WanderLost225
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Hey everyone!

I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm currently in Year 10. I'm trying to choose A Levels. My favourite subjects, in order, have always been History, Physics, Maths, English. I plan to do these for A Level. But lately, I've been realising that I actually enjoy my Physics lessons more than History (even though I have planned to do a history degree for a while now.)

I put it down to my Physics teachers being more enthusiastic/ inspiring, but I've realised that I find Physics so fascinating, and I'm so enthusiastic about it myself. I had the privilege of visiting CERN this week, and just... wow. I am so in awe of what happens over there. It has made me begin to seriously consider going into Physics, combined with my teachers being so inspiring and me having such interesting intellectual (Physics) discussions with them about antimatter, how particle detectors work, dark matter, more advanced physics I don't really understand right now, etc. But I want to understand it.

I feel like learning and researching Physics would be more worthwhile than History. I've noticed I get much more passionate and enthusiastic about Physics, but I wonder what people will think because for quite a few years now I have been very committed to doing a History degree. What do you think?? (Also there is the problem that traditionally a History degree is seen as less valuable than a Physics degree, anyway)

I am also now confused about which A Levels to take. If I did want to do a Physics degree, would Physics, Maths, History A Level with an AS in English suffice? Or do they want more than just Physics and Maths? I understand that lots of Physics applicants will be pure science students, but is that necessarily a good thing? I mean does it make much of a difference to have Chemistry A Level if you want to do Physics? Can having more writing based A Levels give more unique/ valuable skills (e.g. in research writing etc)?

I am in dire need of some advice. I kind of feel like I had my whole life planned out, and now I might want to turn that plan completely upside down. I can't help but think that maybe CERN was supposed to be some kind of enlightenment/ realisation that my life should be more centred around Physics... Thanks so much.
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WanderLost225
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#2
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(Original post by Nomes24)
Hey everyone!

I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm currently in Year 10. I'm trying to choose A Levels. My favourite subjects, in order, have always been History, Physics, Maths, English. I plan to do these for A Level. But lately, I've been realising that I actually enjoy my Physics lessons more than History (even though I have planned to do a history degree for a while now.)

I put it down to my Physics teachers being more enthusiastic/ inspiring, but I've realised that I find Physics so fascinating, and I'm so enthusiastic about it myself. I had the privilege of visiting CERN this week, and just... wow. I am so in awe of what happens over there. It has made me begin to seriously consider going into Physics, combined with my teachers being so inspiring and me having such interesting intellectual (Physics) discussions with them about antimatter, how particle detectors work, dark matter, more advanced physics I don't really understand right now, etc. But I want to understand it.

I feel like learning and researching Physics would be more worthwhile than History. I've noticed I get much more passionate and enthusiastic about Physics, but I wonder what people will think because for quite a few years now I have been very committed to doing a History degree. What do you think?? (Also there is the problem that traditionally a History degree is seen as less valuable than a Physics degree, anyway)

I am also now confused about which A Levels to take. If I did want to do a Physics degree, would Physics, Maths, History A Level with an AS in English suffice? Or do they want more than just Physics and Maths? I understand that lots of Physics applicants will be pure science students, but is that necessarily a good thing? I mean does it make much of a difference to have Chemistry A Level if you want to do Physics? Can having more writing based A Levels give more unique/ valuable skills (e.g. in research writing etc)?

I am in dire need of some advice. I kind of feel like I had my whole life planned out, and now I might want to turn that plan completely upside down. I can't help but think that maybe CERN was supposed to be some kind of enlightenment/ realisation that my life should be more centred around Physics... Thanks so much.
bump, any advice appreciated!
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dada55
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#3
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(Original post by Nomes24)
Hey everyone!

I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm currently in Year 10. I'm trying to choose A Levels. My favourite subjects, in order, have always been History, Physics, Maths, English. I plan to do these for A Level. But lately, I've been realising that I actually enjoy my Physics lessons more than History (even though I have planned to do a history degree for a while now.)

I put it down to my Physics teachers being more enthusiastic/ inspiring, but I've realised that I find Physics so fascinating, and I'm so enthusiastic about it myself. I had the privilege of visiting CERN this week, and just... wow. I am so in awe of what happens over there. It has made me begin to seriously consider going into Physics, combined with my teachers being so inspiring and me having such interesting intellectual (Physics) discussions with them about antimatter, how particle detectors work, dark matter, more advanced physics I don't really understand right now, etc. But I want to understand it.

