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    Hey,
    I need some advice on uni degrees.
    I'm currently studying maths, further maths, chemistry and physics A level. I'm in Y12.
    I know I don't have to decide yet, but I want to come to a decision fairly soon so I can start preparing stuff for my personal statement etc.
    I have an Arkwright Engineering Scholarship and for the most part of this year I wanted to study mechanical/aeronautical engineering. The jobs and projects you can work on with this degree really interests me, but I am currently not enjoying physics at school. I'm also worried all the theory and maths behind engineering will be very tricky at university, and I don't know if it will truly interest me if I'm not completely interested in it.
    My favourite subject by far is chemistry. I have always loved it and have found it really interesting. I would like to go into chemistry research, possibly do a PhD. The thing is, I want to do a degree that's worth my while. I really want to use whatever I study in a future career, and I'm concerned that my job prospects will be minimal, and I won't be able to progress in this field.
    I have looked at chemical engineering, the obvious link between the 2, but this doesn't really interest me as a career. I have also looked at civil engineering, but I don't really know much about this area, though I could see it being interesting.

    If anyone's got any advice, that would be greatly appreciated!
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    I was in a similar position to you last year, I had taken the same four AS levels and I was choosing between physics or engineering. You might not feel like physics is going well right now but I urge you to stick with it and keep an open mind about the subject because there are some very good physics-related degrees you might like. I had a terrible experience with physics in year 12 but I'm glad I didn't let it get in the way. By all means stick with chemistry if that's your favourite, I just don't want you to rule out physics just yet.

    Although I don't know a whole lot about chemistry careers, I would say that chemical engineering is more likely to lead to a secure job as the degree is very practical and relevant to the industry. Pure chemistry is more difficult to get into without a PhD from what I've heard and read. Would you still be able to do a PhD with a degree in chemical engineering? If so this may be the best option? What sort of job do you want to be doing? Research, engineering, consultancy..? I would say as far as jobs go chemical engineering is safer but if you don't have a passion for it then I wouldn't consider it too heavily.

    Don't worry too much though you have months to think about it. Let me know what you're thoughts are about it. All the best.
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    (Original post by ryathelionator)
    I was in a similar position to you last year, I had taken the same four AS levels and I was choosing between physics or engineering. You might not feel like physics is going well right now but I urge you to stick with it and keep an open mind about the subject because there are some very good physics-related degrees you might like. I had a terrible experience with physics in year 12 but I'm glad I didn't let it get in the way. By all means stick with chemistry if that's your favourite, I just don't want you to rule out physics just yet.

    Although I don't know a whole lot about chemistry careers, I would say that chemical engineering is more likely to lead to a secure job as the degree is very practical and relevant to the industry. Pure chemistry is more difficult to get into without a PhD from what I've heard and read. Would you still be able to do a PhD with a degree in chemical engineering? If so this may be the best option? What sort of job do you want to be doing? Research, engineering, consultancy..? I would say as far as jobs go chemical engineering is safer but if you don't have a passion for it then I wouldn't consider it too heavily.

    Don't worry too much though you have months to think about it. Let me know what you're thoughts are about it. All the best.
    Thank you! I will look into chemical engineering more, as the job prospects are really good. I'm not bothered about a PhD, it was just, as you said, that's the best route if I want to go into chemistry.

    What are your thoughts about other engineering? What were your experiences with physics and how did you overcome them?

    Sorry about all the questions :P
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    Don't be sorry, they're perfectly reasonable questions!

    So without going into too many details, physics last year was pretty bad. i.e. teachers couldnt teach very well, staffing changes, the big jump from gcse to a level, having to go about this with little support. How I overcame this was about this time last year when I simply taught myself from the specification. This may sound weird but from my experience, as far as A level physics goes, if you learn the specification inside and out, you do relevant questions to the specification, you think about what they could possibly ask, etc you realise that you can actually do really well in physics A level without necessarily being a genius in physics, because you know the system and how to get marks. Not saying you should teach yourself from the specification but that really helped me at least. I think the hardest thing about physics is that teachers can overcomplicate things and when you learn new content you can be really thrown, but as long as you're aware of the things you need to know, and the things you don't need to know, you realise it's actually a lot more simple than it appears, at least as far as your exams go. It's still hard though and requires effort, I'd be happy to help if you have anymore questions about it.

