Medicine at Oxbridge A-level options

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    Hi,

    I have been recently asked to choose my a-level options (currently in Yr 11 at school). My school is giving us the choice of doing either 3 or 4 a-levels (I will not be taking AS only A2).

    I am currently on track to getting 10A*'s in my GCSEs, and would like to study Medicine and am aiming to be accepted by either Oxford or Cambridge. I have looked at both universities' sites and Cambridge recommends that you take Chemistry, then two of Biology, Physics, Maths.

    I have also been told by other people that nowadays universities prefer it if you take an a-level that contrasts your other ones as it shows that you have more skills??

    Basically I am very confused at the moment and any advise would be much appreciated.

    Thank you for any suggestions.

    Joanna
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    (Original post by JoannaF)
    Hi,

    I have been recently asked to choose my a-level options (currently in Yr 11 at school). My school is giving us the choice of doing either 3 or 4 a-levels. Or taking 4 and then dropping one at anytime if it gets too much (I will not be taking AS only A2).
    I am currently on track to getting 10A*'s in my GCSEs, and would like to study Medicine and am aiming to be accepted by either Oxford or Cambridge (at the moment I am leaning towards Cambridge). I have looked at both universities' sites and Cambridge recommends that you take Chemistry, then two of Biology, Physics, Maths.

    My query is whether it is better to take 3 a-levels and an EPQ or 4 a-levels, or even 4 a-levels and an EPQ. I was just wondering what the standards were for a unis such as Cambridge. I do know that the general requirements are A*A*A for medicine, but I don't know if they would prefer more a-levels or would like to see an EPQ on a topic in the medical field?

    If i were to take 4 a-levels I was thinking of taking Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and History (I don't particularly enjoy maths). However, both my English Lit and Spanish teacher have approached me, telling me it would be a good idea to take their subject as a 4th.
    Dunno about Oxford, but I don't think Cambridge would care too much about a fourth A Level if it's in a humanities subject. Offers would typically be A*A*A excluding History, in your case.

    Also, a Cambridge admissions tutor said on TSR that Biology, Chemistry, and Maths are considered the 3 most relevant A Levels for medicine at Cambridge. So it may be worth doing Maths if you're particularly keen on Cambridge.

    I have also been told by other people that nowadays universities prefer it if you take an a-level that contrasts your other ones as it shows that you have more skills??
    I can't imagine Oxford or Cambridge would care about that for medicine.
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    (Original post by JoannaF)
    Hi,

    I have been recently asked to choose my a-level options (currently in Yr 11 at school). My school is giving us the choice of doing either 3 or 4 a-levels. Or taking 4 and then dropping one at anytime if it gets too much (I will not be taking AS only A2).
    I am currently on track to getting 10A*'s in my GCSEs, and would like to study Medicine and am aiming to be accepted by either Oxford or Cambridge (at the moment I am leaning towards Cambridge). I have looked at both universities' sites and Cambridge recommends that you take Chemistry, then two of Biology, Physics, Maths.

    My query is whether it is better to take 3 a-levels and an EPQ or 4 a-levels, or even 4 a-levels and an EPQ. I was just wondering what the standards were for a unis such as Cambridge. I do know that the general requirements are A*A*A for medicine, but I don't know if they would prefer more a-levels or would like to see an EPQ on a topic in the medical field?

    If i were to take 4 a-levels I was thinking of taking Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and History (I don't particularly enjoy maths). However, both my English Lit and Spanish teacher have approached me, telling me it would be a good idea to take their subject as a 4th.

    I have also been told by other people that nowadays universities prefer it if you take an a-level that contrasts your other ones as it shows that you have more skills??

    Basically I am very confused at the moment and any advise would be much appreciated.

    Thank you for any suggestions.

    Joanna
    Hi Joanna you seem very confused so let me give you my insight on things:

    1) Alevel subjects
    you only need 3 Alevels for oxbridge, my best advice is to stick with 3 and smash them (especially considering you need A*A*A for cambridge and A*AA for oxford). I would do the EPQ as it is a great project to take part in and will gain you some great skills. I would go for Bio, chem and physics if you hate maths, no point taking it, physics is an option so go with that.

    2) Entry requirements:
    OXFORD: want a very high % of A*s at GCSE (ideally 95% or above) with over 9A*s at GCSE would be competative. they also need a high BMAT score.
    CAMBRIDGE: like high % UMS (so A*A*A* predicted grades) with 95%+ UMS in the exams you have already taken, plus a very high BMAT score.

    if you have great GCSEs go for oxford, if you have great AS UMS and predicted grades go for cambridge, if you have both the world is your oyster.

    Hope this helps,
    Nat x
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    It is of note that only Cambridge requires the 3 sciences. No other med school does.

    Only UCL state that they prefer a contrasting subject. No other university states this.

    So overall: bio, chem, one other subject (a science if you want to apply to Cambridge specifically), and then a fourth subject only if you want in anything academic you want.

    I'd personally be tempted for the 4 A-levels and see how it goes but its is of course up to you.

    PS: If you're considering Oxford then ensure you get the best GCSEs you possibly can!
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    Hi,

    I am not too keen on taking maths as I do prefer physics but thanks for the advice!!

