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*MEGATHREAD* - The 'What Subjects Should I Do' Megathread

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    (Original post by ryan118244)
    But there's no advantage of doing it. It's a waste of time seeing that half of the med schools don't recognise and it puts more stress on you to achieve the other grades that are actually required. Also doing something like English could help say if you want to do the BMAT, also some unis including UCL prefer students with contrasting subjects.
    Some people might just want to do it because, and this might seem crazy and perverse; they enjoy it.

    Every person that I know that did Further Maths with the intention of studying Medicine walked away with at least all A's. It's generally those kind of people that choose to do it in the first place, so they're more than capable of getting the grades in their other subjects. It honestly isn't that big an increase in workload if you're good at the Maths.

    At the end of the day, the only mandatory A Level for 90% of the Universities is Chemistry. Some Universities or Colleges at Oxbridge might specify that Biology is wanted as well, but anywhere else, you just fill in the gaps yourself.
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    (Original post by ryan118244)
    Not as bizarre as doing further maths!
    Doing Further Maths isn't bizarre if they want to do it. Maybe they enjoy maths?

    I really don't see what's so hard to fathom about that.

    It is infinitely more bizarre that you suggest someone do a subject totally different from the others they expressed an interest in.
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    (Original post by Jonty99)
    Doing Further Maths isn't bizarre if they want to do it. Maybe they enjoy maths?

    I really don't see what's so hard to fathom about that.

    It is infinitely more bizarre that you suggest someone do a subject totally different from the others they expressed an interest in.
    If a person really wants to do it then they should. I was saying that you can get much more out of a subject that's contrasts and can be beneficial, because it seems on this general thread that people think doing all the sciences and maths are the best subjects for medicine.
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    (Original post by TwilightKnight)
    Some people might just want to do it because, and this might seem crazy and perverse; they enjoy it.

    Every person that I know that did Further Maths with the intention of studying Medicine walked away with at least all A's. It's generally those kind of people that choose to do it in the first place, so they're more than capable of getting the grades in their other subjects. It honestly isn't that big an increase in workload if you're good at the Maths.

    At the end of the day, the only mandatory A Level for 90% of the Universities is Chemistry. Some Universities or Colleges at Oxbridge might specify that Biology is wanted as well, but anywhere else, you just fill in the gaps yourself.
    I don't disagree with you, if someone really wants to do a particular subject then they should, but no one said they really wanted to do it just that they were, my point is if your only going to do it for the sake of it or because you think it will give you an edge or you just want to do more than the average then another subject would be better as further maths isn't recognised by most med schools.

    Also a lot of med schools actually want both biology and chemistry to Alevel and if not then they want AS biology. Again I'm talking about maximising chances of getting into med school, a subject like English etc which focuses of writing skills etc would allow you to most likely do Better for example in the essay section of the BMAT.
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    (Original post by ryan118244)
    I don't disagree with you, if someone really wants to do a particular subject then they should, but no one said they really wanted to do it just that they were, my point is if your only going to do it for the sake of it or because you think it will give you an edge or you just want to do more than the average then another subject would be better as further maths isn't recognised by most med schools.

    Also a lot of med schools actually want both biology and chemistry to Alevel and if not then they want AS biology. Again I'm talking about maximising chances of getting into med school, a subject like English etc which focuses of writing skills etc would allow you to most likely do Better for example in the essay section of the BMAT.
    I have an A at English A Level that I got when I was 16, and would've been an A* if I had done it a year later; the only part that it would have remotely helped me with on the essay section would be the Use of Language grade (which I got an 'A' mark in). Something like 60-70% of applicants this year got an 'A' mark. All you need to do is not misspell and use good grammar and you've got it.

    As far as essay writing skill, that's something that you can learn without doing an A Level - I would actually argue that the 'Essay writing skill' you get from doing an English A Level is quite different from the sort of essay you have to write for the BMAT. In reality, because of how science orientated your essay is likely to be, A Level Vs GCSE English capability would be indistinguishable.

    Just to play devils advocate here, having done the BMAT, I would argue that doing Further Maths would help more overall than doing English would, purely because Decision Maths would actually help a lot for Section 1 (Logic based problems, maximising times etc), and general Mathematic ability/ confidence would help a lot for Section 2. I know it did for me. If I hadn't of been doing Mechanics 2/3 at the time, I wouldn't have known a trigonometric ratio that helped me split a trapezium into manageable, formulated triangles that I could then use to solve it, and one of the Energy/ Momentum questions was phrased in a way that only AS Physics/ Mechanics students would have understood in time.

    My point being, that your 3rd/ 4th /5th choice is your choice. It's all well and good saying that doing these 4 subjects maximizes your chance of getting into Medical school A, but the reality is that you're studying these subjects for 2 years, and that's a long time to be studying something you might not enjoy. If someone enjoys Maths enough to want to do Further Maths, then to put them off doing something that might actually, indirectly keep them focused and attentive during their other subjects due to breaking up the monotony because "Universities don't want it" is missing the point of learning something in the first place.

