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    Definitely want to do biology of cells and chemistry. Undecided between evolution and behaviour, and physics as first year options.
    My a-levels are: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, so far I'm working at A* in all of them, and I got 11A*s at i/gcse
    My super-curriculars (crest projects, research trip to rainforest this summer) are all biology based but i'm naturally better at maths and physics. Chemistry is my best science by far. I appreciate if I get in I can choose options regardless, but which would give me the better chance of getting in?
    Would the lack of further maths be a major problem if I went the physical route, or if I got in via biology but ended up choosing physics as an option would I struggle with the course?
    I would probably end up specializing in chemistry or biochemistry at later years so I'm pretty much smack in the middle of the science spectrum.
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    (Original post by lizzy0100)
    Definitely want to do biology of cells and chemistry. Undecided between evolution and behaviour, and physics as first year options.
    My a-levels are: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, so far I'm working at A* in all of them, and I got 11A*s at i/gcse
    My super-curriculars (crest projects, research trip to rainforest this summer) are all biology based but i'm naturally better at maths and physics. Chemistry is my best science by far. I appreciate if I get in I can choose options regardless, but which would give me the better chance of getting in?
    Would the lack of further maths be a major problem if I went the physical route, or if I got in via biology but ended up choosing physics as an option would I struggle with the course?
    I would probably end up specializing in chemistry or biochemistry at later years so I'm pretty much smack in the middle of the science spectrum.
    Sounds like you're more suited to Natural Sciences Biological from an admissions point of view given that you're not doing FM and your best science is Chemistry as opposed to Physics. Colleges do often prefer their NSP applicants to be doing FM, and the interviews can sometimes favour Physics a little more over Chemistry, just because this is often the preferred subject of applicants.

    I don't think not doing FM would itself mean that you would struggle with the course - what will count is how long it takes you to get to grips with new mathematical techniques. Those who have done FM will have an advantage in that they will have seen quite a bit of the material in the first year maths course beforehand, but from what I've heard the lectures start from the beginning to get everyone up to speed before covering entirely new topics.
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    Why not apply for the one you're mosty likely to get into for?

    Once you get an offer you can decide on what you want to take. You aren't bound to subjects once you start the course, you can pick anything as long as you meet the requirements to do that module.
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    You should also check out if the college you choose has any info on it—chemistry is my major interest too, and Emma allowed me to choose whether I'd like my subject interview to be in physics or chemistry if I applied for physical natsci, while at some other colleges it might be better to go for the biological option
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    (Original post by lizzy0100)
    Definitely want to do biology of cells and chemistry. Undecided between evolution and behaviour, and physics as first year options.
    My a-levels are: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, so far I'm working at A* in all of them, and I got 11A*s at i/gcse
    My super-curriculars (crest projects, research trip to rainforest this summer) are all biology based but i'm naturally better at maths and physics. Chemistry is my best science by far. I appreciate if I get in I can choose options regardless, but which would give me the better chance of getting in?
    Would the lack of further maths be a major problem if I went the physical route, or if I got in via biology but ended up choosing physics as an option would I struggle with the course?
    I would probably end up specializing in chemistry or biochemistry at later years so I'm pretty much smack in the middle of the science spectrum.
    I don't think trying to play the game to work out which option 'might be better to get in' is quite the right approach. They'll be looking for passion and enthusiasm about your chosen subject, so you should make your choices based on this, rather than a vague feeling that you might stand a better chance of getting in with one option of the other.

    For me, Cells, chemistry and E&B are coherent and popular options. If you think you'd end up choosing chemistry or biochem for your Part II, then these options are consistent with that too.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    I don't think trying to play the game to work out which option 'might be better to get in' is quite the right approach. They'll be looking for passion and enthusiasm about your chosen subject, so you should make your choices based on this, rather than a vague feeling that you might stand a better chance of getting in with one option of the other.