I feel like learning and researching Physics would be more worthwhile than History. I've noticed I get much more passionate and enthusiastic about Physics, but I wonder what people will think because for quite a few years now I have been very committed to doing a History degree. What do you think?? (Also there is the problem that traditionally a History degree is seen as less valuable than a Physics degree, anyway)

I am also now confused about which A Levels to take. If I did want to do a Physics degree, would Physics, Maths, History A Level with an AS in English suffice? Or do they want more than just Physics and Maths? I understand that lots of Physics applicants will be pure science students, but is that necessarily a good thing? I mean does it make much of a difference to have Chemistry A Level if you want to do Physics? Can having more writing based A Levels give more unique/ valuable skills (e.g. in research writing etc)?

I am in dire need of some advice. I kind of feel like I had my whole life planned out, and now I might want to turn that plan completely upside down. I can't help but think that maybe CERN was supposed to be some kind of enlightenment/ realisation that my life should be more centred around Physics... Thanks so much.

Firstly, you still have a lot of time to decide. I changed my degree choice just before my AS exams, having somewhat similarly realising that I don't enjoy what I planned to do at Uni as much as I thought I did.

As to A level choices for physics, you will definitely need Maths and Physics. Your 3rd A level choice can be unrelated and history is seen as a respected "fundamental" subject which will also show you have variety in your skills so that would be fine.

In my opinion though, you should either pick AS further maths instead of AS English, and if at the end of AS, you have definitely made your mind up about physics, you can have the choice of dropping history or further maths depending on what you feel will give you the best chance of getting the grades and into the Unis that you will decide to apply for. Or you can still pick AS English (or AS chemistry), at the end of AS you drop it and pick up AS further maths alongside your maths, physics and history A2s

Why do I recommend further maths so much even if just to AS level? Universities seem to love it these days for maths related degrees, maybe because it shows commitment to learning more and more maths even if it is not necessarily harder maths.

All in all, don't forget that you are allowed to change your mind, don't force yourself into a subject. You never know, you could potentially change your degree choice again by the time you are applying for unis.
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Claree
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Nomes24)
Hey everyone!

I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm currently in Year 10. I'm trying to choose A Levels. My favourite subjects, in order, have always been History, Physics, Maths, English. I plan to do these for A Level. But lately, I've been realising that I actually enjoy my Physics lessons more than History (even though I have planned to do a history degree for a while now.)

I put it down to my Physics teachers being more enthusiastic/ inspiring, but I've realised that I find Physics so fascinating, and I'm so enthusiastic about it myself. I had the privilege of visiting CERN this week, and just... wow. I am so in awe of what happens over there. It has made me begin to seriously consider going into Physics, combined with my teachers being so inspiring and me having such interesting intellectual (Physics) discussions with them about antimatter, how particle detectors work, dark matter, more advanced physics I don't really understand right now, etc. But I want to understand it.

I feel like learning and researching Physics would be more worthwhile than History. I've noticed I get much more passionate and enthusiastic about Physics, but I wonder what people will think because for quite a few years now I have been very committed to doing a History degree. What do you think?? (Also there is the problem that traditionally a History degree is seen as less valuable than a Physics degree, anyway)

I am also now confused about which A Levels to take. If I did want to do a Physics degree, would Physics, Maths, History A Level with an AS in English suffice? Or do they want more than just Physics and Maths? I understand that lots of Physics applicants will be pure science students, but is that necessarily a good thing? I mean does it make much of a difference to have Chemistry A Level if you want to do Physics? Can having more writing based A Levels give more unique/ valuable skills (e.g. in research writing etc)?

I am in dire need of some advice. I kind of feel like I had my whole life planned out, and now I might want to turn that plan completely upside down. I can't help but think that maybe CERN was supposed to be some kind of enlightenment/ realisation that my life should be more centred around Physics... Thanks so much.
What were your reasons for wanting to do a history degree? As long as you've done history A level this option will still be kept open to you (I think most history courses just have history listed as a desired subject, other subjects, including sciences/maths, would help you develop skills applicable to history). You've still got a considerable amount of time left before you apply, so I wouldn't panic now over course choice! You can always change your mind again.

I wouldn't worry about what people will think if you change your mind - many people change their mind as to what degree they want to do many times over! (I didn't decide what to apply for until the week before the UCAS Oxbridge deadline!)

If you're thinking of pursuing physics as a career further maths (if your school offers it) would be the most useful subject (and if you were to do another science subject, I'd definitely do that over chemistry).

Yes, being able to write well will always be useful in research, writing papers and grant applications etc.
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Desk-Lamp
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#5
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#5
(Original post by dada55)
Firstly, you still have a lot of time to decide. I changed my degree choice just before my AS exams, having somewhat similarly realising that I don't enjoy what I planned to do at Uni as much as I thought I did.

