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    I'm thinking of taking A level biology, I was just wondering opinions people have on it. Is it really hard, or manageable? I also didn't do separate sciences, so will this matter and will it be a lot harder?
    Thank you for your help
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    (Original post by honeybee1)
    I'm thinking of taking A level biology, I was just wondering opinions people have on it. Is it really hard, or manageable? I also didn't do separate sciences, so will this matter and will it be a lot harder?
    Thank you for your help
    My advice is don't do it if you don't LOVE it or don't need it for your degree
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    (Original post by SGHD26716)
    My advice is don't do it if you don't LOVE it or don't need it for your degree
    I enjoy human biology, but not the plant part. At the moment I'm thinking of taking biomedicine at university, although this could change.
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    (Original post by honeybee1)
    I enjoy human biology, but not the plant part. At the moment I'm thinking of taking biomedicine at university, although this could change.
    There's a lot of non-human biology.

    For OCR there's a 135 minute exam on Diversity. Stuff like quadrants, biodiversity, sampling, populations.

    All in all, there is a lot of content. A lot.
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    A signifcant minority, if not outright majority, have done double aware science rather than individual sciences, over the years. Many have done well on the A-level science courses and at degree level afterwards.

    Deciding whether to take it or not because of it's perceived difficulty is generally a poor way to choose subjects. Are you interested in the subject matter generally, and are you considering purusing related areas of study or work after 6th form, are better questions to ask yourself when choosing a subject, and better reasons to pick one.

    If you're interested in various bioscience related subjects (which is a fairly broad array randing from anthropology, to psychology, to biomolecular and biomedical sciences, to ecology and conservation sciences) it's a pretty reasonable choice. If you enjoy learning about the natural world, then of the 3 "core" sciences I would argue biology best captures the essence of what you may have been exposed to previously (e.g. through documentaries and museum visits etc).

    Now, if you aren't planning to pursue this area, and are strongly considering studying say, economics, then it's not particularly useful in that sense. If you are still interested in the subject matter it's not a bad choice, but it's not something you should choose just because you think you should have "a science A-level".

    Difficulty at A-level is virtually impossible to quantify because what may be difficult for some will be remarkably easy for others, either due to better preparation beforehand, more motivation to explore the subject beyond the standard curriculum, or various other reasons. For example, for many people Further Maths is the hardest A-level available, however for many mathematically oriented students who enjoy mathematics and plan to continue studying it, it's not particularly difficult and is just as routine as any other subject for them.

    There is a signifcant amount of information to learn for the subject, and compared to e.g. physics and chemistry, there are fewer "process based" skills and techniques to be learned that are examined, and more raw information. If you find retaining large amounts of new information difficult, you may find some parts of the course challenging. However this may well be balanced out by e.g. experiencing the actual concepts through lab investigations.
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    (Original post by SGHD26716)
    There's a lot of non-human biology.

    For OCR there's a 135 minute exam on Diversity. Stuff like quadrants, biodiversity, sampling, populations.

    All in all, there is a lot of content. A lot.
    I would be doing AQA. I don't mind the mentioned, it's stuff like structure of a plant that I don't enjoy.

    Do you enjoy it? Are you glad you took it?
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    A signifcant minority, if not outright majority, have done double aware science rather than individual sciences, over the years. Many have done well on the A-level science courses and at degree level afterwards.

    Deciding whether to take it or not because of it's perceived difficulty is generally a poor way to choose subjects. Are you interested in the subject matter generally, and are you considering purusing related areas of study or work after 6th form, are better questions to ask yourself when choosing a subject, and better reasons to pick one.

    If you're interested in various bioscience related subjects (which is a fairly broad array randing from anthropology, to psychology, to biomolecular and biomedical sciences, to ecology and conservation sciences) it's a pretty reasonable choice. If you enjoy learning about the natural world, then of the 3 "core" sciences I would argue biology best captures the essence of what you may have been exposed to previously (e.g. through documentaries and museum visits etc).

    Now, if you aren't planning to pursue this area, and are strongly considering studying say, economics, then it's not particularly useful in that sense. If you are still interested in the subject matter it's not a bad choice, but it's not something you should choose just because you think you should have "a science A-level".

