Paradoxic
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I'm going to be applying to Oxford for Maths & Philosophy this October, and have recently been on their website to find that an A level in an essay-writing subject is strongly recommended.
I was originally planning on dropping English Language (Leaving Maths, Further Maths and Physics) but this has made me reconsider - will taking English Language to AS level be enough or would it be a lot more beneficial to take it to A Level.
Also, almost every applicant I have seen apply to Oxford has taken four subjects - is this beneficial in any way, or is it pure coincidence?
In case you're wondering I achieved an A in English Language, but just didn't enjoy it very much, which is why I'm dropping it.

Any advice greatly appreciated!
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physicsmaths
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keep it


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Chlorophile
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(Original post by Paradoxic)
I'm going to be applying to Oxford for Maths & Philosophy this October, and have recently been on their website to find that an A level in an essay-writing subject is strongly recommended.
I was originally planning on dropping English Language (Leaving Maths, Further Maths and Physics) but this has made me reconsider - will taking English Language to AS level be enough or would it be a lot more beneficial to take it to A Level.
Also, almost every applicant I have seen apply to Oxford has taken four subjects - is this beneficial in any way, or is it pure coincidence?
In case you're wondering I achieved an A in English Language, but just didn't enjoy it very much, which is why I'm dropping it.

Any advice greatly appreciated!
The problem here is that you're left with Maths, Further Maths and Physics. I am not entirely sure what Oxford's policy on the matter is, but I do know that a lot of Universities only count Maths and Further Maths as one A Level. Ordinarily, I would say "Three is fine" because that generally is the case. Obviously, A*A*AA looks better than A*A*A but the latter is still fine - you definitely will not be seriously disadvantaged by just taking 3 A Levels in principle. This is the general case, but Maths and Further Maths is the only possible exception to this. You might be best off emailing Oxford about this - they'll be more than happy to give you advice.
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colourtheory
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I did 3 A-Levels and am starting at Oxford in October You don't need to do four, although in your situation I think it would be wise to do all four, purely because of the essay writing element. You should know, however, that English Language comes second to English Literature so you might be a little disadvantaged there. Saying that though, it will definitely be accepted as a fourth subject
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natninja
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
The problem here is that you're left with Maths, Further Maths and Physics. I am not entirely sure what Oxford's policy on the matter is, but I do know that a lot of Universities only count Maths and Further Maths as one A Level. Ordinarily, I would say "Three is fine" because that generally is the case. Obviously, A*A*AA looks better than A*A*A but the latter is still fine - you definitely will not be seriously disadvantaged by just taking 3 A Levels in principle. This is the general case, but Maths and Further Maths is the only possible exception to this. You might be best off emailing Oxford about this - they'll be more than happy to give you advice.
Oxford consider Maths and Further Maths to be two seperate A-levels.
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Paradoxic
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Yeah, they do consider them to be two separate A-Levels, and I wanted to do English Literature originally but my school wouldn't let me do both Further Maths and Lit
I guess it comes down to whether having an essay writing subject is preferable to a higher likelihood of success in Maths and Physics and a higher volume of further reading which I would be able to do within the field of Maths & Philosophy.
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Mr M
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
I am not entirely sure what Oxford's policy on the matter is, but I do know that a lot of Universities only count Maths and Further Maths as one A Level.
Noooooooooooooooo.
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Chlorophile
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(Original post by Mr M)
Noooooooooooooooo.
The last time I told someone that they count them as two separate A Levels, I got dozens of people telling me that they don't. Now I'm being told the total opposite.
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Mr M
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
The last time I told someone that they count them as two separate A Levels, I got dozens of people telling me that they don't. Now I'm being told the total opposite.
This single counting thing relates to medicine applications at certain universities. I don't believe it is an issue for any other subject and Further Maths is highly desirable for applications to mathematics.
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Chlorophile
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(Original post by Mr M)
This single counting thing relates to medicine applications at certain universities. I don't believe it is an issue for any other subject and Further Maths is highly desirable for applications to mathematics.
I know that Further Maths is highly desirable or necessary for Mathematics, but when I told someone that a Physics/Maths/Further Maths combination is fine, I got lots of angry responses telling me that tons of universities count Further Maths and Maths as one thing. I'm more than happy to accept the contrary - I don't really understand why they would regard them as one A Level - but I'm just saying what many others told me. That advice was not for Medicine though, it was with relation to Geology and Natural Sciences.
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Mr M
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(Original post by Chlorophile)
That advice was not for Medicine though, it was with relation to Geology and Natural Sciences.
Sounds like they had rocks for brains.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Mr M)
This single counting thing relates to medicine applications at certain universities. I don't believe it is an issue for any other subject and Further Maths is highly desirable for applications to mathematics.
Perhaps you would like to consider this as well.

