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What A-levels to choose for Mechanical Engineering? Is Chemistry needed/recommended? watch

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    (Original post by clfm10)
    Congratulations! what other subjects did you apply with? if you don't mind me asking
    Urmmm

    AS bio, chem, Physics, French, History
    A2 Maths

    And taking A2 fm chem physics and French this year
    (Original post by clfm10)
    Thanks for quick reply! My school allows me to do 5 A-levels if you do Further maths. If you don't do further maths, then only 4.

    I have done research on several universities and they all ask for Maths and Physics with emphasis on the importance of Further maths. However I wanted to have 2 other subjects to stand out from the crowd if you know what I mean.
    So you can do chemistry and computing as well as the others
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    (Original post by L'Evil Fish)
    Urmmm

    AS bio, chem, Physics, French, History
    A2 Maths

    And taking A2 fm chem physics and French this year


    So you can do chemistry and computing as well as the others
    Thanks for the advice, but what do you think about the workload, considering I would be doing maths, further maths, physics, chem and computing if I choose to go this route?
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    Yes I would -

    You have covered all bases if you decide to do electronic/electrical by taking computing as a 5th.

    Engineering these days has 'design' as a key aspect and Technology will help with that; knowing SolidWorks will be a great advantage.
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    Hello! I've applied for Mechanical Engineering/Engineering at Bath, Bristol, Imperial, Oxford and Durham to start in 2015 and I've received all of my offers I currently do maths, further maths, physics and design technology at A Level so although I may be somewhat biased, I can offer some advice

    I, like you, really enjoyed design technology at gcse and I wanted to take it further. I currently study product design dt and the theory that I learnt at AS was quite technical (obviously not on a atomic scale) in terms of learning about properties of materials and processes which did spark my interest in mechanical engineering and materials science. As you have also said, it is also quite a relaxed subject and can be quite refreshing having to not sit down and do maths all day like in the other 3 subjects.
    I also think it is quite an independent subject that teaches you a hands on approach to projects and tasks in terms of making decisions about the manufacture of your project and also makes you familiar with machines that are in the workshop, which are also at university. You will gain experience with programmes such as Solidworks and 3D modelling packages which are forming the future for engineering as the importance of design is coming to the fore.

    DT has formed part of my offer from Durham and also reduced my offer from Imperial (They asked for A*AAA in maths, physics, further maths and DT as opposed to A*A*A) so even though some may say it is not as valuable, it has not caused me any harm and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I never had a flare for chemistry or enjoyed it so I never really considered it as an A Level choice although it is a preferred 3rd/4th A level.

    Good Luck!
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    (Original post by clfm10)
    Thanks for the advice, but what do you think about the workload, considering I would be doing maths, further maths, physics, chem and computing if I choose to go this route?
    Maths Further maths and physics rolls into like 2 subject workload if that, because they all link and overlap.

    So workload isn't too bad at all imp
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    Don't do six - A levels are changing to linear as I said - that's why we're capping at 4.

    All exams in Year 13 ... massive workload and more intense than now.

    When A levels were linear before very few people took 4 ...
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    (Original post by clfm10)
    I have to ay that I am 100% certain that I will not be doing Chemical Engineering so would you still recommend Chemistry? Is it a major step up from GCSE?
    I know that I will not be doing Chemical Engineering, would you recommend me doing Technology and Computing? Being that you are familiar with the UCAS process, would you know if big universities (Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial) see Technology and Computing as a "not-really-A-level" subject?
    A level Chemistry is a fair bit harder than GCSE and of barely any relevance to mechanical and electrical engineering. Only do it if you really enjoy it. If you are already doing Maths, FM and Physics then no one is going to doubt your academic ability and you have ticked all the necssary boxes for a top university. Whilst neither DT nor Computing counts as an 'enabling' subject they are not despised and relevant to what you want to study; I am sure they would be looked on favourably. For Mech Eng I think DT is better, for Electrical then Computing.

    (Original post by clfm10)
    Thanks very much for your help. I think I will do Tech & Design especially since a large part of the Controlled Assessment is working and designing on Solidworks. However, have you found yourself at an advantage when applying to universities for having Chemistry? Or does a person that does not have Chemistry but Tech and Computing stand the same chance?
    I think I would have been at more of an advantage to have taken DT - hence my recommendation to do it ahead of Chemistry. (For the record I did Maths, FM, Physics, Chemistry and History.)

