An important decision: History of Biology A level?

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Wisefox
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I'm looking for some guidance: my chosen sixth form is making me choose between History and Biology, because of their curriculum blocks. Therefore, I can't have both because they come under the same block. Also, choosing to study elsewhere is not an option- my older sisters went to this sixth form and my parents hate change.

I really want the opinion of someone who has studied both- but I value the opinion of people who have studied only one. I've already looked elsewhere for guidance: family, and the internet. And honestly it wasn't really helpful, I just keep hearing that " History is easy, so go for biology- for a challenge!" Needless to say, I hate this point. I mean, History at GCSE level was difficult.

Also, for both courses I've got the required grades- AB in science (core and additional) and A* in History. As, well as the required B in English and Maths.
So, yeah please offer me some advice/tips/ guidance. I really am struggling.

The courses I plan to do with it are: Psychology, Sociology and RE or ICT. And at the end of college, i plan to pursue a career in nursing, or continue my studies in Psychology.
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Changing Skies
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(Original post by SaarahN)
I'm looking for some guidance: my chosen sixth form is making me choose between History and Biology, because of their curriculum blocks. Therefore, I can't have both because they come under the same block. Also, choosing to study elsewhere is not an option- my older sisters went to this sixth form and my parents hate change.

I really want the opinion of someone who has studied both- but I value the opinion of people who have studied only one. I've already looked elsewhere for guidance: family, and the internet. And honestly it wasn't really helpful, I just keep hearing that " History is easy, so go for biology- for a challenge!" Needless to say, I hate this point. I mean, History at GCSE level was difficult.

Also, for both courses I've got the required grades- AB in science (core and additional) and A* in History. As, well as the required B in English and Maths.
So, yeah please offer me some advice/tips/ guidance. I really am struggling.

The courses I plan to do with it are: Psychology, Sociology and RE or ICT
Hey, I studied both and am currently studying both at degree level so like to think I could give you a bit of an insight. Firstly, history is most certainly not easy! There is a great deal of content you have to know, you have to be able to write succinctly, convincingly, and have a clear answer in your head when writing an essay. You're often expected to say whether or not you agree with a statement, to what extent, what had the greatest impact etc, whilst simultaneously arguing both sides. I absolutely loved A Level History and would recommend it to anyone who is prepared to put the work into it. It's interesting, challenging at times, and very rewarding

I also really loved A Level Biology. You cover a wide range of topics and you really do learn some fascinating stuff. Obviously, this subject is very different to history and so the skills involved are very different. Whilst this also requires a great deal of memorisation and content, it also requires a great deal of interpretation. In the exams, you'll be presented with questions that may appear to be based around things you haven't directly learnt, but it's all about using your existing knowledge of certain processes and so on.

You should also take into account what you may want to do in the future. Biology would obviously open up a more scientific route, and if you ended up enjoying it, you could consider studying it further as you'd also have psychology, and most universities want two sciences for a biology course, a lot accepting psychology as a second science. Both go very well together too

Definitely consider which you'd enjoy more as they both require a great deal of effort, and you should ensure you're going to like it. Do a bit of research around the two A Levels and see if one appeals more than the other

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Wisefox
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(Original post by Changing Skies)
Hey, I studied both and am currently studying both at degree level so like to think I could give you a bit of an insight. Firstly, history is most certainly not easy! There is a great deal of content you have to know, you have to be able to write succinctly, convincingly, and have a clear answer in your head when writing an essay. You're often expected to say whether or not you agree with a statement, to what extent, what had the greatest impact etc, whilst simultaneously arguing both sides. I absolutely loved A Level History and would recommend it to anyone who is prepared to put the work into it. It's interesting, challenging at times, and very rewarding

I also really loved A Level Biology. You cover a wide range of topics and you really do learn some fascinating stuff. Obviously, this subject is very different to history and so the skills involved are very different. Whilst this also requires a great deal of memorisation and content, it also requires a great deal of interpretation. In the exams, you'll be presented with questions that may appear to be based around things you haven't directly learnt, but it's all about using your existing knowledge of certain processes and so on.

