What should my 3rd A-Level be?

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    Hi,
    I want to study medicine at uni. I am going to choose Bio and Chem in my A levels but don't know whether my 3rd option should be Maths, physics or psychology. Does it make more unis want me if I choose maths or physics? or could I choose Psychology instead and have the same amount of unis wanting me?
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    Hi, in regards to a third A-level, it depends where you want to go. People applying to Oxbridge generally have maths, physics or both. However, some places encourage other subjects (UCL and HYMS are examples I think), so chose what you want to do and think you'll be good at. But yeah you really don't need maths but just look carefully at different school entry requirements, I know people that have done a language/humanities/art in place of maths so go for psychology if that's what you want to do
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    Pick whatever subject you're interested in. If you're interested in psychology than do that, I know lots of people with that subject combination who are currently doing medicine. I personally did Biology, Chemistry and English Language and I got into medical school so just do a third subject you feel confident you would get an A in.
    The only medical school as far as I'm aware that asks for the three sciences or two sciences and Maths is Cambridge, other than that I don't think there are any others!


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    (Original post by emem2011)
    Pick whatever subject you're interested in. If you're interested in psychology than do that, I know lots of people with that subject combination who are currently doing medicine. I personally did Biology, Chemistry and English Language and I got into medical school so just do a third subject you feel confident you would get an A in.
    The only medical school as far as I'm aware that asks for the three sciences or two sciences and Maths is Cambridge, other than that I don't think there are any others!


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    Could i do Law as a third subject?
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    (Original post by afghan-superman)
    Could i do Law as a third subject?
    I couldn't properly comment as I didn't research Law when choosing my subjects but I would strongly recommend emailing or ringing some universities (as I did when I was in your situation) to find out if they would accept it as a third A Level. That should give you a clearer picture


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    How about ancient history ?
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    Unless you have a specific med school that you're wanting to apply to like Cambridge who require Maths, you are fine choosing a third a-level that you're going to enjoy.

    Most med schools don't mind what your third a-level is, as long as you achieve an A. Obviously, Gen Studies/critical thinking isn't included.

    My advice would be to choose something you enjoy and will give you a good chance of getting an A
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    If you want to study medicine at uni you need maths. I would say choose the one you're most passionate about but maths is a prerequisite for many/most science courses.
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    (Original post by afghan-superman)
    How about ancient history ?
    Some med schools like a contrasting subject so go for it

    I always say though to double check with a few med schools, especially the ones you're thinking of applying to
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    (Original post by rolaah)
    If you want to study medicine at uni you need maths. I would say choose the one you're most passionate about but maths is a prerequisite for many/most science courses.
    This is NOT true.

    You do NOT need Maths for medicine unless you are applying to Cambridge. For other med schools, Maths is NOT a requirement. It is NOT a prerequisite.
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    I recommend Maths even if universities don't require it.
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    (Original post by JayAhm)
    This is NOT true.

    You do NOT need Maths for medicine unless you are applying to Cambridge. For other med schools, Maths is NOT a requirement. It is NOT a prerequisite.
    I said for many science courses, not medicine. And even if not, it is very helpful for university/medicine.
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    (Original post by rolaah)
    I said for many science courses, not medicine. And even if not, it is very helpful for university/medicine.
    Giving an opinion on why you should take maths is one thing.

    Saying that you 'need maths for medicine' is another.

    You don't need A-Level Maths for medicine. If you do use Maths in the course, GCSE maths will do and anything over that which is required on the course will be covered and taught. A-level Maths won't give you an advantage. Take it if you enjoy it by all means.
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    (Original post by JayAhm)
    Giving an opinion on why you should take maths is one thing.

    Saying that you 'need maths for medicine' is another.

    You don't need A-Level Maths for medicine. If you do use Maths in the course, GCSE maths will do and anything over that which is required on the course will be covered and taught. A-level Maths won't give you an advantage. Take it if you enjoy it by all means.
    Oh my god stop getting so pissy. Everyone I know who does medicine (who are and are not applying Oxbridge) do Maths as they have visited many unis and say they "strongly, strongly advise" them to take maths. It has become essentially necessary for science/medicine applicants to look competitive - despite whether or not it is explicitly a requirement.

    If you hate maths then by all means ignore it, but because you listed it as an option I assume you don't - therefore I would pick it.
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    (Original post by JayAhm)
    This is NOT true.

