Is doing R.S A Level a good idea if I didn't do it for GCSE?

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username2324315
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Hi,
I'm in Year 11 at the moment but I will be picking my choices soon.
My school is quite different from others, as we are recommended to pick 3 A Levels which we have to do for 2 years. We can do AS level in only Maths, Further Maths, and DT, however I'm not interested in doing one of these 3 subjects on top of my other 3 A Levels.
Instead, I would like to do History (definitely), French (definitely), Spanish (probably), and R.S (maybe).
I would have to study 4 subjects for A Level which is possible but not recommended because of the work load, but I'm unsure if I want to do this as I didn't do R.S for GCSE.
I know that the A Levels are changing so nobody will have past experience of doing the newly updated subjects, but did/is anyone on here doing 4 A Levels (for Year 12 & Year 13) and finding it ok?

PS. I would like to study languages at uni combined with possibly International Relations or something like that and I think that R.S might come in useful for this.
PPS. My teachers say that I could possibly drop one subject during the first few weeks of A Level and do an EPQ instead, as just 3 A Levels might not look like enough without an AS/EPQ/4th subject.
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TSR Jessica
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Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you’ve posted in the right place? Posting in the specific Study Help forum should help get responses.

I'm going to quote in Tank Girl now so she can move your thread to the right place if it's needed. :yy:

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Cadherin
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(Original post by george_c00per)
Hi,
I'm in Year 11 at the moment but I will be picking my choices soon.
My school is quite different from others, as we are recommended to pick 3 A Levels which we have to do for 2 years. We can do AS level in only Maths, Further Maths, and DT, however I'm not interested in doing one of these 3 subjects on top of my other 3 A Levels.
Instead, I would like to do History (definitely), French (definitely), Spanish (probably), and R.S (maybe).
I would have to study 4 subjects for A Level which is possible but not recommended because of the work load, but I'm unsure if I want to do this as I didn't do R.S for GCSE.
I know that the A Levels are changing so nobody will have past experience of doing the newly updated subjects, but did/is anyone on here doing 4 A Levels (for Year 12 & Year 13) and finding it ok?

PS. I would like to study languages at uni combined with possibly International Relations or something like that and I think that R.S might come in useful for this.
PPS. My teachers say that I could possibly drop one subject during the first few weeks of A Level and do an EPQ instead, as just 3 A Levels might not look like enough without an AS/EPQ/4th subject.
Doing RS A-level isn't a good idea altogether. Why not substitute it for maths and/or further?

Mind, further maths and RS both involve imaginary things, so there is some similarity in all fairness.
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username2324315
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(Original post by Cadherin)
Doing RS A-level isn't a good idea altogether. Why not substitute it for maths and/or further?

Mind, further maths and RS both involve imaginary things, so there is some similarity in all fairness.
Maths is my least favourite subject, and I struggle with sections of the GCSE syllabus. I hate hate hate hate hate hate it, lol.
If you don't mind me asking, how come you don't think RS A Level is a good idea altogether?
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CloakedSpartan
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(Original post by george_c00per)
We can do AS level in only Maths, Further Maths, and DT.
Nah my school does that, quite normal as it's what every single school that is choosing not to enter pupils for AS levels after reforms is doing (those subjects aren't reformed next year). :P

Personally I wouldn't do RS A-level if you haven't done GCSE. There are much easier options.
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Cadherin
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(Original post by george_c00per)
Maths is my least favourite subject, and I struggle with sections of the GCSE syllabus. I hate hate hate hate hate hate it, lol.
If you don't mind me asking, how come you don't think RS A Level is a good idea altogether?
If you don't like maths, you could perhaps try biology or chemistry?

Both will involve small amounts of maths (you need to understand logs for A2 chemistry) but will be so much more respected than RE unless you want to become a priest.
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username2324315
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(Original post by Cadherin)
If you don't like maths, you could perhaps try biology or chemistry?

Both will involve small amounts of maths (you need to understand logs for A2 chemistry) but will be so much more respected than RE unless you want to become a priest.
I'm really not a big fan of science either, I much prefer humanities and languages.
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carpe.noctem
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(Original post by george_c00per)
Hi,
I'm in Year 11 at the moment but I will be picking my choices soon.
My school is quite different from others, as we are recommended to pick 3 A Levels which we have to do for 2 years. We can do AS level in only Maths, Further Maths, and DT, however I'm not interested in doing one of these 3 subjects on top of my other 3 A Levels.
Instead, I would like to do History (definitely), French (definitely), Spanish (probably), and R.S (maybe).
I would have to study 4 subjects for A Level which is possible but not recommended because of the work load, but I'm unsure if I want to do this as I didn't do R.S for GCSE.
I know that the A Levels are changing so nobody will have past experience of doing the newly updated subjects, but did/is anyone on here doing 4 A Levels (for Year 12 & Year 13) and finding it ok?

