So I've finished both my physics and chemistry exams and I have to start thinking about which one I have to drop for Year 13. I love Physics and I just found out that a possible module we could be doing is Turning Points which involves Relativity and stuff like that.. which is basically the reason I was so interested in Physics when I was younger.
Problem is I'm better at Chemistry than I am in Physics and so there's a high that I'd get a better grade in Chem. I don't know which one to drop now... should I go with what interests me or what I get a better grade in??
Brutally honest opinions are allowed Thanks
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Love Physics but bad at it
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 21062016 15:09

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 21062016 15:12
Dude...I am in exactly the same position, except I won't be dropping either. When I say I in exactly the same situation, I mean the EXACT SAME situation.

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 21062016 15:16
I was in the exact same situation last year, when I was in year 12, but with maths and physics. I ended up dropping physics because despite it being my favourite, I also liked maths and I was better at maths. Also, I needed to be studying maths to get into the university I want to.
If you also like Chem, and you dont have a requirement to be studying physics for whatever degree you want to do, I would choose chem 
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 21062016 15:17
To be honest, to be good at Physics, you have to be good at maths. I can list to you a thousand theoretical physicists who studied Maths, not physics. Although to be good at theoretical physics, you need to be really good at maths, so are you?
If you are good at maths, study mathematics at university, and do all the physics modules (hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, EM, QM and all the rest).Last edited by oShahpo; 21062016 at 15:18. 
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 21062016 15:17
I would go wit what interests you but you must keep in mind that interests can change, I know sometime in the future your interests will change as mine have too. But I have just become more interested in a specific part of physics.

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 21062016 22:06
(Original post by oShahpo)
To be honest, to be good at Physics, you have to be good at maths. I can list to you a thousand theoretical physicists who studied Maths, not physics. Although to be good at theoretical physics, you need to be really good at maths, so are you?
If you are good at maths, study mathematics at university, and do all the physics modules (hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, EM, QM and all the rest). 
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 21062016 22:08
(Original post by egg_fried)
Yeah im decent at maths, the other 2 subjects I take are maths and further maths, I'm definitely thinking of keeping both of those 
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 21062016 22:28
(Original post by oShahpo)
To be honest, to be good at Physics, you have to be good at maths. I can list to you a thousand theoretical physicists who studied Maths, not physics. Although to be good at theoretical physics, you need to be really good at maths, so are you?
If you are good at maths, study mathematics at university, and do all the physics modules (hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, EM, QM and all the rest).
While yes there are some mathematicians that went on and did amazing work in theoretical physics but thats why you have heard of them, because they have done amazing work!
Most researchers in physics and theoretical physics did a physics undergrad degree!
Hell I bet a lot of the people you can think of that went from physics to maths werent theoretical physicists they were mathematical physicists which is very different 
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 21062016 22:32
(Original post by egg_fried)
Yeah im decent at maths, the other 2 subjects I take are maths and further maths, I'm definitely thinking of keeping both of those
If you want to study physics at university then look at what topics you are falling down in and see why. Is it the way you revise? does a bad teacher contribute to a lower grade overall? etc
I certainly was a lot better at chemistry at Alevel than physics but I still do great now in my theoretical physics degree. It may be that you are just naturally better at a chemistry alevel than a physics one but you shouldnt let this stop you doing a physics degree
Also the approach to the maths in a physics degree will be very different to the approach to maths in a maths degree (same goes for the physics being covered)Last edited by madmadmax321; 21062016 at 22:36. 
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 21062016 22:45
(Original post by madmadmax321)
Thats crap advice. 'if you want to do physics study maths' lol no if you want to do physics then study physics (or variation of including maths and physics). The op will miss out on all the experimental physics which is a major chunk of physics research (alot more than theoretical physics)
While yes there are some mathematicians that went on and did amazing work in theoretical physics but thats why you have heard of them, because they have done amazing work!
Most researchers in physics and theoretical physics did a physics undergrad degree!
Hell I bet a lot of the people you can think of that went from physics to maths werent theoretical physicists they were mathematical physicists which is very different
I am not saying that anyone who wants to do physics should study maths instead, I am advising this particular person to do so as he struggles with ALevel physics and is thinking of dropping it. No university would accept him to do straight physics unless he takes the ALevel (except in very few cases), and if he does take the ALevel and fails it or gets a B or a C, his chances of getting into any decent uni is pretty much gone with the wind.
