A-level choices help/advice/input? English Lit, Sociology, Philosophy

Watch
meganlit
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#1
Hi everyone,
I am curious as to whether my A-level choices go well together, or whether they are an odd combination/i will find them too difficult or even too 'soft'.

Currently, I have:
English Literature, Sociology and Philosophy

Did anyone take these subjects or have any advice/tips or input on my choices?
Thank you,
Megan

Edit: I completely forgot to mention, I am hoping to do a social sciences course at uni, such as HSPS
0
reply
Amefish
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 years ago
#2
They are soft choices. It depends where you want your A Levels to take you, basically.
0
reply
username2281303
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#3
Report 4 years ago
#3
(Original post by meganlit)
Hi everyone,
I am curious as to whether my A-level choices go well together, or whether they are an odd combination/i will find them too difficult or even too 'soft'.

Currently, I have:
English Literature, Sociology and Philosophy

Did anyone take these subjects or have any advice/tips or input on my choices?
Thank you,
Megan
They're not an odd combination at all, these were the kind of subjects I originally wanted to take back in year 11.

They are soft though, I'm sorry to say. English Lit though, is fine, it's actually a pretty well respected A Level. So I wouldn't worry too much about taking that. Sociology and Philosophy are VERY soft though, and depending what you want to go on to do at Uni and as a career, you might regret taking them. But honestly, it depends on your interests.

A subject in the similar category to these but what could also be considered to be a lot stronger is psychology. I don't know if they offer that at your school, but if you want to strengthen your subjects, that might be good to take. It's also rlly interesting

Oh yeah, and I'm taking english lit right now (as well as 3 other sciences). It's one of my favourite subjects, but it's gonna involve a lot of reading, discussion in class, and occasionally a class presentation.
0
reply
sazriah
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#4
Report 4 years ago
#4
(Original post by Amefish)
They are soft choices. It depends where you want your A Levels to take you, basically.
Lmao ^ clearly you've done neither English Lit or Philosophy if you consider them soft. English Literature is one of the most respected subjects at A-Level, and definitely my toughest A-level. Many people I know do Philosophy and consider it extremely tough. I do Sociology and the content isn't "hard" but lots to remember. If you like essay writing, which you must with these subjects, then its a good mix. If you wish to do a similar subject at uni, which I presume, then these subjects are fine and respectable. Most of all, do what you enjoy and know you can get good grades in.
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#5
Report 4 years ago
#5
English Lit and Philosophy complement each other well. Sociology...not so much. Arguably it could be said it provides a more social aspect of human understanding (and if you're interested in the philosophy of language/mind then it's a reasonable choice, but english lit is a bit odd then), but Geography or History would do the same, better, and in the latter case more directly relevantly. Other more literary based options might be Classics/Classical Civilisation/Ancient History, some form of religion/theology course (as religious texts often are referenced or criticised directly or indirectly in literature).

Languages would also be valuable, as being able to read world literature in their original language is always useful (both modern and classical/biblical languages would be appropriate for this). If you're interested in writing then English Language would be a natural choice, although more universities may not accept the combination of English Language and Lit with just one other A-level.

Also, English Lit is probably on the softer side of the facilitating/preferred subjects, and Philosophy isn't always considered a preferred subject. Sociology often doesn't make the cut, although it depends where/what you're applying for (LSE considers both acceptable incidentally, and would consider Sociology sufficiently different than the other two to satisfy their breadth requirement.)

Do you know what you might like to apply to uni for? That may help in offering suggestions on whether you should swap one potentially.

