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Are my A-level choices suitable for medicine? watch

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    (Original post by nexttime)

    That is far from a safe assumption, and tells you nothing about the success rate of those candidates. Even if 99% of candidates had maths, doesn't mean the 1% aren't getting in.


    If you do maths then they will ask you maths questions at the interview. If you don't they won't, and the bottom line is that if Oxbridge (or any other school) wanted maths then they'd ask for it. In reality there is next to no maths on a medicine course, so they don't.
    In response to your first paragraph it still doesn't deflect from the point that the majority of people (the article is for people who actually got in) will take 3 sciences whatsoever...

    Your point about maths questions depends on the uni, some unis will ask standard medicine questions in relation to your A levels and some don't. Completely depends on what med school.

    I would also like to justify myself to a degree by saying that physics/maths isn't necessary. I told the OP to switch from Physics to Maths because Maths will include stats modules (presumably) or mechanics that will aid in understanding other content later on. It just seems odd to me how someone can just take Biology, Chemistry & Physics and not Maths. Evidently the person is good at Maths and I see no reason in not taking it seeing as a significant quantity of physics as + even a2 is covered in m1. It's also my opinion that any poster wanting advice wants to know the advice to get the best chance into getting a top med school. I think it is pretty prevalent that most people taking 3 sciences to AS at least will have better chances than those who don't (assuming same work experience, grades etc).

    Nevertheless I admit, maths isn't necessary (just showing some sort of mathematical acumen is enough) but biology + chemistry realistically to a top uni is.


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    (Original post by theresheglows)
    True that they do not state any such preference, they are in fact very careful never to do so. My opinion that they prefer a 3rd science/maths comes from a conversation with one of their admissions tutors, and their admissions stats (http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/a100statistics) where they state '
    10% of applicants were studying Chemistry plus just one more science or maths subject. This compares with 5% of short-listed applicants and 5% of those offered places.20% of applicants were studying Chemistry AND Biology AND Physics AND Mathematics (compared to 22% of short-listed applicants and 23% of applicants offered places).'
    They never outright say what the figures are for those with 3 science/maths, however by inference doing more than 2 sciences gives a better chance of an offer. If you have other, more up to date, stats then I would be interested to see them.

    The admissions tutor I spoke to (this was way back when I was applying myself) was very discouraging of the idea of applying with 2 sciences; that as oxford's official entrance requirements were not for 3 sciences she was not allowed to tell me that that was required or preferred, but she would say that she could not remember the last time her college gave an offer to someone with less than 3, and that she thought the majority of offers were given to those with 3 and that doing a 3rd would give me a better chance.

    I only add this in for interest, it does not mean that you cannot get in with 2, and it is of course possible that if the majority of successful applicants have 3, it could just reflect that the majority of total applicants to oxford have 3.


    I do not have more up to date stats, but I do remember that in the previous 5 years or so each year's data showed no evidence of a bias for more sciences over and above the bias for more subjects overall. This is the first year to do so and the sample size is small (5% of offers will only be 7 people!). As also pointed out, there is no difference between those that do get interviews, and as that page states interview selection is based solely on BMAT and GCSEs (with a handful of exceptions). This clearly implies that any bias is to do with the BMAT rather than a conscious decision. This adds to the idea that its random, as there is no evidence of a sudden change of interviewer preference - its purely BMAT which has been considered for years.

    I'd be cautious about interpretation basically, and at the current time do not think there is sufficient evidence to say that oxford has even a small preference for 3 sciences.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Are you going to copy and paste your e-mail or what then? Obviously you could not make that assertion without having done it.

    We're all waiting.
    1. Piss off
    2. As I am a certain that the success rate is higher, I feel no need to email them. Since you're so insistent that you are correct, despite being told by several others that having a maths a level increases your chances, I'll leave it up to you to email them.
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    (Original post by MrJAKEE)
    In response to your first paragraph it still doesn't deflect from the point that the majority of people (the article is for people who actually got in) will take 3 sciences whatsoever...
    Yes, but it provides no evidence that taking more sciences makes you more likely to get in!

    Your point about maths questions depends on the uni, some unis will ask standard medicine questions in relation to your A levels and some don't. Completely depends on what med school.
    Yeah I meant for Oxbridge interviews specifically, as you had referenced.

    I would also like to justify myself to a degree by saying that physics/maths isn't necessary. I told the OP to switch from Physics to Maths because Maths will include stats modules (presumably) or mechanics that will aid in understanding other content later on.
    That stuff might be useful, but you can make similar points for a whole host of other subjects. History helps you analyse evidence, economics helps you understand the underlying costs of the NHS etc etc. Having just started the job people who know lots about IT are REALLY useful - that's definitely up there in usefulness. Maths has stats but not really anything else. And frankly most doctors don't know **** about stats anyway.