If OP is struggling with Physics ALevel, I doubt he'd find university straight physics fun, especially the experimental side, but then again people change.
And by the way, a degree in mathematics prepares one to research deep into theoretical physics (string theory, and theoretical cosmology for example) more than any physics degree ever would, unless it's a strictly theoretical physics degree with no experimental side whatsoever. Of course those fields are not the only fields physics has to offer, but if he's not doing well with the ALevel stuff I don't think he'll be able to get into a decent straight physics course.Last edited by oShahpo; 21062016 at 22:50. 
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 21062016 23:01
(Original post by oShahpo)
I know someone would eventually post this..
I am not saying that anyone who wants to do physics should study maths instead, I am advising this particular person to do so as he struggles with ALevel physics and is thinking of dropping it. No university would accept him to do straight physics unless he takes the ALevel (except in very few cases), and if he does take the ALevel and fails it or gets a B or a C, his chances of getting into any decent uni is pretty much gone with the wind.
If OP is struggling with Physics ALevel, I doubt he'd find university straight physics fun, especially the experimental side, but then again people change.
And by the way, a degree in mathematics prepares one to research deep into theoretical physics (string theory, and theoretical cosmology for example) more than any physics degree ever would, unless it's a strictly theoretical physics degree with no experimental side whatsoever. Of course those fields are not the only fields physics has to offer, but if he's not doing well with the ALevel stuff I don't think he'll be able to get into a decent straight physics course.
deciding what to do at research level before even STARTING a degree is a terrible idea, there is NO WAY someone can tell if they like a specific subject like QM, QFT, string theory etc until they have done some of it/prerequisite topics at undergrad.
The OP needs to focus on getting better at alevel physics, not simply skipping it and hoping they will be better at the undergrad stuff approached from a mathematical view, thats stupid
oh and 'by the way' As for a maths degree preparing you better than a physics degree for theoretical physics research thats only partly true. A physics degree can be just as good at this, there are too many factors to consider to say which is better (course, modules taken, level of depth modules cover, uni attended (some maths degree allow more focus on theoretical physics than others).
Another thing is there are many more areas to theoretical physics than just string theory and cosmology and for a fair few those a maths degree wouldnt be good enough preparation 
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 21062016 23:08
(Original post by madmadmax321)
It doesnt solve the issue of if someone is giving up with the alevel physics now how can they expect to study the hard stuff like qm, electrodynamics and so on and do well? let alone current research level topics
deciding what to do at research level before even STARTING a degree is a terrible idea, there is NO WAY someone can tell if they like a specific subject like QM, QFT, string theory etc until they have done some of it/prerequisite topics at undergrad.
The OP needs to focus on getting better at alevel physics, not simply skipping it and hoping they will be better at the undergrad stuff approached from a mathematical view, thats stupid
oh and 'by the way' As for a maths degree preparing you better than a physics degree for theoretical physics research thats only partly true. A physics degree can be just as good at this, there are too many factors to consider to say which is better (course, modules taken, level of depth modules cover, uni attended (some maths degree allow more focus on theoretical physics than others).
Another thing is there are many more areas to theoretical physics than just string theory and cosmology and for a fair few those a maths degree wouldnt be good enough preparation
My point is that there are two sides to physics, they are reflective of each other but still distinct. One is the experimental, general side and the other is the applied mathematics side of physics. If he doesn't want to do physics at ALevel, which to be honest is terribly boring, he still has the chance to study the more mathematical side of physics in a mathematics or applied mathematics degree, plus he enjoys maths so he might enjoy doing a maths degree even more. 
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 21062016 23:33
(Original post by oShahpo)
Very few universities teach stuff like metric spaces, group theory and variation principles at undergraduate level physics, despite being common modules in undergrad maths, so yea it depends on the university but even then, if you are doing physics you must take other modules too which will probably affect your maths modules choice.
My point is that there are two sides to physics, they are reflective of each other but still distinct. One is the experimental, general side and the other is the applied mathematics side of physics. If he doesn't want to do physics at ALevel, which to be honest is terribly boring, he still has the chance to study the more mathematical side of physics in a mathematics or applied mathematics degree, plus he enjoys maths so he might enjoy doing a maths degree even more.
