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French or Chemistry for A Level? Planning to read maths at university Watch

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    So, I'm about to make my A Level choices this month (although this can be changed up to August), and I've more or less decided that there are three subjects I am doing for definite: Maths, Further Maths and Physics. These I imagine would put me in a good position when applying for maths at university. However, I want to make a fourth subject choice and that's either going to be Chemistry or French.

    I like chemistry because it is a science and it requires a different enough mindset to maths/physics to make it interesting to study. It's also regarded as a "tough" A Level so it's definitely respected by universities. Having 4 STEM subjects also gives me very good flexibility to study a science related degree apart from maths should I change my mind (although this is unlikely).

    French is one I enjoy one day and completely hate it another day. I am bilingual so learning languages has always been easy for me. During French class, I sort of just coast through the lesson because to me, everything that's tested has sort of become general knowledge. AQA's grade boundaries for an A* are also quite low at GCSE, but maybe this is different in A Level. The thing is, I don't feel challenged in French and it could very well end up becoming the hardest A Level I do if I don't enjoy it. However, I see the advantage of being able to speak a third language.

    Has anyone been in a similar situation to me? If so, I would love to hear your suggestions.
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    (Original post by FrankSh)
    So, I'm about to make my A Level choices this month (although this can be changed up to August), and I've more or less decided that there are three subjects I am doing for definite: Maths, Further Maths and Physics. These I imagine would put me in a good position when applying for maths at university. However, I want to make a fourth subject choice and that's either going to be Chemistry or French.

    I like chemistry because it is a science and it requires a different enough mindset to maths/physics to make it interesting to study. It's also regarded as a "tough" A Level so it's definitely respected by universities. Having 4 STEM subjects also gives me very good flexibility to study a science related degree apart from maths should I change my mind (although this is unlikely).

    French is one I enjoy one day and completely hate it another day. I am bilingual so learning languages has always been easy for me. During French class, I sort of just coast through the lesson because to me, everything that's tested has sort of become general knowledge. AQA's grade boundaries for an A* are also quite low at GCSE, but maybe this is different in A Level. The thing is, I don't feel challenged in French and it could very well end up becoming the hardest A Level I do if I don't enjoy it. However, I see the advantage of being able to speak a third language.

    Has anyone been in a similar situation to me? If so, I would love to hear your suggestions.
    It doesn't sound like you particularly enjoy French so I can't see any point in doing it. Do chem. You can always pick up French or another language at university (either as an outside module, or evening classes in the university language centre).
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    I agree with Snufkin - there's very little point in doing French, seeing as you don't seem very enthusiastic about it.

    Just out of interest, why do you feel the need to do a fourth A level? Are you doing it because you want to, or because you feel you should?
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    It doesn't sound like you particularly enjoy French so I can't see any point in doing it. Do chem. You can always pick up French or another language at university (either as an outside module, or evening classes in the university language centre).
    Thanks, I guess I didn't do a good job of giving a balanced view :grin:. But yeah, I just don't feel I've learned much over the past 2 years compared to my other subjects. I did a few months of Babble before going to France and to be honest, it helped me a lot more than the vocabulary I learned in class.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    I agree with Snufkin - there's very little point in doing French, seeing as you don't seem very enthusiastic about it.

