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A Level Choices

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thanks for all your help!

unfortunately the school i'm moving to doesn't do the IB, but it will let me do 5 ASs(part of the reason why i'm going there). I don't think I'd want to do natural sciences because I'm not that interested in biology or physics, so hopefully I'll be ok just taking chemistry and maths so that I can apply for a chemistry/ chemistry & business degree?

I think i'm going to take english lit, business studies and philosophy AS, at least in the first term, because i'm really interested in business studies and i looked at some past papers and it looks fairly easy (in relation to chemistry/maths, anyway); and then maybe drop one after a term or so.

But i was thinking of possibly teaching myself general studies, possibly in upper 6, so i'd have an extra AS/A-level because at my current school the 6th form only have 1hr of general studies lessons each week and most of them get As at A2, so it shouldn't take up too much of my time, and it will give me extra ucas points - and maybe show that i can take responsibility for my own learning?

please can someone tell me if they think this is a good idea?

thanks!
you could certainly teach yourself general studies. we were entered for it with ZERO teaching or prep - I got a B without even looking at a past paper. it's certainly easier if you do a combination of art/sciences.

but is general studies worth doing? what does every one else think?

most top unis make offers in terms of A level grades not UCAS points. most, & certainly for more competitive course, exclude general studies from their offers (this is not true for all courses at York as I've said).

if you want to show self-organisation & commitment to your subject (once you decide on it!), you'd be better increasing your depth with extra reading & possibly an AEA (no extra material to A level but more depth). somewhere on the cambridge web site there are two articles making the point that they would rather you gained depth than added multiple A levels. Not many state schools offer AEA's but admissions tutors will be impressed and the extra reading will give you something to talk about in personal statement/interviews.

hope this helps.
Reply 42
To be honest I really would question the value of teaching yourself General Studies, unless you already know that some of the universities to which you're intending to apply give offers including it. If you really do want to take it however, it does take minimal work, especially if you take A Level Maths, I myself got 292/300 at AS without any lessons or even seeing a past paper.

I'm in agreement with Peachmelba, wider reading or perhaps an AEA would show a much greater commitment to independent learning.
Reply 43
i'm having trouble deciding my A Level options. I really enjoy history, and am definitely taking this, but am unsure about my other three AS subjects (we take GS as well). I was thinking Maths, Spanish and Physics, but i would also like to take chemistry. I don't want to definitely reject a science degree yet. I wonder what people think of this, and what advide they would give.
Wenham
i'm having trouble deciding my A Level options. I really enjoy history, and am definitely taking this, but am unsure about my other three AS subjects (we take GS as well). I was thinking Maths, Spanish and Physics, but i would also like to take chemistry. I don't want to definitely reject a science degree yet. I wonder what people think of this, and what advide they would give.


I think that you should take chemistry if you might want to do a science degree, because you definitely need it for biology/biochemistry/medicine/chemistry degrees, and it's helpful for a physics degree too - some unis even say chemistry A level is more important than biology A level for a biology degree!

If you want to take a chem degree, you'll need maths, and unis really like maths for most science degrees, according to my school careers advisor! However, if you want to do a physics degree you'll def need maths & pref further maths so ideally you need to decide whether you'd prefer a physics-based or chemistry/biology-based degree if you did do a science degree.

If you want to take a history degree, you'd probably need at least one other essay subject (english lit, philosophy, classics...) as well as history...

i suggest taking:
1. history
2. english lit/philosophy/classics etc. (spanish might be ok, but it's not really essay-based enough to be considered as relevant as english lit)

with
maths & chemistry
if you'd prefer a chemistry-based or medicine degree; bio & chem if you'd prefer a biology-based degree; and maths & physics if you'd prefer a physics-based degree.

if you do decide to take a physics degree, it might be worth taking further maths AS in year 13, instead of taking the A2 english lit/philosophy modules; but you don't have to decide that now!

hope i helped - feel free to msg me if you want to ask about what i said!
Reply 45
Thanks a lot for the advice. I would like to know what other people would do (too much advice isn't necessarily bad).:smile:
A girl in my year does Chemistry, Biology, English Lit. and History, which I think displays a lot of variety.

You could do those, plus Maths.
Reply 47
Epitomessence
A girl in my year does Chemistry, Biology, English Lit. and History, which I think displays a lot of variety.


I think that's an awesome combination.:biggrin:
Ahem... plus Physics AS that's what i went for. If you're thinking of pursuing a pure science at university Maths would be fairly useful too though.
If you end up doing a science degree at uni maths is really useful. people in my year who only did GCSE maths are struggling a little, but i cant say what it would be like for other universities.