    For me, Cells, chemistry and E&B are coherent and popular options. If you think you'd end up choosing chemistry or biochem for your Part II, then these options are consistent with that too.
    For a biochemist, would you say E&B and PoO are equally as useful as each other as a combination with Chemistry + cells? I realise it's a long way off for me, but I'm really torn between them at the moment! Looking at the content, E+B looks more interesting to me at the moment, but if I'm considering going down a more medical route in the future, I think that PoO might be more useful to study...
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    (Original post by liziepie)
    For a biochemist, would you say E&B and PoO are equally as useful as each other as a combination with Chemistry + cells? I realise it's a long way off for me, but I'm really torn between them at the moment! Looking at the content, E+B looks more interesting to me at the moment, but if I'm considering going down a more medical route in the future, I think that PoO might be more useful to study...
    If you're interested in medicine, then PoO is more relevant than E&B - it's a good foundation for Physiology at IB, and it is, of course, a core medical subject. However, E&B is a course which everyone loves without fail (or at least that was my experience of it). So PoO for the medicine, E&B for the interest. Difficult choice! But you don't need to decide yet, so I wouldn't fret about it The important thing is to concentrate on the A levels at this point.
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    (Original post by lizzy0100)
    Definitely want to do biology of cells and chemistry. Undecided between evolution and behaviour, and physics as first year options.
    My a-levels are: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, so far I'm working at A* in all of them, and I got 11A*s at i/gcse
    My super-curriculars (crest projects, research trip to rainforest this summer) are all biology based but i'm naturally better at maths and physics. Chemistry is my best science by far. I appreciate if I get in I can choose options regardless, but which would give me the better chance of getting in?
    Would the lack of further maths be a major problem if I went the physical route, or if I got in via biology but ended up choosing physics as an option would I struggle with the course?
    I would probably end up specializing in chemistry or biochemistry at later years so I'm pretty much smack in the middle of the science spectrum.
    From the point of view of getting in, Biological NatSci seems like a safer option - from my experience, most colleges prefer further maths for students taking physical NatSci, and it definitely helps a lot with the first year physics and more advanced maths options. That's not to say you would struggle with the course, but they do seem to start off assuming you've covered a lot of further maths topics (or even advanced further maths... there were loads of topics they'd assumed we had prior knowledge of when I for one hadn't despite having further maths...). It would be a good idea, if you chose to take the physics module or Maths A/B, to go over the further maths topics during the summer before you start. You'll probably be emailed a maths worksheet to complete over the summer anyway, which covers several of the further maths topics they assume you already know...

    I'd also point out that maths/ physics were, for me, considerably different to A level and a lot harder, much more rigorous and focused on mathematical derivations, proofs and generally a much deeper understanding - whereas the biology options assume no prior knowledge and chemistry is a more gentle continuation from A levels...

    Bear in mind that every college interviews slightly differently though. Some may count chemistry as a physical science, for example. I applied for PhysNatSci (now specialising in Chemistry) and I had two interviews, one being Physics/ Maths/ Materials based (involving loads of complicated maths questions) and the other being Chemistry/ Materials/ a little bit of biology. You may also want to look into how the new admissions tests work, not sure if they differ between Phys/ Bio NatSci...
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    If you're interested in medicine, then PoO is more relevant than E&B - it's a good foundation for Physiology at IB, and it is, of course, a core medical subject. However, E&B is a course which everyone loves without fail (or at least that was my experience of it). So PoO for the medicine, E&B for the interest. Difficult choice! But you don't need to decide yet, so I wouldn't fret about it The important thing is to concentrate on the A levels at this point.
    Indeed, it's all a moot point point if I don't make the offer! Out of interest, do you know what time you do have to decide by? I assume it's in the first week? Is there much flexibility to change within the first few weeks? Sorry to pester you with so many questions
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    I don't think trying to play the game to work out which option 'might be better to get in' is quite the right approach. They'll be looking for passion and enthusiasm about your chosen subject, so you should make your choices based on this, rather than a vague feeling that you might stand a better chance of getting in with one option of the other.
    Not my experience. All they seemed to be looking for in my interviews was technical competence and ability to do the problems set. I don't think I really displayed any sort of 'passion' - I've not read a single pop-science book, for instance, and my personal statement was highly generic - but I still got an offer presumably because I proved myself in the test and interviews. In the case of Biological/Physical sciences, where both 'options' lead to the exact same course once admitted, I would strongly recommend that an undecided applicant chooses the one in which they think they will perform best.