You should also take into account what you may want to do in the future. Biology would obviously open up a more scientific route, and if you ended up enjoying it, you could consider studying it further as you'd also have psychology, and most universities want two sciences for a biology course, a lot accepting psychology as a second science. Both go very well together too

Definitely consider which you'd enjoy more as they both require a great deal of effort, and you should ensure you're going to like it. Do a bit of research around the two A Levels and see if one appeals more than the other

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Thank you, that is really helpful and right now I'm leaning toward choosing History- i told them this in my interview. It's just i don't want to regret anything, for instance in my gcse choices i choose geography instead of art. And i hated myself for it

And the really frustrating thing is that i worked really hard to get my B grades in English and Maths, and this was all for Biology because my History teacher said she'd make an exception for me, anyway. (I'm going to the sixth form of my high school).

I really do think i enjoy History far more than Biology....but I'm still a bit iffy on my choice.
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Big Blue Machine
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(Original post by SaarahN)
I'm looking for some guidance: my chosen sixth form is making me choose between History and Biology, because of their curriculum blocks. Therefore, I can't have both because they come under the same block. Also, choosing to study elsewhere is not an option- my older sisters went to this sixth form and my parents hate change.

I really want the opinion of someone who has studied both- but I value the opinion of people who have studied only one. I've already looked elsewhere for guidance: family, and the internet. And honestly it wasn't really helpful, I just keep hearing that " History is easy, so go for biology- for a challenge!" Needless to say, I hate this point. I mean, History at GCSE level was difficult.

Also, for both courses I've got the required grades- AB in science (core and additional) and A* in History. As, well as the required B in English and Maths.
So, yeah please offer me some advice/tips/ guidance. I really am struggling.

The courses I plan to do with it are: Psychology, Sociology and RE or ICT
You've been given some daft advice. History and Biology A Level are of similar difficulty, and both very respected. Don't ' go for a challenge' go for what you will do best at, enjoy and get something out of.

Don't let your family tell you to do Science A Levels, as they're more or less equal in terms respected to humanities over all. It's entry requirements which dictate which one is better than the other

If you chose Biology, you'd have a chance for Biology/ Psychology degrees, lower down in the table. Normally with sciences you need quite 2 or 3 out of maths chemistry physics Biology to go to Russell unis.

History will be very helpful if you want to a humanity or social science degree, especially given your other arts/ humanities A Levels are not facilitating ( though RS is traditional and respected).

I'd say, either do History and see about swapping Sociology to Geography or Eng Lit, or do Biology and see about swapping sociology for chemistry maths and physics.

Go for what will give you good grades, but keep the facilitating subjects( Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, History, Geography, Modern and Classical Languages and English Literature) in mind.
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Changing Skies
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(Original post by SaarahN)
Thank you, that is really helpful and right now I'm leaning toward choosing History- i told them this in my interview. It's just i don't want to regret anything, for instance in my gcse choices i choose geography instead of art. And i hated myself for it

And the really frustrating thing is that i worked really hard to get my B grades in English and Maths, and this was all for Biology because my History teacher said she'd make an exception for me, anyway. (I'm going to the sixth form of my high school).

I really do think i enjoy History far more than Biology....but I'm still a bit iffy on my choice.
I think if you enjoy history more you should go for that! I know it's worrying in case you might regret it, but that could be said for every choice
(Original post by Big Blue Machine)
You've been given some daft advice. History and Biology A Level are of similar difficulty, and both very respected. Don't ' go for a challenge' go for what you will do best at, enjoy and get something out of.

Don't let your family tell you to do Science A Levels, as they're more or less equal in terms respected to humanities over all. It's entry requirements which dictate which one is better than the other

If you chose Biology, you'd have a chance for Biology/ Psychology degrees, lower down in the table. Normally with sciences you need quite 2 or 3 out of maths chemistry physics Biology to go to Russell unis.

History will be very helpful if you want to a humanity or social science degree, especially given your other arts/ humanities A Levels are not facilitating ( though RS is traditional and respected).