As to A level choices for physics, you will definitely need Maths and Physics. Your 3rd A level choice can be unrelated and history is seen as a respected "fundamental" subject which will also show you have variety in your skills so that would be fine.

In my opinion though, you should either pick AS further maths instead of AS English, and if at the end of AS, you have definitely made your mind up about physics, you can have the choice of dropping history or further maths depending on what you feel will give you the best chance of getting the grades and into the Unis that you will decide to apply for. Or you can still pick AS English (or AS chemistry), at the end of AS you drop it and pick up AS further maths alongside your maths, physics and history A2s
All solid advice. AS further maths kind of runs in parallel with regular maths, but if you choose to carry on to A2 it will really help you with your maths A-level
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DeltaCube
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Nomes24)
Hey everyone!

I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm currently in Year 10. I'm trying to choose A Levels. My favourite subjects, in order, have always been History, Physics, Maths, English. I plan to do these for A Level. But lately, I've been realising that I actually enjoy my Physics lessons more than History (even though I have planned to do a history degree for a while now.)

I put it down to my Physics teachers being more enthusiastic/ inspiring, but I've realised that I find Physics so fascinating, and I'm so enthusiastic about it myself. I had the privilege of visiting CERN this week, and just... wow. I am so in awe of what happens over there. It has made me begin to seriously consider going into Physics, combined with my teachers being so inspiring and me having such interesting intellectual (Physics) discussions with them about antimatter, how particle detectors work, dark matter, more advanced physics I don't really understand right now, etc. But I want to understand it.

I feel like learning and researching Physics would be more worthwhile than History. I've noticed I get much more passionate and enthusiastic about Physics, but I wonder what people will think because for quite a few years now I have been very committed to doing a History degree. What do you think?? (Also there is the problem that traditionally a History degree is seen as less valuable than a Physics degree, anyway)

I am also now confused about which A Levels to take. If I did want to do a Physics degree, would Physics, Maths, History A Level with an AS in English suffice? Or do they want more than just Physics and Maths? I understand that lots of Physics applicants will be pure science students, but is that necessarily a good thing? I mean does it make much of a difference to have Chemistry A Level if you want to do Physics? Can having more writing based A Levels give more unique/ valuable skills (e.g. in research writing etc)?

I am in dire need of some advice. I kind of feel like I had my whole life planned out, and now I might want to turn that plan completely upside down. I can't help but think that maybe CERN was supposed to be some kind of enlightenment/ realisation that my life should be more centred around Physics... Thanks so much.
So through my Gcse's I didn't really care much about physics, in fact the only thing I really liked was maths, and I was pretty sure I would do it at degree, (if I didn't want to do music at the time which was also just as favourable), I wasn't even going to pick it at A level, instead I had A level English Language, Through my exams I winged most of them reading the book 2 hours before the exams and passing with 100% with basically no prior knowledge, but it still didn't interest me, I only decided to pick it at AS on a whim because when I handed in my options sheet the guy goes, "you got a B in English Lang at GCSE and an A* in Physics, that makes Eng Lang one of your two B's (those were my low grades so I was already doing a stupid), why not jut choose physics? So I thought about it and then was just like yeah w/e, and then it turned out to be like the best subject in the world... Finished my first AS year now (warning you you need to be good at maths for the mechanics and you need to revise hard, like everyday if you want all A's in all of your A Levels.) and visited the Royal Society (big science people, president was Issac Newton in 1627) and it just reconfirms how amazing physics is, I'm talking levitating things with standing waves, discovering the higgs boson, playing the video game pong... with my brain... no controller... just attached to my head, oh and also making things see through using lasers, physics is awesome and power to you to choose it at degree, but if you are going to choose it at degree, choose further maths not maths, im not trying to be a **** and tell you what to do, but most good physics uni's really like further maths, I didn't pick it at AS and now I'm having to do the AS and the A2 in one year so I can get onto the uni course I want (which is brutal cos A level maths is hard) If you really wanna know if you'll like it, here's a quick break down of the course:

