than an A2 in Business?
    • 5 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    This is going to be an Oxford-specific answer, but we're not too dissimilar to other top Unis for Computer Science, so hopefully it will be of use to you...

    Our standard offers are based on the A Levels: A*AA, with at least an A in Maths. For straight Computer Science the A* has to be in either Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Computing. We would certainly notice if you've done a fourth A Level, but it doesn't form part of our offers.

    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, and we recognise too that some candidates come late to the realisation of how useful Further Maths is, too late to change subject choices they have already made. So whilst double Maths is a good combination of A levels for us, we are more than willing to consider applications from people with a single Maths A level, with or without Further Maths. But if you could pick up Further Maths, even to AS Level, that would normally improve the competitiveness of an application to us.

    We do suggest a science subject, such as Physics, but it's not essential. Our courses start from first principles and although we are looking for a genuine interest in computing from our candidates, we aren't looking for any specific knowledge. Come students come to us having done Computing A Level, many haven't. (More thoughts on that and ICT A Level here here.) Business A Level isn't particularly relevant to us, so isn't going to be a particularly positive item on your application, but it would be OK as a third A Level, alongside two more relevant ones.

    Hope that helps.

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?

    this is what you'll be called on TSR

  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?

    never shared and never spammed

  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By completing the slider below you agree to The Student Room's terms & conditions and site rules

  2. Slide the button to the right to create your account

    Slide to join now Processing…

    You don't slide that way? No problem.

Updated: May 24, 2012
Article updates
Reputation gems:
You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.