English Literature or Government & Politics AS?

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l_williams
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Hi there,

I'm currently stuck between doing English Lit or Government & Politics at AS next year. I'm definitely (if all goes to plan) going to go into medicine and would love some advice from people taking those subjects.

GCSEs/iGCSEs:
Maths, Additional Maths, 3 sciences, English Lit & Lang, French, Design Technology, History, RPE (all predicted A*)

For AS and A2 I'm definitely taking Maths, Chemistry and Biology. I'm struggling to decide though between English Lit or G&P. I currently quite like and enjoy English Lit GCSE but I'm also really interested in real-world politics, current affairs etc. I'm wondering how similar English Lit A2 is to the GCSE, what each subject is like re: workload, exam style, coursework (my year will be the first after the reforms) and whether they are more fact-based learning or analysis and opinion.

I also feel like G&P would show me to be a more interesting and rounded person, and almost everyone who takes it seems to love it. I know it's not considered 'soft', but I have been advised against it by a few very respected teachers in my school. On the other hand, all except one of the English teachers are not very good.

I would basically just be so grateful for any advice or fresh perspectives anyone could give. Thank you!
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l_williams
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Bumping - I need to give in my choices this week.
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Actaeon
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My friends who do English Lit do really enjoy it by and large. Yes, the workload is higher, but that's to be expected. The impression I get is that there are opportunities to form your own opinions and create and justify your own arguments in essays, so it's very good in that respect (I always wish I'd had space to choose it). And in general, it would probably be better respected by unis. To be honest though, as a fourth A level, either one would be fine - universities will be primarily interested in the grades you get in your three relevant subjects. It sounds like G&P is well taught at your school, so I don't think there's any particular problem with either of them. Whichever one you think you'd enjoy more I guess
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l_williams
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(Original post by Actaeon)
My friends who do English Lit do really enjoy it by and large. Yes, the workload is higher, but that's to be expected. The impression I get is that there are opportunities to form your own opinions and create and justify your own arguments in essays, so it's very good in that respect (I always wish I'd had space to choose it). And in general, it would probably be better respected by unis. To be honest though, as a fourth A level, either one would be fine - universities will be primarily interested in the grades you get in your three relevant subjects. It sounds like G&P is well taught at your school, so I don't think there's any particular problem with either of them. Whichever one you think you'd enjoy more I guess
Thank you very much I know it won't greatly affect universities' opinions, but the more information I have about the two courses, the better I'll be able to decide which I would enjoy more.
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subjunctivehistorian
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(Original post by l_williams)
Thank you very much I know it won't greatly affect universities' opinions, but the more information I have about the two courses, the better I'll be able to decide which I would enjoy more.
Hi!

Personally I would recommend English Lit. I am doing it for A-Level and its much more rigorous than Govt and Politics. Although universities generally don't care about your 4th subject, for medicine it can act as a differentiator between two great candidates; furthermore, as it's more rigorous, if you're able to get good grades in your main subjects, it's a bit more impressive.

Also, English allows you to be analytical and question interpretations - both of which will aid you in your medicine interviews.

Good luck!
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ThePhoenixLament
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I did Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English Lit for AS (you may be able to tell where this is going! ). I really enjoyed it despite the fact I spent most of Year 12 thinking I was going to drop it- I ended up dropping Maths due to a illness and not doing well enough at AS to get into the uni I wanted if I continued.
Anyway, I find it is very different to my other subjects as it is an essay subject, but it has certainly helped with Biology coursework as I can write quite concisely and can keep to word limits. I like to think I can, at least!
It is quite similar to the GCSE but you now go in to so much detail contextually, analytically and critically. It is challenging- especially if the exam is closed-book, but it is easier to get marks by having a general understanding of the book. You will need to dramatically improve your essay style but you have time to do that. The markscheme is quite harsh in the upper grade boundaries- you need to accept you will have to have a pretty much perfect essay style before you go in to the exam to get a good grade. It sounds like a horror story, but you will find that your teachers will most likely be harsher markers than your examiners, and I have really enjoyed the texts I studied (Blackadder for A2 yes please!)

