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    In A-levels and in university, arts and humanities are more popular than sciences/engineering. Theres no doubt that courses like physics, chemistry and engineering are undersubsribed at university compared to economics, history and english. What do you guys think is the reason for this?

    Is it down to a lack of understanding with sciences? or are they just not as interesting?


    Personally, I think people don't understand sciences, or at least not well enough which has led to the trend in the popularity of subjects/courses. Go into a library, almost anyone can pick up a book on economics or history and begin understanding what is being written. The same can't be said with the equivalent in physics or biology for example. I'm studying A2 physics, maths and chemistry, and even I struggle abit when reading introductory books on quantum mechanics and the universe - I certainly notice it required more effort of me than when I was reading an economics book on globalisation. I try and put myself in the mindset of the typical student and I can imagine I'd be like ''I can't be bothered with this''. You naturally become disinterested in something when you don't have a clue about it. I think if everyone understood both sciences and the arts and humanities equally, we'd see a near 50-50 split between students in both those areas. It also quite telling that whenever I hear about bad teachers, they tend to be from science departments.

    This raises another question, when it comes to deciding which A-level subjects to take or which course to do, is it a 'good' enough reason to turn away from certain subjects simply because you don't understand it well enough?
    I remember when I was picking my A-levels just over a year ago, I didn't like maths back then, but in hindsight I'm really glad that I took it, because A-level maths has been a real eye opener, now I actually understand the logic (some of it at least) rather than just mindlessly working away like a drone.

    Edit: Need to make clear, that I am not suggesting any particular subject is more superior or inferior to the other. I respect all subjects/courses.

    Clarification of my point: With sciences, if you don't understand the concepts (i.e trigonometry, calculus) of science, you will struggle to understand even a basic book on it you picked in the library. Hence frustration leads to disinterest in the subject. In with the arts and humanities, there are no concepts that are too challenging to understand. Thats not to say History, Geography, English Lit, etc aren't difficult, they are, but in a different way - writing a balancd essay, critically examining sources, interpreting a poem. The difference is, not knowing how to write a balanced essay, will not be a barrier to the average joe understanding a history book, documentary, etc. Hence in my view, the arts and humanities are more accessible to the general population.
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    (Original post by fuzzybear)
    In A-levels and in university, arts and humanities are more popular than sciences/engineering. Theres no doubt that courses like physics, chemistry and engineering are undersubsribed at university compared to economics, history and english. What do you guys think is the reason for this?

    Is it down to a lack of understanding with sciences? or are they just not as interesting?


    Personally, I think people don't understand sciences, or at least not well enough which has led to the trend in the popularity of subjects/courses. Go into a library, almost anyone can pick up a book on economics or history and begin understanding what is being written. The same can't be said with the equivalent in physics or biology for example. I'm studying A2 physics, maths and chemistry, and even I struggle abit when reading introductory books on quantum mechanics and the universe - I certainly notice it required more effort of me than when I was reading an economics book on globalisation. I try and put myself in the mindset of the typical student and I can imagine I'd be like ''I can't be bothered with this''. You naturally become disinterested in something when you don't have a clue about it. I think if everyone understood both sciences and the arts and humanities equally, we'd see a near 50-50 split between students in both those areas. It also quite telling that whenever I hear about bad teachers, they tend to be from science departments.

    This raises another question, when it comes to deciding which A-level subjects to take or which course to do, is it a 'good' enough reason to turn away from certain subjects simply because you don't understand it well enough?
    I remember when I was picking my A-levels just over a year ago, I didn't like maths back then, but in hindsight I'm really glad that I took it, because A-level maths has been a real eye opener, now I actually understand the logic (some of it at least) rather than just mindlessly working away like a drone.
    What if people just prefer arts for interest? I know lots of people (myself included) who are capable in both, but just choose to follow what interests them, why do people have to read into everything so much...
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    (Original post by Tateco)
    What if people just prefer arts for interest? I know lots of people (myself included) who are capable in both, but just choose to follow what interests them, why do people have to read into everything so much...
    Statistically speaking this should even itself out over a large sample. Therefore there must be another reason behind it than just interests. I think it's the culture we live in, in the UK. It is seen to be ok to be bad at Maths but being bad at English is seen as an embarrisment; I think this attitude is then passed down from parents to their children causing them not to care about the Sciences as much and therefore choosing to do Arts at a higher level.
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    In maths and science there are clear right and wrong answers, and people don't like being told that they are completely wrong because its frustrating. In A-level history/english and (to an extent) law your view can be completely wrong but people will still respect it and try to gently steer you in the right direction. Not so for science A-levels.
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    (Original post by fuzzybear)
    .
    I think this is a rather silly argument. I could turn around and say that people choose to take sciences because they don't understand literary theory or historiography.