    I think it is pretty prevalent that most people taking 3 sciences to AS at least will have better chances than those who don't (assuming same work experience, grades etc).
    That's the whole point - whilst most people take maths (though not necessarily 3 sciences from the evidence provided), there is no evidence that that helps with success rates and chance of getting in.
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    Was this moved from a different sub-forum? There seems to be an inordinate amount of people with absolutely no clue posting. And then using each other's nonsense to back up their own opinions. And failing to understand the concept of correlation not implying causation. Oh dear. No wonder they're clearly not applying to Medicine themselves.

    The only place you need three subjects out of the three sciences and Maths is Cambridge. Nowhere else could give a flying ****. Do Chemistry, Biology and then whatever you enjoy and will do well in. No, other unis do not 'prefer' Maths or Physics to anything else, unless they state as much (which they make sure not to).
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Yes, but it provides no evidence that taking more sciences makes you more likely to get in!

    Yeah I meant for Oxbridge interviews specifically, as you had referenced.

    That stuff might be useful, but you can make similar points for a whole host of other subjects. History helps you analyse evidence, economics helps you understand the underlying costs of the NHS etc etc. Having just started the job people who know lots about IT are REALLY useful - that's definitely up there in usefulness. Maths has stats but not really anything else. And frankly most doctors don't know **** about stats anyway.


    That's the whole point - whilst most people take maths (though not necessarily 3 sciences from the evidence provided), there is no evidence that that helps with success rates and chance of getting in.
    It provides evidence that the vast majority of medicine applicants get in with 3 ? Which is what I think every aspiring medicine applicant wants to do - get into med school.

    History and Economics I'd argue are useful and I think that unis that give medicine should stop shunning stuff like Psychology and (as you put it) ICT as they help in learning a lot of material as another poster has said at med school.. But it doesn't avoid the fact that physics / maths are more suited and more related to chemistry + biology itself !

    Having looked at the link to the Oxford stats that the vast majority of people who got in took Chemistry, all of them took Biology and 88% took Maths, I see it as very unlikely why Oxford would be the exception that they put too much emphasis on Maths. Just because a uni says x y z is required doesn't mean they don't discuss something behind closed doors, it wasn't until a couple of years ago that no go a levels were announced.


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    (Original post by MrJAKEE)
    It provides evidence that the vast majority of medicine applicants get in with 3 ? Which is what I think every aspiring medicine applicant wants to do - get into med school.

    History and Economics I'd argue are useful and I think that unis that give medicine should stop shunning stuff like Psychology and (as you put it) ICT as they help in learning a lot of material as another poster has said at med school.. But it doesn't avoid the fact that physics / maths are more suited and more related to chemistry + biology itself !

    Having looked at the link to the Oxford stats that the vast majority of people who got in took Chemistry, all of them took Biology and 88% took Maths, I see it as very unlikely why Oxford would be the exception that they put too much emphasis on Maths. Just because a uni says x y z is required doesn't mean they don't discuss something behind closed doors, it wasn't until a couple of years ago that no go a levels were announced.


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    You're ignoring that a) correlation is not causation and b) nexttime has already discussed the last five or so years' data not showing a bias.

    Edit: And people get in with Psychology as their third A2 all the time, do you have any evidence that med schools 'shun' it?
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    (Original post by Ronove)
    You're ignoring that a) correlation is not causation and b) nexttime has already discussed the last five or so years' data not showing a bias.

    Edit: And people get in with Psychology as their third A2 all the time, do you have any evidence that med schools 'shun' it?
    a) the evidence is there, most people take 3 sciences and get in. I'm not saying they can't without it but might be at a disadvantage.

    b) I'd like to see the data then. The Oxford data shows that 100% of those placed took chem and bio + 88% took maths as one of their 3/4th subjects. Clearly Oxford isn't some sort of hybrid running on it's own rules, and I'm assuming with that data provided the majority who are placed in other top med schools will have maths in some form.

    Your edit : Top unis think of Psychology as soft and so isn't a facilitating subject, I'm not going to find the stats (haven't got the laptop now ATM) but it is regarded by top unis as soft and not on the same level as other sciences (maths, physics). I'm not claiming people don't get in but I have never heard of someone getting into a top medicine uni with solely 3 A levels, one of them Psychology. Perhaps shun was a strong word, "not as good as other subjects" might have been better. Of course it's not impossible to get in with a strong PS but I wouldn't risk it.


    http://www.russellgroup.org/InformedChoices-latest.pdf - Russell group don't have it down on medicine as useful




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    (Original post by MrJAKEE)
    It provides evidence that the vast majority of medicine applicants get in with 3 ? Which is what I think every aspiring medicine applicant wants to do - get into med school.
    You're not understanding this point. The fact that most med students took maths doesn't mean that they are med students because they took maths.

    Google 'correlation does not mean causation' and read a couple things.
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    (Original post by lilymint212)
    1. Piss off
    2. As I am a certain that the success rate is higher, I feel no need to email them. Since you're so insistent that you are correct, despite being told by several others that having a maths a level increases your chances, I'll leave it up to you to email them.
    Well thank you for owning up to your lies, at least.