I'm sorry I don't know anything about Government& Politics so I can't compare them, but I can tell you my experience of English Lit. Good luck with your GCSEs!
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carpe.noctem
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(Original post by ThePhoenixLament)
I did Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English Lit for AS (you may be able to tell where this is going! ). I really enjoyed it despite the fact I spent most of Year 12 thinking I was going to drop it- I ended up dropping Maths due to a illness and not doing well enough at AS to get into the uni I wanted if I continued.
Anyway, I find it is very different to my other subjects as it is an essay subject, but it has certainly helped with Biology coursework as I can write quite concisely and can keep to word limits. I like to think I can, at least!
It is quite similar to the GCSE but you now go in to so much detail contextually, analytically and critically. It is challenging- especially if the exam is closed-book, but it is easier to get marks by having a general understanding of the book. You will need to dramatically improve your essay style but you have time to do that. The markscheme is quite harsh in the upper grade boundaries- you need to accept you will have to have a pretty much perfect essay style before you go in to the exam to get a good grade. It sounds like a horror story, but you will find that your teachers will most likely be harsher markers than your examiners, and I have really enjoyed the texts I studied (Blackadder for A2 yes please!)

I'm sorry I don't know anything about Government& Politics so I can't compare them, but I can tell you my experience of English Lit. Good luck with your GCSEs!
I want to pick the same AS levels as you and was wondering , how is the workload like ? and is it difficult switching from science to english ?
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gohohome
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I do both G&P and Eng Lit. Are you an exam or coursework person?
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l_williams
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(Original post by subjunctivehistorian)
Hi!

Personally I would recommend English Lit. I am doing it for A-Level and its much more rigorous than Govt and Politics. Although universities generally don't care about your 4th subject, for medicine it can act as a differentiator between two great candidates; furthermore, as it's more rigorous, if you're able to get good grades in your main subjects, it's a bit more impressive.

Also, English allows you to be analytical and question interpretations - both of which will aid you in your medicine interviews.

Good luck!
This is a great help, thank you so much!
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l_williams
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(Original post by ThePhoenixLament)
I did Biology, Chemistry, Maths and English Lit for AS (you may be able to tell where this is going! ). I really enjoyed it despite the fact I spent most of Year 12 thinking I was going to drop it- I ended up dropping Maths due to a illness and not doing well enough at AS to get into the uni I wanted if I continued.
Anyway, I find it is very different to my other subjects as it is an essay subject, but it has certainly helped with Biology coursework as I can write quite concisely and can keep to word limits. I like to think I can, at least!
It is quite similar to the GCSE but you now go in to so much detail contextually, analytically and critically. It is challenging- especially if the exam is closed-book, but it is easier to get marks by having a general understanding of the book. You will need to dramatically improve your essay style but you have time to do that. The markscheme is quite harsh in the upper grade boundaries- you need to accept you will have to have a pretty much perfect essay style before you go in to the exam to get a good grade. It sounds like a horror story, but you will find that your teachers will most likely be harsher markers than your examiners, and I have really enjoyed the texts I studied (Blackadder for A2 yes please!)

I'm sorry I don't know anything about Government& Politics so I can't compare them, but I can tell you my experience of English Lit. Good luck with your GCSEs!
I really appreciate your advice - I know biology, at least in my school, has this one massive piece of coursework that good English skills are required for. It's especially helpful since you've done the exact subjects I'm thinking of. Thank you!
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l_williams
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(Original post by gohohome)
I do both G&P and Eng Lit. Are you an exam or coursework person?
I think I prefer coursework, or at least some, since it takes some stress off the exams - but I can perform well in exams if I've revised well enough. How have you found the subjects?
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gohohome
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(Original post by l_williams)
I think I prefer coursework, or at least some, since it takes some stress off the exams - but I can perform well in exams if I've revised well enough. How have you found the subjects?
English Lit is good for coursework! And your teacher sees your draft and marks it so the actual thing tends to be easier, from experience? G&P is a mark per minute with exams and it's all exams. I definitely loved having one less exam for English

Personally, I like English Lit as a subject more even though I like G&P outside of school more. If that makes sense? But the texts we're studying in Eng Lit are great, that's part of it too; not all schools do the same texts for Eng. Lit., and if I did ww1 stuff for AS I think I wouldn't have liked it as much.
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l_williams
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(Original post by gohohome)
English Lit is good for coursework! And your teacher sees your draft and marks it so the actual thing tends to be easier, from experience? G&P is a mark per minute with exams and it's all exams. I definitely loved having one less exam for English

