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    • Thread Starter

    Hey , I'm in year 11 and currently doing GCSE's and next year I hope to do A-Levels in Chemistry, Biology ,Maths (or Psychology) and Economics. I have future plans of being a doctor and my research proves that the universities like to see some form of volunteering . What I was wondering is would it be wise to do some volunteering while I study these courses next year ? and if not When would I be able to do it ? Final point If you do any of these courses would you mind telling me about the jump in the subjects from GCSE (i do triple science )
    Thank you for taking the time to read this
    • Community Assistant

    Community Assistant
    Can't comment on the jump to A Level Psychology since I didn't study it at GCSE. We had OCR at A Level and it wasn't difficult but required a hell of a lot of memory. 15 studies in the first year that all had to memorised in detail, followed by 50-60 odd in the second year, in less detail. And they only covered one exam each year. Exams were largely essay based, with long questions (up to 12 marks, multiple times each paper). Good subject though, thoroughly enjoyed the content.

    A Level maths is a step up from GCSE. You'll notice it but it doesn't ramp up much more than you're used to. First year builds a solid foundation that you need to do well in the second year. Was with AQA for this. Looks good to have A Level Maths for pretty much any uni, a high grade in general will set a very good precedent, no matter the uni.

    I recommend looking at various Unis to see what they like students to have.

    On the whole Unis like to see not just volunteering but any sort of extra curricular activities. It shows that you actually have an interest in the subject. Obviously you can't just go and start practicing being a doctor like you might with engineering or IT so volunteering is a good idea. If you're going to volunteer I'd recommend doing it over free periods. Stuff like the upcoming summer holiday (and next years) and the early months of college (pre Christmas). Don't let it interfere with your studies. After Christmas the general level of work should be increasing, with more focus on revision for exams. So ideally the summer holiday (June/July) leading up to Christmas are ideal times, especially in the first year. Bear in mind time constraints if you later also want a part time job. Depending on the courses you may find you only have time at weekends and you don't want to be juggling a job, volunteering, assignments, revision and a social life all at once.

    Alternatively take a gap year after college. Gives you time to earn some money for yourself by working, will give you life experience that will look good on any application and you have lots of free time for volunteering and personal projects.

    Also worth looking into important qualities of a doctor and seeing where you can get those qualities while at college. If for example you decided a doctor needs to be trusted, or can be confidential then look for situations at college that you can later use to demonstrated you are trusted or can be confidential. E.g. organising an event or running an extra curricular class. It's all extra stuff that shows you aren't entirely focused on your studies and are a well rounded person.
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