    This isn't actually aimed at you, by the way, it's general frustration I have with people pigeonholing students into potentially doing a subject(s) they don't like in the hopes that they will get where they want to get. While that might seem like a worthwhile endeavor on paper, I would argue that if you feel you can't enjoy yourself in your studies along the way even a little, you're sacrificing too much for something you haven't even experienced yet.
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    (Original post by TwilightKnight)
    I have an A at English A Level that I got when I was 16, and would've been an A* if I had done it a year later; the only part that it would have remotely helped me with on the essay section would be the Use of Language grade (which I got an 'A' mark in). Something like 60-70% of applicants this year got an 'A' mark. All you need to do is not misspell and use good grammar and you've got it.

    As far as essay writing skill, that's something that you can learn without doing an A Level - I would actually argue that the 'Essay writing skill' you get from doing an English A Level is quite different from the sort of essay you have to write for the BMAT. In reality, because of how science orientated your essay is likely to be, A Level Vs GCSE English capability would be indistinguishable.

    Just to play devils advocate here, having done the BMAT, I would argue that doing Further Maths would help more overall than doing English would, purely because Decision Maths would actually help a lot for Section 1 (Logic based problems, maximising times etc), and general Mathematic ability/ confidence would help a lot for Section 2. I know it did for me. If I hadn't of been doing Mechanics 2/3 at the time, I wouldn't have known a trigonometric ratio that helped me split a trapezium into manageable, formulated triangles that I could then use to solve it, and one of the Energy/ Momentum questions was phrased in a way that only AS Physics/ Mechanics students would have understood in time.

    My point being, that your 3rd/ 4th /5th choice is your choice. It's all well and good saying that doing these 4 subjects maximizes your chance of getting into Medical school A, but the reality is that you're studying these subjects for 2 years, and that's a long time to be studying something you might not enjoy. If someone enjoys Maths enough to want to do Further Maths, then to put them off doing something that might actually, indirectly keep them focused and attentive during their other subjects due to breaking up the monotony because "Universities don't want it" is missing the point of learning something in the first place.

    This isn't actually aimed at you, by the way, it's general frustration I have with people pigeonholing students into potentially doing a subject(s) they don't like in the hopes that they will get where they want to get. While that might seem like a worthwhile endeavor on paper, I would argue that if you feel you can't enjoy yourself in your studies along the way even a little, you're sacrificing too much for something you haven't even experienced yet.
    That's the exact same point I'm trying to make, I agree that you should do a subject you want and not subjects which you conform to, because so many people said to me I had to do bio, chem, maths and psychics and I didn't do the latter 2, I'm trying to say that you should do subjects that you want and I don't think doing a subject like further maths is worth doing just for the sake of it, the original person never said they wanted to do it, just that they were, thus they could have been told that to have a chance at med school they needed to do all those types of subjects, when you don't.

    Also I still kinda disagree, because I'm crap at maths, have never done it and I still got 680 in that section in the UKCAT, which is above average and I actually did better than my friends who all did maths and some did further maths. Also as with the BMAT again friends that I have, those who did English did better in the essay section than those who didn't, and vice versa, those who did all the sciences and maths did better in the science part ... my point is you should do both because it produces someone who is better all rounded. At the end of the day it's personal opinion and personal experience. Also I'm my experience doing contrasting subjects has given me different skills than what I got out of my science subjects

    So my overall point is you should do the subjects that you want and not be talked into doing all science, maths and further maths, if you want a heavy work load and want to do like 5 subjects then doing another subject that contrasts in my opinion would produce a more well rounded student, after all are those not the principles of the international baccalaureate.
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    (Original post by ryan118244)
    So my overall point is you should do the subjects that you want and not be talked into doing all science, maths and further maths, if you want a heavy work load and want to do like 5 subjects then doing another subject that contrasts in my opinion would produce a more well rounded student, after all are those not the principles of the international baccalaureate.
    If someone wants to do 5 subjects (or indeed, no matter how many subjects they do), they should do subjects they enjoy.

    Whether that is all sciences, and further maths, or bio chem history and english, it doesn't really matter.
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    (Original post by Jonty99)
    If someone wants to do 5 subjects (or indeed, no matter how many subjects they do), they should do subjects they enjoy.

    Whether that is all sciences, and further maths, or bio chem history and english, it doesn't really matter.
    Isn't that exactly what I just said!?!?
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    (Original post by ryan118244)
    Isn't that exactly what I just said!?!?
    Sort of, except I think you were sort of implying that english would be a better choice than further maths, which is wrong, because the better choice is the subject he prefers.
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    (Original post by Jonty99)
    If someone wants to do 5 subjects (or indeed, no matter how many subjects they do), they should do subjects they enjoy.

    Whether that is all sciences, and further maths, or bio chem history and english, it doesn't really matter.
    I beg to differ. Many, most people take a course that they don't enjoy to that that they can get into a good University and a good course.

    Taking something that effects your future standard of living ought not be taken by a hendonistic whim.
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    I must agree with the notion further math is pointless.

