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A levels choices, considering 5 Watch

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    I am in year 11 at the moment and I need to chose my a levels fairly soon. I am set on doing Maths, Further Maths, French and Russian. Now, one of my teachers told me that if you are good at maths then doing Maths and Further Maths is like doing one a level. Since I have found the content in the AO (OCR FSMQ) Maths course pretty easy, I believe I can classify myself thus. As far as MFL is concerned, this is something that comes very easily to me and I have gained very near full marks in GCSE French so far, and hence I don't believe I will struggle excessively with studying 2 a level languages.
    Concerning a 5th choice, I would chose either Chemistry or Economics. Chemistry because sciences are my next favourite subject after MFL and Maths, and also my dad is a teacher with a load of experience teaching it at a level. And economics because I have considered doing an economics degree and it is a subject which interests me. I also hear that economics is a fairly easy a level, but I don't know how true this is.
    At university, I condsider taking MFL, Maths or Economics, in descending order, and so I ask if a 5th option is worth it and if so, which out of Chemistry or Economics is the better choice.
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    There is no easy A-Level, and please be reminded that you only need 3 A-Levels to get into university. I know what you mean about Maths and FMaths feeling like just one subject though, since I feel that way currently (I'm in year 12).

    Doing 5 AS-Levels is definitely possible, doing 5 full A-Levels is also possible, but it requires a lot of hard work, and the step up from GCSE languages to A-Level languages is absolutely huge, finding them easy now is no guarantee that you will be capable next year, so only take them if you have a passion for the language and will be prepared to learn all the grammar and vocab. Chemistry isn't difficult if you go about it correctly, but I don't know about Economics. Either way, think hard about whether or not there is any actual advantage to you doing 5 AS-Levels, and whether you actually like the subjects (I did 5 but I dropped physics before Christmas because I didn't like it. I still feel that I would be able to complete 5 AS-Levels, but it's too late for me to take on another subject)

    Also, the system is very different for you. I believe that the large majority of schools won't be taking AS-Levels, and only for the subjects which it is necessary (for you it will be the Maths and FMaths, I think languages change to linear for you), so they put people into classes to drop one subject after year 12, or they just start you with 3 subjects that you continue for the 2 years.

    As to which is the better choice, the subject that you prefer would be a better subject to take.
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    (Original post by Gogregg)
    There is no easy A-Level, and please be reminded that you only need 3 A-Levels to get into university. I know what you mean about Maths and FMaths feeling like just one subject though, since I feel that way currently (I'm in year 12).

    Doing 5 AS-Levels is definitely possible, doing 5 full A-Levels is also possible, but it requires a lot of hard work, and the step up from GCSE languages to A-Level languages is absolutely huge, finding them easy now is no guarantee that you will be capable next year, so only take them if you have a passion for the language and will be prepared to learn all the grammar and vocab. Chemistry isn't difficult if you go about it correctly, but I don't know about Economics. Either way, think hard about whether or not there is any actual advantage to you doing 5 AS-Levels, and whether you actually like the subjects (I did 5 but I dropped physics before Christmas because I didn't like it. I still feel that I would be able to complete 5 AS-Levels, but it's too late for me to take on another subject)

    Also, the system is very different for you. I believe that the large majority of schools won't be taking AS-Levels, and only for the subjects which it is necessary (for you it will be the Maths and FMaths, I think languages change to linear for you), so they put people into classes to drop one subject after year 12, or they just start you with 3 subjects that you continue for the 2 years.

    As to which is the better choice, the subject that you prefer would be a better subject to take.
    Thank you for your advice.

    I take your point about success at GCSE being no guarantee of success at a level, but I will continue to take two MFL a levels since I am passionate about these languages and I would be prepared to put in time to memorize vocab, etc. I am pretty unsure about the a level changes but I do know that Russian changes a year later than the others.

    How do each of the subjects mentioned compare in terms of out-of-class workload?

    Could you also please elaborate on what you describe as the right way to go about chemistry.
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    (Original post by ali-g12)
    Thank you for your advice.

    I take your point about success at GCSE being no guarantee of success at a level, but I will continue to take two MFL a levels since I am passionate about these languages and I would be prepared to put in time to memorize vocab, etc. I am pretty unsure about the a level changes but I do know that Russian changes a year later than the others.

    How do each of the subjects mentioned compare in terms of out-of-class workload?