    Difficulty at A-level is virtually impossible to quantify because what may be difficult for some will be remarkably easy for others, either due to better preparation beforehand, more motivation to explore the subject beyond the standard curriculum, or various other reasons. For example, for many people Further Maths is the hardest A-level available, however for many mathematically oriented students who enjoy mathematics and plan to continue studying it, it's not particularly difficult and is just as routine as any other subject for them.

    There is a signifcant amount of information to learn for the subject, and compared to e.g. physics and chemistry, there are fewer "process based" skills and techniques to be learned that are examined, and more raw information. If you find retaining large amounts of new information difficult, you may find some parts of the course challenging. However this may well be balanced out by e.g. experiencing the actual concepts through lab investigations.
    Wow, thank you for all this advice, it was interesting to read and will definitely help me decide whether to take A-level biology or not.

    I wouldn't be taking it to just get a science A-level, as I am considering doing a biomedicine degree, or psychology (I am thinking of taking a level psychology), so it will be useful for the future. I am trying not to judge my choices on what is going to be hard, for the reasons listed above, but naturally I am curious to see how others deal with the subject.
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    (Original post by honeybee1)
    Wow, thank you for all this advice, it was interesting to read and will definitely help me decide whether to take A-level biology or not.

    I wouldn't be taking it to just get a science A-level, as I am considering doing a biomedicine degree, or psychology (I am thinking of taking a level psychology), so it will be useful for the future. I am trying not to judge my choices on what is going to be hard, for the reasons listed above, but naturally I am curious to see how others deal with the subject.
    If you're thinking of Biomedical Sciences and related areas, Biology would be highly recommended, if not outright required. Chemistry is also required for the vast majority of these courses, just so you're aware.

    For Psychology, it's not required but can certainly be helpful - the field as a whole currently has a strong emphasis on neurobiological approaches, so having a basic background in cell biology for example, can be somewhat helpful. They'll teach you this anyway, but you'll get more breadth in related areas on the A-level.

    It's commonly taken with both Psychology or Chemistry (and not uncommonly taken with both) so the workload of those combinations is not unreasonable. Psychology is a very information heavy subject like biology however, so you may find that you have a lot more to take in with that combination (as opposed to say Chemistry where, while there is a great deal of information, a lot of it can be derived or inferred from a smaller subset of the knowledge of the A-level during the exam making revision slightly less daunting).
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    If you're thinking of Biomedical Sciences and related areas, Biology would be highly recommended, if not outright required. Chemistry is also required for the vast majority of these courses, just so you're aware.

    For Psychology, it's not required but can certainly be helpful - the field as a whole currently has a strong emphasis on neurobiological approaches, so having a basic background in cell biology for example, can be somewhat helpful. They'll teach you this anyway, but you'll get more breadth in related areas on the A-level.

    It's commonly taken with both Psychology or Chemistry (and not uncommonly taken with both) so the workload of those combinations is not unreasonable. Psychology is a very information heavy subject like biology however, so you may find that you have a lot more to take in with that combination (as opposed to say Chemistry where, while there is a great deal of information, a lot of it can be derived or inferred from a smaller subset of the knowledge of the A-level during the exam making revision slightly less daunting).
    I have been looking at entry requirements for biomedical sciences and most unis do require chemistry aswell, but there are some which don't. I don't know whether to take chemistry instead of psychology, but I guess I have more time to decide on that.

    Yes I believe that biology a level gives you a head start for a psychology degree and biology and psychology also compliment each other.

    To be honest, I'm still quite undecided with my a levels, hopefully I decide before the 24th of August Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it.
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    (Original post by honeybee1)
    I have been looking at entry requirements for biomedical sciences and most unis do require chemistry aswell, but there are some which don't. I don't know whether to take chemistry instead of psychology, but I guess I have more time to decide on that.

    Yes I believe that biology a level gives you a head start for a psychology degree and biology and psychology also compliment each other.

    To be honest, I'm still quite undecided with my a levels, hopefully I decide before the 24th of August Thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it.
    Is there a reason you aren't considering Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology? It's a reasonable combination, and keeps your options open while letting you explore psychology a bit (and gives you an essay subject if you change direction somewhat when you apply). I would recommend taking chemistry now, as most courses that don't require it immediately will either teach you the necessary parts of A-level chemistry on the course, but much more quickly and with less individual attention than you'll get at school, or won't cover it and be relatively "soft" in that they won't be able to develop a full picture of modern molecular biology and biochemistry, which underpin most of modern (bio)medicine.