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    (Original post by JoannaF)
    Hi,

    I have been recently asked to choose my a-level options (currently in Yr 11 at school). My school is giving us the choice of doing either 3 or 4 a-levels. Or taking 4 and then dropping one at anytime if it gets too much (I will not be taking AS only A2).
    I am currently on track to getting 10A*'s in my GCSEs, and would like to study Medicine and am aiming to be accepted by either Oxford or Cambridge (at the moment I am leaning towards Cambridge). I have looked at both universities' sites and Cambridge recommends that you take Chemistry, then two of Biology, Physics, Maths.

    My query is whether it is better to take 3 a-levels and an EPQ or 4 a-levels, or even 4 a-levels and an EPQ. I was just wondering what the standards were for a unis such as Cambridge. I do know that the general requirements are A*A*A for medicine, but I don't know if they would prefer more a-levels or would like to see an EPQ on a topic in the medical field?

    If i were to take 4 a-levels I was thinking of taking Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and History (I don't particularly enjoy maths). However, both my English Lit and Spanish teacher have approached me, telling me it would be a good idea to take their subject as a 4th.

    I have also been told by other people that nowadays universities prefer it if you take an a-level that contrasts your other ones as it shows that you have more skills??

    Basically I am very confused at the moment and any advise would be much appreciated.

    Thank you for any suggestions.

    Joanna
    I'm thinking about applying for oxford and went to a talk there about what they want from us (i am yr 12) and they said they ONLY wanted 3 that should meet the grade requirements, extras are great but everyone is considered equally and fair no matter the number they have because not all schools give the option to do more than 3 a levels even if people are capable. Personally i would say stick to less and get better grades and the highest possible UMS you can
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    Thank you for all that information!! I really appreciate it!!

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    (Original post by ProbablyJade)
    I'm thinking about applying for oxford and went to a talk there about what they want from us (i am yr 12) and they said they ONLY wanted 3 that should meet the grade requirements,
    Ah yes very correct. There is data on the topic here in fact - most Oxford offer holders do in fact have 3.

    The only reason I suggest 4 above is it gives the possibility of dropping one later on if you're finding it harder than you thought, or if results don't go the way you'd hoped. That's personally what I'd do.

    For a pure medicine admissions perspective the OP should listen to you though - 3 is fine.
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    (Original post by nexttime)

    The only reason I suggest 4 above is it gives the possibility of dropping one later on if you're finding it harder than you thought, or if results don't go the way you'd hoped. That's personally what I'd do.

    .
    Yes, i agree i am starting with 4 and dropping one at the end of this year. However our school still allow A/S
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    Ok I will consider taking 4, if so should I be taking maths to compare with physics or a subject which I would definitely enjoy????

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    (Original post by JoannaF)
    Ok I will consider taking 4, if so should I be taking maths to compare with physics or a subject which I would definitely enjoy????
    I took 5 sciences and there's definitely a fair amount of overlap. I think going for a contrasting subject would significantly increase your workload. But then again, if you're not very good at/keen on maths then that could be a problem too.

    The decision is up to you Joanna. Assuming medicine is your only goal, you should go for the A-levels most likely to get you the minimum of 3As.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    I took 5 sciences and there's definitely a fair amount of overlap. I think going for a contrasting subject would significantly increase your workload. But then again, if you're not very good at/keen on maths then that could be a problem too.

    The decision is up to you Joanna. Assuming medicine is your only goal, you should go for the A-levels most likely to get you the minimum of 3As.
    If I was going for the A-levels where I could get guaranteed A/A*s I would be going for the 3 Sciences, but if Maths seems to be a more relevant subject I may take it as a 4th then either drop it or drop physics later on. I am not particularly bad at maths (top set) I just don't seem to enjoy it and i've heard you should enjoy the topics you study at a-level as it is a hard two years...
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    I took 5 sciences and there's definitely a fair amount of overlap. I think going for a contrasting subject would significantly increase your workload. But then again, if you're not very good at/keen on maths then that could be a problem too.

    The decision is up to you Joanna. Assuming medicine is your only goal, you should go for the A-levels most likely to get you the minimum of 3As.
    Which were the last 2 sciences
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    (Original post by Himtiaz)
    Which were the last 2 sciences
    I mean I took bio, chem, physics, maths, further maths.
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    Cambridge wants 3 A levels and 1 As at least at grade B but Oxford says they only want 3. Besides, what g score would you need for Oxford?
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    (Original post by taboo15)
    Cambridge wants 3 A levels and 1 As at least at grade B
    Link to where this is said please.

    Here is the medicine at Cambridge entry requirements page, which does not agree with you.

    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...urses/medicine
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    Hi Nat,

    You know with the UMS, do you think that Cambridge will look at my GCSE UMS scores because I will not be taking any AS exams. So therefore I will need 95% A* in my GCSEs + A*A*A* predicted grades + a high BMAT score??

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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Link to where this is said please.

    Here is the medicine at Cambridge entry requirements page, which does not agree with you.

    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...urses/medicine
    I talked with the careers coordinator at my college about it and she told me that most unis switched to 3 A levels but others didn't such as Cambridge and Keele. There had been some uncertainity regarding this and most unis aren't really quick to update.
 
 
 
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