    You do NOT need Maths for medicine unless you are applying to Cambridge. For other med schools, Maths is NOT a requirement. It is NOT a prerequisite.
    I completely agree with this person.
    You do not need Maths at all. I am an example of this as a medical student who took English as a third A Level. I actually got laughed at by a few admissions tutors after telling them I'd been told I needed Maths.

    Just go with whatever subject you feel most comfortable with. However, if you're thinking of a third A Level such as Law etc. I would ring the medical schools directly just to make sure they accept it.


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    Pick what you will enjoy the most, but that aside, i would actually advise picking Psychology. It has the most relevance that will be an important factor in your Medical Degree (Mental Health, Patient Care etc...). If you cover Biology, Chemistry and Psychology, you pretty much cover the fundamental grounding for all aspects of patient health.
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    (Original post by rolaah)
    Oh my god stop getting so pissy. Everyone I know who does medicine (who are and are not applying Oxbridge) do Maths as they have visited many unis and say they "strongly, strongly advise" them to take maths. It has become essentially necessary for science/medicine applicants to look competitive - despite whether or not it is explicitly a requirement.

    If you hate maths then by all means ignore it, but because you listed it as an option I assume you don't - therefore I would pick it.
    I'm not going to argue with you, but you are incorrect. I'm not being pissy :P

    It's not some unwritten thing where they don't tell you that Maths is a requirement but secretly they sort the candidates with Maths and give them preference

    It's just NOT a requirement. If the OP is doing Chem and Bio, maths isn't going to give him an advantage and won't make the OP look more competitive. It's such a common misconception propagated by people like you who still like to repeat this nonsense.
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    (Original post by emem2011)
    I completely agree with this person.
    You do not need Maths at all. I am an example of this as a medical student who took English as a third A Level. I actually got laughed at by a few admissions tutors after telling them I'd been told I needed Maths.

    Just go with whatever subject you feel most comfortable with. However, if you're thinking of a third A Level such as Law etc. I would ring the medical schools directly just to make sure they accept it.


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    I feel like your second paragraph was a massive contradiction to the first. You would never have to ring up a uni to make sure they accepted Maths.

    Also I have no idea what admissions tutors you're talking to. As I said, my friends applying for medicine spoke to admissions tutors (normally at RG unis) who said that it is essentially necessary for medicine and makes you way more competitive.

    Ofc only choose it if you like it, but if you do then it's hard to deny that it is the best option to choose.
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    (Original post by JayAhm)
    I'm not going to argue with you, but you are incorrect. I'm not being pissy :P

    It's not some unwritten thing where they don't tell you that Maths is a requirement but secretly they sort the candidates with Maths and give them preference

    It's just NOT a requirement. If the OP is doing Chem and Bio, maths isn't going to give him an advantage and won't make the OP look more competitive. It's such a common misconception propagated by people like you who still like to repeat this nonsense.
    I agree with you that they won't reject you if you don't do maths because it's some kind of secret that gets you in, but I'm speaking from personal experience here. It's so hard to deny that maths is incredibly helpful for medicine and makes you more competitive.

    All I am doing is repeating what admissions at multiple unis have said. Take it or leave it.

    BUT ONCE AGAIN if you like maths, take it, if not, then fine - but make sure your Chem and Bio grades are top notch (and tbh any third option too)
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    (Original post by rolaah)
    I feel like your second paragraph was a massive contradiction to the first. You would never have to ring up a uni to make sure they accepted Maths.

    Also I have no idea what admissions tutors you're talking to. As I said, my friends applying for medicine spoke to admissions tutors (normally at RG unis) who said that it is essentially necessary for medicine and makes you way more competitive.

    Ofc only choose it if you like it, but if you do then it's hard to deny that it is the best option to choose.
    I was in the same position as so many people on the student room a few years back trying to make a decision on my A Levels. I had people like yourself telling me if I didn't have Maths it would make me less competitive. Therefore I felt the need to directly contact the medical schools for them to tell me, in person, that it was not required.

    In terms of the two paragraphs 'contradicting each other' they don't actually. I don't know if you're applying for medical school or if you're just basing your advice off what your friends have told you, but a few of the medical schools have subjects they won't accept such as P.E, Dance etc. Therefore they ask for you to contact them to find out if your choice is suitable and if the OP is interested in studying Law as a third subject it would certainly be worth them checking. Once again I didn't speak to one admissions tutor who told me 'maths would make me a more competitive applicant'.

    I know many people this year who were pressurised into taking maths and actually missed out on their offers as a result of this whereas if they'd have taken something else they probably would have got the A they needed. I just don't want to see anymore potential medical students missing out on grades simply because of being told they have to have Maths, which isn't at all true.


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