4th A level or EPQ? Watch

jadeee18x
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#1
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Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
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greghayes
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
I'm telling you only what I know from my 3 friends who applied to medicine.
"H" takes 3 subjects.
"E" takes 3 subjects and an EPQ.
"D" takes 4 subjects.

D was the only one to receive any offers and had 3 of them (the only rejection was Oxford). The other two had one interview each and failed on them.

I'm not at all saying that their subject choices and EPQ have anything to do with it, they may have just had poor applications and interviewed bad.

It's also worth pointing out that H and E were expected to get AAA minimum but D has offers of AAAA so has to work harder.

Only take 4 if you're certain that you can get the grades in them all as they're expecting more out of you with 4. An EPQ can sometimes benefit you if it's relevant to medicine (E looked at the most expensive drug on the NHS and debated whether a life was worth that amount of tax payer's money).

I would personally say to take 3 and an EPQ and focus on getting good grades in those unless you're confident enough to be aiming for AAAA as medicine is very competitive.
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greghayes
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
Oh and I wouldn't drop maths. Biology seems more appropriate to drop.
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cardiocrunch
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I do 4 A levels and an EPQ and it certainly a lot of work to handle!
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Reality Check
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
This is asked rather a lot. The standard offer will be for 3 A levels. If you take 4 A levels and they consider you a borderline candidate, they might make you an offer for 4 A levels instead - i.e. your decision to take an extra A level has made your offer harder (it's unlikely it would change a 'no offer' to a 'harder offer'. An EPQ isn't going to form part of an offer.

For my money, it's the grades that are important, rather than offering more A levels and EPQs. See this thread for Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge's view of 3 or 4 A levels.

Essentially, it would be much better to take three A levels and concentrate on getting A*/A*/A with one of the A* in Chemistry than take 4 A levels and get A*/A/A/A or, even worse, A/A/A/A
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theresheglows
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(Original post by greghayes)
Oh and I wouldn't drop maths. Biology seems more appropriate to drop.
Um :curious:

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No
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S.G.
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
Barts like more subjects. Some unis don't like EPQ. I would, and have, stayed with 4
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theresheglows
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
Schools often make a big deal about the EPQ but post-sixth form it's really not worth very much. For getting into uni it's only useful for those people who need to get enough ucas points for their course, and as this isn't the case for medicine applicants it's only real use is as something to talk about at interview (and in terms of ucas points a 4th A-level is worth far more anyway).

Whether to do 3 or 4 depends on what you think you can manage - do 4 if you can be certain of getting at least 3, and preferably 4 As. You can always start with 4 next year and drop one if you aren't coping with the workload/your grades are going down.
(don't drop chem or bio!)
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Someboady
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I do 4 A-levels and the EPQ
EPQ is less work than a 4th A-level especially in exam season. You might find yourself asking yourself why you chose to torture yourself. as I am now doing.
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HarveySpecter97
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I did 3 A-levels and an EPQ, I've got an offer to study medicine at Lancaster. In my opinion the EPQ is the route to go down, as doing 4 A-levels is pretty difficult. Obviously people do 4 and get the grades, but if you want to go down the path of least resistance; securing 3A's and getting an A* in an EPQ is much much much easier than getting 4A's. Remember the goal is getting into medical school, to do that one needs grades first, do well on the UKCAT/BMAT, then kill the interview. Doing another A-level severely compromises your ability to dedicate time to three, which is common sense; the more A-levels you do, the less time you have to dedicate to each subject. Doing the fourth A-level doesn't make a difference to your ability to perform in the UKCAT/BMAT, but at interview is where doing the EPQ really helps. I did mine on the causations of dementia, I can't tell you how much I relied on it when it came to my personal statement and in interview; I mentioned it a few times in interview which I believed helped. You can't really talk about doing another A-level at interview, because it doesn't help you stand out. Overall I think go with the EPQ, I literally spent 2-3 hours a week on it from September to March and got an A*, I think it really helped me stand out opposed to just doing a fourth A-level not relevant to medicine. Hope that helps!
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greghayes
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(Original post by theresheglows)
Um :curious:

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Sorry I actually meant physics :/
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xhorseloverx
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
Taking an EPQ in a subject related to the field you want to study will be really useful. While having 4 A-Levels would make you stand out, not many people do, so you wouldn't be at a disadvantage with 3. Hope this has helped )
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bex.anne
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
Hi everyone,
I would be really grateful for any advice anyone can offer me about this dilemma. I am currently studying 4 subjects Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths and am passionate about pursuing medicine. I am not sure whether it would be best to drop one of these next year (probably maths) and undertake an EPQ instead. Do medical schools only care about the 3 grades? Is there much point in me carrying on with 4 if they don't pay attention to the 4th as I could be focusing on 3?
Thank you
Don't do 4, no medical school asks for four, you dont need four., you dont even need 3 and an AS!. Do an epq, its not even as much work as an extra AS honestly. (also as you have an AS, thats a bonus already, do you really need to do an epq, it wont lower offers for medicine, just something to talk about in interview/ps really (i never had a chance to talk about mine in either even though it was nhs and med related) Doing 4 sciences is way too hard, it will only affect your performance, dont do it. Also, out of physics/maths, drop the harder one, carry on the one you're more likely to get an A in more easily, DONT DROP BIO !!! (or chem)
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Helloworld_95
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The EPQ gives you a lot more to talk about in interviews, go for that.
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jadeee18x
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(Original post by bex.anne)
Don't do 4, no medical school asks for four, you dont need four., you dont even need 3 and an AS!. Do an epq, its not even as much work as an extra AS honestly. (also as you have an AS, thats a bonus already, do you really need to do an epq, it wont lower offers for medicine, just something to talk about in interview/ps really (i never had a chance to talk about mine in either even though it was nhs and med related) Doing 4 sciences is way too hard, it will only affect your performance, dont do it. Also, out of physics/maths, drop the harder one, carry on the one you're more likely to get an A in more easily, DONT DROP BIO !!! (or chem)
My school makes us do an extended studies option if you only do 3 A levels which is things like EPQ or general studies - I thought EPQ would be the most beneficial.
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jadeee18x
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(Original post by HarveySpecter97)
I did 3 A-levels and an EPQ, I've got an offer to study medicine at Lancaster. In my opinion the EPQ is the route to go down, as doing 4 A-levels is pretty difficult. Obviously people do 4 and get the grades, but if you want to go down the path of least resistance; securing 3A's and getting an A* in an EPQ is much much much easier than getting 4A's. Remember the goal is getting into medical school, to do that one needs grades first, do well on the UKCAT/BMAT, then kill the interview. Doing another A-level severely compromises your ability to dedicate time to three, which is common sense; the more A-levels you do, the less time you have to dedicate to each subject. Doing the fourth A-level doesn't make a difference to your ability to perform in the UKCAT/BMAT, but at interview is where doing the EPQ really helps. I did mine on the causations of dementia, I can't tell you how much I relied on it when it came to my personal statement and in interview; I mentioned it a few times in interview which I believed helped. You can't really talk about doing another A-level at interview, because it doesn't help you stand out. Overall I think go with the EPQ, I literally spent 2-3 hours a week on it from September to March and got an A*, I think it really helped me stand out opposed to just doing a fourth A-level not relevant to medicine. Hope that helps!
How easy is it to do well on the EPQ?
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HarveySpecter97
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(Original post by jadeee18x)
How easy is it to do well on the EPQ?
Not gonna lie, it's really easy. But you make it easy, by consistently doing the work every week opposed to being disorganised and doing it all in one go.
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