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    Hi, I am just finishing Year 12. I have studied Biology, Chemistry, Maths and German for AS and am looking to study Medicine. Next year I am considering continuing with 4 A Levels or dropping German and writing an EPQ in a medically related area. Both will be very stressful but I perceive EPQ as being slightly more so due to the pressures on the autumn term when you also have: application deadline, coursework, BMAT possibly etc. My summer is also already very busy with UKCAT and work experience. Another concern is what would be more attractive to universities. (Are 4 A Levels still a desirable option?). Any advice would be great.
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    (Original post by Dmag)
    Hi, I am just finishing Year 12. I have studied Biology, Chemistry, Maths and German for AS and am looking to study Medicine. Next year I am considering continuing with 4 A Levels or dropping German and writing an EPQ in a medically related area. Both will be very stressful but I perceive EPQ as being slightly more so due to the pressures on the autumn term when you also have: application deadline, coursework, BMAT possibly etc. My summer is also already very busy with UKCAT and work experience. Another concern is what would be more attractive to universities. (Are 4 A Levels still a desirable option?). Any advice would be great.
    It's probably best to think about it in the context of what others at your school will achieve, since many universities will benchmark your performance against the typical results gained at your school. For instance, would aiming to get excellent marks in three A-levels be better than trying to offer an EPQ or a fourth A-level, particularly if these will not form part of the university offers?
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    I'm in near enough the same boat as you, however I had my decision made out-standingly easy for me, physics was a stinker of a year and i'm extremely glad to see the back of it. Is German the same for you or do you enjoy it? If you enjoy it, carry it on or drop. EPQ is seen as valuable but by a large majority of medical schools goes somewhat unrecognised.
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    In terms of comparison with the rest of my school. My school is a very good comprehensive school and I know that the majority of my year are doing 3 A Levels+EPQ with 1 or 2 doing 4 A Levels. So I think it would like quite bad on me if I only did 3 A Levels. I would say that I got on very well with German during Year 12 and this may facilitate me doing 4 A Levels.
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    Based on my experience having a 4th A level does not provide you with a distinct advantage over those you are competing with. The offer is always for three subjects therefore I would say that the additional subject would be more of a hindrance than anything else. EPQ is better as it provides a subject to discuss at interviews. Make sure you leave enough time for the BMAT as it is tough

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    I would do EPQ, only if you have free time during your summer since it can get slightly hefty if you try to do it all during Year 13.

    Otherwise i would stick with work experience, which i would argue is more valuable.
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    (Original post by Dmag)
    In terms of comparison with the rest of my school. My school is a very good comprehensive school and I know that the majority of my year are doing 3 A Levels+EPQ with 1 or 2 doing 4 A Levels. So I think it would like quite bad on me if I only did 3 A Levels. I would say that I got on very well with German during Year 12 and this may facilitate me doing 4 A Levels.
    You would probably be best doing a bit more research before deciding, especially discussions with the staff at your school.

    The overall numbers taking German to A2 are dropping fast, and the proportion of bilingual speakers is rising. Comparison of AQA raw marks to UMS conversion scales can be very different in different subjects:
    for Biology unit 5, June 2012 - 76% raw mark was credited with another 14% to make that an A*
    for German unit 3, June 2012 - 81/110 raw marks (i.e. 74%) was docked by another 4% to call that a borderline B/C grade in UMS terms.

    See http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administ...t-marks-to-ums

    I'm not convinced that all future medics are drawn from the top 1-2% of a school cohort - the top 10% at least should be in with a shout? Each medical school places the emphasis on different parts of the application (GCSEs, personal statement, UKCAT, BMAT, reference, AS, predicted A2, work experience, interview performance...). You might find that going into depth for 3 A2s will give you a better overall result, as well as plenty to talk about at interview - but do get as many opinions as you can, and listen most to the teachers' advice - they see the outcomes year after year and know the individual backgrounds best.
 
 
 
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