http://www.lse.ac.uk/study/undergrad...economics.aspx
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fluteflute
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(Original post by Paradoxic)
I'm going to be applying to Oxford for Maths & Philosophy this October, and have recently been on their website to find that an A level in an essay-writing subject is strongly recommended.
I was originally planning on dropping English Language (Leaving Maths, Further Maths and Physics) but this has made me reconsider - will taking English Language to AS level be enough or would it be a lot more beneficial to take it to A Level.

In case you're wondering I achieved an A in English Language, but just didn't enjoy it very much, which is why I'm dropping it.

Any advice greatly appreciated!
Where did you see that? The official table of requirements doesn't mention that for Maths&Philosophy. For CS&Phil then a subject involving essay writing is noted as 'helpful' (i.e. but not 'essential', and not even 'recommended' or 'highly desirable'). For example, I got a place for CS&Phil without doing an essay writing subject to A2.

Best to focus on what you enjoy, and do really well at that. Which also leaves time to enjoy your interests outside of the A level course

(Original post by Paradoxic)
Also, almost every applicant I have seen apply to Oxford has taken four subjects - is this beneficial in any way, or is it pure coincidence?
It's not needed
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Mr M
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Perhaps you would like to consider this as well.

http://www.lse.ac.uk/study/undergrad...economics.aspx
Edit: I found what you were referring to. Very ignorant of LSE in my opinion. I hadn't seen that before though so thanks for pointing to it.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Mr M)
Sorry - what am I looking for?
...
Please note, however, that Further Maths, if taken as a full A level, is generally seen as an 'additional' or fourth subject, rather than a substitute for one of your three main subjects. Thus a combination of Maths, Further Maths and one other subject is not seen as providing the required breadth of knowledge and skills.
In addition, see the comments from the Mathematical Association:-


There is some evidence that a few employers, and university departments, regard Maths and Further Maths as 2 out of 3 A Levels, to be rather narrow; this is less true for careers requiring a high degree of numeracy, or for students showing a range of experience in their wider portfolio. The question does not arise for students offering 4 A Levels.
http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct...up-4tQ&cad=rja

Or these from Bristol

Applicants applying for our programmes with a narrow A level subject mix e.g. three A levels from only Maths; Further Maths; Physics; Chemistry and/or Statistics, OR, those applicants applying with a subject mix that is less relevant to our degree programmes e.g. including Art & Design, Photography, Textiles and/or language subjects, are likely to receive offers at the higher end of the published offer range.
http://search.ucas.com/course/entryr...24&ret=results
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Mr M
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
...
Those notes from The MA come from some legacy document from over a decade ago - I'll make sure it doesn't appear on the new website when it goes live in the next few weeks.

Please be careful not to give legs to the idea that Further Maths A Level limits degree choice. It is really rare for it to do so. FM has never had a higher profile as education ministers actively promote it in almost every speech they make and have underpinned its status as a Facilitating Subject in Informed Choices by creating new Performance Table measures to increase uptake.
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Paradoxic
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(Original post by fluteflute)
Where did you see that? The official table of requirements doesn't mention that for Maths&Philosophy.
In the maths and philosophy brochure - https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/system/fi...ntrobook14.pdf

"Preferentially,students should also study an A-Level which involves some essay writing"
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fluteflute
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(Original post by Paradoxic)
In the maths and philosophy brochure - https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/system/fi...ntrobook14.pdf

"Preferentially,students should also study an A-Level which involves some essay writing"
Ah okay. So my advice is the same as it was before: best not to do English if you don't enjoy it much. Having done AS shows them you can write essays.
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Paradoxic
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Thanks fluteflute, can I also ask do you think I should explain my decision to drop English Language in favour of further reading in my personal statement, or do you think that it will be self explanatory?
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fluteflute
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(Original post by Paradoxic)
Thanks fluteflute, can I also ask do you think I should explain my decision to drop English Language in favour of further reading in my personal statement, or do you think that it will be self explanatory?
I think it's self explanatory
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