I'd say, either do History and see about swapping Sociology to Geography or Eng Lit, or do Biology and see about swapping sociology for chemistry maths and physics.

Go for what will give you good grades, but keep the facilitating subjects( Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, History, Geography, Modern and Classical Languages and English Literature) in mind.
I agree with what you've said, however you can definitely get into RG unis for biology with psychology as a science, Liverpool, Leeds and Exeter being examples I know Manchester wouldn't allow that though.


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Big Blue Machine
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(Original post by Changing Skies)
I think if you enjoy history more you should go for that! I know it's worrying in case you might regret it, but that could be said for every choice

I agree with what you've said, however you can definitely get into RG unis for biology with psychology as a science, Liverpool, Leeds and Exeter being examples I know Manchester wouldn't allow that though.


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It's good you've done your research!
If you're sure. But more stereotypically competitive applicants will tend to have Chem/ Phys/ maths.
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Wisefox
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(Original post by Big Blue Machine)
Go for what will give you good grades, but keep the facilitating subjects( Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, History, Geography, Modern and Classical Languages and English Literature) in mind.
You're definitely correct, and I guess it's because they are both facilitating subjects, that I figured they will work together. I just wish I hadn't been put down by the interviewer. I told her that I wanted to do both subjects, she then reminded me of the option blocks and said "i don't know why you'd want to do Biology, as well, with your History choice." And stupidly i said you're right.

Teachers are supposed to be encouraging and motivating- I guess this teacher didn't get the memo. I'm planning on approaching another sixth form teacher-during school time- to let her know of my worries.

Also, for a lot of the facilitating subjects you mentioned, i pretty much scraped by with a B. For example, for maths my GCSE grade B was the first-ever B (in Maths) I've ever received. So i don't want to do a subject that will take up all my study time. And I absolutely resent picking geography for GCSE. I'm not planning on making the same mistake.
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claireestelle
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(Original post by SaarahN)
I'm looking for some guidance: my chosen sixth form is making me choose between History and Biology, because of their curriculum blocks. Therefore, I can't have both because they come under the same block. Also, choosing to study elsewhere is not an option- my older sisters went to this sixth form and my parents hate change.

I really want the opinion of someone who has studied both- but I value the opinion of people who have studied only one. I've already looked elsewhere for guidance: family, and the internet. And honestly it wasn't really helpful, I just keep hearing that " History is easy, so go for biology- for a challenge!" Needless to say, I hate this point. I mean, History at GCSE level was difficult.

Also, for both courses I've got the required grades- AB in science (core and additional) and A* in History. As, well as the required B in English and Maths.
So, yeah please offer me some advice/tips/ guidance. I really am struggling.

The courses I plan to do with it are: Psychology, Sociology and RE or ICT. And at the end of college, i plan to pursue a career in nursing, or continue my studies in Psychology.
If you did want to go down the nursing route you d be fine for most unis by doing psychology and sociology,biology would give you an advantage but it really wouldn't be necessary for most places
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Wisefox
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(Original post by claireestelle)
If you did want to go down the nursing route you d be fine for most unis by doing psychology and sociology,biology would give you an advantage but it really wouldn't be necessary for most places
I guess that sounds cool and pretty fortunate, especially since I want to make a super informed choice of a career. What places do you speak of?
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claireestelle
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(Original post by SaarahN)
I guess that sounds cool and pretty fortunate, especially since I want to make a super informed choice of a career. What places do you speak of?
All the universites for nursing and their subject requirements are listed here:
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki...y_requirements

I d say roughly half say they "prefer" biology or any sciences or social sciences.
Which seeing as you've 2 social science a levels, I couldn't see you having any problems applying for any universities except possibly Kings college london and Liverpool who seem to want a "biological" science
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Wisefox
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(Original post by claireestelle)
All the universites for nursing and their subject requirements are listed here:
http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki...y_requirements