Also
1. The maths covered in a maths degree can, a fair bit of the time, be taught to an unnecessary level to do a theoretical physics phd
2. The approach taken to maths in a maths degree is very different to the maths approached in a physics degree and many people tend to like 1 or the other (I have studied both sides so have a somewhat informed opinion on it)
3 Again you havent really listened, the approach taken to physics in a maths and a physics degree WILL BE VERY DIFFERENT!!!!!
You need to know which approach you want to do in order to decided if you want to do maths or a physics degree. Also you have to cover a lot non physics related stuff in a maths degree, so if the op wants to do a physics degree it may not be the right option.
Also you still havent addressed my main issue here, (I'll put in bold for you), How can anyone expect to do well at electrodynamics, QM, QTF, string theory, cosomolgy etc (no matter the approach) without being able to do a physics alevel? The problem of not being able to score highly needs to be addressed now not just skimmed over and going 'oh I'll do it later'
The only reason someone should study a maths degree is because they love maths, not because they cant do physics due to not doing well at it at alevelLast edited by madmadmax321; 21062016 at 23:34. 
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 21062016 23:43
(Original post by egg_fried)
So I've finished both my physics and chemistry exams and I have to start thinking about which one I have to drop for Year 13. I love Physics and I just found out that a possible module we could be doing is Turning Points which involves Relativity and stuff like that.. which is basically the reason I was so interested in Physics when I was younger.
Problem is I'm better at Chemistry than I am in Physics and so there's a high that I'd get a better grade in Chem. I don't know which one to drop now... should I go with what interests me or what I get a better grade in??
Brutally honest opinions are allowed Thanks 
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 21062016 23:44
(Original post by madmadmax321)
A lot of the relevant maths, including group theory and variation principles, is taught 'on the job' in a physics degree, so in later years for straight physics you arent taught maths modules but you will have a couple of lectures on the maths required for that topic. Particle physics uses group theory and advanced mechanics uses calculus of variations.
Also
1. The maths covered in a maths degree can, a fair bit of the time, be taught to an unnecessary level to do a theoretical physics phd
2. The approach taken to maths in a maths degree is very different to the maths approached in a physics degree and many people tend to like 1 or the other (I have studied both sides so have a somewhat informed opinion on it)
3 Again you havent really listened, the approach taken to physics in a maths and a physics degree WILL BE VERY DIFFERENT!!!!!
You need to know which approach you want to do in order to decided if you want to do maths or a physics degree. Also you have to cover a lot non physics related stuff in a maths degree, so if the op wants to do a physics degree it may not be the right option.
Also you still havent addressed my main issue here, (I'll put in bold for you), How can anyone expect to do well at electrodynamics, QM, QTF, string theory, cosomolgy etc (no matter the approach) without being able to do a physics alevel? The problem of not being able to score highly needs to be addressed now not just skimmed over and going 'oh I'll do it later'
The only reason someone should study a maths degree is because they love maths, not because they cant do physics due to not doing well at it at alevel
" the approach taken to physics in a maths and a physics degree WILL BE VERY DIFFERENT!!!!!"
That is precisely my point. My dad literally failed 3 out of 4 less mathematical and more qualitative modules he took when he was studying for his degree, and still managed to get a 2.1 for his tremendous grades at the more mathematical stuff. I too, despite getting high marks at ALevel physics, hate it with a passion, but still nothing is more interesting to me than an evening with the Feynman lectures.
I agree that OP better sit down and think about what he's actually capable of, but I completely disagree with you saying that if someone wants to study Physics they shouldn't do a degree in maths. In fact, if I could go back in time and change my options, I would definitely have applied for a maths degree.Last edited by oShahpo; 21062016 at 23:45. 
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 22062016 00:03
(Original post by oShahpo)
There was a guy on here who's now studying physics aat Durham despite failing ALevel physics. Anecdotal evidence, I know, but still it is possible.
" the approach taken to physics in a maths and a physics degree WILL BE VERY DIFFERENT!!!!!"
That is precisely my point. My dad literally failed 3 out of 4 less mathematical and more qualitative modules he took when he was studying for his degree, and still managed to get a 2.1 for his tremendous grades at the more mathematical stuff. I too, despite getting high marks at ALevel physics, hate it with a passion, but still nothing is more interesting to me than an evening with the Feynman lectures.