    (Original post by dragonkeeper999)
    ...
    Interesting post, thanks for this. Curiously I've heard the opposite from some people - that the IA maths (A) course is quite slow and gentle, whilst chemistry is very different and a large leap from A-level. I've done FP1-FP3 (OCR non-MEI) and I can already solve a few questions from past Tripos papers for NatSci maths on topics such as integration, ODEs and polar coordinates, so it would be useful to know which modules you did. The first year chemistry papers require a Raven login, but based on the course description I think I'd have a much tougher time finding questions I could do from these without having started the course.
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    (Original post by Forecast)
    All they seemed to be looking for in my interviews was technical competence and ability to do the problems set. I don't think I really displayed any sort of 'passion' -...and my personal statement was highly generic -
    A 'highly generic' PS and no demonstration of passion for your subject is not what we usually recommend an applicant shows during an interview!
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    (Original post by Forecast)
    Interesting post, thanks for this. Curiously I've heard the opposite from some people - that the IA maths (A) course is quite slow and gentle, whilst chemistry is very different and a large leap from A-level. I've done FP1-FP3 (OCR non-MEI) and I can already solve a few questions from past Tripos papers for NatSci maths on topics such as integration, ODEs and polar coordinates, so it would be useful to know which modules you did. The first year chemistry papers require a Raven login, but based on the course description I think I'd have a much tougher time finding questions I could do from these without having started the course.
    Interesting, yeah I do remember some students in first year saying they found the chemistry course really difficult, perhaps my sixth form was just particularly good at preparing us for chemistry then.

    Which maths module were you looking at? If it's for the Maths A/B paper, the first section is short answer questions covering basic topics which you would probably covered some of at A level. I can't remember exactly, but I think we had around 5-10 minutes to answer each question from section A of that exam - so the challenge is more the time pressure than the difficultly of the question perhaps.

    I did OCR MEI maths at A level, taking C1-4, FP1-2, M1-3, D1, S1-2. We didn't seem to cover the same topics as some other people though, e.g. pretty much everyone else had covered at least 2nd order ODEs whereas I had no idea what a differential equation was lol...
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    (Original post by liziepie)
    Indeed, it's all a moot point point if I don't make the offer! Out of interest, do you know what time you do have to decide by? I assume it's in the first week? Is there much flexibility to change within the first few weeks? Sorry to pester you with so many questions
    Not at all - happy to help You'll decide on your papers in consultation with your DoS pretty quickly, but there is always a small window to change. I personally wouldn't want to leave it more than a week or so before changing because of the pace of it - you really can't keep up and try to make up more than a week or so of lost work.
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    (Original post by liziepie)
    Indeed, it's all a moot point point if I don't make the offer! Out of interest, do you know what time you do have to decide by? I assume it's in the first week? Is there much flexibility to change within the first few weeks? Sorry to pester you with so many questions
    Your DoS will generally email you towards the end of the summer asking for an idea of what modules you're considering, you'll confirm these in the first week but there is flexibility to change these until probably at the absolute latest Christmas (probably earlier if you're switching to a module with coursework). I switched modules in second year after 4/5 weeks and it was quite a challenge to catch up, but possible. Exam entries aren't submitted until even later still, and I did know someone who really couldn't decide so took an extra module for pretty much the whole year, with supervisions and everything, and only confirmed which exams he was sitting in around April or something... I really wouldn't advise this though!
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    Does anyone ever take History and Philosophy of Science for Part II? I never see it discussed on TSR, but it looks interesting imo.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    Does anyone ever take History and Philosophy of Science for Part II? I never see it discussed on TSR, but it looks interesting imo.
    Absolutely, yes. You can do it at IB, and then take a part II in it. It's a close-knit department full of really passionate and interesting people who've sort of stumbled into it from various other areas of science - often for fascinating reasons. Nick Jardine used to lecture there magnificently, and it's got a really vibrant research community too.

    I think one of the reasons it's not discussed here is because it's not available at IA, and no-one thinks of it as being part of the NatSci tripos. Unfortunately, some DoSs have a slightly sniffy view of it, thinking you've 'bailed out' of real science if you end up taking HPS (it's also one of the few Part II options that didn't used to have a competitive entry, which didn't help in this regard).
 
 
 
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