I d say roughly half say they "prefer" biology or any sciences or social sciences.
Which seeing as you've 2 social science a levels, I couldn't see you having any problems applying for any universities except possibly Kings college london and Liverpool who seem to want a "biological" science
Thank you, for bearing good news I guess, that is it then....History is my choice.
Though, it means I will have only one facilitating subject (History) therefore, I may not receive many university offers... this may prove to be problematic, later down the road. Is Religious Studies considered a facilitating subject, is ICT favoured more?
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Big Blue Machine
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(Original post by SaarahN)
You're definitely correct, and I guess it's because they are both facilitating subjects, that I figured they will work together. I just wish I hadn't been put down by the interviewer. I told her that I wanted to do both subjects, she then reminded me of the option blocks and said "i don't know why you'd want to do Biology, as well, with your History choice." And stupidly i said you're right.

Teachers are supposed to be encouraging and motivating- I guess this teacher didn't get the memo. I'm planning on approaching another sixth form teacher-during school time- to let her know of my worries.

Also, for a lot of the facilitating subjects you mentioned, i pretty much scraped by with a B. For example, for maths my GCSE grade B was the first-ever B (in Maths) I've ever received. So i don't want to do a subject that will take up all my study time. And I absolutely resent picking geography for GCSE. I'm not planning on making the same mistake.
Yes she's not right at all. I do a mix of humanities and sciences, and I feel everyone should. Or else you stop developing a certain set of skills at GCSE. It shows intellectual agility. Try and try to see if you can do Biology and History some how.

That's why they're facilitating, because they're hard. There are other options you can do for your final 2. A levels like Music, Religious Studies, Economics, classical civilisation are quite respected. Maybe as a 4th do Psychology, Sociology, Gov Pol or even media.
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claireestelle
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(Original post by SaarahN)
Thank you, for bearing good news I guess, that is it then....History is my choice.
Though, it means I will have only one facilitating subject (History) therefore, I may not receive many university offers... this may prove to be problematic, later down the road. Is Religious Studies considered a facilitating subject, is ICT favoured more?
I think with facilitating subjects obviously history on its own wouldn't allow you to do an incredibly science based degree but if you want to other things then it shouldn't cause much of a problem i would have thought
I think religious studies would be a better option for degrees involving essays and the like rather than ICT but I don't think either are specifically considered "faciliating" but doesn't mean you shouldn't do either of them, I think if you went for nursing religious studies would be good to give you an appreciation of others values
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Wisefox
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(Original post by Big Blue Machine)
Yes she's not right at all. I do a mix of humanities and sciences, and I feel everyone should. Or else you stop developing a certain set of skills at GCSE. It shows intellectual agility. Try and try to see if you can do Biology and History some how.

That's why they're facilitating, because they're hard. There are other options you can do for your final 2. A levels like Music, Religious Studies, Economics, classical civilisation are quite respected. Maybe as a 4th do Psychology, Sociology, Gov Pol or even media.
Yeah right now I'm thinking more along the lines of:
History, Psychology, Sociology and Religious Studies.
2 are humanities and the other 2 are social sciences. And they are all essay based. Looking forward to it
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Big Blue Machine
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(Original post by SaarahN)
Yeah right now I'm thinking more along the lines of:
History, Psychology, Sociology and Religious Studies.
2 are humanities and the other 2 are social sciences. And they are all essay based. Looking forward to it
Just letting you know, Sociology is kind of like human geography, so consider that. Have you considered swapping one of sociology and psychology to Economics or Gov Pol?
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Wisefox
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(Original post by Big Blue Machine)
Just letting you know, Sociology is kind of like human geography, so consider that. Have you considered swapping one of sociology and psychology to Economics or Gov Pol?
From what I know of sociology it's intriguing: we explore diversity, culture, families, education, crime...media, rebellions. Geography, however, is places, tectonic hazards, physical processes, charities, industrialisation, migration. Stuff that interests me, but not enough to motivate me to do another year of ìt.

I really do hope to be able to swap RS for Biology....I'm just going to pray. And who knows? If enough students plea for the blocks to adjust, it may just happen.
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