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Help! I don't know what subjects to chose for A Level! Watch

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    (Original post by ray_029)
    I'm doing OCR for all the sciences and AQA for maths. It's quite easy at first if you're naturally good at the sciences but on thing I regret not doing is going over my notes just to wrap my head around something in case I didn't get it the first time round in class because I never used to do this in GCSE yet it turned out OK but for A-level I didn't realise how much detail you needed to remember for your exams especially in Biology where the content is so much yet. I liked how all the subjects are linked together as it helped to understand topics better e.g. for biological molecules, chemistry helped me understand the inter-molecular forces between bonds that caused the tertiary structure of amino acids in biology when I got confused the first time round when my biology teacher first taught me. Also, even though the specification changed, doing past papers was really helpful (especially the really old ones) as they helped with getting wording right especially in biology which is very specific otherwise you don't get the marks. The same with physics and chemistry as well actually. My school didn't give a lot of homework so I only had to revise (which isn't very long if you just make revision notes or flashcards for an hour or two a day) but they gave us tests every week or two weeks to make sure that we were revising and if we got bad grades we'd have to take extra lessons to help or one-to-ones with a supervisor if we're really struggling but if you keep up with revision there's no need to worry about this. Plus everything you need to know will be in the books the exam boards wrote for the new specification. They'll never ask you anything they haven't told you about so use your resources to the fullest and they usually explain it with examples to help make it easier to understand experiments especially in physics which is very helpful.
    For chemistry, I was fine for most of it because it was mostly calculations but when I got to organic molecules I started to struggle and I regret still not going over what I did in class or asking the teacher to repeat it but once I eventually read the book they gave me it explained so easily and Iwas finally able to catch up with the rest of the class.
    Maths was still quite easy for me because they get you to practice a lot. I just didn't like the repetition of the things I already knew and for C2 I didn't like doing trigonometry because it got very confusing and was generally my weakest point. I also didn't like graphs of any sort because they took way too much time to draw and the whole thing seemed really tedious to me hence I didn't put the effort come exam time however I took M1 which helped me to understand the mechanics section at the beginning of physics a lot more quickly.
    For biology, as I've said earlier, it's very specific and there's a lot of content (we finished the syllabus only two weeks before the exam) so read every section in the book because all the small tedious information they give you is most likely to come up in exams. OCR used to do essay style questions (like 9/10 marks) but now it's shorter and easier to answer as in all you have to do is spew out everything you remember about a mechanism or the steps for something like protein synthesis or just say everything you see on a graph and you can get all the marks but it's also quite hard because they mark in bands now so if you miss out even one thing you could go down a band. You also get a mark for quality of writing (this is for all the sciences btw). They also included maths in biology now and my teachers said it only requires understanding of GCSE maths but when we were given the spec papers for the first time, it was really hard. It's not like the maths was extremely hard but the way that they word the questions makes it almost impossible to understand what they wanted you to do in the first place. I thought it was just me at first but then other people in my class and even other schools complained that it was too hard as well as most of the biology teachers at my school who couldn't get it the first time round and admitted that it takes a lot of time to do which would be impossible to do in the time limit of the exam so I bought a book specifically for the maths in biology that my school provided called Essential Maths Skills for A-Level Biology (it's a CGP book) but the maths in the actual exam wasn't too bad so don't worry too much.
    For physics, I found that once you understand the basics of each topic its pretty easy to get an A as they expect you not to get up to 80% so the grade boundaries are normally lower anyway which is to your advantage but still try and get the higher marks because it makes it easier to answer questions in the real exam under pressure.
    Also for all your subjects, I'd print out the specification for each one so that near exam time you can tick off everything you already know and go over anything you're unsure of and you'll be able to see exactly what could come up on the test.
    For all the sciences you have to do 12 experiments (only if you're taking A2) so I did six in the first year and am going to do six next year. They were pretty easy and it's pass/fail so as long as there's evidence that you've done it you pass (at least that's what my teachers say) and it doesn't count towards your final grade. However, the experiments can and probably will come up in your exam so you have to remember the steps and for some of them why you have to do a certain step/ what happens if you don't do this step etc. Experiments will also be explained in the new spec books and do the extension questions as they really do help.
    Overall, I'd say biology is the most interesting then physics then chemistry to me but even though I like biology the most, it's also the most stress and I'd drop it if I didn't require it for medicine and if I didn't really hate maths. But at the end of the day it was very draining when I had so much to do and not enough time but I still enjoyed it and would do it again since I honestly have no other interest in any other subject as much as I do in science. Also, if you are applying for medicine just know that most people don't get in the first time but I'd apply ten times if I have to get into medicine because I really love the course and love the idea of dedicating the rest my life to helping people in any way I can and if you think you're prepared to cope with the lifetime of stress ahead and with all the issues with the junior doctor contract (which is likely to be worse in the future) then there's not reason not to go for it but anyway, the sciences will open doors to lots of other pathways as well so even if you change your mind on what you want to do, I'm pretty sure you you can go in any field you want with these subjects as long as you can demonstrate your interest to the course you end up choosing with volunteering or wider reading etc. There'll also be lots of opportunities for taster courses throughout the year in yr 12 and you can always get work experience during the half term (as long as it doesn't interfere with studies). Just prepare for failure at first and work your way up because not everyone can keep up with all the sciences at first but you get used to it and get into the habit of studying everyday from the beginning and you'll be fine (making a timetable adjusted to your school timetable helps as well) but even if you can't study everyday, don't worry because it's never too late to start studying properly and no knowledge is lost (as my dad would say) and don't compare yourself with other people around you because the way you learn is different and usually unique to everyone else so go at your own pace and as long as you're making some kind of progress there's nothing to worry about.
    Good luck in yr 12 and figuring out what you want to do.
    Would you mind directly comparing physics and chemistry?Would you mind telling me more about physics and the things you learn and the difficulty level is it more about remembering facts or applying knowledge to the question?
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    Since u already choosen biology. Its time to choose physics and chemistry and economics. I know u said u want to be a lawyer but u are still young and if u want to do engineering u wont be restricted.

