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which is easier to get into? Maths or Economics

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    Hi,

    I've just finished year 12 and I think I know what I want to do as a career.

    I know that it won't really matter whether I choose Maths or Economics. I also think I enjoy Maths and Economics equally. I'm also getting the same grades in both subjects.

    The one thing is that getting into a better university helps, so I was wondering, which course should I go for if I want to maximize my chance of getting into a better university?

    My A-levels are Maths, FM, Econ, Physics and Chemistry.
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    (Original post by Miryo)
    Hi,

    I've just finished year 12 and I think I know what I want to do as a career.

    I know that it won't really matter whether I choose Maths or Economics. I also think I enjoy Maths and Economics equally. I'm also getting the same grades in both subjects.

    The one thing is that getting into a better university helps, so I was wondering, which course should I go for if I want to maximize my chance of getting into a better university?

    My A-levels are Maths, FM, Econ, Physics and Chemistry.
    You can either take Eco aand Math or Eco with Math (Joint degree)
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    Maths is probably easier to get an offer for a top uni (Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, Warwick). However you would need to sit STEP to be accepted into Cambridge, Warwick and Imperial. Getting an Oxford interview also requires an exam. STEP is VERY hard and can make or break offers, for top maths unis, in my opinion, getting the offer is the easy part. Fulfilling the STEP part is the hard part.

    Economics on the other hand has more applicants to places at top unis as far as i'm aware (Cambridge, LSE) so would make it harder to get an offer and they also give out less offers per place I think because more people are likely to hit the maximum economics offers of A*AA offer compared to COWI maths offers of A*A*A + STEP.

    In the end, if your maths module grades are good, 95% + average will definitely do, you are probably more likely to get offers, however you need to be confident at STEP. Or you can go for economics, hope for an offer, and then be almost guaranteed a place if you get one.

    Just to show how hard it is to hit maths offers for Cambridge, when I went up to the open day they said that they give out twice as many offers as they have places just because so many people will fail STEP. Warwick and Imperial are much easier on the STEP if you're not aiming for Oxbridge.

    So in my opinion. Aiming for Oxbridge maths is harder for Cambridge, I don't know enough about the Oxford applicants to places to say. However for Warwick/Imperial/LSE maths is probably easier to get an offer. However if your grades are excellent and can almost be guaranteed an offer then go for economics. As someone above me said, you can do maths with economics. I know for a fact LSE run this course.
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    I think that's a poor thing to base your decision on. You're going to be doing the degree for at least 3 years, they're both very different, I think you should have a serious think about which one you would enjoy more and will do better in.
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    (Original post by Tomcrease)
    Maths is probably easier to get an offer for a top uni (Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, Warwick). However you would need to sit STEP to be accepted into Cambridge, Warwick and Imperial. Getting an Oxford interview also requires an exam. STEP is VERY hard and can make or break offers, for top maths unis, in my opinion, getting the offer is the easy part. Fulfilling the STEP part is the hard part.

    Economics on the other hand has more applicants to places at top unis as far as i'm aware (Cambridge, LSE) so would make it harder to get an offer and they also give out less offers per place I think because more people are likely to hit the maximum economics offers of A*AA offer compared to COWI maths offers of A*A*A + STEP.

    In the end, if your maths module grades are good, 95% + average will definitely do, you are probably more likely to get offers, however you need to be confident at STEP. Or you can go for economics, hope for an offer, and then be almost guaranteed a place if you get one.

    Just to show how hard it is to hit maths offers for Cambridge, when I went up to the open day they said that they give out twice as many offers as they have places just because so many people will fail STEP. Warwick and Imperial are much easier on the STEP if you're not aiming for Oxbridge.

    So in my opinion. Aiming for Oxbridge maths is harder for Cambridge, I don't know enough about the Oxford applicants to places to say. However for Warwick/Imperial/LSE maths is probably easier to get an offer. However if your grades are excellent and can almost be guaranteed an offer then go for economics. As someone above me said, you can do maths with economics. I know for a fact LSE run this course.