    Just out of interest, why do you feel the need to do a fourth A level? Are you doing it because you want to, or because you feel you should?
    My school requires you to do a fourth A Level if you're taking maths and further maths. Even if they didn't, I would still do a fourth subject out of personal interest and to add a bit of variety. I'm not too sure how universities see it, although Cambridge did imply that a fourth subject is common because they said in their entry requirements something along the lines of "[We strongly recommend taking mathematics and further mathematics at A Level. Physics is also helpful...And as for other subjects, you should just choose the subjects you enjoy most]"
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    (Original post by FrankSh)
    My school requires you to do a fourth A Level if you're taking maths and further maths. Even if they didn't, I would still do a fourth subject out of personal interest and to add a bit of variety. I'm not too sure how universities see it, although Cambridge did imply that a fourth subject is common because they said in their entry requirements something along the lines of "[We strongly recommend taking mathematics and further mathematics at A Level. Physics is also helpful...And as for other subjects, you should just choose the subjects you enjoy most]"
    That's fine then, but regarding the Cambridge application, I think you're reading a wrong assumption there. Cambridge has a standard offer of 3 A Levels - and it's STEP, rather than an extra A level which is important if you're thinking of mathematics at Cambridge. I'm quoting in jneill here who is our expert on things like this: he'll be able to give you a bit more detail on this.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    That's fine then, but regarding the Cambridge application, I think you're reading a wrong assumption there. Cambridge has a standard offer of 3 A Levels - and it's STEP, rather than an extra A level which is important if you're thinking of mathematics at Cambridge. I'm quoting in jneill here who is our expert on things like this: he'll be able to give you a bit more detail on this.
    I must have interpreted that wrong then . You know, one of the worst things in a maths textbook is ambiguity in the language used haha. A lot of the students getting offers from Oxbridge at my school are getting A*A*AA, but that's for medicine, where they want to see a broader range of subjects I'm guessing.
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    (Original post by FrankSh)
    My school requires you to do a fourth A Level if you're taking maths and further maths. Even if they didn't, I would still do a fourth subject out of personal interest and to add a bit of variety. I'm not too sure how universities see it, although Cambridge did imply that a fourth subject is common because they said in their entry requirements something along the lines of "[We strongly recommend taking mathematics and further mathematics at A Level. Physics is also helpful...And as for other subjects, you should just choose the subjects you enjoy most]"
    (Original post by Reality Check)
    That's fine then, but regarding the Cambridge application, I think you're reading a wrong assumption there. Cambridge has a standard offer of 3 A Levels - and it's STEP, rather than an extra A level which is important if you're thinking of mathematics at Cambridge. I'm quoting in jneill here who is our expert on things like this: he'll be able to give you a bit more detail on this.
    :popout:

    (Original post by FrankSh)
    I must have interpreted that wrong then . You know, one of the worst things in a maths textbook is ambiguity in the language used haha. A lot of the students getting offers from Oxbridge at my school are getting A*A*AA, but that's for medicine, where they want to see a broader range of subjects I'm guessing.
    Maths & FM plus any A-level is absolutely fine for Maths at Cambridge. Physics is by far the most common 3rd A-level, but is not strictly required. If you get a Cambridge offer do not underestimate the workload involved in meeting the STEP requirement, and with that in mind it would be perfectly sensible to take French (or Chem, entirely your choice) only to AS.

    Having Maths, FM & Physics also leaves Engineering or CompSci or NatSci as potential alternates if you change your mind about Maths at Cambridge but want to stay in the "STEM" area. Although not having Chem to full A-level might slightly restrict your NatSci course options.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Maths & FM plus any A-level is absolutely fine for Maths at Cambridge. Physics is by far the most common 3rd A-level, but is not strictly required. If you get a Cambridge offer do not underestimate the workload involved in meeting the STEP requirement, and with that in mind it would be perfectly sensible to take French (or Chem, entirely your choice) only to AS.

    Having Maths, FM & Physics also leaves Engineering or CompSci or NatSci as potential alternates if you change your mind about Maths at Cambridge but want to stay in the "STEM" area. Although not having Chem to full A-level might slightly restrict your NatSci course options.
    Thanks for the advice! I've looked at some of the STEP past papers and I can occasionally do some of the first easy questions where they usually want you to "Prove that..." or "Show that..." I'm enthusiastic about maths and the careers it could take me so with that in mind, it hopefully won't be a chore.

    I am also considering applying for Imperial in case Cambridge doesn't work out for me and they use MAT but they accept STEP as well. I've read that they are quite different, so would it be wise to prepare for STEP only? Or would it be very risky if they give similar offers on STEP?
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    (Original post by FrankSh)
    Thanks for the advice! I've looked at some of the STEP past papers and I can occasionally do some of the first easy questions where they usually want you to "Prove that..." or "Show that..." I'm enthusiastic about maths and the careers it could take me so with that in mind, it hopefully won't be a chore.

    I am also considering applying for Imperial in case Cambridge doesn't work out for me and they use MAT but they accept STEP as well. I've read that they are quite different, so would it be wise to prepare for STEP only? Or would it be very risky if they give similar offers on STEP?
    Don't bother doing much STEP until you have C1-4 under your belt. And this thread is required reading : ask the experts there about MAT v STEP, not me

    https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4275906
 
 
 
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