I agree that OP had better sit down and think about what he's actually capable of, but I completely disagree with you saying that if someone wants to study Physics they shouldn't do a degree in maths. In fact, if I could go back in time and change my options, I would definitely have applied for a maths degree.
urgh this is draining (bit in bold), it isnt less mathematical of an approach it is just different, in a simplified sense a mathematician wants to prove that something works, a physicist uses maths as a tool (so this isnt a qualitative approach making your point about your dad a bit useless as you are still approaching the same physical concepts just from a different angle therefore still need to be able to understand the concepts themselves).
Youre point of doing well but finding a level physics dull means nothing in relation to the op as you arent struggling with alevel physics
Again there is so much more to a physics degree, even when not including the experimental side, that would be missed out on if you did a maths degree. (theoretical physics isnt just fundamental theory and cosmology and if you think it is then you dont know what theoretical physics is). So if someone says they want to do a physics degree then a maths degree isnt a 'close alternative'
I see you arent even studying physics or maths at university yet so I kind of see why you have this trivial opinion on why maths and physics are very similar, there is a huge difference to being linked to one another and being similar 
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 22062016 11:38
(Original post by madmadmax321)
The person you mention also did a foundation year which re covers most of the alevel content covered in a physics alevel so that argument is useless as they will still of had to improve their understanding at that level. Also another point about the person you mentioned, they also did poorly at AS level physics but got a B and an A at Alevel physics so did still improve their ability at that point. I also know that got an E in a level physics practical but took very well too and enjoyed experimental physics at university. You dont seem to understand you cant just skip the easier stuff because you cant do it and hope to be able to do the harder stuff.
urgh this is draining (bit in bold), it isnt less mathematical of an approach it is just different, in a simplified sense a mathematician wants to prove that something works, a physicist uses maths as a tool (so this isnt a qualitative approach making your point about your dad a bit useless as you are still approaching the same physical concepts just from a different angle therefore still need to be able to understand the concepts themselves).
Youre point of doing well but finding a level physics dull means nothing in relation to the op as you arent struggling with alevel physics
Again there is so much more to a physics degree, even when not including the experimental side, that would be missed out on if you did a maths degree. (theoretical physics isnt just fundamental theory and cosmology and if you think it is then you dont know what theoretical physics is). So if someone says they want to do a physics degree then a maths degree isnt a 'close alternative'
I see you arent even studying physics or maths at university yet so I kind of see why you have this trivial opinion on why maths and physics are very similar, there is a huge difference to being linked to one another and being similar
I know physics and maths are different, but if I couldn't do physics at ALevel but was good at maths, I would then rather do mathematics at a decent university than ruin my future by studying physics at a low grade university. 
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 22062016 12:26
(Original post by oShahpo)
Look, to summarise my opinion, if someone has an affinity for physics, but clearly enjoys maths and is better at maths than physics, I'd recommend that person study mathematics at university instead of physics. My reasoning is that if they're not doing well at ALevel physics, they're not likely to get into a decent physics programme and probably won't study physics at all, if they do maths they'll do a degree they're good at, and will probably get the chance to dabble with the interesting side of theoretical and mathematical physics. That is my suggestion, you disagree with it and keep arguing that maths is a substitute for physics, which I don't think I suggested, but you haven't actually given the OP any advice at all.
I know physics and maths are different, but if I couldn't do physics at ALevel but was good at maths, I would then rather do mathematics at a decent university than ruin my future by studying physics at a low grade university.
Again yes they would get to take some physics modules but as mentioned before how can they expect to do well in it before doing well in the easier stuff covered in a physics Alevel, its just giving false hope. Hence why I said they need to look at where they are going wrong and improve it now rather than just giving up. It is strange that you bring up the person that went to durham, seeing that people can improve quickly within the space of a year, but dont tell the op that it is possible and people can do it
I did give the op advice and you did suggest to do maths a substitute..... 
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 22062016 12:30
(Original post by madmadmax321)
So why cant they look at what they are doing wrong and improve it? thats better than basically saying abandon your aspirations of studying physics, do something else.
Again yes they would get to take some physics modules but as mentioned before how can they expect to do well in it before doing well in the easier stuff covered in a physics Alevel, its just giving false hope. Hence why I said they need to look at where they are going wrong and improve it now rather than just giving up. It is strange that you bring up the person that went to durham, seeing that people can improve quickly within the space of a year, but dont tell the op that it is possible and people can do it
I did give the op advice and you did suggest to do maths a substitute..... 
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 22062016 12:33
(Original post by madmadmax321)
I did give the op advice and you did suggest to do maths a substitute.....
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Updated: June 23, 2016
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