Personally, I like English Lit as a subject more even though I like G&P outside of school more. If that makes sense? But the texts we're studying in Eng Lit are great, that's part of it too; not all schools do the same texts for Eng. Lit., and if I did ww1 stuff for AS I think I wouldn't have liked it as much.
I didn't know that about the coursework/exam - thank you! I also love politics but I can understand how you prefer it outside of school.
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subjunctivehistorian
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(Original post by l_williams)
This is a great help, thank you so much!
not a problem at all! I hope you manage to make a decision and if you need any more help please ask!
Also if you do decide to do english... I am happy to give you help/advice; I took it last year and I am now doing A2!
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l_williams
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(Original post by subjunctivehistorian)
not a problem at all! I hope you manage to make a decision and if you need any more help please ask!
Also if you do decide to do english... I am happy to give you help/advice; I took it last year and I am now doing A2!
Thank you again I am actually leaning rather more towards English now if I'm honest, due to what people have said here. That would be amazing! It means a lot to me
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Laura57
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If you want to get a high as possible grade, I'd say pick Politics. This is a non-biassed response, as I'm going on to study Literature at Uni next year, I love it, but politics is a lot easier to get good marks in. The workload will be far less and the subject is more about just understanding the political system, not producing hit and miss essays. Unless you love english and wouldn't mind getting a lower mark, I'd say pick politics, where it is a lot easier to get an A

btw i've done both english and politics for AS, and do them both for A2
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ThePhoenixLament
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(Original post by Humzaawan123)
I want to pick the same AS levels as you and was wondering , how is the workload like ? and is it difficult switching from science to english ?
I found the workload quite tricky but I think that was more due to the actual teachers than the subjects being too demanding. I managed to have quite a few meltdowns but again I think that was due to teachers.
In terms of subjects, I couldn't have picked better for me if I tried. Biology and Chemistry linked perfectly. Maths didn't really help at all but it was useful for the A2 Biology coursework in terms of statistics work.
I never really had any issues switching from the sciences to English, but I have to say that they did make me get more bored of writing essays when I got used to writing a few words or numbers or ticking a box!
I think that 4 subjects is the reason I struggled with time-keeping. At A2 I've managed to have time to keep up a 12 hour job and still time to play video games. I probably shouldn't have that much time...
Anyway, my biggest advice to you is to use any free periods you have to do work. Use them to have a break for a bit if you've had a very draining day, but it means you can relax at home or just generally be less stressed and get a proper night's sleep.
The step-up is not as challenging as it is made out to be in terms of content, just you get given more information more often, and are most likely given more work. This overall makes it more a more intense learning process along with having some more complex concepts to get your head around. And then finding out everything you learned at GCSE in Science was either a lie or the incredibly simplified version. It doesn't help!
Anyway, they are some very interesting subjects to take and you may even enjoy them!
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carpe.noctem
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(Original post by ThePhoenixLament)
I found the workload quite tricky but I think that was more due to the actual teachers than the subjects being too demanding. I managed to have quite a few meltdowns but again I think that was due to teachers.
In terms of subjects, I couldn't have picked better for me if I tried. Biology and Chemistry linked perfectly. Maths didn't really help at all but it was useful for the A2 Biology coursework in terms of statistics work.
I never really had any issues switching from the sciences to English, but I have to say that they did make me get more bored of writing essays when I got used to writing a few words or numbers or ticking a box!
I think that 4 subjects is the reason I struggled with time-keeping. At A2 I've managed to have time to keep up a 12 hour job and still time to play video games. I probably shouldn't have that much time...
Anyway, my biggest advice to you is to use any free periods you have to do work. Use them to have a break for a bit if you've had a very draining day, but it means you can relax at home or just generally be less stressed and get a proper night's sleep.
The step-up is not as challenging as it is made out to be in terms of content, just you get given more information more often, and are most likely given more work. This overall makes it more a more intense learning process along with having some more complex concepts to get your head around. And then finding out everything you learned at GCSE in Science was either a lie or the incredibly simplified version. It doesn't help!
Anyway, they are some very interesting subjects to take and you may even enjoy them!
haha thanks , i am quite scared that i am taking on more than i can handle, if you don't mind me asking what were your grades in the end ? and what degree did you do ?
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ThePhoenixLament
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(Original post by Humzaawan123)
haha thanks , i am quite scared that i am taking on more than i can handle, if you don't mind me asking what were your grades in the end ? and what degree did you do ?
I got an A in Biology, B in Chemistry and English Lit and C in Maths (thank you appeal otherwise I would have got an E!). I've applied to uni this year and have an unconditional offer for Pharmacy at Keele which I am about 70% sure I will accept as I love the place, the course and I get really stressed over exams. Have you got any idea what course you want to do yet?

I'm sure you'll be fine with AS- it's a very different experience to GCSE and the end is very nearly in sight!
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username1229433
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Choose English Literature.


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