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    (Original post by nerdling_CompSci)
    Since u already choosen biology. Its time to choose physics and chemistry and economics. I know u said u want to be a lawyer but u are still young and if u want to do engineering u wont be restricted.

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    Read the thread properly! I never said I want to be a lawyer my family said I should be a lawyer!
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    ray_029 Holy moly how long did it take you to type all that out???
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    (Original post by Cielphantomhive1)
    Read the thread properly! I never said I want to be a lawyer my family said I should be a lawyer!
    u want a career in STEM ? do triple science

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    (Original post by nerdling_CompSci)
    u want a career in STEM ? do triple science

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    I'm doing triple science now for GCSE. But I don't even know what field to go into in science, and I'm quite good at history as a subject but I don't know. Also I'm not very good at maths but my parents are forcing me to do maths for a level.
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    (Original post by Cielphantomhive1)
    My family tells me I should be a lawyer but I don't think i should be one because even though I like arguing I'm always fail to persuade people and win the argument. SO I feel like if in my own house my words do not have any gravitas than what gravitas will they have in the court room. Apparently there is also a surplus in the law of people so its apparently harder to get hired,apparently? Also there are no prospects of working abroad as different countries have different laws, so if I did law I would always be stuck in the UK and that really puts me off. I always saw myself doing science because i feel like work to do with science is really respectable even though law is respectable I don't think its for me. I feel this pressure to do a respectable job as no one in my family really achieved anything great academically, my grandparents didn't go to uni and my mom didn't go to uni either and didn't even finish her a levels, my uncle didn't go,one of my aunties went but she just did something with literature or something like that, so it might sound silly but its really important for me what job I do because no one in my family really achieved anything great academically.
    Sorry for the really late reply (I was away).