    I had no problem understanding sciences but it never truly interested me. As a teenager I could spend my whole weekend reading Beowulf or a Norse saga (which in retrospect is probably why I didn't get laid until I was 18, haha). In fact I first read Brennu-Njáls saga when I should have been memorising the periodic table - I know which I find more intriguing (so good thing I'm a Medievalist rather than a Chemist, eh?).
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    I think it's that the science subjects, especially the mathematical ones, require real concentration and mental gymnastics, and many people just can't be bothered. concentrating is hard, especially when you are younger and it's much easier just to stick hollyoaks on instead. Compare that to say, history, and it's not the same.
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    I don't understand much more than basic/popular science, but I'm very interested in and reverent of science as a discipline. I do think that it could often be taught better, more enthusiastically and for a greater proportion of school hours (and science degree courses should, of course, be well promoted), but I don't think we can necessarily assume that people don't study sciences simply because the don't understand them -- after all, that's somewhat of a circular argument, since they surely would understand science if they studied it! -- in reality, there are bound to be lots of conflicting reasons why people are drawn to particular courses/subjects, and I think it's wrong (and, dare I say it, a simplistic hypothesis) to assume that it can be attributed simply to one significant variable.
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    (Original post by Einheri)
    I think this is a rather silly argument. I could turn around and say that people choose to take sciences because they don't understand literary theory or historiography.

    I had no problem understanding sciences but it never truly interested me. As a teenager I could spend my whole weekend reading Beowulf or a Norse saga (which in retrospect is probably why I didn't get laid until I was 18, haha). In fact I first read Brennu-Njáls saga when I should have been memorising the periodic table - I know which I find more intriguing (so good thing I'm a Medievalist rather than a Chemist, eh?).
    Yeah I was going to put it also works the other way round. There are some people in my physics class who seem to have a fear of writing anything longer than 3 sentences. Similarly, maybe they don't understand how to write essays, etc. :dontknow:

    but I was mainly drawing on my own experience with maths.
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    Personally I think some people have maths/science brains, and some people have artsy brains.
    I'm doing an MEng degree, but ask me to sit an GCSE English paper? No chance. I could do it, got an A when I did, but I hate all that bloody writing,
    whereas a lot of my friends doing things like History, English, Psychology say they're rubbish at maths. Their brains just don't work in the logical way that mine does, making quickly working things out difficult and un-fun.
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    not trying to show off or anything, but i got 400/400 in additional science gcse, so clearly I must have understood it relatively well. But I still couldn't stand the subject, so boring and uninteresting. ok they mean the same, but anyway, you get the point!
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    (Original post by fuzzybear)
    In A-levels and in university, arts and humanities are more popular than sciences/engineering. Theres no doubt that courses like physics, chemistry and engineering are undersubsribed at university compared to economics, history and english. What do you guys think is the reason for this?

    Is it down to a lack of understanding with sciences? or are they just not as interesting?


    Personally, I think people don't understand sciences, or at least not well enough which has led to the trend in the popularity of subjects/courses. Go into a library, almost anyone can pick up a book on economics or history and begin understanding what is being written. The same can't be said with the equivalent in physics or biology for example. I'm studying A2 physics, maths and chemistry, and even I struggle abit when reading introductory books on quantum mechanics and the universe - I certainly notice it required more effort of me than when I was reading an economics book on globalisation. I try and put myself in the mindset of the typical student and I can imagine I'd be like ''I can't be bothered with this''. You naturally become disinterested in something when you don't have a clue about it. I think if everyone understood both sciences and the arts and humanities equally, we'd see a near 50-50 split between students in both those areas. It also quite telling that whenever I hear about bad teachers, they tend to be from science departments.

    This raises another question, when it comes to deciding which A-level subjects to take or which course to do, is it a 'good' enough reason to turn away from certain subjects simply because you don't understand it well enough?
    I remember when I was picking my A-levels just over a year ago, I didn't like maths back then, but in hindsight I'm really glad that I took it, because A-level maths has been a real eye opener, now I actually understand the logic (some of it at least) rather than just mindlessly working away like a drone.
    This may sound odd, but there are a lot of areas of Physics which are all the more interesting to me because I can't understand them! By that I mean that I can follow the calculations, and learn the laws, but it still seems very counter-intuitive, e.g. Quantum Mechanics. I think having your mind bent is often a fascinating experience.
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    Skimming over the posts, I would say that being good at a subject doesn't guarantee that you'll enjoy it, but being bad at it does make it highly likely you won't.
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    (Original post by fuzzybear)
    In A-levels and in university, arts and humanities are more popular than sciences/engineering. Theres no doubt that courses like physics, chemistry and engineering are undersubsribed at university compared to economics, history and english. What do you guys think is the reason for this?

    Is it down to a lack of understanding with sciences? or are they just not as interesting?


