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    First of all, I apologise if this is in the wrong forum. Hopefully a mod will move it if this is the case.

    I am currently studying for my GCSEs which I will take later this year and am having trouble choosing my as-levels for next year. I've been asked to pick four subjects, one of which most people drop for a2.

    I really don't know what I want to do after university. I particularly enjoy maths and am pretty good at it. I also like all the sciences but I don't really know what they'll be like at a-level. I have a feeling that I'll like physics the best and I love reading non-technical books on high-level physics by people like Richard Feynman and John Gribbin. Therefore, I want to keep the option open to read physics at university and this means that I'll have to do maths, further maths and physics. I am pretty confident that I'll be able to get an 'a' grade in these subjects.

    However, I am not really sure I want a job in research or in finance or accounting that a degree in physics would lead to. My main concerns are:
    - lack of job security
    - not guaranteed decent pay
    - boring/unsatisfying (not making a difference)

    I have ruled out engineering for similar reasons.

    Basically, I was wondering if it would be worth studying subjects that would allow me to read medicine if I decide that it is the right career for me in a year or so's time. It seems like a very good occupation: it's respected, very well-paid, interesting and you are helping people but I am not yet sure if it is right for me. I suppose my main concerns are poor oral communication skills and unspectacular essay writing skills.

    So basically I have three options:
    - I could take chemistry as my forth a-level (so I'd have two sciences: chemistry and physics). Some medical schools don't seem to require biology but I guess this would put me at a big disadvantage?
    - I could ask to take 5 a-levels: the three sciences, maths and further maths. I am not even sure if this is possible but if I was able to do this would I be overwhelmed with work? I am guessing maths and further maths won't be too much work (wasn't for GCSE and isn't for the P1 module we are doing at the moment). This would also be an advantage if I decided I wanted to do natural sciences at Cambridge.
    - I could forget about medicine and just do biology or economics as my forth as-level

    btw: I'm not sure if I'll be able to get an 'a' in chemistry, but I'm pretty certain I could in bio becuase the teachers are brilliant, the results are very good and I'm not afraid to work because I find it interesting.

    If anyone has any advice it would be very much appreciated.
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    (Original post by Harry Potter)
    First of all, I apologise if this is in the wrong forum. Hopefully a mod will move it if this is the case.

    I am currently studying for my GCSEs which I will take later this year and am having trouble choosing my as-levels for next year. I've been asked to pick four subjects, one of which most people drop for a2.

    I really don't know what I want to do after university. I particularly enjoy maths and am pretty good at it. I also like all the sciences but I don't really know what they'll be like at a-level. I have a feeling that I'll like physics the best and I love reading non-technical books on high-level physics by people like Richard Feynman and John Gribbin. Therefore, I want to keep the option open to read physics at university and this means that I'll have to do maths, further maths and physics. I am pretty confident that I'll be able to get an 'a' grade in these subjects.

    However, I am not really sure I want a job in research or in finance or accounting that a degree in physics would lead to. My main concerns are:
    - lack of job security
    - not guaranteed decent pay
    - boring/unsatisfying (not making a difference)

    I have ruled out engineering for similar reasons.

    Basically, I was wondering if it would be worth studying subjects that would allow me to read medicine if I decide that it is the right career for me in a year or so's time. It seems like a very good occupation: it's respected, very well-paid, interesting and you are helping people but I am not yet sure if it is right for me. I suppose my main concerns are poor oral communication skills and unspectacular essay writing skills.

    So basically I have three options:
    - I could take chemistry as my forth a-level (so I'd have two sciences: chemistry and physics). Some medical schools don't seem to require biology but I guess this would put me at a big disadvantage?
    - I could ask to take 5 a-levels: the three sciences, maths and further maths. I am not even sure if this is possible but if I was able to do this would I be overwhelmed with work? I am guessing maths and further maths won't be too much work (wasn't for GCSE and isn't for the P1 module we are doing at the moment). This would also be an advantage if I decided I wanted to do natural sciences at Cambridge.
    - I could forget about medicine and just do biology or economicsas my forth as-level

    btw: I'm not sure if I'll be able to get an 'a' in chemistry, but I'm pretty certain I could in bio becuase the teachers are brilliant, the results are very good and I'm not afraid to work because I find it interesting.

    If anyone has any advice it would be very much appreciated.

    All I would say is don't underestimate Further Maths. Even the people I know who are excellent at maths found it a) hard and b) a lot of work. But if you think you can do it, go for it!

    (Original post by MadNatSci)
    All I would say is don't underestimate Further Maths. Even the people I know who are excellent at maths found it a) hard and b) a lot of work. But if you think you can do it, go for it!
    Yeah, everyone keeps telling me it's hard but the most people seem to get 'a's and although I'm not really a 'wizard', I definitely feel I am more mathematically able and diligent than some of the other people taking it.
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    My advice would be to take Bio, Chem, Maths and Physics. As this way you would be ideal for medicine or any other science degree including physics. After your first year depending on how you have done or are doing you could take up AS Further Maths which is definately acceptable by most universities.
    I did Maths A level and it isnt as easy as most make it out to be. I took my GCSE a year early and did really well in it, but A Level is a whole new kettle of fish! You may find the it the same when you come to it - othewise I think the above option would be best for you.