    If you absolutely loathe chemistry then, certainly avoid it. However you may want to carefully consider your future aspirations, given as indicated above chemistry underpins these areas to various extents. That said, you won't necessarily be e.g. balancing chemical equations for those types of courses - but you need to understand the types of (organic) reactions that occur and the conditions that give rise to them, at the very least.
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Is there a reason you aren't considering Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology? It's a reasonable combination, and keeps your options open while letting you explore psychology a bit (and gives you an essay subject if you change direction somewhat when you apply). I would recommend taking chemistry now, as most courses that don't require it immediately will either teach you the necessary parts of A-level chemistry on the course, but much more quickly and with less individual attention than you'll get at school, or won't cover it and be relatively "soft" in that they won't be able to develop a full picture of modern molecular biology and biochemistry, which underpin most of modern (bio)medicine.

    If you absolutely loathe chemistry then, certainly avoid it. However you may want to carefully consider your future aspirations, given as indicated above chemistry underpins these areas to various extents. That said, you won't necessarily be e.g. balancing chemical equations for those types of courses - but you need to understand the types of (organic) reactions that occur and the conditions that give rise to them, at the very least.
    I would take chemistry, biology & psychology, but I want to take french, which is probably one of my strongest & one of my favourite subjects. I don't dislike chemistry, in fact I actually quite enjoy it, but I think I would enjoy psychology more and therefore succeed in it more than I would chemistry. Also, I know it shouldn't but everyone who takes chemistry at a levels says it's really hard, and one of the hardest to take & I know that this shouldn't put me off, because all A levels will be hard, but it definitely does slightly. Although, from what you are saying I do think chemistry will be more useful, I just don't know what to take anymore :dontknow: Do I go for subjects I enjoy, but not know what degree to do, or take subjects which I don't like as much (but still do, if that makes sense) but know a variety of degree and career paths I could perhaps pursue???
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    (Original post by honeybee1)
    I would take chemistry, biology & psychology, but I want to take french, which is probably one of my strongest & one of my favourite subjects. I don't dislike chemistry, in fact I actually quite enjoy it, but I think I would enjoy psychology more and therefore succeed in it more than I would chemistry. Also, I know it shouldn't but everyone who takes chemistry at a levels says it's really hard, and one of the hardest to take & I know that this shouldn't put me off, because all A levels will be hard, but it definitely does slightly. Although, from what you are saying I do think chemistry will be more useful, I just don't know what to take anymore :dontknow: Do I go for subjects I enjoy, but not know what degree to do, or take subjects which I don't like as much (but still do, if that makes sense) but know a variety of degree and career paths I could perhaps pursue???
    Well only you can really make that decision. However, most BMS type courses require chemistry explicitly, and normally a second science which is typically biology. Psychology courses have no specific subject requirements, although some science background is usually seen as useful. French language courses would of course require French at A-level.

    Realistically if you wish to pursue STEM subjects (i.e. BMS etc, not including psychology) you need to be taking two science subjects. So I would recommend deciding between psychology and french, rather than one of the science pair, unless you're willing to accept you will have very limited options in the realm of sciences and your application may not be as competitive as others.

    Another point I'd make is that you needn't take A-level French to continue learning French - there are lots of web resources for language learning, and many sites where you can pair with native language speakers of your target language and engage them in text based chats or send them chunks of prose and have them offer advice on corrections etc. Following on from this, once you're at university it's not uncommon for them to offer either evening classes in languages, or languages as optional modules (you may not have as much leeway in this on a STEM course as there are typically fewer "elective" modules available, rather than "selective" modules where you choose from a list of specified options).

    Biology + Psychology would probably be suitable for some perhaps less rigorous but still scientific courses such as Human Sciences (i.e. at Oxford/UCL primarily), PBS at Cambridge, either of the Psychology options at Oxford, various Neuroscience courses etc. However Biomedical Sciences specifically are biomolecular science courses - they have a heavy emphasis on molecular biology and biochemistry, hence the Chemistry entry requirement. The aforementioned courses don't have the emphasis (or at least, do not necessarily have it).

