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[URGENT] Chemistry or Computer Science A-level for Physics degree? Watch

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    Hi, I started year 13 yesterday doing Maths, Physics, and Chemistry. I got AAAB in Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Maths at AS. I am now thinking of doing Computer Science A-level instead of Chemistry. Here are my pros and cons of each: (+green = pro, -red = con, +/-blue = mixed feelings)

    Chemistry
    +Might be more respected
    +Might be more relevant to a Physics degree
    +According to results statistics, significantly more people get an A or A* at A-level than in Computer Science
    +Way more resources available for Chemistry
    -Large class size (19 people)
    -Harder than Computer Science
    -Got an A in AS Chemistry, but only 13 marks above the grade boundary for an A (116/160, which is 72.5%)

    Computer Science
    +Small class size (9 people)
    +Easier content
    +1 less exam than Chemistry (2 as opposed 3)
    +I achieved the highest mark in the year for Computer Science AS exams
    +/- Coursework component that accounts for 20% of final grade
    -Less resources
    -I'm not the best at programming
    -Exams are 30 minutes longer than Chemistry exams


    My ultimate goal is Physics at St Andrews. Please reply ASAP as I need to decide by the end of the week.
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    I think you should keep chemistry. Chemistry will be more relevant to a physics degree when you're applying and even though the class size is larger its not a ridiculously large class size compared to other places. The pros of the chemistry a level seem to be more about the subject and the pros of the computer science a level seem to just be about how it would be easier to get a higher grade. If you were struggling in chemistry then I would advise against it but since you got 13 marks above the grade boundary for an A then you will be fine.

    Overall though you probably should go with the subject you enjoy the most, you haven't put which one interests you the most. Both cases would be fine for a physics degree anyway.
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    (Original post by SaltandSugar)
    I think you should keep chemistry. Chemistry will be more relevant to a physics degree when you're applying and even though the class size is larger its not a ridiculously large class size compared to other places. The pros of the chemistry a level seem to be more about the subject and the pros of the computer science a level seem to just be about how it would be easier to get a higher grade. If you were struggling in chemistry then I would advise against it but since you got 13 marks above the grade boundary for an A then you will be fine.

    Overall though you probably should go with the subject you enjoy the most, you haven't put which one interests you the most. Both cases would be fine for a physics degree anyway.
    Thank you. I think I enjoy Computer Science a bit more but that's mainly because I hated some of the Chemistry practicals last year (**** titrations) and we do less practicals this year anyways.
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    Computer Science. Easier, once you get that programming, and actually more relevant.
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    (Original post by unprinted)
    Computer Science. Easier, once you get that programming, and actually more relevant.
    Thanks for the reply. What do you mean by once I get the programming?
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    (Original post by DarkEnergy)
    Hi, I started year 13 yesterday doing Maths, Physics, and Chemistry. I got AAAB in Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Maths at AS. I am now thinking of doing Computer Science A-level instead of Chemistry. Here are my pros and cons of each: (+green = pro, -red = con, +/-blue = mixed feelings)

    Chemistry
    +Might be more respected
    +Might be more relevant to a Physics degree
    +According to results statistics, significantly more people get an A or A* at A-level than in Computer Science
    +Way more resources available for Chemistry
    -Large class size (19 people)
    -Harder than Computer Science
    -Got an A in AS Chemistry, but only 13 marks above the grade boundary for an A (116/160, which is 72.5%)

    Computer Science
    +Small class size (9 people)
    +Easier content
    +1 less exam than Chemistry (2 as opposed 3)
    +I achieved the highest mark in the year for Computer Science AS exams
    +/- Coursework component that accounts for 20% of final grade
    -Less resources
    -I'm not the best at programming
    -Exams are 30 minutes longer than Chemistry exams


    My ultimate goal is Physics at St Andrews. Please reply ASAP as I need to decide by the end of the week.
    Programming comes quite quickly if you've got a knack for maths and physics.

    As for content-wise, you'll need a bit of knowledge about both for your degree.

    You'll do a lot on thermal physics including entropies, enthalpies, gibbs free energy, ideal gas, boltzmann distributions, avogadro's constant and amount of substance etc.