    Anyway, I'm glad you responded with all of that information because I can gladly tell you that the majority of what you know about law is a myth.

    1) All lawyers are not Barristers. This means that all lawyers do not work in a courtroom. Solicitors work in offices and they do negotiations over a table - they don't do the arguing so there is no pressure to be argumentative like there is for Barristers.

    2) Again, all lawyers are not Barristers. This means that while Barristers are trained to work in England & Wales, Solicitors can work anywhere they can speak the language (granted, of course, that they can get through the some form of legal education in the country of their choice). Oh wait... That means so can Barristers! Yes, lawyers have great prospects and can work anywhere in the world they want to work, so I don't know why you thought otherwise? It would be absurd to be tied down to one country because of your profession.

    3) There is not one single body of 'law'. As I said, there are MANY parts of law because the law is very broad. Law doesn't stay the same either, so there are always new types of legislations coming up (e.g. Energy law, technology law, medical law and other science-related laws). However, there are too many CRIMINAL lawyers because many people thought it would be some really cool job - it isn't. If they did their research beforehand they would know that dealing with petty thiefs stealing bread from M&S is hardly an exciting thing to do, but they didn't, and so many many many people try to squeeze through the door of breaking into criminal law.

    Do more research is what I will say, because science isn't for everyone. You will find it very difficult to get to high positions in science if you aren't leaving sixth form with an A at A-Level maths.
    This is coming from someone who is taking Physics, Maths, Further Maths (you need an A* at GCSE maths to take Further Maths for my sixth form) and Economics. Most science roles are very mathematically grounded.

    But don't take my word for it, research and find out if what I am saying is true - about law and science.

    If it helps to know where I get my information from: I know more than a few lawyers (and soon lawyer-to-be's), and a few more in science-related roles such as medicine and engineering.
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    And hey, if you're really worried that you might keep changing your mind between something like engineering or law, do either of these subject combinations to keep you open to both:

    A)
    Physics
    Maths
    Economics
    History

    B)
    Physics
    Maths
    Chemistry
    Economics

    C)
    Physics
    Maths
    Chemistry
    History

    In all honesty, forget about Biology because it just makes things unnecessarily complicated. If I was you I'd go with combination A because it gives you more scope to decide which path will really be best for you without tying you down to law or science.
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    (Original post by wolfslayer1)
    And hey, if you're really worried that you might keep changing your mind between something like engineering or law, do either of these subject combinations to keep you open to both:

    A)
    Physics
    Maths
    Economics
    History

    B)
    Physics
    Maths
    Chemistry
    Economics

    C)
    Physics
    Maths
    Chemistry
    History

    In all honesty, forget about Biology because it just makes things unnecessarily complicated. If I was you I'd go with combination A because it gives you more scope to decide which path will really be best for you without tying you down to law or science.
    Thank you for your advice, I find law quite confusing and i don't quite understand the system so there are quite a lot of things i need to read up on. Whats the difference between a barrister and an attorney, or is this the same thing and what kind of law is there except criminal, I'm sorry for asking so many questions. I spoke to my dad and he said I should do chemistry,biology,maths and economics the reason eh said i shouldn't bother with physics because if i want something similar to physics when i do maths i should pick the mechanics module, so I don't think I will do physics and i thought about doing economics instead of history as economics is quite good if i want to do something with finance. Why do you think doing biology is futile? Why do you think doing physics instead of biology is better? The reason I want to do biology is because it allows me to go into research and medicine if I change my mind and i like the fact apparently biology is quite fact based and you have to remember a lot of information apparently (if I'm wrong please correct me). If I did do law i would want to be in the court room I think and not in the office and I don't think I would want to be a solicitor , just to confirm a solicitor is the one who gives law advice right? Also do professionals working in law get good bonuses, as i know in finance a lot fo the jobs get very big bonuses, so I'm just wondering how law comapres with other professions.
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    (Original post by theBranicAc)
    don't listen to this guy, doing 5 a levels as a bad idea and pointless