    (Original post by clfm10)
    I would also like to know, if you don't mind, why you chose Mechanical Engineering among other Engineering disciplines? This would be of great help as I am also very interested in Electronic/Software Engineering.
    To be honest, it seemed a good idea at the time. I went to a girls' school and there wasn't a lot of engineering related stuff going on (DT was not an option at A level). I didn't want to read general engineering as it tended to be offered by universities without much of an engineering pedigree. Mech eng seemed the way to go but in practice I took most of the more electrical options on my course and drifted in that direction in my work.
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    For electrical or mechanical engineering, computing is going to be a lot more useful than chemistry. Of course, both are good, but a good comprehension of computing is a standard part of virtually all engineering courses now, and most technical disciplines such as physics. So having two years experience will put you at a significant advantage to those having to learn coding languages from scratch. If it's between chemistry and computing, I would definitely be on the side of computing because of that
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Yes I would -

    You have covered all bases if you decide to do electronic/electrical by taking computing as a 5th.

    Engineering these days has 'design' as a key aspect and Technology will help with that; knowing SolidWorks will be a great advantage.
    Thank you very much for all your help, I think I have decided to do these 5 subjects.
    (Original post by LouN1997)
    Hello! I've applied for Mechanical Engineering/Engineering at Bath, Bristol, Imperial, Oxford and Durham to start in 2015 and I've received all of my offers I currently do maths, further maths, physics and design technology at A Level so although I may be somewhat biased, I can offer some advice

    I, like you, really enjoyed design technology at gcse and I wanted to take it further. I currently study product design dt and the theory that I learnt at AS was quite technical (obviously not on a atomic scale) in terms of learning about properties of materials and processes which did spark my interest in mechanical engineering and materials science. As you have also said, it is also quite a relaxed subject and can be quite refreshing having to not sit down and do maths all day like in the other 3 subjects.
    I also think it is quite an independent subject that teaches you a hands on approach to projects and tasks in terms of making decisions about the manufacture of your project and also makes you familiar with machines that are in the workshop, which are also at university. You will gain experience with programmes such as Solidworks and 3D modelling packages which are forming the future for engineering as the importance of design is coming to the fore.

    DT has formed part of my offer from Durham and also reduced my offer from Imperial (They asked for A*AAA in maths, physics, further maths and DT as opposed to A*A*A) so even though some may say it is not as valuable, it has not caused me any harm and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I never had a flare for chemistry or enjoyed it so I never really considered it as an A Level choice although it is a preferred 3rd/4th A level.

    Good Luck!
    Thank you VERY much, this is really helpful. At my school we don't do Product Design DT but Systems design so we design systems that use microcontrollers and then design the housing (on solidworks) that will contain the whole project. There is also some theory of course but it is usually geared towards the electronics side of things, so I don't know if a university will not like this as it is not directly applicable to Mechanical Engineering.

    However the other subjects I am really happy about and convinced that will help me a lot. Is there any reason why you didn't do a 5th subject? I was planning to do computing but I don't know if this, with tech, will put me in a weaker position somehow. I also don't know if the workload of the 4 subjects that you already study (which will be four of the ones that I will study) is already too great to have a 5th subject such as computing, what do you think?
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    Personally I'd have to agree with a lot of what L'Evil Fish has said. But so long as you do Maths/F Maths / Physics all mechanical engineering courses are open to you. At the end of the day unis would prefer Chemistry to DT as it's a facilitating subject.. But this effect on your application would be minimal. I'd recommend going to Chemistry as if you do decide mechanical isn't for you chemical would be open for you, along with a swathe of other courses like materials science. Just go for what you enjoy as your 4th actually.


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    (Original post by clfm10)
    Is there any reason why you didn't do a 5th subject? I was planning to do computing but I don't know if this, with tech will put me in a weaker position in some way
    Just a word of warning about taking lots of subjects: it doesn't necessarily advantage you as universities seldom lower their offers because you are doing more, but they may include all the A levels in your offer. For instance, if you tell Imperial that you are doing 5 then they may ask for (say) A*A*A*AA wheras they would have been happy with A*A*A from a candidate only taking 3. (A*A*A*AA was the offer made to one of our students applying for Chem Eng last year.)
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    (Original post by Compost)
    Just a word of warning about taking lots of subjects: it doesn't necessarily advantage you as universities seldom lower their offers because you are doing more, but they may include all the A levels in your offer. For instance, if you tell Imperial that you are doing 5 then they may ask for (say) A*A*A*AA wheras they would have been happy with A*A*A from a candidate only taking 3. (A*A*A*AA was the offer made to one of our students applying for Chem Eng last year.)
    Thank you very much, I honestly had not thought about this at all. I know I should be able to believe that I am capable of obtaining those grades, but it is still scary to think that my future depends on them!
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Don't do six - A levels are changing to linear as I said - that's why we're capping at 4.

    All exams in Year 13 ... massive workload and more intense than now.

    When A levels were linear before very few people took 4 ...
    Sorry for my ignorance, but what exactly do you mean by "linear"? what is different about this compared to previous years?
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    Most A level courses are changing in September so all the exams are in Year 13.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...17-12-14-3.pdf

    Maths isn't changing so you can take AS modules in Year 12 and spread that out. None of the students posting will have experience of this; it will make a massive difference.
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    (Original post by clfm10)
    Thank you very much for all your help, I think I have decided to do these 5 subjects.

