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    What is STEP?
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    (Original post by Occams Chainsaw)
    Studies have shown that rote learning is just as important as intellectually challenging stimuli. The facts you learn help you make connections between things much more easily. After all, unless you can make new connections between things you are just going to be spurting out what others have already said a thousand times before you which is useless.

    Thus, I think that your pretentious attitude towards subjects like maths, physics and philosophy is redundant. In fact, in the case of philosophy at a level, the whole subject is pretty much rote learning anyway.

    Having a balance of a difficult workload and difficult concepts is probably better for cognitive strengthening and intellectual dexterity.
    ----------//----------

    OP: Your A Level choices are pretty rubbish atm. In terms of subjects, you should probably chose some out of this list:
    • Maths and Further Maths
    • English Literature
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Geography
    • History
    • Languages (Classical and Modern)

    They are generally regarded as the better A Levels. (Trinity college, Cambridge have a 'preferred subject' list comprising of these subjects, Russell Group have a booklet recommending these subjects as 'facilitating' and LSE also have a similar list. Look on-line and see for yourself.).

    Taking biology and history is a good start. Perhaps look at a language or English literature for law. Otherwise, if you want to keep your options open, something like chemistry or maths would be useful.
    I think this is pretty spot on.
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    Economics is reputable, fact.
    Just saying, Economics is not as reputable as Maths... see the list above
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    (Original post by Peace&Love)
    What is STEP?
    Sixth Term Examination Paper. Because maths is such a difficult subject at University relative to the watered down A Level syllabus Cambridge -- among other Universities -- use this paper as an additional source of results to gauge a students potential mathematical ability. It uses techniques learned at A Level and applies them in a less conventional way.
    The exam is 3 hours long and you are marked on your 6 best answered questions.

    STEP usually forms part of a conditional offer for mathematics as it is taken in the summer of upper sixth.
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    (Original post by Occams Chainsaw)
    Sixth Term Examination Paper. Because maths is such a difficult subject at University relative to the watered down A Level syllabus Cambridge -- among other Universities -- use this paper as an additional source of results to gauge a students potential mathematical ability. It uses techniques learned at A Level and applies them in a less conventional way.
    The exam is 3 hours long and you are marked on your 6 best answered questions.

    STEP usually forms part of a conditional offer for mathematics as it is taken in the summer of upper sixth.
    Is it only taken when you apply to Cambridge or other top universities or is it a course which can be done anyway?
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    (Original post by harpreetbains)
    I do both history and biology at GCSE however I do not do separate sciences. The A Levels I have chosen are: biology, history, sociology and psychology however I would like to change either history, or biology to law. Any suggestions as to which one I should change it to?
    I did really similar alevels to you, i did history, biology, psychology and geography for AS, and then i dropped biology for A2 and carried on with the other 3.

    Looking back i don't hate the choices i made, but i wish i had dropped psychology instead of biology.

    If i were you, i'd lose psychology or sociology and replace one of those with law. You'd do well to keep biology and history as they show someone who has a range of skills from science to humanities.

    However, I would say law, psychology and sociology are all seen by universities as a bit of a weaker a-level subject, so none have much value over the other, you just need the best grade. Therefore do the one that interests you the most.

    P.S

    Try and research psychology as much as you can, because i took it thinking i would love it and absolutely hated it.
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    (Original post by Peace&Love)
    Is it only taken when you apply to Cambridge or other top universities or is it a course which can be done anyway?
    Oxford, Imperial, Warwick and Bristol usually ask for STEP in a mathematics offer too. I am unsure about every other University, tbh. It is a public examination meaning anyone can sit it, regardless of which subject or University you are applying for. For example, my friend is applying for architecture but she is sitting STEP to show off her mathematical knowledge. Another friend of mine is applying for physics and is sitting STEP because he enjoys maths.

    EDIT: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2042024

    Here is a thread dedicated to it. If you are interested, it's certainly a good starting point.
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    Why would you change to law? Law is poor and not very well respected, nor is it rigorous. It's rubbish, and intelligent people would take better, real, A-levels. I know people who just strolled into the exam without any preparation and got an A (no joke).

