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What subjects best foster general thinking skills? Watch

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    I'm curious about how to approach a question that came up in a discussion I had with a prospective A Level student recently. There were two lines of thought:

    - Science and systematic thinking are most useful and thus an A Level student would do best to study maths and sciences to develop their ability to think and reason.
    -Thought 1 is facile because it neglects to consider how one might interpret others' writings, how to evaluate how much we can trust a source, and therefore skills in history and English literature are equally as important.

    We concluded, though probably quite obvious/intuitive, that a broad education, taking from the arts, humanities and sciences, would lead to development of thinking skills most holistically.

    However, the subjects were an area of contention! If one were to choose 4, what would they be? My gut says to study as much Maths as possible (double A Level) and then supplement with, say, English and History, for instance, but others said that much maths was wasting an opportunity to study maybe Chemistry or Physics. I argue that the skills learned in A Level in those subjects are not particularly nuanced and therefore could probably be left alone.

    The difficulty is that without the sciences we would be prevented from being able to study them further at university. I'd extend the same question towards degrees too - philosophy is my most general answer.

    How would you look at this?
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    :bump:
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    About choosing A levels: choose what you're interested in as when things get hard, you'll still have motivation. I think any of the "facilitating subjects" at A level do much in the way of developing thinking
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    Philosophy - everything leads there eventually
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    (Original post by Jess_x)
    About choosing A levels: choose what you're interested in as when things get hard, you'll still have motivation. I think any of the "facilitating subjects" at A level do much in the way of developing thinking
    I have interest in most subjects still and aptitude enough that I should be able to manage any combination of 4. The issue is striking a balance between keeping my options open sensibly for certain areas of study at university.
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    I don't think much school education makes you truly think. Sadly our beloved exam sytem is more about ticking boxes than producing rounded individuals. However I would say that any form of engineering is very good for problem solving. Either that or a more freestyle approach to maths. Then on top of that, lots of reading and a good dose of healthy debate. I have formed and widened my opinions through debate on forums like this.
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    (Original post by ByEeek)
    I don't think much school education makes you truly think. Sadly our beloved exam sytem is more about ticking boxes than producing rounded individuals. However I would say that any form of engineering is very good for problem solving. Either that or a more freestyle approach to maths. Then on top of that, lots of reading and a good dose of healthy debate. I have formed and widened my opinions through debate on forums like this.
    I admit that my debating experience is very limited. I'd like to improve here.
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    (Original post by Athematica)
    I admit that my debating experience is very limited. I'd like to improve here.
    Get involved and voice your opinion. Listen / read what others write and have a think about it all. What do you think? You get some interesting blog posts that are submitted too which offer wider context and of course you get a healthy dose of rollocks being banded about, but being able to distinguish from the rubbish is half the fun.

    Good luck!
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    Philosophy and mathematics
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    (Original post by Professor Oak)
    Philosophy and mathematics
    Ah. This is actually probably the degree I want to study

    Hence, A Levels are looking like maths, further maths, english lit and (something) or maths further maths chemistry and physics. haven't quite decided yet
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    (Original post by Athematica)
    Ah. This is actually probably the degree I want to study

    Hence, A Levels are looking like maths, further maths, english lit and (something) or maths further maths chemistry and physics. haven't quite decided yet
    If it's really a matter of not knowing what to pick, I'd say accountancy's not a bad choice. It may sound dull, but knowledge of finances and economics more generally is sorely lacking in most people.
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    (Original post by Athematica)
    Ah. This is actually probably the degree I want to study

    Hence, A Levels are looking like maths, further maths, english lit and (something) or maths further maths chemistry and physics. haven't quite decided yet
    Awesome. I think a science/maths/arts mix is the best way to develop thinking skills. Not just because I did Maths, Physics and History at A-level

    I'd say maths develops your problem solving skills most intensely. But philosophy gives you an understanding of the range of thinking skills across different disciplines.
 
 
 
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