    It is still possible to specialise in a psychologically relevant area on these courses - for example taking Experimental Psychology in Part IB NST at Cambridge, and/or PNB/NST Psych Part II, or the Neuroscience option on the Oxford BMS course. Outside of the elite tier, this is still often true - for example Southampton has a great deal of neuroscience research, and many options in that area on their BMS course (and also a 4 year MSci Neuroscience course which follows the core of the BMS course with specific options in neurosciences as core modules rather than optional ones).
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    (Original post by artful_lounger)
    Well only you can really make that decision. However, most BMS type courses require chemistry explicitly, and normally a second science which is typically biology. Psychology courses have no specific subject requirements, although some science background is usually seen as useful. French language courses would of course require French at A-level.

    Realistically if you wish to pursue STEM subjects (i.e. BMS etc, not including psychology) you need to be taking two science subjects. So I would recommend deciding between psychology and french, rather than one of the science pair, unless you're willing to accept you will have very limited options in the realm of sciences and your application may not be as competitive as others.

    Another point I'd make is that you needn't take A-level French to continue learning French - there are lots of web resources for language learning, and many sites where you can pair with native language speakers of your target language and engage them in text based chats or send them chunks of prose and have them offer advice on corrections etc. Following on from this, once you're at university it's not uncommon for them to offer either evening classes in languages, or languages as optional modules (you may not have as much leeway in this on a STEM course as there are typically fewer "elective" modules available, rather than "selective" modules where you choose from a list of specified options).

    Biology + Psychology would probably be suitable for some perhaps less rigorous but still scientific courses such as Human Sciences (i.e. at Oxford/UCL primarily), PBS at Cambridge, either of the Psychology options at Oxford, various Neuroscience courses etc. However Biomedical Sciences specifically are biomolecular science courses - they have a heavy emphasis on molecular biology and biochemistry, hence the Chemistry entry requirement. The aforementioned courses don't have the emphasis (or at least, do not necessarily have it).

    It is still possible to specialise in a psychologically relevant area on these courses - for example taking Experimental Psychology in Part IB NST at Cambridge, and/or PNB/NST Psych Part II, or the Neuroscience option on the Oxford BMS course. Outside of the elite tier, this is still often true - for example Southampton has a great deal of neuroscience research, and many options in that area on their BMS course (and also a 4 year MSci Neuroscience course which follows the core of the BMS course with specific options in neurosciences as core modules rather than optional ones).
    If I chose to do French, Biology & Chemistry, would my application be competitive as I have 2 'hard' sciences or not? Do people usually have 3 science subjects?

    As I'm not 100% sure on what career I want to do, I am trying to pick a levels which would keep doors open, but of course usually 2 A levels are needed. If I chose French this would obviously keep a language career open for me as I would be able to do a French degree.

    Although I would be able to continue learning French on the side, I feel like I may aswell get some credit for it, by doing an A level in it. Also, I would probably not get the time to do this and it is also a subject I feel passionate about and may (although at the moment probably not) decide to do a degree in it.

    Ah ok, so I can still not do A level psychology, but part of my degree can include psychology, allowing me to still study some psychology?
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    Personally I've done Physics and Chemistry as my two sciences, I assume (or if not, highly urge you to take) another science, in particular Chemistry. From people I've known I've found most people who have gone on to the degree courses have taken Chem and another science lol, as Bio is highly recommended, whilst chemistry in some Unis is compulsory.

    Rule of thumb:
    If you want to do Medicine, or Dentistry, or Veterinary Sciences take Bio, (BUT MAKE SURE IT'S WITH CHEMISTRY)
    If you want to do biomedical sciences/biomedicine/natural sciences or just a Biology/Zoology/Botany/Animal Sciences, etc degree, take Biology.

    If your degree of choice does not directly pertain to Biology, or a STEM subject in general, then don't take Biology, only take it if you're extremely passionate for the course.
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    Additionally, regarding your French/Language Options:

    Provided the degree of choice isn't Medicine or Veterinary Sciences (or maybe Dentistry in some instances), the possibility remains open for a Dual Honours course or French units to be taken alongside your sciency option.
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    (Original post by AryanGh)
    Personally I've done Physics and Chemistry as my two sciences, I assume (or if not, highly urge you to take) another science, in particular Chemistry. From people I've known I've found most people who have gone on to the degree courses have taken Chem and another science lol, as Bio is highly recommended, whilst chemistry in some Unis is compulsory.