    Can i request you don't make up random stuff in the future. I don't know if you get a kick from it or something but deliberately misleading people like that is not on.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    You're not understanding this point. The fact that most med students took maths doesn't mean that they are med students because they took maths.

    Google 'correlation does not mean causation' and read a couple things.
    I understand it and know it isn't solid proof, but if you've been reading at the other stuff I've said I've said it isn't essential. An anomaly like the one seen suggests trends and trends should never be just thrown away from sight.


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    (Original post by MrJAKEE)
    I understand it and know it isn't solid proof, but if you've been reading at the other stuff I've said I've said it isn't essential. An anomaly like the one seen suggests trends and trends should never be just thrown away from sight.
    It doesn't always imply a trend though - that's the whole point of assessing causation! Most people die in hospital - does that 'trend' mean hospitals cause death? Most people at school are young - does that 'trend' mean schools cause youth?

    We all know that a lot of applicants take maths. It should then come as no surprise that a lot of offer holders do. It takes things to a whole other level to then claim that maths causes offers, something for which we have no evidence!

    All we can fall back on is logic i.e. the fact that no med school states even a slight preference for maths.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    It doesn't always imply a trend though - that's the whole point of assessing causation! Most people die in hospital - does that 'trend' mean hospitals cause death? Most people at school are young - does that 'trend' mean schools cause youth?

    We all know that a lot of applicants take maths. It should then come as no surprise that a lot of offer holders do. It takes things to a whole other level to then claim that maths causes offers, something for which we have no evidence!

    All we can fall back on is logic i.e. the fact that no med school states even a slight preference for maths.
    This will be my last post

    I understand your logic, however youth is a concept and "caus [ing] death" is subjective? Is not acting in a professional manner in the NHS causing death? There is a difference between claiming that having this object will get this than relating an object to subjective constants.

    The Oxford stats are solid ones which back what I think. The % of people with maths applying had 84% and this went up to 88% by the placement stage. F Maths also increased from 11% to 14%. Other subjects stayed constant % wise. While you might admit this might only affect 10 odd people something clearly did make a difference, of course I'd have to find other stats like the Oxford ones to further my point but my suggestion is still that med schools care about the mathematical aptitude of their applicants. My opinion is why try something else when others have evidently succeeded at a particular thing? I think AS Maths is far enough however and I feel this is proof of mathematical aptitude to some extent.

    You also previously admitted that Cambridge asks for Maths/Physics so your conclusion is false.. Again just because a university says they don't care it doesn't mean the admissions people don't have preferences, and preferences are always desired by any candidate.

    Hope you have good luck being a doctor though



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    (Original post by MrJAKEE)
    EDIT: I've checked some med schools out and Imperial asks for Biology, Chemistry + A maths based science also with Cambridge.


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    Not quite - have another read. Incidentally, the entry requirements are exactly the same as when I got into Imperial nearly 6 years ago, with Biology, Chemistry, French A2 and Psychology AS.

    "The minimum entry requirements for this course are three A-levels, including Chemistry and/or Biology and one science or mathematics subject, and one additional subject at AS-level.

    If either Chemistry or Biology is offered alone at A-level, then the other is required at AS-level with at least a grade B."

    I should add that the comments directed to you and others in this thread aren't ad hominems, but frustration at the misleading information spread every year by applicants that don't know any better, and school tutors that should know better.
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    (Original post by theresheglows)
    Yep, I'm currently studying medicine
    I took biology, chemistry, psychology, eng lit & maths (I also did physics but I did it early so I don't really regard it as one of my A-levels), my offer was based on A*s in bio and chem and A in 1 of the others (they weren't picky which).
    If you dont mind me asking, what grades did you get And at what uni?
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    It's funny seeing non medics talk as if they know what they're talking about.

    Biology and chemistry is needed. Many people take maths but many people don't. Many people in my year took art or french or history as their 3rd subject.

    Just because many offer holders have maths, doesn't mean it's needed. It's probably because if you're good at bio or chem you're more likely to do well in maths too. They're all sciency/logical subjects.
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    (Original post by Mrs House)
    It's funny seeing non medics talk as if they know what they're talking about.

    Biology and chemistry is needed. Many people take maths but many people don't. Many people in my year took art or french or history as their 3rd subject.

    Just because many offer holders have maths, doesn't mean it's needed. It's probably because if you're good at bio or chem you're more likely to do well in maths too. They're all sciency/logical subjects.
    Biology is not required so if you're a medic you should know that.
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    (Original post by L'Evil Fish)
    Biology is not required so if you're a medic you should know that.
    I meant it's needed if you want the majority of medical schools open to you. If you planned to do medicine from the beginning and didn't do biology it's pretty silly as you'll be restricting yourself in where you can apply.
    My medical school wants biology at A2.
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    (Original post by alevels2k15)
    If you dont mind me asking, what grades did you get And at what uni?
    that's ok
    A*A*A*AA
    I'm at St Andrews
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    (Original post by theresheglows)
    that's ok
    A*A*A*AA
    I'm at St Andrews
    That is Phenomenal!
    Well done
 
 
 
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