    For programming, you'll definitely learn some programming in your course and you're likely have an entire module on it. (C / Python / Matlab, maybe Java).

    Personally I would go for Chemistry as I found it more helpful, especially with the fact that there's more resources out there for you to study and reach that A/A* you need.
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    (Original post by DarkEnergy)
    What do you mean by once I get the programming?
    When 'I'm not the best at programming' stops being something you feel you have to say. You don't need to be 'the best', but confident enough to think you can speak and think 'computer' in whatever language they use there.
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    Computer Science is far more relevant. A lot of physics and maths uses programming to run simulations particularly if you choose to take theoretical physics. Chemistry is pretty irrelevant actually until you get to 4th year (solid state). They will only ask for A's in Maths and Physics the third subject can be anything (but they'll also want an A).

    source: my partner who graduated in theoretical physics from st andrews this year

    ETA: He also did Chemistry A-level and says "it didn't help at all. Don't do Chemistry."
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    (Original post by monkyvirus)
    Computer Science is far more relevant. A lot of physics and maths uses programming to run simulations particularly if you choose to take theoretical physics. Chemistry is pretty irrelevant actually until you get to 4th year (solid state). They will only ask for A's in Maths and Physics the third subject can be anything (but they'll also want an A).

    source: my partner who graduated in theoretical physics from st andrews this year

    ETA: He also did Chemistry A-level and says "it didn't help at all. Don't do Chemistry."
    Thanks, and congrats to your partner.
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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
    Programming comes quite quickly if you've got a knack for maths and physics.

    As for content-wise, you'll need a bit of knowledge about both for your degree.

    You'll do a lot on thermal physics including entropies, enthalpies, gibbs free energy, ideal gas, boltzmann distributions, avogadro's constant and amount of substance etc.

    For programming, you'll definitely learn some programming in your course and you're likely have an entire module on it. (C / Python / Matlab, maybe Java).

    Personally I would go for Chemistry as I found it more helpful, especially with the fact that there's more resources out there for you to study and reach that A/A* you need.
    Cheers, I'm even more conflicted now haha.
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    (Original post by monkyvirus)
    Computer Science is far more relevant. A lot of physics and maths uses programming to run simulations particularly if you choose to take theoretical physics. Chemistry is pretty irrelevant actually until you get to 4th year (solid state). They will only ask for A's in Maths and Physics the third subject can be anything (but they'll also want an A).

    source: my partner who graduated in theoretical physics from st andrews this year

    ETA: He also did Chemistry A-level and says "it didn't help at all. Don't do Chemistry."
    I'm doing solid state in my 3rd year :hmmm: but interesting that he thinks that.

    (Original post by DarkEnergy)
    Cheers, I'm even more conflicted now haha.
    Indeed, why not take both?
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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
    Indeed, why not take both?
    I need to focus on Maths this year as I'm resitting 2 modules too to bump up my UMS (C1 & C2) so 4 is out of the question. I think I'm just going to stick with Chemistry though because I feel a lot more confident in securing an A grade in it.
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    (Original post by DarkEnergy)
    I need to focus on Maths this year as I'm resitting 2 modules too to bump up my UMS (C1 & C2) so 4 is out of the question. I think I'm just going to stick with Chemistry though because I feel a lot more confident in securing an A grade in it.
    C1 and C2 become a walk in the park when you're dealing with C3/C4, I wouldn't worry too much about those resits. Studying for them won't take up that much of your time.

    But as said before your Maths and Physics A-levels are what count the most. Good luck in your decision and future studies
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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
    C1 and C2 become a walk in the park when you're dealing with C3/C4, I wouldn't worry too much about those resits. Studying for them won't take up that much of your time.

    But as said before your Maths and Physics A-levels are what count the most. Good luck in your decision and future studies
    Thank you very much!
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    (Original post by TheBBQ)
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    Just notifying you incase you care, but I ended up trying out both for the first 2 weeks of college. Disliked Computer Science but was really enjoying Chemistry, so I ended up dropping Computer Science. My Chemistry teachers also gave me an A* prediction but Computer Science would only give me an A due to my low raw marks. Now doing Chemistry, Physics, and Maths and predicted A*A*A - thank you so much for the advice.
 
 
 
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