Medicine without A-Level Biology Watch

felixmosson
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I'm currently in Year 12 and taking Maths (Edexcel), Physics (Edexcel) , Chemistry (AQA) and Biology (AQA). As I am part of the new syllabus being taught from 2017, AS levels are beginning to be phased out and carry very little weight in comparison to what they used to. My school is beginning to advise students not to take AS levels and just do internal examinations as in some cases, a poor AS hinders a good application more than having no AS at all would.

My dilemma is that I do not like Biology at A-Level; it contains very little physiology and human biology, it contains mostly topics about plants. I enjoy my other three subjects a lot more and they make more sense to me. Biology is very fact based and not much mathematics is involved. My other three choices are all very mathematical, which makes it more enjoyable (and easier) for me. When I asked my maths teacher if Further Maths would be more suitable for me than Biology, she said "Further Maths is a display of competence, although it isn't completely relevant to Medicine, it shows that the student is capable of working at a high degree of difficulty". She also said that she believed Further Maths would actually make my application more competitive than Biology.

I am aware that a lot of work experience is required to truly be competitive, I have forms ready to hand in at 2 hospitals to shadow a doctor for a week (at both). I have also paid for a ticket to InvestIn Young Doctor's Programme, it is a 1 day event which discusses life as a doctor, how to increase my chances of admission, and even gives me the opportunity to meet established doctors.

Here's the link for anyone interested:
https://investineducation.co.uk/prod...mme-manchester

My questions are:
For a student that finds Maths, Physics and Chemistry easier than Biology, is it worth taking Biology instead of Physics if I would get a worse result?

What are my options for Universities without Biology?

Should I take Further Maths as a 4th subject, take it instead of physics, or not take it at all? (I would much rather take physics as it appeals to me more and broadens my interests)
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00sevenmagic
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Well i can tell you this, there are only a handful that don't require A level biology

(Original post by felixmosson)
I'm currently in Year 12 and taking Maths (Edexcel), Physics (Edexcel) , Chemistry (AQA) and Biology (AQA). As I am part of the new syllabus being taught from 2017, AS levels are beginning to be phased out and carry very little weight in comparison to what they used to. My school is beginning to advise students not to take AS levels and just do internal examinations as in some cases, a poor AS hinders a good application more than having no AS at all would.

My dilemma is that I do not like Biology at A-Level; it contains very little physiology and human biology, it contains mostly topics about plants. I enjoy my other three subjects a lot more and they make more sense to me. Biology is very fact based and not much mathematics is involved. My other three choices are all very mathematical, which makes it more enjoyable (and easier) for me. When I asked my maths teacher if Further Maths would be more suitable for me than Biology, she said "Further Maths is a display of competence, although it isn't completely relevant to Medicine, it shows that the student is capable of working at a high degree of difficulty". She also said that she believed Further Maths would actually make my application more competitive than Biology.

I am aware that a lot of work experience is required to truly be competitive, I have forms ready to hand in at 2 hospitals to shadow a doctor for a week (at both). I have also paid for a ticket to InvestIn Young Doctor's Programme, it is a 1 day event which discusses life as a doctor, how to increase my chances of admission, and even gives me the opportunity to meet established doctors.

Here's the link for anyone interested:
https://investineducation.co.uk/prod...mme-manchester

My questions are:
For a student that finds Maths, Physics and Chemistry easier than Biology, is it worth taking Biology instead of Physics if I would get a worse result?

What are my options for Universities without Biology?

Should I take Further Maths as a 4th subject, take it instead of physics, or not take it at all? (I would much rather take physics as it appeals to me more and broadens my interests)
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felixmosson
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(Original post by 00sevenmagic)
Well i can tell you this, there are only a handful that don't require A level biology
I just compiled a list of Unis that don't explicitly ask for Biology as a requirement, these were sourced from here: https://www.ukcat.ac.uk/media/1063/m...2017-entry.pdf

16 unis out of the 30 didn't ask for Biology, so there are more that don't require Biology than there are that do.
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jmsk_
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(Original post by 00sevenmagic)
Well i can tell you this, there are only a handful that don't require A level biology

According to my search on the UCAS website[1], most courses only require Chemistry for definite, then any two from Maths, Biology and Physics.

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Wolfram Alpha
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(Original post by felixmosson)
I'm currently in Year 12 and taking Maths (Edexcel), Physics (Edexcel) , Chemistry (AQA) and Biology (AQA). As I am part of the new syllabus being taught from 2017, AS levels are beginning to be phased out and carry very little weight in comparison to what they used to. My school is beginning to advise students not to take AS levels and just do internal examinations as in some cases, a poor AS hinders a good application more than having no AS at all would.

My dilemma is that I do not like Biology at A-Level; it contains very little physiology and human biology, it contains mostly topics about plants. I enjoy my other three subjects a lot more and they make more sense to me. Biology is very fact based and not much mathematics is involved. My other three choices are all very mathematical, which makes it more enjoyable (and easier) for me. When I asked my maths teacher if Further Maths would be more suitable for me than Biology, she said "Further Maths is a display of competence, although it isn't completely relevant to Medicine, it shows that the student is capable of working at a high degree of difficulty". She also said that she believed Further Maths would actually make my application more competitive than Biology.

