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Please help! Choosing my A-level subjects.

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    • Thread Starter

    Hi, I'm a first-time poster on TSR and would really appreciate some advice/guidance on making my A-level choices.
    After leaving year 12 in January to restart in September for health reasons, I'm stuck as to which subjects to choose - at my school we generally take four for AS, then drop our least favourite for A2.

    The subjects I am considering are:
    - Biology
    - Geography
    - Maths
    - Art
    - English literature

    The GCSE grades I got in these subjects are, respectively, A*, A*, A (×2), A*, A.

    For context, at the moment I am considering a degree to do with biology and/or the environment, at the best university I can (in terms of research, teaching standards, and student satisfaction). I love the natural world and would like to help conservation efforts in the future. I also love stories - my favourite hobby is reading fiction (mostly fantasy and sci-fi), and to a lesser extent drawing/painting (which I am told I have some talent in), and writing my own stories.

    From what I understand, most universities ask for at least one other science as well as biology to get on to courses, for which either Maths (at all unis) or Geography (at some) could qualify. However, if I only took one of these, I wouldn't have the freedom to drop one at A2 if I didn't enjoy it.


    Biology is my firm choice A-level. It contains lots of facts and concepts to learn, but I enjoy most aspects.

    I like most about Geography the physical concepts/processes, and the field work. Though I have no experience of it at A-level it seems to have lots of case studies to remember, but the exam doesn't look too different from GCSE. Counts towards most bio courses.

    Maths I don't have a passion for, however I am confident I could learn at least the AS content with practice, and it has no coursework or rote memorisation, only concepts and skills. Counts towards all bio courses.

    Fine art is all coursework, and though I really do love it it takes up a lot of time/effort. I think I could get a high grade technically, but don't know whether it would interfere with grades for other subjects. It isn't considered a faciliating subject but would be one less exam to do.

    As for eng. lit., I only have experience of combined English which I didn't enjoy at all, however the lit. reading list looks rather more suited to my tastes. This also seems to have a lot of quotes/concepts to learn by heart, and a lot of essays to do which might take up a lot of time, but I do love stories.

    So if you study/studied/have second-hand experience of these subjects at post-16 level, I would be so grateful for any advice/warnings/questions/solutions you offer, whether for any of these subjects by themselves or for a combination.

    Thank you so much for reading!

    The subjects I am considering are:
    - Biology
    - Geography
    - Maths

    The books you can read in your own time.

    Hi blooptop

    The only one of those subjects I did for A Level was Geography, so I can only really comment on that. Geography is an essay-based subject, and there are A LOT of case studies to learn, which can be a bit difficult due to the sheer number of them, but generally okay if you're good at remembering factual information.

    For a biology/environmental science type course, A Levels in Biology, Maths and Geography would be a good combination. For AS Level, I think English Literature would be better than Fine Art, as it is a facilitating subject is which is more favoured by universities

    Maths, Biology and Geography are the no brainers. Art will take all your time and potentially impact the grades you get in your other AS levels. It also will add NOTHING to your university application unless you change to a more arts based course. English is at least a respected subject, whatever you decide to do.

    I'm in y13 currently taking
    - Theology
    - Psychology
    - Geography
    Both theology and psychology are at A2 level but Geography is at AS level because in y12 i picked Biology and failed miserably (E) it is a hell of a lot harder than you think it is because of sheer amount of content (although respectively i got two D's in the exam and a U in the practical assignment which is not required anymore).
    I would highly recommend taking Geography (i can only speak from AS) but the course is really easy (AQA) there is a lot of content but the questions are just describe and explain, except for the odd 15 marker which is AO2 knowledge. But you have to study 4 units:
    River and Population are mandatory but then you pick a human and a physical (done for by school) and my school picked Glaciation and Energy issues.
    Rivers and pop are so easy because i studied it at GCSE, Glaciation is a little harder going but Energy issues is just common sense.

    Hope this helps :-) x
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