    (Original post by mjf)
    My advice would be to take Bio, Chem, Maths and Physics. As this way you would be ideal for medicine or any other science degree including physics. After your first year depending on how you have done or are doing you could take up AS Further Maths which is definately acceptable by most universities.
    I did Maths A level and it isnt as easy as most make it out to be. I took my GCSE a year early and did really well in it, but A Level is a whole new kettle of fish! You may find the it the same when you come to it - othewise I think the above option would be best for you.
    Thanks for the advice. I think I'll definitely do some research into that option. It sounds like a perfect solution. If I can manage to do all pure and mechanics modules then I think I will have done the same or one less relevant module than people doing a-level further maths.

    I did my maths GCSE a year early as well and am currently doing P1 + a bit of M1, which I'm finding reletively simple but I suppose it's going to get quite a lot harder.
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    Do chemistry. That is all I have to say really. Biology isn't necessary to do a degree in Medicine. Certain universities ask for it, but if you have an A2 in Chemistry, it would only need to be an AS in Bio. Some universities just say Chemistry at A2, and another science/maths at A2; so you'd be fine there.

    I would say to choose Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Research medicine a lot now, and if you decide it is the subject for you, you can look into doing an extra AS-level in year 13.

    I did 5 AS's in yr12, and although I didn't do badly (I got BBBBC) I feel I could've gotten a couple of A's in there if I had only done 4. 5 AS's is a LOT of work. But if you can fit it in, and believe you can do it, then go for it, and carry on 3 to A2.

    Good luck mate, I'm sure you'll be able to find the perfect degree for you.
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    I was initially going for physics, and was similarly scared off by the prospect of working in a bank all my life.

    However, I'd look into enginnering a bit more carefully, the job prospects are completely different. Engineering is facing a massive recruitment crisis at the minute, so anyone with an engineering degree will get a job, in whatever branch they like, (computers, mechanics, planes, civil etc etc) Plus you attract about 2-4k above the average starting salary for graduates. At cambridge the univeristy reccord starting salary was set last year by an engineer.

    So u get good prospects, and an interestin job where you can make a real difference.

    mark
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    You can't really argue with a medic taking all sciences. Further maths is hard, but it gives you a higher chance of getting an A in normal maths (as the computer swaps modules round to get the best combination) and you can always take further maths only to AS, like I am.
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    Take all the sciences and both further maths and maths, at least you can get a taste for the difficulty of further maths, to get A's in maths at A level you need to be diligent and very very good (i read somewhere 75% of people who got an A at GCSE maths get a D or lower at A Level), but if you take all five you can get a feel for the subjects and if you drop further maths then only you will know when you apply to uni and maths is still the most respected subject at uni in terms of pure brain power and most physics unis would take you i think

    (Original post by ThunderCat8)
    Do chemistry. That is all I have to say really. Biology isn't necessary to do a degree in Medicine. Certain universities ask for it, but if you have an A2 in Chemistry, it would only need to be an AS in Bio. Some universities just say Chemistry at A2, and another science/maths at A2; so you'd be fine there.

    I would say to choose Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Research medicine a lot now, and if you decide it is the subject for you, you can look into doing an extra AS-level in year 13.

    I did 5 AS's in yr12, and although I didn't do badly (I got BBBBC) I feel I could've gotten a couple of A's in there if I had only done 4. 5 AS's is a LOT of work. But if you can fit it in, and believe you can do it, then go for it, and carry on 3 to A2.

    Good luck mate, I'm sure you'll be able to find the perfect degree for you.
    Thanks a lot for the reply. I will ask with my teachers about additional as levels. I found a table (here) which gives the entry requirements for each medical school and it seems that, like you said, most only require an as in biology. However, there are only a few that don't require an as so I think it would be limiting my choices a bit too much if I didn't do any biology at all.

    I think I'll try and arrange a load of work experience over the summer to see if medicine is right for me.
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    Good move. Just before I applied to do medicine I did some work experience at a hospital just to see whether I liked what being a doctor was about. You learn very quickly a lot about the job and lifestyle, and you'll definately have a good idea of whether you want to do it as a career !

    As for biology most med schools don't need it for A level although from experience it'll definately help you, if you do decide to do medicine; although you sound as if you are very competent and wouldn't be too disadvantaged .

    It's good keeping your options open but I would be careful not to overwork yourself or do subjects just for the sake of having more choice later .
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    If you feel confident in Math.. just do Further Math They'll be your 2 easiest As. My friends score an average of 95%+ for the 2 Maths so don't be put off by them. I mucked up one paper with an 88% and yeh.. just be good at Pure Math. P5 is a bit tricky.
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    i do bio chem maths physics and f. maths (AS) and it's ok right now.. got 4 A's last yr but had to work pretty hard...and i applied for medicine and i remember the liverpool person said "just the student we are looking for" when they asked me what subjects i took on an open day.

    well further maths is definitely a lot of work. i planned to take it to full A2 in yr12 so i had to take the accelerated course.. which was already quite hectic.. so then i just decided to drop to AS F. Maths in yr13.. if u're really confident with maths then take it.. but if not i suggest u shuold not do f maths or just do AS.. since they might ask for an A in ur offer (esp cambridge) if u take it to A2.. whereas AS is not usually part of the conditional offer.. so if u screw it up it doesn't matter, but it just looks good on ur ap coz u're taking an AS more than ppl usually do
 
 
 

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