I am aware that a lot of work experience is required to truly be competitive, I have forms ready to hand in at 2 hospitals to shadow a doctor for a week (at both). I have also paid for a ticket to InvestIn Young Doctor's Programme, it is a 1 day event which discusses life as a doctor, how to increase my chances of admission, and even gives me the opportunity to meet established doctors.

Here's the link for anyone interested:
https://investineducation.co.uk/prod...mme-manchester

My questions are:
For a student that finds Maths, Physics and Chemistry easier than Biology, is it worth taking Biology instead of Physics if I would get a worse result?

What are my options for Universities without Biology?

Should I take Further Maths as a 4th subject, take it instead of physics, or not take it at all? (I would much rather take physics as it appeals to me more and broadens my interests)
Not having biology will put you at a great disadvantage. Biology >>> FM for medicine...

A couple of students at my sixth form didn't have biology and they applied for Med, none of them received offers. In fact, most, if not all, were rejected pre-interview. And FYI, most of A Level Biology is in fact based on humans and animals rather than plants. The only real planty bit is photosynthesis, respiration, a few adaptations and mass transport in xylem and phloem. If you're still in Y12, you'll release that the more interesting side of biology is in Y13 (nervous system, homestasis, genetics, muscle contraction).
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Wikia
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Not sure what makes you think that A-level biology contains little human biology - majority of it is composed of exactly that. A lot of what you'll be learning will be very useful to you if you do decide to study medicine at university (e.g. molecular biology, neuronal communication, especially the topics on the heart, kidney, blood vessels, muscle contraction that you'll be covering in A2). Not to mention that even if you are able to study it without biology you'll be at a significant disadvantage compared to others around you.
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acep
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Isn't there an A Level for Human Biology?
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Wolfram Alpha
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(Original post by acep)
Isn't there an A Level for Human Biology?
For some odd reason, a lot of Med Schools explicitly state that they will not accept Human Biology in place of A Level Biology...
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AzureCeleste
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Having Biology will benefit you much more than further maths.
Although 16(as stated above) don't require biology, it is definitely preferred to have it, and in a already very competitive field you want to maximise your chances don't you?

Also it's quality of work experience, not quantity. Properly reflecting on one or two experiences will get your further than listing everything you've done(for writing your PS).
Having a good UKCAT/BMAT will help too
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Black Water
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(Original post by Wolfram Alpha)
Not having biology will put you at a great disadvantage. Biology >>> FM for medicine...

A couple of students at my sixth form didn't have biology and they applied for Med, none of them received offers. In fact, most, if not all, were rejected pre-interview. And FYI, most of A Level Biology is in fact based on humans and animals rather than plants. The only real planty bit is photosynthesis, respiration, a few adaptations and mass transport in xylem and phloem. If you're still in Y12, you'll release that the more interesting side of biology is in Y13 (nervous system, homestasis, genetics, muscle contraction).
I agree. Without Biology, it decreases your chances a lot and closes most medical schools off because they want Biology. This is true as well, a lot of it is human Biology, like a few topics on plants.
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Jpw1097
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(Original post by Wolfram Alpha)
For some odd reason, a lot of Med Schools explicitly state that they will not accept Human Biology in place of A Level Biology...
That's not actually true. From what I can see, most places accept human biology instead of biology. I did A-level human biology and I never had any issues when I was applying.

(Original post by Wolfram Alpha)
Not having biology will put you at a great disadvantage. Biology >>> FM for medicine...

A couple of students at my sixth form didn't have biology and they applied for Med, none of them received offers. In fact, most, if not all, were rejected pre-interview. And FYI, most of A Level Biology is in fact based on humans and animals rather than plants. The only real planty bit is photosynthesis, respiration, a few adaptations and mass transport in xylem and phloem. If you're still in Y12, you'll release that the more interesting side of biology is in Y13 (nervous system, homestasis, genetics, muscle contraction).
I agree with this. Even if biology isn't strictly required, it would probably put you at a disadvantage. I think what you're not realising is that medicine will build on some of the key principles that you learn in A level biology/human biology, therefore even if you did get a place at medical school, I think you would struggle to begin with because many of the fundamental concepts would be unfamiliar to you.

Also, I don't think further maths would be very helpful at all. Further maths is definitely not required for medicine.

(Original post by felixmosson)
Biology is very fact based and not much mathematics is involved. My other three choices are all very mathematical, which makes it more enjoyable (and easier) for me.
Medicine is very fact based, there isn't a lot of maths and if you don't enjoy that then perhaps you need to ask yourself whether you'll actually enjoy medicine. In medicine, there's lots of information that you just have to learn.
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GrandMedic
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Further Maths isn't considered an A level for most med schools. I took it at AS and then dropped it once I realised that.

Why not take 3 subjects?

I would heavily recommend taking Biology. Not only does it widen your options when you apply and select your med schools, but there's not that much plants (only photosynthesis I believe) at A2. The rest is pretty much human which WILL help you in med school or otherwise you'll find yourself at a disadvantage. I know people who needed to take extra sessions in med school, in order to catch up with what they missed in A-level Bio.
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