A-Levels and EPQs Watch

xWillow1
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
I'm going to be applying to sixth-form/college soon and I've considered a lot of options but I don't know whether to do 4 A-levels or 3 A-levels and an EPQ.
4 A-levels might give me more UCAS points but I've read that sometimes universities lower entry requirements with a successful EPQ and Oxbridge might value an EPQ a bit more because it sets you apart a bit. I don't know!!!

I want to apply to Oxford University in future so does anyone know which option might be more beneficial. If anyone can help, that'd be great.

Thanks
0
reply
claireestelle
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#2
Report 1 year ago
#2
(Original post by xWillow1)
I'm going to be applying to sixth-form/college soon and I've considered a lot of options but I don't know whether to do 4 A-levels or 3 A-levels and an EPQ.
4 A-levels might give me more UCAS points but I've read that sometimes universities lower entry requirements with a successful EPQ and Oxbridge might value an EPQ a bit more because it sets you apart a bit. I don't know!!!

I want to apply to Oxford University in future so does anyone know which option might be more beneficial. If anyone can help, that'd be great.

Thanks
which degree subject is it you want to study?
0
reply
Einsteinium*
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#3
Report 1 year ago
#3
(Original post by xWillow1)
I'm going to be applying to sixth-form/college soon and I've considered a lot of options but I don't know whether to do 4 A-levels or 3 A-levels and an EPQ.
4 A-levels might give me more UCAS points but I've read that sometimes universities lower entry requirements with a successful EPQ and Oxbridge might value an EPQ a bit more because it sets you apart a bit. I don't know!!!

I want to apply to Oxford University in future so does anyone know which option might be more beneficial. If anyone can help, that'd be great.

Thanks
I would only recommend doing 3 A Levels. I assume you're going into year 11 (correct me if I'm wrong). You'll probably learn that it's really not worth doing 4 A Levels, unless you do Further Maths. Or if you really want to do another relevant subject, like another science subject for example. 4 A Levels can and probably will diminish your grades in your other 3 A Levels, so it really does require a huge amount of dedication and hard work, that is, if you choose to do 4. Many schools only let people do 3 now, unless it is another very relevant subject like Further Maths.

Also, with the EPQ, it isn't really going to set you apart at all if I'm honest, as most people will have it. That's not to say it can't be useful, however - it can be a valuable tool for showing the university that you apply to that you're genuinely interested in the subject. That's a long way away though if you're just starting year 11. Hope this helps.
0
reply
xWillow1
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#4
(Original post by claireestelle)
which degree subject is it you want to study?
I want to do the Psychology (Experimental) course at Oxford. So I was thinking of the 4 A-levels being Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Psychology.
If I take the 3 A-levels and an EPQ, I probably won't take Psychology as an A-level but do something psychological maybe for the EPQ?
0
reply
xWillow1
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#5
(Original post by Einsteinium*)
I would only recommend doing 3 A Levels. I assume you're going into year 11 (correct me if I'm wrong). You'll probably learn that it's really not worth doing 4 A Levels, unless you do Further Maths. Or if you really want to do another relevant subject, like another science subject for example. 4 A Levels can and probably will diminish your grades in your other 3 A Levels, so it really does require a huge amount of dedication and hard work, that is, if you choose to do 4. Many schools only let people do 3 now, unless it is another very relevant subject like Further Maths.

Also, with the EPQ, it isn't really going to set you apart at all if I'm honest, as most people will have it. That's not to say it can't be useful, however - it can be a valuable tool for showing the university that you apply to that you're genuinely interested in the subject. That's a long way away though if you're just starting year 11. Hope this helps.
Okay, thank you. That did help. Yep, I'm only going to be starting Year 11 but I've always planned ahead and probably way too many years in advance. At the College I want to go to, they do this programme where they let you take four A-levels or 3 and an EPQ. Just because I want to do a psychology course in Oxford, I wasn't sure if I should add on that extra psychology A-level.

Thanks!
0
reply
claireestelle
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#6
Report 1 year ago
#6
(Original post by xWillow1)
I want to do the Psychology (Experimental) course at Oxford. So I was thinking of the 4 A-levels being Biology, Maths, Chemistry and Psychology.
If I take the 3 A-levels and an EPQ, I probably won't take Psychology as an A-level but do something psychological maybe for the EPQ?
I think psychology would be much more beneficial than the EPq
0
reply
jsheard01
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#7
Report 1 year ago
#7
(Original post by xWillow1)
I'm going to be applying to sixth-form/college soon and I've considered a lot of options but I don't know whether to do 4 A-levels or 3 A-levels and an EPQ.
4 A-levels might give me more UCAS points but I've read that sometimes universities lower entry requirements with a successful EPQ and Oxbridge might value an EPQ a bit more because it sets you apart a bit. I don't know!!!