    Regarding the degrees, they're all very good and will lead to great jobs if you're interested in the fields. Personally, I've applied for electronic engineering, because I wanted to be involved with developing technology and there's lots of future potential in the field in my opinion. It's also considered by many as the hardest and most 'mathsy' engineering course, although there's not much in it between the other engineering disciplines. There's also the option to go into physicsy fields (e.g. nanotechnology, photonics) with electronic engineering so I can do some physics stuff as well which is what I wanted so I'm pretty happy with it.

    I don't really have very much of an opinion about the other engineering disciplines, the main ones we haven't discussed being mechanical and civil. Nothing against them it just wasn't personally what I had an interest in but as far as career prospects go, they're pretty solid throughout all of the fields. I personally like how doing an engineering degree allows you to go into a rewarding field, yet also allows you to go into a related PhD so you can do more of the science research if you realise that's more your thing.

    I would strongly recommend going to as many open days as you can, even from universities you may not consider strongly, as they provide so much more information than what any website or even promotional video can. You're doing really good A levels so you can consider going into any of maths, science, engineering, computer science even. It's easy to rule out a subject because you're finding it hard but that may change in a few months, it did for me at least. Good luck and let me know if you have any other Qs
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    Thank you for your response!!

    How best did you go about teaching yourself the syllabus? I have it all printed and I always refer to it when it comes to revision and exam prep, but I still find it tricky sometimes. Because of the A levels reforms, we're doing the new A levels and in terms of past papers, all we have is the specimen paper. This is probably what I'm most worried about.

    I do love the concept of engineering and it's future prospects. I have an interest in aircraft and I would to be involved in the development of this sector, but as I said before, the actual content worries me.

    Good luck with your application

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    That's very annoying doing the new syllabus however it means easier questions and lower grade boundaries so it evens out a bit. In that case, I would highly reccommend the book 'calculations for physics' or if you're going to go all out, 'physics in context' is another good one but quite pricy. For me I made an online revision guide based on typical questions, the revision guides, the specification and any information online.

    For aircraft engineering I believe it's more about mechanical physics as opposed to electromagnetism or quantum etc. How confident are you right now with mechanics, are you doing mechanics maths? I found mechanics impossible last year but doing M1 in maths helped greatly so even if you're not studying M1 this year id read through it anyway. I was recommended to do this by a family friend with a physics degree and he knew what he was talking about.

    With engineering there is a lot of maths/physics but there's also a lot of design/project work so there's something in it for everyone. Don't worry about the content right now, you'll be much more confident nearer the time even though you may not be able to see that right now.

    There's so many options for you in the field of maths and science that you'll find the one you want to in the end and you may change your mind over time so it's good to consider a range of things now.

    Best of luck
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    (Original post by ryathelionator)
    That's very annoying doing the new syllabus however it means easier questions and lower grade boundaries so it evens out a bit. In that case, I would highly reccommend the book 'calculations for physics' or if you're going to go all out, 'physics in context' is another good one but quite pricy. For me I made an online revision guide based on typical questions, the revision guides, the specification and any information online.

    For aircraft engineering I believe it's more about mechanical physics as opposed to electromagnetism or quantum etc. How confident are you right now with mechanics, are you doing mechanics maths? I found mechanics impossible last year but doing M1 in maths helped greatly so even if you're not studying M1 this year id read through it anyway. I was recommended to do this by a family friend with a physics degree and he knew what he was talking about.

    With engineering there is a lot of maths/physics but there's also a lot of design/project work so there's something in it for everyone. Don't worry about the content right now, you'll be much more confident nearer the time even though you may not be able to see that right now.

    There's so many options for you in the field of maths and science that you'll find the one you want to in the end and you may change your mind over time so it's good to consider a range of things now.

    Best of luck
    Thanks, that's really helpful. I'll try and keep an open mind.

    I'm not currently studying mechanics, as we do that next year. I'm actually finding mechanics alright, it probably my preferred part of physics at the moment.

    Thanks again.
 
 
 
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