    doing all three sciences plus maths would be very difficult, however if your smart enough and determined you can do well in them.
    I recomend picking one of the sciences that you like the most and maybe go for economics if your interested in a business career.
    "4 sciences together are very difficult" well not really... Not sure why you're giving advice on something if you yourself haven't taken those subjects?
    (Original post by Cielphantomhive1)
    No
    Economics is not required for business and finance related courses. Maths on the other hand will definitely help if that's the route you chose.

    Having 3 sciences and maths opens up the doors to all of the careers you've mentioned, even law as there is no specified subjects in the entry requirements for majority of universities. You can go into engineering, medicine, finance, any of the three sciences, maths even (as a lot of courses do not require you to have further maths), law, business, just generally a ton of courses.

    The sciences fit really well together and people definitely exaggerate the workload. Having done them myself, I was able to use understanding of one subject and transfer it into another, and there are some areas of overlap too. Mathematics at A level is also not as hard as people say and I remember the last time I looked, around a fifth of people or so get an A.

    Maths requires the least revision, maybe just practice depending on your style of learning and improving. Biology is mainly just memorising factual information and application (unfamiliar scenarios). Biology is probably the easiest science for me personally. Physics is the next easiest as once again it's memorisation but also quite a bit of calculations (they're simple though, and you get a formula book). Chemistry I feel is the hardest because you obviously have to memorise the content, but the application is usually the hardest. A lot of people say it's one of the hardest a level subjects but do not be discouraged! It's interesting, and the topics are nice, just practice with past papers, especially at A2.
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    (Original post by rxns_00)
    "4 sciences together are very difficult" well not really... Not sure why you're giving advice on something if you yourself haven't taken those subjects?

    Economics is not required for business and finance related courses. Maths on the other hand will definitely help if that's the route you chose.

    Having 3 sciences and maths opens up the doors to all of the careers you've mentioned, even law as there is no specified subjects in the entry requirements for majority of universities. You can go into engineering, medicine, finance, any of the three sciences, maths even (as a lot of courses do not require you to have further maths), law, business, just generally a ton of courses.

    The sciences fit really well together and people definitely exaggerate the workload. Having done them myself, I was able to use understanding of one subject and transfer it into another, and there are some areas of overlap too. Mathematics at A level is also not as hard as people say and I remember the last time I looked, around a fifth of people or so get an A.

    Maths requires the least revision, maybe just practice depending on your style of learning and improving. Biology is mainly just memorising factual information and application (unfamiliar scenarios). Biology is probably the easiest science for me personally. Physics is the next easiest as once again it's memorisation but also quite a bit of calculations (they're simple though, and you get a formula book). Chemistry I feel is the hardest because you obviously have to memorise the content, but the application is usually the hardest. A lot of people say it's one of the hardest a level subjects but do not be discouraged! It's interesting, and the topics are nice, just practice with past papers, especially at A2.
    So do you think there is any point in taking economics at all?
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    (Original post by rxns_00)
    "4 sciences together are very difficult" well not really... Not sure why you're giving advice on something if you yourself haven't taken those subjects?

    Economics is not required for business and finance related courses. Maths on the other hand will definitely help if that's the route you chose.

    Having 3 sciences and maths opens up the doors to all of the careers you've mentioned, even law as there is no specified subjects in the entry requirements for majority of universities. You can go into engineering, medicine, finance, any of the three sciences, maths even (as a lot of courses do not require you to have further maths), law, business, just generally a ton of courses.

    The sciences fit really well together and people definitely exaggerate the workload. Having done them myself, I was able to use understanding of one subject and transfer it into another, and there are some areas of overlap too. Mathematics at A level is also not as hard as people say and I remember the last time I looked, around a fifth of people or so get an A.