PS. I would like to study languages at uni combined with possibly International Relations or something like that and I think that R.S might come in useful for this.
PPS. My teachers say that I could possibly drop one subject during the first few weeks of A Level and do an EPQ instead, as just 3 A Levels might not look like enough without an AS/EPQ/4th subject.
RS would definitely be useful as it shows you are able to understand and appreciate very complex ideas, I do RS along with biology, chemistry and maths and the modules my school does (most schools also do this) is Philosophy and ethics, which requires your head to get around very complex ideas which I think will be incredibly useful for a languages degree as especially the philosophy module teaches you how to deconstruct arguments and construct logical essays. It also shows an appreciation for culture where an entire section in RS is on how different cultures have different views and if it is possible to have an absolute law that can be applied to everyone because of this. It is an incredibly fascinating subject and I would say the most difficult thing about it is timing ( my exam board OCR requires us to write two 25 mark and 10 mark essay's in an hour and a half). Also the essay structure is also pretty easy to master (central idea is critiquing different theories and explaining and constructing a balanced argument with your own justified opinions) and I don't know if your particularly interested in ancient languages but we learn different phrases in Latin and the history behind them and what they mean for different people. I honestly think it would be incredibly useful for a languages or international relations degree ( With international relations it shows you have an understanding why specific rules can not be applied to all cultures and shows an understanding of the diversity thesis). RS is also a very respected subject ( was told this by multiple admissions tutors including a Cambridge admissions tutor) It shows so many skills through the way it combines logic and reasoning with the ability to construct a balanced argument and essay writing, and how you are able to form opinions on very relevant and topical issues such as euthanasia and abortion.Also, I didn't study RS at GCSE, no one in my class did and frim what I've been told its completely different and you will be at no advantage or disadvantage if you have or haven't. However, I am speaking on behalf of the philosophy and ethics module which is what most schools do, do you know if your school does this ?
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Sheinstein
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I am doing similar A-Level options as nihil_nimis (i.e. RPE with sciences, and am also doing those modules on the OCR course) and I would completely agree. I have also spoken to a number of admissions tutors, and all have said the transferable skills you learn while doing RPE, particularly the ability to approach abstract concepts and essays in a logical way, are useful in any subject. In ethics specifically, a big part of the course is about whether a universal theory of ethics for all cultures is possible, and if we can judge other cultures on our own values, something which would be very applicable to international relations.

I'm just going to add that I studied RS at GCSE, and would say that the cross-over is minimal. For the philosophy module, there is some overlap, particularly in "Arguments for the Existence of God," but there is so little detail at GCSE that you wouldn't have a problem catching up here. For the ethics, you look at issues like Euthanasia at GCSE, but you only need to provide personal views, with little justification, so a little reading around the subject (even in the news) will give you a good idea of the issues around these topics (euthanasia/ abortion etc.)

With regards to doing four A-levels, I am currently doing 5 (Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Physics and RPE, and I'm finding it fine. Everyone in my school has to do four A-levels anyway, so I reckon you will be alright, although, as your teachers say, you can drop out (especially if its an extra one) if the work load proves to be too much.

If you don't know if you would like it, I would recommend "The Philosophy Gym" by Stephen Law, which is a very accessible book (no prior knowledge needed) to give you a sense of what the subject is like. As for ethics, if you enjoy discussing topic issues such as abortion and euthanasia then you should be fine.