    Could you also please elaborate on what you describe as the right way to go about chemistry.
    If you're passionate about those subjects, then great! Take them

    They say that for each hour you do inside of lessons, you should do an hour on your own, but that is somewhat unrealistic in my opinion.
    I'd say that with maths, it depends how you well you understand each subject, but since you're doing FMSQ Add Maths, C1 and C2 should be a breeze, and there will be minimal new stuff, it will just be the applied unit which will be new, and generally they aren't too difficult, so you should do a past paper every so often and practice questions in your spare time, which shouldn't take too long if you just want to get an A (95+ UMS requires a bit more work, but is still relatively easy to achieve if you are good at maths). FMaths, is just two more applied units, depending on what you do the load may vary, and FP1 which I've only really just started, so I can't tell you much about that, but yet again, it's just practice the questions and do past papers, and you should easily get an A.
    With the languages, you'll have to spend a lot of time learning the languages, and you need to practice them, but I don't really know much about taking them to A-Level, so I'm sure you'll understand better than I do anyway how you revise them, and what works best with you.

    Chemistry, you just need to understand the content, which shouldn't be too bad with a good teacher, and considering your dad teaches A-Level Chem, you shouldn't have too many issues with not understanding anything, since you can always ask him. The right way to go about it, in my opinion, is to just learn the answers to every single possible question, even though the exams are changing, the syllabus hasn't changed much, and anything that has been added, was removed in the previous system, so they can't ask you for anything new really, and the answers don't change (e.g. I know that if I see a question asking about a general trend in something, most of the time, I need to mention shielding, I also know where to get all the marks, and how to answer them, but it helps to know the trends in answers, also). Using the mark schemes, I have created flash cards which contain all the possible answers for the majority of questions. Anything else, I'll use my understanding of both the content and the mark schemes to answer.

    I think with economics, you need to generally have a good grasp of the content (same for all subjects really), and also a knowledge of how to answer the essay questions, they have high mark essay questions, and I think it's possible to get a good sum of the marks with only as single paragraph if you now how to do them properly, but I'm not really certain, since I haven't had any experience with economics, although I do hear it can be quite difficult (although I hear that about everything :lol: )
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    (Original post by ali-g12)
    I am in year 11 at the moment and I need to chose my a levels fairly soon. I am set on doing Maths, Further Maths, French and Russian. Now, one of my teachers told me that if you are good at maths then doing Maths and Further Maths is like doing one a level. Since I have found the content in the AO (OCR FSMQ) Maths course pretty easy, I believe I can classify myself thus. As far as MFL is concerned, this is something that comes very easily to me and I have gained very near full marks in GCSE French so far, and hence I don't believe I will struggle excessively with studying 2 a level languages.
    Concerning a 5th choice, I would chose either Chemistry or Economics. Chemistry because sciences are my next favourite subject after MFL and Maths, and also my dad is a teacher with a load of experience teaching it at a level. And economics because I have considered doing an economics degree and it is a subject which interests me. I also hear that economics is a fairly easy a level, but I don't know how true this is.
    At university, I condsider taking MFL, Maths or Economics, in descending order, and so I ask if a 5th option is worth it and if so, which out of Chemistry or Economics is the better choice.
    I teach at a high performing state school - we don't let anyone do 5 A levels now with the new linear specs. Even candidates with straight A*s [and we get quite a few] at GCSE are just not allowed - you need good grades at A level and you are underestimating the step up.

    Re Maths/FMaths - which I teach - it is two A levels - yes, they complement each other but the workload is far more than one A level.
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    I teach at a high performing state school - we don't let anyone do 5 A levels now with the new linear specs. Even candidates with straight A*s [and we get quite a few] at GCSE are just not allowed - you need good grades at A level and you are underestimating the step up.

    Re Maths/FMaths - which I teach - it is two A levels - yes, they complement each other but the workload is far more than one A level.
    Fair enough, I'll knock 5 a levels on the head, after all I do want be able to continue hobbies, etc.
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    (Original post by Gogregg)
    If you're passionate about those subjects, then great! Take them

    They say that for each hour you do inside of lessons, you should do an hour on your own, but that is somewhat unrealistic in my opinion.
    I'd say that with maths, it depends how you well you understand each subject, but since you're doing FMSQ Add Maths, C1 and C2 should be a breeze, and there will be minimal new stuff, it will just be the applied unit which will be new, and generally they aren't too difficult, so you should do a past paper every so often and practice questions in your spare time, which shouldn't take too long if you just want to get an A (95+ UMS requires a bit more work, but is still relatively easy to achieve if you are good at maths). FMaths, is just two more applied units, depending on what you do the load may vary, and FP1 which I've only really just started, so I can't tell you much about that, but yet again, it's just practice the questions and do past papers, and you should easily get an A.
    With the languages, you'll have to spend a lot of time learning the languages, and you need to practice them, but I don't really know much about taking them to A-Level, so I'm sure you'll understand better than I do anyway how you revise them, and what works best with you.