    It has the second highest A* percentage of all the GCEs after Design, it's just maths with four more modals. If you're not doing Maths or a highly math oriented subject at Uni(Sciences don't count) don't take it, it's better to try your odds at something else. This is if your taking the standard 4 A levels, as a 5th or 6th it's not a bad choice.
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    (Original post by Antagonist_Love)
    I must agree with the notion further math is pointless.

    It has the second highest A* percentage of all the GCEs after Design, it's just maths with four more modals. If you're not doing Maths or a highly math oriented subject at Uni(Sciences don't count) don't take it, it's better to try your odds at something else. This is if your taking the standard 4 A levels, as a 5th or 6th it's not a bad choice.
    It's actually six, and S3 and S4 would be pretty useful for Medicine.

    When I was at Glasgow, they pointed out the fact I was doing / had done Maths, Further Maths, and Additional Further Maths, and that usually their Medical students have a lot of trouble with the Statistics in the course (stuff found in S2, S3 and S4, Goodness of fit.. correlation...), and that it was good to see that I understood it already.

    That isn't to say it would give me a favorable CV for admission, but once enrolled on the course, if I was, it would certainly help and give me an advantage when it came to doing the Medical statistics.

    And the reason it has the highest A* percentage is because the people that do it are usually good at Maths/ Physics etc to the point of savantism. In terms of difficulty, it is undoubtedly the hardest A Level in terms of content to be learned to study it, but it isn't really fair to compare it to other A Levels, since it has a pre-requisite of studying another A Level first, and the only people that usually take it are at least A/B competent in Normal Maths.

    Nationally, less than 1% of A Level students take Further Maths, the numbers are clearly going to be skewed.
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    (Original post by MedicalMayhem)
    I know you've all seen this like a million times, but after all the headlines showed that students shouldn't take 'soft' subjects, I have become worried for my choices, and whether they will 'bar' me from the 'top universities'.

    I was going to choose, Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Philosophy (to read medicine, as philosophy ethics tie in well), but then philosophy wasn't included in the Russell Group document as a 'hard' subject. Would it be better for me to change Philosophy for Geography (which to them is considered as a 'hard' and well respected humanity)?

    As I intend to take Maths, Chemistry and Biology to A2, and would drop either philosophy/geography at AS, does it really matter which I choose, as I would say i'm equally good at both, but don't want to take one that may hinder my university choices later in life.
    Philosophy is fine. I can't believe people say it's a soft subject and frankly they can **** off. Some unis (Cardiff from experience) like subjects that are outside Maths and Science so they encourage people to take subjects like RE for the ethics and discussions and depth of the subject - and Philosophy lives along the same idea. Don't be put off by it, carry it on, even if it's just until AS
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    (Original post by Antagonist_Love)
    I must agree with the notion further math is pointless.

    It has the second highest A* percentage of all the GCEs after Design, it's just maths with four more modals. If you're not doing Maths or a highly math oriented subject at Uni(Sciences don't count) don't take it, it's better to try your odds at something else. This is if your taking the standard 4 A levels, as a 5th or 6th it's not a bad choice.
    ^^^ This.

    For Medicine, don't bother with Further Maths.

    For Maths/Engineering, bother with it.

    Quite that simple.
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    Hello, i'm new to the site and I was wondering if i could get some help with my a level choices.

    I'm currently in year 11 and I'm having some trouble deciding which subjects to pick. I've considered quite a lot of combinations and i've narrowed it down to a few:

    -chemistry, biology, physics +art subject
    -chemistry, physics, maths +art subject
    -chemistry, physics, + 2 art subjects

    Out of the sciences, I would say I enjoy physics the most, followed by chemistry. I tend to achieve the worst in biology, however I've researched the entry requirements for medicine courses and most of them tend to prefer chemistry and biology over chemistry and physics. I enjoy physics more, however i'm aware that this might change once i start AS/A2, and i'm willing to take biology if it keeps more options open for medicine.

    As for the last combination, would it limit my chances of an offer if I took two art subjects? I'm worried that taking all three sciences would be quite draining as they're seen as the most rigorous subjects.

    Thanks!
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    Some medical schools frown upon art subjects and if they don't they will most definitely count both as just one a-level
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    I don't really understand why you are concerned about the sciences "being seen as the most rigorous subjects". It all depends on what you personally find difficult. I found A Level English Literature to be harder than my sciences and maths A Levels.

    I think you should do Biology, so I'd advise the first set of subjects you have listed.
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    I would choose chemistry biology physics and an arts subject, as that would give you as much science as possible but will still give you enough of the benefit of having a contrasting subject (which some universities prefer you to do). And from my experience (I'm currently studying chemistry biology maths and music at AS level) it's not too rigorous. Then again, I'm not doing physics, so it might be different in your case.
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    i would choose biology, chemistry, physics and a another subjectof your choice. biology does open more doors. there was a guy in my sixth form who wanted to study medicine and he wanted to go to imperial but he didnt have a biolgoy AS so he couldnt even get past the entry process.

    why not take maths? maths will be handy with physics/chemistry
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    that's another note. My brother did 3d design last year and had to drop it, 90% of his weeks work load was put into it and he only got a b. think carefully.

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