Best A-Level Options for Computer Science?

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yellowcopter
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Basically I have to choose my A-Level options and quite soon too as applications close 31st January, I want to do Computer Science at University but I'm also considering studying English. I love both, and can't seem to come to a decision!

I was initially going to choose Computing, Biology, Physics and English Literature, however the college says that you must do Maths AS if you do Physics. I don't want to give up any of my other options nor do I want to do Maths as I'll probably find it difficult and I hate Maths, but love Physics (well Physics is Maths but I seem to love Physics and hate Maths - odd I know).

So now I really don't know what to do instead of Physics. I was thinking of doing Computing, Biology, History and English Literature. But then I'd only have Computing and Biology which I don't think is enough Sciences to get into or do Computer Science at absolutely any university. But however I love History as well as English and I think 2 Arts and 2 Sciences is a good balance too, and having a variety as such opens a lot more option choices at uni. I guess that's good because I'm still at the contemplating stage and probably will continue to be so for quite a while. Then again I REALLY want to do Computer Science and become a software developer/programmer in the future so I'm unsure if I want to jeopardise my chances of doing so by only doing two sciences. Most if not ALL Computer Science applicants have either Physics, Maths, or both, would that be a huge disadvantage not having either?

Suggestions please over what A-Levels I should do.
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x__justmyluck
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Maths, Further maths, Physics and Computing is my honest opinion.

If you struggle with maths you will not be able to cope with the maths involved in a computer science degree. What sort of unis are you thinking about?
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GeogBerry
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(Original post by yellowcopter)
Basically I have to choose my A-Level options and quite soon too as applications close 31st January, I want to do Computer Science at University but I'm also considering studying English. I love both, and can't seem to come to a decision!

I was initially going to choose Computing, Biology, Physics and English Literature, however the college says that you must do Maths AS if you do Physics. I don't want to give up any of my other options nor do I want to do Maths as I'll probably find it difficult and I hate Maths, but love Physics (well Physics is Maths but I seem to love Physics and hate Maths - odd I know).

So now I really don't know what to do instead of Physics. I was thinking of doing Computing, Biology, History and English Literature. But then I'd only have Computing and Biology which I don't think is enough Sciences to get into or do Computer Science at absolutely any university. But however I love History as well as English and I think 2 Arts and 2 Sciences is a good balance too, and having a variety as such opens a lot more option choices at uni. I guess that's good because I'm still at the contemplating stage and probably will continue to be so for quite a while. Then again I REALLY want to do Computer Science and become a software developer/programmer in the future so I'm unsure if I want to jeopardise my chances of doing so by only doing two sciences. Most if not ALL Computer Science applicants have either Physics, Maths, or both, would that be a huge disadvantage not having either?

Suggestions please over what A-Levels I should do.
To do computer science at a good university you'll most probably (I know at bath ect.) have to do a maths A level. Computing is definitely a good option also. If your college does it, electronics would also be a good idea. You don't need balance for a computing degree, at a push, one essay based subject is beneficial as it shows you are good at multiple types of learning. Physics is actually quite hard, I wouldn't suggest doing it without maths, everyone (except me) who did it without got a U or an E at AS.
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TheBBQ
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If you REALLY hate Maths that will cut off you off from a fair few of the Russel Group universities for computer science. Are you sure you still want to do it and you would never do Maths?
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Jkizer
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Some places I hear allow you to do CS at uni providing you complete these sort of maths test.

(Friend from Southampton who does computing, psychology, biology)


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yellowcopter
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(Original post by TheBBQ)
If you REALLY hate Maths that will cut off you off from a fair few of the Russel Group universities for computer science. Are you sure you still want to do it and you would never do Maths?
I wouldn't say I hate Maths, but I am currently a B grade/average student at the subject and I don't see myself doing it at A-Level, or if I do I think I'll struggle.

A lot have said that Computer Science at university is impossible without being good at an A-Level standard of Maths, yet some such as a Computing teacher at my school have said it didn't require much maths (she got a 2:1 despite getting an E at A-Level Maths and D in GCSE).
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TSR561
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(Original post by yellowcopter)
I wouldn't say I hate Maths, but I am currently a B grade/average student at the subject and I don't see myself doing it at A-Level, or if I do I think I'll struggle.

A lot have said that Computer Science at university is impossible without being good at an A-Level standard of Maths, yet some such as a Computing teacher at my school have said it didn't require much maths (she got a 2:1 despite getting an E at A-Level Maths and D in GCSE).
Maths seems to be highly recommended by all of the top universities for it. Some even recommend Further Maths. It's essential at most of the places I applied to, and even if it wasn't, you'd still need to be good at the skills maths gives you like problem solving to be any good at computer science.
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x__justmyluck
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(Original post by yellowcopter)
I wouldn't say I hate Maths, but I am currently a B grade/average student at the subject and I don't see myself doing it at A-Level, or if I do I think I'll struggle.

A lot have said that Computer Science at university is impossible without being good at an A-Level standard of Maths, yet some such as a Computing teacher at my school have said it didn't require much maths (she got a 2:1 despite getting an E at A-Level Maths and D in GCSE).
It depends what unis you're looking at, have a look at the entrance criteria on some uni websites. For top unis you'd be unlikely to get in without maths and further maths.
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yellowcopter
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(Original post by TSR561)
Maths seems to be highly recommended by all of the top universities for it. Some even recommend Further Maths. It's essential at most of the places I applied to, and even if it wasn't, you'd still need to be good at the skills maths gives you like problem solving to be any good at computer science.
Would you say Computer Science was passable without A-Level Maths or Physics? Just generally aside from entry requirements, do you think doing Comp Sci at any university at all without having A-Level Maths would be a struggle?