    History or Biology? Neither. They're both just fact learning, with no real thought involved. I could look up History/Biology material on Wikipedia if I actually cared. If you're intelligent then you'll want intellectually challenging material which is conceptually difficult.

    Try Maths, Physics, Further Maths, Philosophy. Even if you're not interested in a mathematical degree, I'd still throw STEP in there to push you a bit, as the A-level syllabus can be very easy at times.

    damn keyboard warrior

    im pretty sure your one of those quiet kids in class but loves to act the big man when he gets his 4 eyes in front of his computer
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    (Original post by Occams Chainsaw)
    Oxford, Imperial, Warwick and Bristol usually ask for STEP in a mathematics offer too. I am unsure about every other University, tbh. It is a public examination meaning anyone can sit it, regardless of which subject or University you are applying for. For example, my friend is applying for architecture but she is sitting STEP to show off her mathematical knowledge. Another friend of mine is applying for physics and is sitting STEP because he enjoys maths.

    EDIT: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show....php?t=2042024

    Here is a thread dedicated to it. If you are interested, it's certainly a good starting point.
    So its something you can do to boost your application/personal statement? Is it done through your sixth form or a private centre?

    Sorry for the 20 questions
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    (Original post by Peace&Love)
    So its something you can do to boost your application/personal statement? Is it done through your sixth form or a private centre?

    Sorry for the 20 questions
    It could though I think the problem is that you sit the exam at the end of year 13 so all you can say in your PS is you plan to sit the STEP. Unless they give it as part of your offer (I doubt it) it probably doesn't actually carry that much weight on it's own. However, it is something!

    I don't know how it is done tbh. I am in year 12 so won't take the STEP until next summer. I presume/hope it will be organised through my college. I will find out for you in case someone else doesn't answer your question.

    And np
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    I'm not 'in class' unless I'm teaching, in which case I can hardly be a quiet kid :rolleyes:
    That's interesting. I totally misjudged you by your earlier statements. Or maybe not, I'll probably never know!
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    Biology is a seriously tricky Alevel

    I do it myself along with Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics and I can honestly say in terms of exam difficulty Chemistry would come first closely followed by Biology

    Honestly, don't take it if you don't plan on doing a lot of extra hours outside of class
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    (Original post by Occams Chainsaw)
    It could though I think the problem is that you sit the exam at the end of year 13 so all you can say in your PS is you plan to sit the STEP. Unless they give it as part of your offer (I doubt it) it probably doesn't actually carry that much weight on it's own. However, it is something!

    I don't know how it is done tbh. I am in year 12 so won't take the STEP until next summer. I presume/hope it will be organised through my college. I will find out for you in case someone else doesn't answer your question.

    And np
    Thanks a lot for the useful information I would give you a 'thumbs up' but seem to have used them all today
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    You used Occams Razor(/Chainsaw?!)
    That's because it usually works!

    I'm glad you got the pun, at least.
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    (Original post by Peace&Love)
    So its something you can do to boost your application/personal statement? Is it done through your sixth form or a private centre?

    Sorry for the 20 questions
    Depends entirely on what your applying for, say you want to do history/all humanities/creative arts, biology, chemistry or something at university then generally I wouldn't take STEP (It's tough even for further mathematicians)
    If your applying for something like physics, mathematics, actuarial science etc, STEP might be worth it (for maths usually essential for top unis) but other subjects it has some use and application. But its worth considering it is quite challenging material, which does not entirely follow the alevel syllabus
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    (Original post by Peace&Love)
    Thanks a lot for the useful information I would give you a 'thumbs up' but seem to have used them all today
    I just got told that my college pays for the exam and sorts out everything for me.
    I will also apparently be having STEP preparation classes in September onwards but my college has Oxbridge tutorials preparing us for applications and Higher Education lectures where we go beyond the syllabus to impress at interviews. I say that because I'm not sure how your sixth form will be going about stuff like that. I am lucky to live close to a pretty decent college!
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    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    STEP is definitely helpful for people taking Law or Philosophy or History or any social sciences. I know, I took it.