I want to apply to Oxford University in future so does anyone know which option might be more beneficial. If anyone can help, that'd be great.

Thanks
I think you've been given some sound advice from other posters. However, always quality over quantity. See how your GCSE grades are (for Oxford you will need pretty much entirely grade 7/ 8 the more 8 the better!) before making a final decision. A levels are sooo much harder particularly now they are linear. Maths & the sciences are also the hardest subjects to access the highest grades. Better to get 3 outstanding grades and EPQ (Oxford won't use it as part of your offer but if you base it on something psychological it will give some great discussion material at interview). Make sure you research other university options as you head into Year 12 don't just focus on Oxford - there are other great universities.
I hope this helps.
0
reply
xWillow1
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#8
(Original post by claireestelle)
I think psychology would be much more beneficial than the EPq
Okay, thanks
0
reply
xWillow1
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#9
(Original post by jsheard01)
I think you've been given some sound advice from other posters. However, always quality over quantity. See how your GCSE grades are (for Oxford you will need pretty much entirely grade 7/ 8 the more 8 the better!) before making a final decision. A levels are sooo much harder particularly now they are linear. Maths & the sciences are also the hardest subjects to access the highest grades. Better to get 3 outstanding grades and EPQ (Oxford won't use it as part of your offer but if you base it on something psychological it will give some great discussion material at interview). Make sure you research other university options as you head into Year 12 don't just focus on Oxford - there are other great universities.
I hope this helps.
Yeah, okay, I'm predicted almost all grade 8, a couple of 7s so hopefully I can get them. I have considered other universities too (got spreadsheets and everything). Thank you, that did help!
0
reply
StealingThunder
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#10
Report 1 year ago
#10
From what I remember when making this decision, Oxbridge favour a 4th a level over EPQ. A-levels are much more rigorous.
The advantage of an EPQ is more for your personal statement and interview than for meeting your offer. Ie they probs won't really care about an EPQ grade, but showing extra enthusiasm for your subject and doing independent research shows commitment to your course. (Providing you do a psychology-based one.)
Both are good, for different reasons.
The main, deciding factor, is really whether you will realistically cope with 4. If you're really academic and want a challenge then go for it!
However let me warn you of how little time you have studying 4. I'm a dyslexic student so I'm a bit non-typical, but doing 4 was a real time struggle. You get fewer frees and more work. I lived on about 5-6hours sleep on average during most of term time. (But again, I'm dyslexic so things take me a bit longer.) I basically haven't done anything besides work for the last two years.
I wasn't unaccustomed to a higher workload either - I did 11 GCSEs plus additional maths, so was in school until 6pm for 2 days out of 5 during year 11! And even with this experience 4 a levels was a step up.
My friend did 3 a-levels and EPQ and is set to go to Oxford to study Japanese if all goes well this week, and she seemed to be more organised and in better health throughout her a-levels and much less stressed! Her EPQ was a major talking point in her interviews, and doing 3 vs 4 definitely didn't hinder her application.
Basically choose what you'd perform best in. I didn't want to do an EPQ because I loved my 4th a level subject and couldn't bear to drop it. Oxbridge will always prefer 3 higher grades than 4 more mediocre ones. But if you can get 4 higher grades that's obviously more impressive.
Best of luck to you! xx
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
StealingThunder
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#11
Report 1 year ago
#11
(Original post by jsheard01)
A levels are sooo much harder particularly now they are linear. Maths & the sciences are also the hardest subjects to access the highest grades. Better to get 3 outstanding grades and EPQ
I basically agree with you, except that sciences are harder to do well in. It depends where your aptitude lies, and with the linear courses, the actual content of chemistry at least has been made a bit easier, as it's all tested in one exam season, they can't fit some of the harder stuff in. The thing is application, the new a-levels are more about application than content in the sciences. So if you're someone like me who is better at applying knowledge than remembering lots of facts then actually they're a bit easier.
Biology is still a lot of content though. (I didn't do it, but my bio friends found it much more difficult than old spec past papers.)
Also my humanities friends would probs be in a huff implying they're easier to get top grades in - they argue because humanities are so subjective there's so much uncertainty on who can get A*s. And they argue it's harder doing humanities because you can't mark past papers yourself as there isn't such a fact-based markscheme. (This was in a discussion about why humanities seem to always have lower grade offers.)
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
CinnamonSmol
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 year ago
#12
I was in the same predicament as you a few months ago but I would seriously recommend 3 A-levels and an EPQ, uni offers are usually lowered if you do well in an EPQ and you're able to study something that you find interesting. Sure, 4 a-levels are great but universities only require 3, anything else is cool but it's better to get 3 fantastic a-levels and an EPQ rather than 4 a-levels which are just average. An EPQ would also give you something to discuss in interviews and you'll find yourself enjoying it much more as you're in charge. You don't want to accidentally overestimate how much work is required from 4 A-levels.