(Original post by x__justmyluck)
It depends what unis you're looking at, have a look at the entrance criteria on some uni websites. For top unis you'd be unlikely to get in without maths and further maths.
I'm not looking at anywhere top of the top like Oxford, but I would like to go places like UCL but (I think can't remember) they require Maths. I would be fine with places such as UEA which don't ask for Maths or Physics though.
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TSR561
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(Original post by yellowcopter)
Would you say Computer Science was passable without A-Level Maths or Physics? Just generally aside from entry requirements, do you think doing Comp Sci at any university at all without having A-Level Maths would be a struggle?
All the courses I've looked at have looked very heavy on mathematical ideas. Like I said, maths lets you test your problem solving skills, which are massively important in a course like CS. I see you're not aiming for the best unis, so maybe they won't need Maths at A-level, but I would absolutely consider taking it anyway, for your personal benefit.
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Chlorophile
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(Original post by yellowcopter)
Basically I have to choose my A-Level options and quite soon too as applications close 31st January, I want to do Computer Science at University but I'm also considering studying English. I love both, and can't seem to come to a decision!

I was initially going to choose Computing, Biology, Physics and English Literature, however the college says that you must do Maths AS if you do Physics. I don't want to give up any of my other options nor do I want to do Maths as I'll probably find it difficult and I hate Maths, but love Physics (well Physics is Maths but I seem to love Physics and hate Maths - odd I know).

So now I really don't know what to do instead of Physics. I was thinking of doing Computing, Biology, History and English Literature. But then I'd only have Computing and Biology which I don't think is enough Sciences to get into or do Computer Science at absolutely any university. But however I love History as well as English and I think 2 Arts and 2 Sciences is a good balance too, and having a variety as such opens a lot more option choices at uni. I guess that's good because I'm still at the contemplating stage and probably will continue to be so for quite a while. Then again I REALLY want to do Computer Science and become a software developer/programmer in the future so I'm unsure if I want to jeopardise my chances of doing so by only doing two sciences. Most if not ALL Computer Science applicants have either Physics, Maths, or both, would that be a huge disadvantage not having either?

Suggestions please over what A-Levels I should do.
I don't think you understand what Computer Science is. Computer Science is more or less a branch of mathematics. It definitely is not IT. Computer Science degrees generally have similar entrance requirements to Mathematics because it's probably the closest subject to Mathematics with the exception of Statistics and possibly Physics. If you hate Mathematics, why are you doing an incredibly Mathematics intensive course? I would be incredibly surprised if you were allowed onto any CompSci course with just AS Maths.
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yellowcopter
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(Original post by TSR561)
All the courses I've looked at have looked very heavy on mathematical ideas. Like I said, maths lets you test your problem solving skills, which are massively important in a course like CS. I see you're not aiming for the best unis, so maybe they won't need Maths at A-level, but I would absolutely consider taking it anyway, for your personal benefit.
Thanks, I might reconsider then. I actually enjoy Maths but I'm not that great at it and honestly I don't think I'll be able to put the work in to even pass it at A-Level. But universities such as Queen Mary only want GCSE Maths at grade B - if that's all they want surely the content can't be that mathematically difficult?
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TSR561
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(Original post by yellowcopter)
Thanks, I might reconsider then. I actually enjoy Maths but I'm not that great at it and honestly I don't think I'll be able to put the work in to even pass it at A-Level. But universities such as Queen Mary only want GCSE Maths at grade B - if that's all they want surely the content can't be that mathematically difficult?
All I can really say is that Computer Science is a very mathematical subject. Unfortunately if you don't think you can get at least a B at A-Level Maths, I'd reconsider. Look up a few of QM's modules, they are still quite analytical and involve things like calculus, matrices and statistics.
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Michael_98
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Hi I've chosen my A Levels options and I'm thinking of doing computer science my options are:
Biology
Chemistry
English Literature
ICT
Do you think this will be alright for compsci

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Oxford Computer Science Dept
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(Original post by Michael_98)
Hi I've chosen my A Levels options and I'm thinking of doing computer science my options are:
Biology
Chemistry
English Literature
ICT
Do you think this will be alright for compsci

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This is an Oxford answer, but we're not too different from other top Unis, so hopefully it will be helpful to you. (It also reiterates the good advice above.)

Computing is a mathematical subject, especially in the way we approach it at Oxford. So we want candidates to know some mathematics, and more importantly, to have developed their ability in mathematical thinking. For A-level candidates we require Maths to A2 (or equivalent), and we strongly recommend Further Maths to A2. However, we understand this is not always possible, and so we do consider applications from people with a single Maths A-level, with or without Further Maths to AS-level. But, if you can do it, it's really helpful.

We also recommend a science subject such as Physics. (Again because it helps with the Maths.) ICT really isn't very relevant so wouldn't be seen as a particular plus point on any application.

We certainly wouldn't mind seeing a candidate with something like English Literature as a third or fourth A Level, if it was along side two more mathematical ones. (We actually quite often see successful candidates who've done a language, or music or similar as the third/fourth subject.)

For single honours CompSci we will normally make an offer of A*AA on three A-levels including at least an A in Maths: the A* must be in Maths, Further Maths, Physics or Computing.

Hope that helps.
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