    Well, first of all thanks for the reply.

    Secondly, do you know how much personal statements actually matter for maths? The reason I ask is because my maths PS sucks, I can't really think of much stuff to put down, I enjoy it because I'm good at it and its sort of fun to learn and understand, but thats pretty much it. And do I actually need to read up on maths? I have read one book but that probably isn't enough.

    My module grades will hopefully be around 95%.

    I've looked at STEP and it is pretty mind boggling atm but we haven't got the knowledge to do it now anyway. I don't want to apply for maths and economics because some of my preferred unis dont offer it.
    Edit: If I do apply for oxbridge, it'd be cambridge rather than oxford anyway
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    (Original post by lukas1051)
    I think that's a poor thing to base your decision on. You're going to be doing the degree for at least 3 years, they're both very different, I think you should have a serious think about which one you would enjoy more and will do better in.
    I have thought about this decision for a while, I enjoy them both a lot and I don't think I'm better in one than I am in the other.
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    (Original post by Miryo)
    Well, first of all thanks for the reply.

    Secondly, do you know how much personal statements actually matter for maths? The reason I ask is because my maths PS sucks, I can't really think of much stuff to put down, I enjoy it because I'm good at it and its sort of fun to learn and understand, but thats pretty much it. And do I actually need to read up on maths? I have read one book but that probably isn't enough.

    My module grades will hopefully be around 95%.

    I've looked at STEP and it is pretty mind boggling atm but we haven't got the knowledge to do it now anyway. I don't want to apply for maths and economics because some of my preferred unis dont offer it.
    Edit: If I do apply for oxbridge, it'd be cambridge rather than oxford anyway
    It "apparently" matters a fair bit. I'm not even sure Warwick reads them, they give maths offers to anyone with predicted grades above AAA I've head. If you go to the thread "Maths Offers 2012 Thread" or something like that you can see how many offers warwick has given out. Cambridge and (I think) imperial interview so it may matter more. However in my Cambridge interview all they did was ask maths questions, everyone else I know who had one said the same thing. I didn't apply to imperial so I don't know about that.

    My tutor put it this way: For maths they want to see how well you understand it, the personal statement is unlikely to make or break and offer, unless it is truly awful. If you have good grades, you're likely to get an offer.

    Obviously will the exception of Cambridge because you have to interview.

    Edit: Average module score of 95% Maths + FM will probably guarantee you offers for maths from: Warwick, Bath, Bristol, Durham, I'd like to say imperial, but I wouldn't say guaranteed. As long you as you have at least another AS grade A.

    Obviously this is just what I think will happen from my experience of applying and other people I know who have applied.
    If you mess up 1 module though it could be different, I have a friend who got good high As in all modules but a C in FP1 and got 3 rejections. I can't remember who most were, but Bath and maybe Bristol rejected him.

    Also, something which I didn't see until a few months after I applied and had had most of my offers. Most universities want to know your module grades because it's not an option to put it on your UCAS application. Bristols website says that if you have any maths modules greater than 90% in score they would like to know by email. I don't know what Bath say about it, I got an offer because looking. Warwick again I don't know because I got an offer before I found out. Cambridge sends you out a form call an FAQ form (I think) to fill in. On this you have to put all module marks, for EVERY AS you did. So they want to know. Durham send out a form for you to fill in just your maths marks. Imperial I have no idea about. However, it can't hurt just to email all your universities saying what you got, I don't think it can count against your application.
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    Two things:

    1- Choose the subject you actually enjoy. Don't do a degree simply to get into the 'better' university.

    2- Be wary of taking Economics at university if you're basing it on your experience with A-Level Economics. Economics at university is far more mathematical, and is really an applied mathematics discipline. You spend the vast majority of your time using calculus to optimize functions and statistics to test various hypothesis and run regressions on data to determine how effective certain economic models are.

    University maths, however, is much more proof based, especially at the top universities, so is quite far removed from A-Level Maths.

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Updated: August 2, 2012
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