    Maths requires the least revision, maybe just practice depending on your style of learning and improving. Biology is mainly just memorising factual information and application (unfamiliar scenarios). Biology is probably the easiest science for me personally. Physics is the next easiest as once again it's memorisation but also quite a bit of calculations (they're simple though, and you get a formula book). Chemistry I feel is the hardest because you obviously have to memorise the content, but the application is usually the hardest. A lot of people say it's one of the hardest a level subjects but do not be discouraged! It's interesting, and the topics are nice, just practice with past papers, especially at A2.
    I'm sorry to ask but I'm just wondering what do you want to do as your occupation and are you planning to go to uni or are currently attending uni or attended uni , if yes what degree did you pick/ are going to pick? Also how are you meant to know what occupation you want to do? And my dad said there is no point doing physics as you could do mechanics in maths, do you think he is right?
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    (Original post by Cielphantomhive1)
    Thank you for your advice, I find law quite confusing and i don't quite understand the system so there are quite a lot of things i need to read up on. Whats the difference between a barrister and an attorney, or is this the same thing and what kind of law is there except criminal, I'm sorry for asking so many questions. I spoke to my dad and he said I should do chemistry,biology,maths and economics the reason eh said i shouldn't bother with physics because if i want something similar to physics when i do maths i should pick the mechanics module, so I don't think I will do physics and i thought about doing economics instead of history as economics is quite good if i want to do something with finance. Why do you think doing biology is futile? Why do you think doing physics instead of biology is better? The reason I want to do biology is because it allows me to go into research and medicine if I change my mind and i like the fact apparently biology is quite fact based and you have to remember a lot of information apparently (if I'm wrong please correct me). If I did do law i would want to be in the court room I think and not in the office and I don't think I would want to be a solicitor , just to confirm a solicitor is the one who gives law advice right? Also do professionals working in law get good bonuses, as i know in finance a lot fo the jobs get very big bonuses, so I'm just wondering how law comapres with other professions.
    No problem. Okay so where do I start...

    1) An attorney is an American lawyer and the only type of lawyer they have, meaning that they perform both the role of an English Barrister and Solicitor. A Barrister represents their client in a court and prepare for the court case in their Chambers using the information they are given about the client from the Solicitor. Although, nowadays it is becoming more common for Solicitors to want to represent the client themselves so a few of them become Solicitor-Advocates. Solicitor-Advocates are very similar to the American attorney. Tip: don't read about the legal profession from US websites because you will be very misinformed - they do things very differently to us here in UK.

    2) As I said, because law is very broad there are many types of law, which means I couldn't list them all out to you. It seems like there are hundreds. However, here are some that I am aware of:
    - International law (my favourite)
    - Banking law (yes, finance-related)
    - EU law
    - English law
    - Family law
    - Intellectual property law (very interesting)
    - Commercial law (extremely well paid, but hours are longer than other types of law because it is essentially a finance job, so studying Economics would be beneficial here)
    - Company law
    - Competition law
    - Public law
    - Land law
    - Contract law
    - Tort law
    - Energy law
    - Technology law
    - Medical ethics law
    - Patent law
    - Human rights
    - Corporate law (similar to commercial law)

    3) Physics is very challenging if you don't find it interesting, but straight-forward and comprehensible if you find your interest in it. Space interested me the most and it led me to pay more attention to other aspects of Physics as I would always try to find the real-life applications. Physics and Chemistry are the sciences I feel have the most real-life applications, but Physics is the most requested science in the engineering field. You need it to do Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Chemical Engineering (although not as much as you need Chemistry, so don't worry about Physics here).