    Thank you VERY much, this is really helpful. At my school we don't do Product Design DT but Systems design so we design systems that use microcontrollers and then design the housing (on solidworks) that will contain the whole project. There is also some theory of course but it is usually geared towards the electronics side of things, so I don't know if a university will not like this as it is not directly applicable to Mechanical Engineering.

    However the other subjects I am really happy about and convinced that will help me a lot. Is there any reason why you didn't do a 5th subject? I was planning to do computing but I don't know if this, with tech, will put me in a weaker position somehow. I also don't know if the workload of the 4 subjects that you already study (which will be four of the ones that I will study) is already too great to have a 5th subject such as computing, what do you think?
    The large majority of universities only want 3 A levels, I didn't want to do a 5th subject, however I did complete English AS in year 11. Doing a 5th subject would have meant that I would have had no free periods (which I really needed). All of my offers are based on 3 A-levels, except Imperial and doing only four did not harm my application in anyway.

    If you are seriously considering applying to Cambridge then I would encourage to only stick to four. I don't know about your academic background or anything but I know that Cambridge look at UMS scores and use this as a basis for shortlisting applicants. I might be wrong (I applied to Oxford, not Cam) but the average UMS is roughly 93-96% across all of your subjects - therefore I would suggest that you should focus on getting very high scores in the most important subjects (maths, further maths, physics) and gaining a good score in the 4th subject to keep your average UMS score high as opposed to doing 5 subjects and potentially having a lower average and not doing as well because your time is spread over a another subject.

    Your subject choice won't put you in a "weaker" position - if you have maths, further maths and physics you are already in a strong position.
    Last year at AS I did find the workload a lot and a big jump from gcse. Although you are doing subjects which overlap a lot in different areas (which is very helpful and strengthens your overall mathematical ability) the amount of work and practice you have to put in to not only understand the content but then apply it in papers is a challenge which I found quite hard. I did do well last year but I did find the work load exhausting at times.

    However, that was me and everyone is different. If you are an exceptional pupil then by all means, take 5 and see how you feel - you'll know by the first 2/3 months if you are doing well and if not, you can drop the subject that you don't enjoy and focus on the more important subjects that you enjoy.
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    (Original post by LouN1997)
    The large majority of universities only want 3 A levels, I didn't want to do a 5th subject, however I did complete English AS in year 11. Doing a 5th subject would have meant that I would have had no free periods (which I really needed). All of my offers are based on 3 A-levels, except Imperial and doing only four did not harm my application in anyway.

    If you are seriously considering applying to Cambridge then I would encourage to only stick to four. I don't know about your academic background or anything but I know that Cambridge look at UMS scores and use this as a basis for shortlisting applicants. I might be wrong (I applied to Oxford, not Cam) but the average UMS is roughly 93-96% across all of your subjects - therefore I would suggest that you should focus on getting very high scores in the most important subjects (maths, further maths, physics) and gaining a good score in the 4th subject to keep your average UMS score high as opposed to doing 5 subjects and potentially having a lower average and not doing as well because your time is spread over a another subject.

    Your subject choice won't put you in a "weaker" position - if you have maths, further maths and physics you are already in a strong position.
    Last year at AS I did find the workload a lot and a big jump from gcse. Although you are doing subjects which overlap a lot in different areas (which is very helpful and strengthens your overall mathematical ability) the amount of work and practice you have to put in to not only understand the content but then apply it in papers is a challenge which I found quite hard. I did do well last year but I did find the work load exhausting at times.

    However, that was me and everyone is different. If you are an exceptional pupil then by all means, take 5 and see how you feel - you'll know by the first 2/3 months if you are doing well and if not, you can drop the subject that you don't enjoy and focus on the more important subjects that you enjoy.
    Thank you very much. I think you are right in that it is better to have 4 excellent subjects, rather than 4 very good and 1 okay-ish. So far I think I'll choose to do Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Technology, however I will definitely speak to some teachers and other people to see what they might think. Thank you very much for the advice!
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Most A level courses are changing in September so all the exams are in Year 13.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...17-12-14-3.pdf

    Maths isn't changing so you can take AS modules in Year 12 and spread that out. None of the students posting will have experience of this; it will make a massive difference.
    Thanks very much for the info, however I should mention that I live in Northern Ireland. Do you know if these changes also apply here?
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    You'll need to check with your school's Sixth Form prospectus as to what it says.
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    You'll need to check with your school's Sixth Form prospectus as to what it says.
    Thanks very much, I will!
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    Good luck - engineering is a really interesting degree and can take you all sorts of places.
 
 
 
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