    Chemistry, you just need to understand the content, which shouldn't be too bad with a good teacher, and considering your dad teaches A-Level Chem, you shouldn't have too many issues with not understanding anything, since you can always ask him. The right way to go about it, in my opinion, is to just learn the answers to every single possible question, even though the exams are changing, the syllabus hasn't changed much, and anything that has been added, was removed in the previous system, so they can't ask you for anything new really, and the answers don't change (e.g. I know that if I see a question asking about a general trend in something, most of the time, I need to mention shielding, I also know where to get all the marks, and how to answer them, but it helps to know the trends in answers, also). Using the mark schemes, I have created flash cards which contain all the possible answers for the majority of questions. Anything else, I'll use my understanding of both the content and the mark schemes to answer.

    I think with economics, you need to generally have a good grasp of the content (same for all subjects really), and also a knowledge of how to answer the essay questions, they have high mark essay questions, and I think it's possible to get a good sum of the marks with only as single paragraph if you now how to do them properly, but I'm not really certain, since I haven't had any experience with economics, although I do hear it can be quite difficult (although I hear that about everything :lol: )
    Thanks again, but I don't think that doing an additional a level will make my options any wider considering the additional work. I just felt a bit of sadness that I wouldn't be able to continue to study subjects that i enjoy, but grades come first, so I think 5 would be too much of a risk for not much potential pay-off.

    This quote also comes to mind:

    it’s better to get 4 excellent A-levels than 5 very good ones.
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    (Original post by ali-g12)
    Fair enough, I'll knock 5 a levels on the head, after all I do want be able to continue hobbies, etc.
    Do think which 4 will get you into uni - so research a few courses and check you are choosing the right ones.

    Quality of grades not quantity [other than at least 3]
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    (Original post by ali-g12)
    Thanks again, but I don't think that doing an additional a level will make my options any wider considering the additional work. I just felt a bit of sadness that I wouldn't be able to continue to study subjects that i enjoy, but grades come first, so I think 5 would be too much of a risk for not much potential pay-off.

    This quote also comes to mind:

    it’s better to get 4 excellent A-levels than 5 very good ones.
    Definitely agree with that!

    And I'm glad you've come to a decision
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    (Original post by ali-g12)
    Thanks again, but I don't think that doing an additional a level will make my options any wider considering the additional work. I just felt a bit of sadness that I wouldn't be able to continue to study subjects that i enjoy, but grades come first, so I think 5 would be too much of a risk for not much potential pay-off.

    This quote also comes to mind:

    it’s better to get 4 excellent A-levels than 5 very good ones.
    You could always start off by doing 5 and drop down to 4 if the work is too much for you. I personally didnt but imo maths and fm is probably the equivalent of maybe 1.5 a levels, although its very dependent on how easily maths comes to you
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    (Original post by samb1234)
    You could always start off by doing 5 and drop down to 4 if the work is too much for you. I personally didnt but imo maths and fm is probably the equivalent of maybe 1.5 a levels, although its very dependent on how easily maths comes to you
    When did you do your A levels? We have changed our policy with the new linear A levels as it is too risky to do 5 now.
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    When did you do your A levels? We have changed our policy with the new linear A levels as it is too risky to do 5 now.
    A2 currently, i completely get where youre coming from it is a very different scenario with the new changes. The one thing i would say is that iirc maths still has the option of taking modules in year 12, and although it is more difficult than it used to be for some people doing 5 will still be a viable option, it just requires more motivation and work than it used to.
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    (Original post by samb1234)
    A2 currently, i completely get where youre coming from it is a very different scenario with the new changes. The one thing i would say is that iirc maths still has the option of taking modules in year 12, and although it is more difficult than it used to be for some people doing 5 will still be a viable option, it just requires more motivation and work than it used to.
    Yes maths hasn't changed... yet ... but we feel it is too risky for able students.

    The final exams are an 'unknown' and will be so high stakes with AS not counting towards them.
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    (Original post by Muttley79)
    Yes maths hasn't changed... yet ... but we feel it is too risky for able students.

    The final exams are an 'unknown' and will be so high stakes with AS not counting towards them.
    Yeah i agree and tbh there isnt really much of a point to doing 5 anyway imo - I would have had enough time to do 5 but when it came to applying for uni i reckon the extra time I had to prepare for my exams was probably more beneficial than having another a level in a subject not as relevant to the course. If he's not 100% sure what he wants to do then i guess there is no harm in him starting off with 5 until he has a better idea of what he wants to do - for example most maths applicants will also have physics, so although not a requirement doing something lile that gives them a little bit of time to make their mind up
 
 
 
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