kilner
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Hi,
I'm going into year 12 in a week and have enrolled for History, French and English Lit. In the future I really hope to apply to Oxford for Languages or History (or both) but I'm becoming increasingly worried that I am only doing three a levels. I got 10a* at gcse and most others who got similar (anywhere 4a* or more really) are taking 4 a-levels into year 12. Most the students doing this are taking more science subjects while I am doing essay subjects, but it has made me worried that compared to applicants of a similar standard, I will look weaker due to taking 3?

My sister took 4 last year and couldn't cope well with the pressure, but my family is still very pushy that I ought take four. School supports me doing 3 since I am taking an epq in politics, but many classmates are saying I should do 4. I just feel that due to my subjects having lots of content and also since French and Lit require lots of outside reading / extra study, it would be better to focus on 3?

Will doing only 3 hurt my application to a university like Oxford?

thank you.
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Eulogy
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Stop listening to your classmates and look at the threads where hundreds (literally) of people have asked the same question and received the same answer

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sea...+or+4+a+levels

I count around 15 threads in the last 2 weeks or so.
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Cubone-r
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(Original post by kilner)
Hi,
I'm going into year 12 in a week and have enrolled for History, French and English Lit. In the future I really hope to apply to Oxford for Languages or History (or both) but I'm becoming increasingly worried that I am only doing three a levels. I got 10a* at gcse and most others who got similar (anywhere 4a* or more really) are taking 4 a-levels into year 12. Most the students doing this are taking more science subjects while I am doing essay subjects, but it has made me worried that compared to applicants of a similar standard, I will look weaker due to taking 3?

My sister took 4 last year and couldn't cope well with the pressure, but my family is still very pushy that I ought take four. School supports me doing 3 since I am taking an epq in politics, but many classmates are saying I should do 4. I just feel that due to my subjects having lots of content and also since French and Lit require lots of outside reading / extra study, it would be better to focus on 3?

Will doing only 3 hurt my application to a university like Oxford?

thank you.
You only need 3 A levels.
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yusyus
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(Original post by kilner)
Hi,
I'm going into year 12 in a week and have enrolled for History, French and English Lit. In the future I really hope to apply to Oxford for Languages or History (or both) but I'm becoming increasingly worried that I am only doing three a levels. I got 10a* at gcse and most others who got similar (anywhere 4a* or more really) are taking 4 a-levels into year 12. Most the students doing this are taking more science subjects while I am doing essay subjects, but it has made me worried that compared to applicants of a similar standard, I will look weaker due to taking 3?

My sister took 4 last year and couldn't cope well with the pressure, but my family is still very pushy that I ought take four. School supports me doing 3 since I am taking an epq in politics, but many classmates are saying I should do 4. I just feel that due to my subjects having lots of content and also since French and Lit require lots of outside reading / extra study, it would be better to focus on 3?

Will doing only 3 hurt my application to a university like Oxford?

thank you.
nope not really assuming you do well in your entrance test and you get good predictions you should be fine, Oxbridge only look at 3 a levels anyway. plus there is an ask an admissions tutor thread somewhere you might like to ask, althought its for cambridge
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Ed5
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Not in the slighest! Offers are only ever made on 3 A Levels because some schools in the UK aren't able to provide more. Having 4 won't actually make you any more likely to receive an offer - if anything, the additional workload will detract from your other grades and hurt your chances of receiving offers. Taking 4 simply keeps your options open and means you can apply to a wider range of courses, but does not give you any advantage over other candidates.

For instance, AABB would be viewed as AAB, which means you may lose your space to an AAA candidate despite potentially having higher UCAS points. In A Levels, quality > quantity.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by kilner)
Will doing only 3 hurt my application to a university like Oxford?
No, not in the slightest. Four is only typically done when Maths + FM is taken. Focus on the subjects you enjoy.
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emmak10
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I got similar GCSEs & spent the first 4 weeks of year 12 doing 4 subjects. I dropped my fourth subject after this and have just focused on my three. Most unis will only give u an offer based on 3 and 4 is pretty much pointless and will likely lower your other grades
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artful_lounger
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As above, the only courses which will routinely have applicants with 4 A-levels are STEM subjects - mainly the non-bioscience ones. Moreover, to my knowledge there wasn't any data suggesting taking 4 subjects to apply to courses OUTSIDE STEM subjects actually benefited applicants in any way.

I believe Doonesbury had some stats a while back on the topic for Cambridge, and for their "Arts" courses (excluding Economics as I recall) the offer/acceptance rates for candidates with 3 or 4 A-levels were broadly the same (in fact I think they were somewhat skewed to 3, because people with 4 tended to miss their offers slightly more often). I imagine this would extrapolate to Oxford similarly.
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by kilner)
Hi,


Will doing only 3 hurt my application to a university like Oxford?

.
Apply.

You will hear the biggest load of total nonsense about applying to Oxford on TSR so ignore all the myths and stories.

If you have a good set of GCSE grades, have 3 high A level predictions and can write a sensible PS, you have as much chance as anyone else of getting an interview.

Doing 4 A levels is usually a recipe for disaster, and is not necessary for ANY University. It doesnt impress, they dont think 'oooo clever' because they will only assess you on the top 3 anyway. And AAA will always look better than ABBB because it was simply too much to take on.
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emmak10
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(Original post by emmak10)
I got similar GCSEs & spent the first 4 weeks of year 12 doing 4 subjects. I dropped my fourth subject after this and have just focused on my three. Most unis will only give u an offer based on 3 and 4 is pretty much pointless and will likely lower your other grades
To add to this, don't feel like you HAVE to take 4 subjects because its what everyone else is doing- I spoke to my headteacher about this exact issue and like "letting the school down" by not doing 4 which looking back is the most ridiculous thing! Stick with 3 and you have as good a chance as any at getting in
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ManLike007
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(Original post by kilner)
Hi,
I'm going into year 12 in a week and have enrolled for History, French and English Lit. In the future I really hope to apply to Oxford for Languages or History (or both) but I'm becoming increasingly worried that I am only doing three a levels. I got 10a* at gcse and most others who got similar (anywhere 4a* or more really) are taking 4 a-levels into year 12. Most the students doing this are taking more science subjects while I am doing essay subjects, but it has made me worried that compared to applicants of a similar standard, I will look weaker due to taking 3?
You need 3 A Levels minimum. Better to get 3 good grades than 4 mediocre grades generally speaking and it's a risk since you're aiming for Oxford. My friend went to Exeter and in her offer, she was offered based on 3 subjects although she did 4.

Also you said you'll be doing an EPQ alongside your 3 subjects which is sufficient enough.

The new A Levels are linear which means all your exams are at the end of Yr13, your sister found it stressful so you could also end up like her.

This is about you and your future. At the end of the day you'll be doing those exams, not your friends and not your family, it's you. Don't listen to your friends.
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Reality Check
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A*A*A>>AAAA

No university requires 4 A levels. Including Oxford.
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