More generally, you will be reading a lot of texts, and writing a lot of essays. Based on your choices I imagine this is a strength for you and something you enjoy doing, but if not it may be pertinent to reevaluate. Specifically Philosophy and Literature will have more "interpretive" essay styles; sociology is more analytical/expository (i.e. writing what you know about something, then applying that knowledge to a specific problem or evaluating issues with it)
0
reply
Estarrre
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#6
Report 4 years ago
#6
I do philosophy and I can tell you it is definitely not soft, lol. It depends what you want to study and where you want to go. It is well respected at Oxford but maybe not a more technical uni like Cambridge.
0
reply
sazriah
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#7
Report 4 years ago
#7
Also really don't buy the Sociology isn't respected at all crap. I got an interview for Cambridge having done sociology. So top uni's do consider it.
0
reply
Amefish
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 years ago
#8
(Original post by sazriah)
Lmao ^ clearly you've done neither English Lit or Philosophy if you consider them soft. English Literature is one of the most respected subjects at A-Level, and definitely my toughest A-level. Many people I know do Philosophy and consider it extremely tough. I do Sociology and the content isn't "hard" but lots to remember. If you like essay writing, which you must with these subjects, then its a good mix. If you wish to do a similar subject at uni, which I presume, then these subjects are fine and respectable. Most of all, do what you enjoy and know you can get good grades in.
My college doesn't offer philosophy. What I mean by 'soft' it that they're generally looked down on by (undeniably snobby) science departments at universities, hence why I said it depends on where you want your A Levels to take you. If English lit is your hardest A Level, then good for you. It's definitely the most respected out of the three subjects OP has chosen, but it doesn't mean it isn't considered a soft subject.

I've been thrown a reality check because two of the subjects I chose (English language and geography) are considered to be quite soft subjects by universities I was looking at. I'm not patronising or degrading the OP for wanting to choose these subjects, I'm merely stating that they are considered soft and they may, therefore, struggle more when looking at top universities - for certain courses. Again, I reiterate that the viability of the subject choices are dependent on the courses the poster will want to progress onto.

My advice to the OP would be to shop around at potential universities and courses they'd like to do in order to get a feel for what A Level choices would suit them best.
1
reply
meganlit
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#9
(Original post by sazriah)
Lmao ^ clearly you've done neither English Lit or Philosophy if you consider them soft. English Literature is one of the most respected subjects at A-Level, and definitely my toughest A-level. Many people I know do Philosophy and consider it extremely tough. I do Sociology and the content isn't "hard" but lots to remember. If you like essay writing, which you must with these subjects, then its a good mix. If you wish to do a similar subject at uni, which I presume, then these subjects are fine and respectable. Most of all, do what you enjoy and know you can get good grades in.
Thank you for your help! I am interested in studying social sciences at university, but I am very concerned my A-levels are too 'random' as only sociology plays a part in the course. I am very interested in psychology, but I read that it will make me hate the subjects, as it is so similar to sociology it's hard to differentiate- and it is a struggle learning all of the case studies from both. I do enjoy essay writing thankfully.
0
reply
meganlit
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#10
(Original post by Amefish)
My college doesn't offer philosophy. What I mean by 'soft' it that they're generally looked down on by (undeniably snobby) science departments at universities, hence why I said it depends on where you want your A Levels to take you. If English lit is your hardest A Level, then good for you. It's definitely the most respected out of the three subjects OP has chosen, but it doesn't mean it isn't considered a soft subject.

I've been thrown a reality check because two of the subjects I chose (English language and geography) are considered to be quite soft subjects by universities I was looking at. I'm not patronising or degrading the OP for wanting to choose these subjects, I'm merely stating that they are considered soft and they may, therefore, struggle more when looking at top universities - for certain courses. Again, I reiterate that the viability of the subject choices are dependent on the courses the poster will want to progress onto.