1) Particle Physics and the Atom - You'll cover things like specific charge, different types of particles including kaons; mesons; muons etc, quarks, antimatter, annihilation, pair production, bosons, feynman diagrams, particle interactions, decay (alpha and beta) etc.
2) Electromagnetic Radiation and Quantum Phenomena - Things like the photoelectric effect, lots of stuff on EM obviously, electron excitation levels, lots about frequencies, wave-particle duality and something called plancks constant etc.
3) Electricity - EMF, Resistors, Voltage Lost Volts, Current, Circuits, Internal Resistance, Potential Dividers, Superconductors etc.
4) Mechanics - Newtons Laws of motion, Centre of Mass, Vectors, Gravity, SUVAT equation (how to work out the distance, initial velocity, final velocity, acceleration, or time taken of an object in motion based around 4 equations) etc.
5) Materials - Youngs Modolus, Stress/Strain, Tension, Brittle Materials, Ultimate Tensile Stress, Breaking Points, Yield Points etc.
6) Waves - Standing waves, Oscillations, time periods, fibre optics, refraction, diffraction, 2 slit interference, diffraction gratings, diffraction patterns, etc.
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lerjj
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Nomes24)
X.
Firstly, you're in Year 10. Changing your mind now is not an issue at all.

I wanted to do medicine for most of Y10 and Y11, but changed my mind to physics because I thought I'd most enjoy studying that at University (starting As in September, so I have yet to find out if that was the right choice...) I think you have to do what you like doing, if that is history, do history. If it is physics, then do that. One word or warning is that if you're doing a physics degree then (I think) you will also have to like maths almost as much as you like physics; if that doesn't apply to you then history might perhaps be a better option.

This is a really personal decision, it's quite hard to know what to say. Speaking to friends, parents and teachers might be a better approach than asking strangers on a forum. Simply put: study what you love, because you're going to be doing it for years.
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WanderLost225
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#8
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Thank you so much for all your replies, your advice has really helped me out! I think I will swap AS English for Further Maths, and decide after AS whether to carry on with all four, or drop either FM or History. However, I think my year is going to be the first year where AS is completely separate to A Level, so I'm not really sure how that is going to work out? I'll have to go with my teachers' predicted grades rather than AS results I guess. Thanks again
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Doctor_Einstein
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#9
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(Original post by Nomes24)
Hey everyone!

I have a bit of a dilemma. I'm currently in Year 10. I'm trying to choose A Levels. My favourite subjects, in order, have always been History, Physics, Maths, English. I plan to do these for A Level. But lately, I've been realising that I actually enjoy my Physics lessons more than History (even though I have planned to do a history degree for a while now.)

I put it down to my Physics teachers being more enthusiastic/ inspiring, but I've realised that I find Physics so fascinating, and I'm so enthusiastic about it myself. I had the privilege of visiting CERN this week, and just... wow. I am so in awe of what happens over there. It has made me begin to seriously consider going into Physics, combined with my teachers being so inspiring and me having such interesting intellectual (Physics) discussions with them about antimatter, how particle detectors work, dark matter, more advanced physics I don't really understand right now, etc. But I want to understand it.

I feel like learning and researching Physics would be more worthwhile than History. I've noticed I get much more passionate and enthusiastic about Physics, but I wonder what people will think because for quite a few years now I have been very committed to doing a History degree. What do you think?? (Also there is the problem that traditionally a History degree is seen as less valuable than a Physics degree, anyway)

I am also now confused about which A Levels to take. If I did want to do a Physics degree, would Physics, Maths, History A Level with an AS in English suffice? Or do they want more than just Physics and Maths? I understand that lots of Physics applicants will be pure science students, but is that necessarily a good thing? I mean does it make much of a difference to have Chemistry A Level if you want to do Physics? Can having more writing based A Levels give more unique/ valuable skills (e.g. in research writing etc)?

I am in dire need of some advice. I kind of feel like I had my whole life planned out, and now I might want to turn that plan completely upside down. I can't help but think that maybe CERN was supposed to be some kind of enlightenment/ realisation that my life should be more centred around Physics... Thanks so much.
If you are very good at mathematics, then definitely do physics. There is still plenty of time to put in lots of effort to become great at mathematics if you are not already.

You can expect to earn more with a physics degree and in my opinion it is a far more interesting subject, but this is a personal choice.

I think therefore if you enjoy both subjects equally, and you are good at mathematics, then physics is the degree for you. Goodluck.
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WanderLost225
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#10
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(Original post by Doctor_Einstein)
If you are very good at mathematics, then definitely do physics. There is still plenty of time to put in lots of effort to become great at mathematics if you are not already.

You can expect to earn more with a physics degree and in my opinion it is a far more interesting subject, but this is a personal choice.

I think therefore if you enjoy both subjects equally, and you are good at mathematics, then physics is the degree for you. Goodluck.

Hey, thanks for your reply! I am good at maths so I'm thinking I should enjoy a physics degree, even the highly mathematical parts of it! I didn't realise you would earn more with a physics degree so thanks for that interesting piece of information!! I just thought it would open up a few more jobs
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