A friend of mine wanted to do medicine originally at uni but then changed his mind to english in his last year of sixth form. he found it difficult to get a place anywhere with only one arts subject... bear that in mind...
Reply 49
regtheswift
If you end up doing a science degree at uni maths is really useful. people in my year who only did GCSE maths are struggling a little, but i cant say what it would be like for other universities.

A friend of mine wanted to do medicine originally at uni but then changed his mind to english in his last year of sixth form. he found it difficult to get a place anywhere with only one arts subject... bear that in mind...


In terms of weird subject choices, I have a German friend who did IB and did Maths, Chemistry and Biology. She's now doing law at UCL...
Elles
I think that's an awesome combination.:biggrin:
Ahem... plus Physics AS that's what i went for. If you're thinking of pursuing a pure science at university Maths would be fairly useful too though.
Great combination indeed. :biggrin: :wink:
I think you should pick a side and study it well.

From the Cambridge website:

Subject combinations designed to keep options open (maximise the number of courses that could be applied for) often create an applicant who is less than ideally qualified for the one they eventually choose, and Cambridge would prefer applicants thinking of stretching themselves, having chosen a coherent set of A-levels, to do so by stretching themselves 'vertically' by taking one or two Advanced Extension Awards rather than 'horizontally' by taking a further A-level
Reply 52
I think you'll find that the majority of people on these forums are all rounders. I assume you'd find the same at Oxbridge (though obviously those accepted have chosen a discipline). Though it is hard to chose your subjects, you really have to do it. I found that thinking about it too much messed things up more, so whilst I do advise you to give careful consideration to your subjects don't worry about them too much! I now wish that I'd have gone with my original choice of Chem, Physics, Maths and Geo instead of Chem, Bio, Maths and History.

Infact, I was in the same position as you are now. I had to chose between arts and sciences, and I chose sciences with one art subject, though I was arguably better at arts. E.g. in my GCSES I got 4.5A*s in the arts/humanties subjects and got one A* in Chem.

I too am stuck between deciding on my choices for University! I have no idea if I should do History or Chemistry at university. My only consolation for you is that for a History degree only History is necessary, whereas for Maths they want other sciences to back it up.

And beforehand I said I really wish I'd do Geography instead of History, because the Geography would have backed up my sciences (Earth Sciences) whereas the History has completely confused me. Also, if you take just History be prepared to put in 5 x as much effort for His as you do your other subjects. The essays will be difficult if you only do them for one subject. You'll be disadvantaged compared to the other students because the majority will be taking other art subjects and will have more essay practise.

The skills you learn, however, are vital. They have provided me with sound note taking skills, which benefit me in the sciences when I have to make notes. It also helps my analysis skills. But, as you will be taking Physics and FM, the skills you gain now might not be much help to in the present, but will undoubtedly help you later in life.

All I can say is follow your heart, and don't put too much pressure on yourself. Just take into consideration the difference in work that you may experience doing all sciences and one art. it is there, and it may be a shock. But I think your choices are fine if you're prepared to work! If you're that wrorried email the admissions tutors.

For Oxbridge History you have an interview, submit work and take an aptitude test which show your ability.

Edit: Just realised there's 3 pages hahaha. Only read the first. Oh well! I was bored :wink: And wow that was a long post. But I really do struggle with the gap between the workload of the arts/sciences, and people on tsr are brainy so no one ever mentions it/experiences it. This is a rant I've needed for a while lol..

But seriously, my friend does German, History, Bio and Chem and she wants to do History at uni. She meailed all the unis she wants to apply to and they've said it's absolutely fine.
Reply 53
please help me. i have already chosen maths, spanish, history and philosphy. is that an acceptable ocmbination or should i switch philosophy or maths for english literature. i want to do history at university
thanks
Those are fine A-levels, there's no reason to change unless you wish to.
Reply 55
I got an offer for History at Oxford this year studying History, English Literature and French at A level, with an AS level (grade B, stupid C2 . . .) in Maths. Lots of universities seem to appreciate a language for History for some reason - perhaps because it provides the option to study foreign historical sources/texts in their original language - but there really doesn't seem to be any particular requirements for History, apart from History itself. I know another successful History applicant for the same Oxford college who has got an offer studying History, Chemistry and Maths at A level, with a B in English Literature AS.

So my advice for a History applicant would be to take History and then whatever other subjects you enjoy. If you are genuinely interested in studying for a History degree then you should be able to provide evidence of that beyond the classroom, so your subjects aren't of critical importance. Just stick to the recognised academic subjects and work hard.

xXx
peachmelba
at cambridge, chemistry comes under natural sciences. 2 sciences are the absolute minimum, according to the web site;


It's actually two science and mathematics subjects, so chemistry and maths would count as two. If you are considering doing natural sciences it would be worth looking at the required grades for the individual parts of the first year tripos. They seem to have added computer science as a first year option from 2008, which means that it is possible to do the required four subjects with only maths and another science.

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