    Personally, I think people don't understand sciences, or at least not well enough which has led to the trend in the popularity of subjects/courses. Go into a library, almost anyone can pick up a book on economics or history and begin understanding what is being written. The same can't be said with the equivalent in physics or biology for example. I'm studying A2 physics, maths and chemistry, and even I struggle abit when reading introductory books on quantum mechanics and the universe - I certainly notice it required more effort of me than when I was reading an economics book on globalisation. I try and put myself in the mindset of the typical student and I can imagine I'd be like ''I can't be bothered with this''. You naturally become disinterested in something when you don't have a clue about it. I think if everyone understood both sciences and the arts and humanities equally, we'd see a near 50-50 split between students in both those areas. It also quite telling that whenever I hear about bad teachers, they tend to be from science departments.

    This raises another question, when it comes to deciding which A-level subjects to take or which course to do, is it a 'good' enough reason to turn away from certain subjects simply because you don't understand it well enough?
    I remember when I was picking my A-levels just over a year ago, I didn't like maths back then, but in hindsight I'm really glad that I took it, because A-level maths has been a real eye opener, now I actually understand the logic (some of it at least) rather than just mindlessly working away like a drone.
    When you say science, do you include maths in their. If so economics at university ( classed a social science) is mainly stats.....
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    (Original post by Popppppy)
    Personally I think some people have maths/science brains, and some people have artsy brains.
    And some people have the very good fortune of having both!
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    (Original post by mespannerhanz)
    not trying to show off or anything, but i got 400/400 in additional science gcse, so clearly I must have understood it relatively well. But I still couldn't stand the subject, so boring and uninteresting. ok they mean the same, but anyway, you get the point!
    Well yeah but similarly I got an A* in maths gcse, even though I hated it and didn't appreciate what the hell the methods meant or how they worked. During A-levels now, I've found myself enjoying it and understanding it much better. I've realised that before, I was learning it the 'wrong' way, by mainly memorising and not thinking deeper to why a certain method would produce the right answer. Guess it all comes down to personal experiences, but my point is, how do you know you truly understand something? saying you scored highly in a test isn't enough, right?

    I'm probably thinking too much, but even though I say I enjoy and understand maths now, I doubt I truly understand it. Theres just so much I still don't know about - proofs etc.
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    (Original post by SwingOnTheSpiral88)
    I think it's that the science subjects, especially the mathematical ones, require real concentration and mental gymnastics, and many people just can't be bothered. concentrating is hard, especially when you are younger and it's much easier just to stick hollyoaks on instead. Compare that to say, history, and it's not the same.
    I kind of agree with this. I am blessed that I could have chose to do humanties/arts or sciences. I have a medical condition which gives me 'brain fog'. When I have brain fog, I can't do simple arithmetic but I can still construct something of an essay even if the meaning of my words is rather cryptic. Doing maths when I'm like that, literally hurts my head where as only when I'm *really* bad can I not read a book and remember the content, but on that note Biology is kind of easier for me in the respect that it's a lot of retaining information rather than in Physics which is mainly understanding concepts. On the other hand, when I'm feeling well I find learning a few theories a lot simpler than retaining masses of information :P
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    Oh look, it's the TSR version of, "YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND MY ART!"
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    (Original post by falcon pluse)
    When you say science, do you include maths in their. If so economics at university ( classed a social science) is mainly stats.....
    Yeah I include maths, but it is by far the most popular compared to the other sciences. I hear economics can be very mathsy at certain universities and more essay-like in others, so not too sure on it.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    In maths and science there are clear right and wrong answers, and people don't like being told that they are completely wrong because its frustrating. In A-level history/english and (to an extent) law your view can be completely wrong but people will still respect it and try to gently steer you in the right direction. Not so for science A-levels.
    If there are no clear right and wrong answers then how can a view be completely wrong? I think in your hurry to be an elitist git you overlooked that little problem.
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    (Original post by Einheri)
    I think this is a rather silly argument. I could turn around and say that people choose to take sciences because they don't understand literary theory or historiography.

    I had no problem understanding sciences but it never truly interested me. As a teenager I could spend my whole weekend reading Beowulf or a Norse saga (which in retrospect is probably why I didn't get laid until I was 18, haha). In fact I first read Brennu-Njáls saga when I should have been memorising the periodic table - I know which I find more intriguing (so good thing I'm a Medievalist rather than a Chemist, eh?).
    i chose to do science mostly becausei love it but also because i dont get writing in general. i was one of those kids who sat in the back of english lessons going what the....?! and scribbling in my book. however, i read so many books its unbelievable. i read the classics and poetry, but i dont get how to write an answer or an essay or anything. i probably could do better if i tried in class, but i didnt so hey. im good at writing stories and stuff, but not about things. science is easy, i dont have to think so much. although it does require a lot of thinking, its not the same sort of thinking thats needed when writing. its logical, it makes sense...im sure people know what i mean!
 
 
 

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