Again however, I only know about the philosophy and ethics modules, from what I am aware of the other options are more in depth studies of particular religions (and specifically their religious texts) so I think it is unlikely your school would choose this option unless it is a religious school. However, it may all be different with the new A-Levels...
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username2324315
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(Original post by nihil_nimis)
RS would definitely be useful as it shows you are able to understand and appreciate very complex ideas, I do RS along with biology, chemistry and maths and the modules my school does (most schools also do this) is Philosophy and ethics, which requires your head to get around very complex ideas which I think will be incredibly useful for a languages degree as especially the philosophy module teaches you how to deconstruct arguments and construct logical essays. It also shows an appreciation for culture where an entire section in RS is on how different cultures have different views and if it is possible to have an absolute law that can be applied to everyone because of this. It is an incredibly fascinating subject and I would say the most difficult thing about it is timing ( my exam board OCR requires us to write two 25 mark and 10 mark essay's in an hour and a half). Also the essay structure is also pretty easy to master (central idea is critiquing different theories and explaining and constructing a balanced argument with your own justified opinions) and I don't know if your particularly interested in ancient languages but we learn different phrases in Latin and the history behind them and what they mean for different people. I honestly think it would be incredibly useful for a languages or international relations degree ( With international relations it shows you have an understanding why specific rules can not be applied to all cultures and shows an understanding of the diversity thesis). RS is also a very respected subject ( was told this by multiple admissions tutors including a Cambridge admissions tutor) It shows so many skills through the way it combines logic and reasoning with the ability to construct a balanced argument and essay writing, and how you are able to form opinions on very relevant and topical issues such as euthanasia and abortion.Also, I didn't study RS at GCSE, no one in my class did and frim what I've been told its completely different and you will be at no advantage or disadvantage if you have or haven't. However, I am speaking on behalf of the philosophy and ethics module which is what most schools do, do you know if your school does this ?
I have the sheet about A Level RS that my school gave me and it reads "OCR's A Level in RS" and has a table, with the final column reading the assessment overview. These include "philosophy of religion", "religion and ethics", and "developments in religious thought". Basically, I don't know if this is the philosophy and ethics module however I'm sure that OCR will cover at this at least somewhere in the other modules.
I've heard from a few people that RS looks as good as History A Level when applying, but I've heard from others the contary
Thank you for replying though! You've covered a lot and I feel more confident to do the A Level.
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npstudent
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RS A-Level requires no previous knowledge. You won't be at any disadvantage. Some content may be briefly touched upon in GCSE. In fact the A-Level is much more to do with skill rather than knowledge (which anyone can learn regardless of their GCSEs).
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username2324315
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(Original post by Sheinstein)
I am doing similar A-Level options as nihil_nimis (i.e. RPE with sciences, and am also doing those modules on the OCR course) and I would completely agree. I have also spoken to a number of admissions tutors, and all have said the transferable skills you learn while doing RPE, particularly the ability to approach abstract concepts and essays in a logical way, are useful in any subject. In ethics specifically, a big part of the course is about whether a universal theory of ethics for all cultures is possible, and if we can judge other cultures on our own values, something which would be very applicable to international relations.

I'm just going to add that I studied RS at GCSE, and would say that the cross-over is minimal. For the philosophy module, there is some overlap, particularly in "Arguments for the Existence of God," but there is so little detail at GCSE that you wouldn't have a problem catching up here. For the ethics, you look at issues like Euthanasia at GCSE, but you only need to provide personal views, with little justification, so a little reading around the subject (even in the news) will give you a good idea of the issues around these topics (euthanasia/ abortion etc.)

With regards to doing four A-levels, I am currently doing 5 (Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Physics and RPE, and I'm finding it fine. Everyone in my school has to do four A-levels anyway, so I reckon you will be alright, although, as your teachers say, you can drop out (especially if its an extra one) if the work load proves to be too much.

If you don't know if you would like it, I would recommend "The Philosophy Gym" by Stephen Law, which is a very accessible book (no prior knowledge needed) to give you a sense of what the subject is like. As for ethics, if you enjoy discussing topic issues such as abortion and euthanasia then you should be fine.

Again however, I only know about the philosophy and ethics modules, from what I am aware of the other options are more in depth studies of particular religions (and specifically their religious texts) so I think it is unlikely your school would choose this option unless it is a religious school. However, it may all be different with the new A-Levels...
The sheet I have says at the bottom that we will be learning in the course things such as "philosophy of religion", and "religion and ethics", but with "developments in religious thought" we will "study one religion from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, or Hinduism". I hope this answers your question, I'm mostly positive that my school doesn't revolve our whole syllabus around one religion except in 1 of the 3 modules. I guess this means that philosophy and ethics does come into our syllabus somewhere in the course.

I will have to look up about that book at sometime, thank you for suggesting it!
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oopqoo
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I found RS A level was totally different to GCSE. GCSE knowledge was virtually useless for A level, was not used to build further ideas, etc.
GCSE was kind of 'Why do many Christians dislike abortion?'.
A level was 'Explain this totally unheard of ethical theory by some obscure philosopher'.
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username2324315
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(Original post by oopqoo)
I found RS A level was totally different to GCSE. GCSE knowledge was virtually useless for A level, was not used to build further ideas, etc.
GCSE was kind of 'Why do many Christians dislike abortion?'.
A level was 'Explain this totally unheard of ethical theory by some obscure philosopher'.
Were there any techniques you learned in GSCE which were applicable to A Level such as exam technique or is that all different as well?
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oopqoo
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(Original post by george_c00per)
Were there any techniques you learned in GSCE which were applicable to A Level such as exam technique or is that all different as well?
Honestly, there was almost nothing whatsoever that overlapped for me.
GCSE was a lot of 2, 3, and 4 mark questions and some 6 mark questions at the end. A level was 2x 15 mark questions and 2x 30 mark questions per paper. The biggest thing that will help to prepare you is English GCSE or other subjects that involve essay writing for exams.
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