Ultimately it's your decision and if you think that you're mentally up for it then go for it, but just in bear in mind what myself and others have said
0
reply
xWillow1
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#13
(Original post by StealingThunder)
From what I remember when making this decision, Oxbridge favour a 4th a level over EPQ. A-levels are much more rigorous.
The advantage of an EPQ is more for your personal statement and interview than for meeting your offer. Ie they probs won't really care about an EPQ grade, but showing extra enthusiasm for your subject and doing independent research shows commitment to your course. (Providing you do a psychology-based one.)
Both are good, for different reasons.
The main, deciding factor, is really whether you will realistically cope with 4. If you're really academic and want a challenge then go for it!
However let me warn you of how little time you have studying 4. I'm a dyslexic student so I'm a bit non-typical, but doing 4 was a real time struggle. You get fewer frees and more work. I lived on about 5-6hours sleep on average during most of term time. (But again, I'm dyslexic so things take me a bit longer.) I basically haven't done anything besides work for the last two years.
I wasn't unaccustomed to a higher workload either - I did 11 GCSEs plus additional maths, so was in school until 6pm for 2 days out of 5 during year 11! And even with this experience 4 a levels was a step up.
My friend did 3 a-levels and EPQ and is set to go to Oxford to study Japanese if all goes well this week, and she seemed to be more organised and in better health throughout her a-levels and much less stressed! Her EPQ was a major talking point in her interviews, and doing 3 vs 4 definitely didn't hinder her application.
Basically choose what you'd perform best in. I didn't want to do an EPQ because I loved my 4th a level subject and couldn't bear to drop it. Oxbridge will always prefer 3 higher grades than 4 more mediocre ones. But if you can get 4 higher grades that's obviously more impressive.
Best of luck to you! xx
Yeah okay, I have read pros and cons of each... I'm very academic and get top grades but its the pressure I'd be under and the stress surrounding taking 4 which could hinder my chances of getting top grades for each of the 4 A-levels. However, I also like to challenge myself, which usually turns out well but I don't know if I want to chance it on something like this.
I take 11 GCSEs too and would do additional maths if our school did it and I stay at school until 17:30 for two days each week too which is another reason why I think I could be able to handle it s I'm used to it as well (especially if I want to go to Oxford, I need to become used to a lot of work).

Thank you, and I'm glad you spoke from two viewpoints as well (you and your friend) that did help a lot!
0
reply
xWillow1
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#14
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#14
(Original post by CinnamonSmol)
I was in the same predicament as you a few months ago but I would seriously recommend 3 A-levels and an EPQ, uni offers are usually lowered if you do well in an EPQ and you're able to study something that you find interesting. Sure, 4 a-levels are great but universities only require 3, anything else is cool but it's better to get 3 fantastic a-levels and an EPQ rather than 4 a-levels which are just average. An EPQ would also give you something to discuss in interviews and you'll find yourself enjoying it much more as you're in charge. You don't want to accidentally overestimate how much work is required from 4 A-levels.

Ultimately it's your decision and if you think that you're mentally up for it then go for it, but just in bear in mind what myself and others have said
Okay thanks, I'm pretty sure that I'll go for the 3 A-Levels and an EPQ, thanks to everyone's help!
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
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

University open days

  • Bournemouth University
    Clearing Open Day Undergraduate
    Wed, 31 Jul '19
  • Staffordshire University
    Postgraduate open event - Stoke-on-Trent campus Postgraduate
    Wed, 7 Aug '19
  • University of Derby
    Foundation Open Event Further education
    Wed, 7 Aug '19

Are cats selfish

Yes (135)
60.81%
No (87)
39.19%

Watched Threads

View All