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Do i choose english literature or history as level?!! Need help and advice asap

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    Hi this is the account holders younger brother. I'm 16 years old and currently in the summer to go onto sixthform. So im thinking of doing english literature for as level as my fourth subject. I've definitely chosen my other 3 subjects which are maths, chemistry and biology (which I all aim to carry on with in A2). I'm thinking of studying medicine (seriously - a main ambition) and I'm completely in two minds as to whether I take English Literature or Hisotry for As level (which i would drop for year 13)

    I have a really big interest for english literature as I believe during GCSES it was quite a creative outlet and I did well in it as in my first exam I recieved an A* and am yet to recieve my full GCSE grade this August. However, I'm really concerned about whether english in AS is a complete shock and is really different. If I am to take english then the two poetry books i would study is "Mean Time" - Carol Anne Duffy, "The Whitsun Weddings" - Phillip Larkin. The novel and drama I will study is Jane Eyre and Dr Faustus. I've heard that the trabsition between GCSE and Alevel is very shocking and the work in AS changed a lot - but thats the case with all Alevels. I was really convinced I was going to take english but I read somewhere that there is a lot of reading. The books and poetry texts to me dont seem like a huge amount of reading, but I ve heard that there's a lot of "READING AROUND" using a "reading list". I dont really understand how this works and this seems really worrying to me as the whole reading around aspect gives me the feeling that there will be a lot of independant research involved and generally a lot of reading (someone once told me they end up reading like 40+ books (?????). Also whats the general workload like

    If anyone happens to do sciences with english, or history and english lit then please do let me know how the combination is going. I know both history and english literature are essay based but to me history seems as though it would be less challenging as we would receive a solid set of notes, whereas in English there is no wrong or right? Which subject would be easier? (in all honesty I really want to go for the 'easier' one in regard to being more flexible with my other AS level subjects and being more compatible with medicine)

    If it makes any difference I do the WJEC board, which in my opinion is an extremely pedantic examining board and doesnt give much time fore students to form solid essays (which i guess effects for history and english lit)

    Thank you so so much if you reply with a genuine helpful answer as I am truly worried and concerned about this :LLL

    (Original post by mass_)
    If anyone happens to do sciences with english, or history and english lit then please do let me know how the combination is going.
    When applying to Medicine, unis love their hard sciences (which you've got), but often essay-writing subjects are also viewed as very highly as it is a skill you will need at your time at university.

    I'm doing Biology, Geography and English Language. I know it's not the same English subject, but I would say the jump from GCSE to A Level is a lot smaller when it comes to English. It's just about looking at things in more depth, I believe it's similar in English Literature (though I might be wrong).

    It's definitely a good option to pick History or English Literature alongside your hard sciences as it will help to relieve you from all of the complicated stuff going on in those subjects!

    Just go with what you like best, but from my personal experience I would say taking English with a science subject is really good. If you are really good at both History and English Literature, just follow whichever is your passion; they will both be valued by universities.

    (Original post by mass_)

    I've just finished Year 12 and did both English Literature and History at AS Level on the new spec, so I feel I'll be able to help you with some advice and information on what both are like.

    Each person reacts differently to the transition between GCSE and AS Level, but for me personally, the jump from GCSE English Literature to AS Level was somewhat big, but not impossible. I got straight A*s in English and have been predicted a B/A for AS. In terms of 'wider reading', the only wider reading we had to do was to find critics (you need to put these in your essays in exams). I didn't read any other books for AS Level, although remember your course may be different.

    I didn't find the amount we had to read overly large - but again, I did different set texts. If you enjoy reading, you'll have no problem (it's not hard to just sit down and read a text). As you said, there is no right/wrong answer, and if you find that difficult then don't take this subject. It's definitely open to interpretation. I also should point out that I loved English at GCSE, but now despise it - I found it incredibly boring and, quite frankly, to be an utter waste of my time.

    History was similar in a way - I loved it at GCSE, now dislike it, although I found this subject to be a lot more interesting. I got an A* at GCSE (with full marks in some of the exams) and I am now predicted a B for AS. This requires a lot of reading - it certainly isn't an easy subject. I found the exam from GCSE - AS Level to be very different and a lot of my time was spent learning exam technique and style to pick up the marks. Also remember that there is a LOT of memorisation for this subject - you've got to remember key facts, dates, names and the order of events, as well as knowing how to put all of this into an extended response for the exam.

    In the end, it's all personal opinion - I preferred History at AS Level as it was actually interesting, and felt more relevant. The entire year spent doing English Literature felt like a waste - it feels like such a pointless subject. If you want creativity, you certainly won't find it in English Lit, as there is none. It's an essay based analytical subject, not a creative subject.

    In the end, you need to choose whichever you feel you'll do best in - but remember to be careful as there is a difference in GCSE vs A Level. Perhaps just pick which subject you do best in come August?

    I didn’t do History at GCSE, but i do English, History, Maths, Latin. I personally think you should do English because it isn’t that much of a jump from GSCE, I find. It depends on how much your teachers help you though, but English, you don’t need to read around that much if you’re not going it at a higher level. However, almost everyone who does Medicine in my school, and does BCM, does History too because it shows a more analytical side. Plus, I want to do English at Uni, so you might actually want to take History. The only problem in History is that I can’t compare it to GCSE, but apparently there isn’t even a jump because it is just so completely different. You can always go and look at the history of Medicine too or something >.<
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