Is it more advantageous to take 4 a-levels rather than 3?

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Nadine_08
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#1
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Why/ why not?

Would it be better if I took only 3 AS levels and worked hard to get good grades in them and then continued to focus on them in A2, as opposed to taking 4 and getting averageish grades? What about in terms of UMS points?
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suirrel
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No.

To take 4 AS levels and 3 A2 levels is what all universities expect and desire. Taking more literally only takes time away from each subject and decreases your potential grades.

Oxbridge have officially said that they DO NOT count more than 3 A2 / 4 AS levels as most people don't have the opportunity to take more than this amount.

You'll get a lot of grammar school types saying that they did 14874 A2 exams and got A*s with 99% UMS in all exams but eh, you should take that with a pinch of salt.

A levels are really hard - you need all the time you can to really maximise your grades, especially if you do not go to a private/grammar school.
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Sixteeen
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If you're a capable student, take 4. If you discover one of your subjects isn't quite what you expected, it makes it much easier to stop one
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inachigeek21
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Advantageous? Yes.
Stressful? Triple the yes.
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Nadine_08
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So, would it be better if I took only 3 AS levels and worked hard to get good grades in them and then continued to focus on them in A2, as opposed to taking 4 and getting averageish grades? What about in terms of UMS points?
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suirrel
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(Original post by Nadine_08)
So, would it be better if I took only 3 AS levels and worked hard to get good grades in them and then continued to focus on them in A2, as opposed to taking 4 and getting averageish grades? What about in terms of UMS points?
Thought you meant taking 4 A2 levels.

You DEFINITELY should take 4 AS levels! It would be better to get 4 decent AS grades then drop the subject you got the worst mark in or dislike. If you only do 3 AS levels then you run the risk of not really being able to drop one at A2 if you don't like or are struggling with it.
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Nadine_08
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(Original post by suirrel)
Thought you meant taking 4 A2 levels.

You DEFINITELY should take 4 AS levels! It would be better to get 4 decent AS grades then drop the subject you got the worst mark in or dislike. If you only do 3 AS levels then you run the risk of not really being able to drop one at A2 if you don't like or are struggling with it.
Sorry about that, I should have made it clearer; I'll edit my post.

But what if I do badly in the fourth one? Universities will see this? Also, the fourth one might decrease my achievement in the other 3 as it will require time and take it off the other 3 subjects? Isn't it better to have 3 'good' grades instead of 3 'decent' grades and one bad one? Do you know what I mean?
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suirrel
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(Original post by Nadine_08)
Sorry about that, I should have made it clearer; I'll edit my post.

But what if I do badly in the fourth one? Universities will see this? Also, the fourth one might decrease my achievement in the other 3 as it will require time and take it off the other 3 subjects? Isn't it better to have 3 'good' grades instead of 3 'decent' grades and one bad one? Do you know what I mean?
Well most people assume that they will not do awfully in their 4th subject.

Universities generally only ask for "good" grades from your 3 A2s, the AS is to show breadth of study and often universities allow you to get a lower grade in it or they don't look at it at all.
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loperdoper
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With the exception of a handful of universities for a handful of courses, having a 4th AS doesn't really make a difference. It's useful to have a fourth AS so if you do unexpectedly badly in one of your subjects or you discover that you really hate one of your subjects, you're not stuck in Year 13, but it's not really essential in most cases.
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Nadine_08
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(Original post by suirrel)
Well most people assume that they will not do awfully in their 4th subject.

Universities generally only ask for "good" grades from your 3 A2s, the AS is to show breadth of study and often universities allow you to get a lower grade in it or they don't look at it at all.
I'm kind of just worried about having a problem with time and not being able to cope.
Anyway, thanks!
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Nadine_08
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(Original post by loperdoper)
With the exception of a handful of universities for a handful of courses, having a 4th AS doesn't really make a difference. It's useful to have a fourth AS so if you do unexpectedly badly in one of your subjects or you discover that you really hate one of your subjects, you're not stuck in Year 13, but it's not really essential in most cases.
Ohh okay, thanks!
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Kaeseia
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Keep in mind that an extra A level means extra work, extra time taken up. Depending on the degree you want, it would be more advantageous to use this time to gain relevant work/volunteering experience to beef up the personality part of your personal statement.

It would be detrimental if you barely had anything to write about except that you did one more A level than most people.
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