    Forgive me, I now realise that the OP is not applying to top universities. She's not taking separate sciences - if her school has already deemed her to be too stupid to take real Sciences, then she's not going to be good enough for the top universities.
    A lot of what you have said, 'Upper Echelons,' throughout the thread, is correct. However, I don't think you seem to realise the pretentious and arrogant impression that you give off. There are ways of saying things, without sounding like an absolute prick.

    The post I have quoted is an example, albeit a rare one, of where you are wrong. Double science is often the only option in non-private schools (the kind of school it seems like you hail from)
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    It depends on what you want to do in the future and which you would enjoy, personally I would keep History because I think it's a fascinating subject to learn, if you're more sciencey and prefer subjects that provide definite answers stick with Biology, by the way, unlike what someone said above, Law is a really good subject to study, interesting and not too challenging. However, if you do take it, revision is a must, it is very unlikely to get an A without any revision.
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    (Original post by harpreetbains)
    I do both history and biology at GCSE however I do not do separate sciences. The A Levels I have chosen are: biology, history, sociology and psychology however I would like to change either history, or biology to law. Any suggestions as to which one I should change it to?
    (Original post by Upper Echelons)
    Why would you change to law? Law is poor and not very well respected, nor is it rigorous. It's rubbish, and intelligent people would take better, real, A-levels. I know people who just strolled into the exam without any preparation and got an A (no joke).
    + rep Upper Echelons. I do not know why people have given - rep when what you have said is quite true about Law but since you have dissed Biology and History I can understand as they are brilliant subject choices!

    Who do you think you would really stand out to Universities (Top ones!) esp. when they look out for rigorous subjects unlike 'softer ones' such as Law, Media studies or Business Studies which have just been created to fill up this space for less capable students in order to make the schools themselves look better on paper i.e ranking tables. I attended a a grammar school and we've never done (I'm talking about GCSE level here so years 9-11 not 7-8) subjects like ICT or Media studies or Food tech because in reality top unis dont care about these. I'm not saying that people who have an interest in studying these are dumb or lazy in fact they may be passionate and really smart but all I'm trying to say is for you to look at the bigger picture! Think about it...thousands of students apply...who are pretty much on the same level in terms of intellectual ability. So there needs to be things that make you stand out, right? Well who do you think would stand out more, a person who studies a Law A-level + other combinations compared to a person who studies lets say Eng Lit/history/Biology + other subjects? It's a logical answer. Not hard.

    Let me guess harpreetbains you want to study a Law degree or at least thinking about studying something similar? Well at the end of the day
    IT IS YOUR DECISION...just because you may decide to study Law won't mean it would defintly rule you out of a top uni BUT! :

    1) Think about how useful your A'level will be in the future.


    2) Don't pick the easier subjects just because they look easy --English literature and media studies are quite similar subjects. However, English literature has a lot more kudos and won't earmark you as a lazy good for nothing in the future.

    3) Unless you're 100% committed to doing something, keep your options open. A good mix of A'levels will provide you with plenty of scope to change direction should you desire. Limiting your choices now only limits your opportunities come university...


    Hope that Helps!

    Spoiler:
    Show
    If you are serious about changing a subject then change "sociology or psychology" to English Literature or anything else you may find more interesting
    Good Combination: (IMO)
    Biology
    History
    English Lit
    Sociology/Psychology
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    Biology is a tier 1 subject according to Cambridge University and is respected the same as Maths, Chemistry, Further Maths & Physics, so you're fine with that. History is Tier 2 which is are still respected to a good degree. Sociology & Psychology are Tier 3 subjects which are also fine. They are not really respected but are not frowned upon either. They avoid the dreaded tier 4 which are subjects such as Media studies, Film Studies, Photography & Law. That being said i don't think it would be wise to swap out History/Biology with Law.

    Hope I helped
 
 
 
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