    4) I am biased against Biology, admittedly. I never enjoyed it, but I have my reasons: I am a problem-solver, and Biology has very little problem-solving in it - no relevant real-life applications to anything I have ever considered studying, and I've considered studying MANY things. Whereas Physics and Chemistry seem more relevant and clearly applicable to real life. That is why I would take Physics or even Chemistry in a heartbeat over Biology - I would only take Biology if I was desperate to become a doctor, and I am not because I value work-life balance. My uncles hardly ever see their children because they are doctors, but they are very well-paid. And yes, you do have to remember a lot of information in a very uncreative way. You will learn a lot about plants, too.

    5) Whichever type of lawyer you choose to be now is irrelevant, because things change in law all the time. In the future, legal training may involve being trained as both, allowing you to choose which type of law you want to enter at a much later date. The best preparation you could give yourself now is just pursuing your interests, because it is not even necessary to study a law degree to become a lawyer - you could do a law conversion course for 1 year after studying something science-related at university if you REALLY want to. You would fit well into the legal-scientific arena if you did that, and would be at no disadvantage. But in my opinion, studying a law degree or a history degree as opposed to a STEM degree will be wise as it will be playing to YOUR strengths. Not many people are good at History, and you are one of the few people that are - don't let people who are only good at science and maths bias influence you into making a decision that may not be the best for you. Don't just do something you will be good at, do something that you'll perform your very best at - that's how to earn a high salary in any profession.

    6) Law and business are very closely related, and as such, they both reward very good bonuses. If you studied Law at university, a range of finance careers would be open to you, especially if you took commercial law, banking law or company law papers at university. At medium-prestige law firms, a trainee solicitor (someone fresh out of education) earns about £40,000 which can go up to at least £65,000 after completing the trainee stage - in just 2 years! At American firms that are in the UK, the very best students get to earn £100,000 at least after completing the trainee stage - as a starting salary. Don't believe me? Just research 'Davis Polk law firm' and see for yourself, there are many more where that came from.

    So, in America lawyers may be having a hard time for whatever reason. But in other parts of the world, and especially the UK, lawyers are very respected, well-paid and hard-working professionals who are recognised for their high intellect. My aunty and uncle have even set up a law firm here and abroad and are earning more than both my parents combined and doubled (my mum works in science/medicine/health and my dad is self-employed in business&finance).

    I really hope you just work hard and make the best decisions for yourself. Think logically and play to your strengths, because only you can live your life - nobody else can live it for you. Trust me that whichever way you go, if you're one of the best at what you do, then your earning potential will reflect that. We live in the UK, and it is a meritocracy - the better you are at what you do, the more you will be rewarded
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    (Original post by Cielphantomhive1)
    I'm doing triple science now for GCSE. But I don't even know what field to go into in science, and I'm quite good at history as a subject but I don't know. Also I'm not very good at maths but my parents are forcing me to do maths for a level.
    There are plenty of yotube channels that will make u be interested in math

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    (Original post by Anonymous1502)
    So do you think there is any point in taking economics at all?
    Not really - it's not specified for the careers you have mentioned and if you don't have an interest in it you're going to be less likely to do well in it, as with any subject
    (Original post by Anonymous1502)
    I'm sorry to ask but I'm just wondering what do you want to do as your occupation and are you planning to go to uni or are currently attending uni or attended uni , if yes what degree did you pick/ are going to pick? Also how are you meant to know what occupation you want to do? And my dad said there is no point doing physics as you could do mechanics in maths, do you think he is right?
    I'm going to UCL to do Natural Sciences this September (it's a degree in which you pick sciences streams yourself, you don't have to stick to a single science, and can also take business, management, psychology or a language alongside it if you want to). I'm planning to go into research so I'm going to keep my degree closely related to mainly astrophysics as that's what my masters is going to be in.

    I strongly disagree with your dad. Physics isn't just mechanics, and you do mechanics in a different aspect in physics compared to maths. The maths mechanics unit were much more boring than the mechanics in physics. Also, at A2, at least with AQA, you get a choice of a part of your syllabus, and you can pick things like astrophysics (which is what I did and loved it because it was genuinely interesting), medical physics, mechanics, etc
 
 
 
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