My advice to the OP would be to shop around at potential universities and courses they'd like to do in order to get a feel for what A Level choices would suit them best.
Hi, thank you for your reply English Literature is actually considered a very strong and traditional subject, and I thoroughly enjoy it which is a bonus.
Sociology is definitely a soft subject, however I am interested in doing a social sciences course (possibly HSPS depending on how well I do at A-levels) and I have looked around and many people did english lit, sociology and psychology and still got in to do the course.
0
reply
meganlit
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#11
Report Thread starter 4 years ago
#11
(Original post by sazriah)
Also really don't buy the Sociology isn't respected at all crap. I got an interview for Cambridge having done sociology. So top uni's do consider it.
Thank you! I know of many people who did two 'soft' subjects (sociology and psychology,) and one strong subject (english lit) and got in to do HSPS at Cambridge which is what I have been looking in to. I am just worried about Philosophy being too out of place...
0
reply
sazriah
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#12
Report 4 years ago
#12
(Original post by meganlit)
Thank you! I know of many people who did two 'soft' subjects (sociology and psychology,) and one strong subject (english lit) and got in to do HSPS at Cambridge which is what I have been looking in to. I am just worried about Philosophy being too out of place...
I too, did two "soft" subjects and one traditional subject and got an interview for HSPS. My interview was a flop but they still considered even with two "soft" subjects so I guess that's s something. I honestly don't think you'd be disadvantaged with these subjects as the course is contains elements of most humanities subjects.

If you are really worried, have you considered History in place of one of the subjects? Also, regarding your Psychology and Sociology decision - my best friend does both and the subjects do combine which can be tricky as they have same key terms/concepts but different meanings. So, it can get confusing.
0
reply
artful_lounger
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#13
Report 4 years ago
#13
Having seen your update about HSPS and hence your general direction, then your options are reasonable. As noted, unis will happily consider a single "Non-preferred" subject, and the subjects they prefer vary from uni to uni, course to course.

If you're interested in HSPS and related courses, sociology is a reasonable choice. I would suggest considering swapping one (or both) of the other two for geography or history, as they are very human centred, with an emphasis on the social and political aspects of modern human civilisation. In particular, while geography is split between physical and human, the human geography is very relevant to your future interests and the demography aspects are something that you'll likely continue developing in research methods courses in preparation for dissertations and similar.

You could take Psychology as well as Sociology, but I'd probably recommend only taking one, unless you do four A-levels (so that pair, plus two others). I think english lit is probably the odd one out; philosophy is a reasonable option to tie in with social sciences, especially as most were born of specific areas of philosophy initially anyway, but literature is more or less irrelevant for this purpose, so unless you really enjoying reading literature I'd suggest to swap this over philosophy. HOWEVER make sure sociology + philosophy + facilitating subject, if you do this, is an acceptable combination by your selected universities. LSE will be fine with it, but Cambridge may prefer one of the first two be another facilitating subject (in which case I would advise to swap philosophy).

If you are interested in social sciences I'd probably honestly just suggest taking sociology plus two of history/geography/economics. This gives you sufficient breadth while also making 100% certain you tick the "two facilitating subjects" box for every university (since all to my knowledge consider those 3 preferred/facilitating subjects; just note this is specifically economics, not business studies).
0
reply
Art_o'brien
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#14
Report 4 years ago
#14
Although some people may say that sociology is easy. That isn't the case, it's not hard because it usually just requires some common sense but there is a large amount of content and names to remember for each topic.

I'm in year 13 and about to do my sociology A level. I'm finding it difficult to remember all of the content that I have learnt over the 2 years but I'm sure if you start revising from early on, you'll be fine.
0
reply
cherrybombs
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#15
Report 4 years ago
#15
None of these subjects are soft, look online at top universities such as London School of Economics and Oxbridge and all three of your choices are on the subjects they accept.. 'soft' subjects are more things like drama and media
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Poll: What factors affect your mental health most right now? Post-lockdown edition

Anxiousness about restrictions easing (30)
5.32%
Uncertainty around my education (65)
11.52%
Uncertainty around my future career prospects (66)
11.7%
Lack of purpose or motivation (75)
13.3%
Lack of support system (eg. teachers, counsellors, delays in care) (32)
5.67%
Impact lockdown had on physical health (28)
4.96%
Social worries (incl. loneliness/making friends) (60)
10.64%
Financial worries (35)
6.21%
Concern about myself or my loves ones getting/having been ill (22)
3.9%
Exposure to negative news/social media (34)
6.03%
Difficulty accessing real life entertainment (15)
2.66%
Lack of confidence in making big life decisions (56)
9.93%
Worry about missed opportunities during the pandemic (46)
8.16%

Watched Threads

View All