    Rule of thumb:
    If you want to do Medicine, or Dentistry, or Veterinary Sciences take Bio, (BUT MAKE SURE IT'S WITH CHEMISTRY)
    If you want to do biomedical sciences/biomedicine/natural sciences or just a Biology/Zoology/Botany/Animal Sciences, etc degree, take Biology.

    If your degree of choice does not directly pertain to Biology, or a STEM subject in general, then don't take Biology, only take it if you're extremely passionate for the course.
    (Original post by AryanGh)
    Additionally, regarding your French/Language Options:

    Provided the degree of choice isn't Medicine or Veterinary Sciences (or maybe Dentistry in some instances), the possibility remains open for a Dual Honours course or French units to be taken alongside your sciency option.
    How did you find taking 2 sciences? Was it manageable?
    I have been looking at biomedicine and some unis want chem & bio, but others just want bio. So I don't know whether to take chem aswell, just to be on the safe side & leave more doors open for the future.

    I can't decide on a degree just yet, but I feel like with Chem & bio there are unlimited degree & career choices, unlike if I took bio & psychology, although, I think I would enjoy psychology more than chemistry so I don't know what to do.

    I'm almost certain I will be taking French, just because I enjoy it so much, and I may take a dual honours degree (is that what you call it?) at uni, but I'm not sure yet.

    I feel like I just can't decide on my a levels, I just keep changing my mind.
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    (Original post by honeybee1)
    How did you find taking 2 sciences? Was it manageable?
    I have been looking at biomedicine and some unis want chem & bio, but others just want bio. So I don't know whether to take chem aswell, just to be on the safe side & leave more doors open for the future.

    I can't decide on a degree just yet, but I feel like with Chem & bio there are unlimited degree & career choices, unlike if I took bio & psychology, although, I think I would enjoy psychology more than chemistry so I don't know what to do.

    I'm almost certain I will be taking French, just because I enjoy it so much, and I may take a dual honours degree (is that what you call it?) at uni, but I'm not sure yet.

    I feel like I just can't decide on my a levels, I just keep changing my mind.
    Oh no! I am in your year as well, going towards Y12 in September! But I did this after consulting various friends and family (most of which did all 3 sciences, which is what I'm currently considering), and they said as long as you have an enjoyment of the subject, and good time management, it's very manageable.

    Do you not have any Careers Staff or Careers Advisors in your school? I consulted them and they helped me get an idea of where I wanted to go. There may be something similar in your institution?

    French on it's own isn't the best, but most science degrees offer either a Dual Honours alongside the subject, or allow you to take a year abroad, so perhaps you could work at a French uni if you really wanted to, the possibilities with languages and STEM are very good, and it helps you build a wider outreach for later in your working life.

    Chemistry, to be honest, will open any sort of door relating to this field, even if Biology on it's own were mandatory, you'd run the risk of being passed off for someone who knows more about the field because they did Chemistry too, hence, why they would instead say 'We strongly encourage you to take or study Chemistry', additionally, they compliment each other so well that it's not like you'll have to do extensively seperate subjects. Hell, I took subjects that entirely revolve around Mathematics or heavy use (Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science). So you'll be applying the same skills and it'll feel familiar enough to manage.
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    Additional thing, depending on the Unis you want to go to, they will be very competitive, and most STEM courses incorporate or require, Mathematics.

    As Roger Bacon, the 13th Century Scholar of old once said:
    "Mathematics is the gate and key of the sciences"

    It's possible to get into a STEM subject without Mathematics, but it's always a good rule of thumb to at least self-study some of the AS, as Maths is crucial for most Universities and a key differentiating factor. Psychology in some instances too, however my recommended if you wanted to do Biomedicine:

    Maths, Chemistry, Biology, French

    or Psychology

    Maths, Psychology, Chemistry, French (2 hard sciences might not be needed for this course)

    Of course you could just not take Maths but I'm thinking this from the perspective of the most competitive A Levels
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    It's not that the content is hard (apart from some A2 topics), it's that you're expected to memorise an entire fat text book. So unless your memory is good or you really love it don't do it?
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    At my school I think the general feeling was that Biology is easy if you do the other sciences/Maths but probably the most difficult subject when doing non-science subjects alongside, if that makes sense. Although this was like 8 years ago.
 
 
 
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