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    So I'm currently in year 12 and studying chem, bio, physics, maths and further maths. I really want to drop a subject change to Latin, but I am not sure if I should drop physics or biology. Here's a summary for pros and cons (pretty long but please skim at least?)

    Physics pros:
    -I enjoy: particle physics, wave-particle duality, space exploration, theories about the universe (pop-science-y, I know. That is where my reservations lie. I dislike mechanics and forces and am about average at them).
    -I have decent fluid reasoning which physics requires
    -Problem solving can be really fun
    -I have insane curiousity about things we don't know yet. I've always been a theoretical person. Discoveries really intrigue me so i would love to do physics research.

    Physics cons:
    -I don't know if I would like the work environment. I've gone to an all girls school for 5 years and am still in one, as an explanation for that...
    -As soon as foreign and new maths gets introduced my brain nopes off to North Korea. Because it's so hard! Example: I tried teaching myself Euler's theorem, as well as some matrix multiplication and inversion rules (and also Cramer's rule proof). It took me several hours of googling and I finally realised that mathematicians love to make a formal proof as IMPOSSIBLE to comprehend as they can. Like... you could use words... but no... (excuse my salt, I'm just sad I can't understand). Like the proof is all chill until they launch into a paragraph of subscripts and 'let xn equal...'. I can't even follow a formal proof, because my brain doesn't understand intuitive jumps in logic.
    -I don't want to become an engineer (which requires reptitive mundane maths). But without a CEng qual I'm looking at a pretty low salary, or high competition for a postdoc tenure with people far smarter than me. Or I could go into banking but I hate companies that exist just to make money.
    -I want money. Not because I'm greedy, but because I want freedom. And I'm also the type of person who wants a stable career - physics can't really offer these things.

    Biology pros:
    -Medicine: an indisputable sense of value in your job. You make a lot of money = stable career, and you get to see others' lives changed for the better.
    -I like the work environment. I went to a work shadowing placement for 2 weeks at a basic research lab for possible cures to muscular dystrophy - lots of very nice and smart people as colleagues would be fun. Lab work day is quite nice; you get there at 10am and leave at about 4pm.
    -I have good work ethic, decent IQ and memory. If I wanted it enough I know I could probably get through med school with more sanity intact than a physics degree as all you have to do is learn a bunch of stuff - not a difficult concept.
    -Research: I enjoy discoveries. You can pair research with an MD degree if you obtain a PhD at some point.
    -enjoy learning about evolution, pathology, genetics and neuroscience. I'm mildly interested in neurosurgery, neuroscience and pharmaceutical research.

    Biology cons: -If you become doctor you're looking at 60-100 hour work days and very low pay until you become a specialised doctor (after at least 7 years' training). High debt. No time for hobbies. Unsociable work hours. Not too keen on primary care side of medicine (i'm a natural introvert). Med school requires a lot of time for studying.
    -I want to go to Cambridge and if I choose medicine, I won't be doing that (medicine at Cambridge is for... super keen people with more than 1 actual life. A saga of coffee overdose and no sleep.)

    Of course I can still go to Cam for Natsci. But as you can see anyway if I apply I will choose physical natsci and probably tag on a bio module in part IA with chem and phys (my indecision is why Natsci is my firm choice, not engineering or medicine.)

    I've listed some of my main reasons. I can definitely list like four times more. Also I'm super tired rn so apologies for rambles which I tend to do anyway :c
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    i aint reading this essay
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    Drop Physics. Not everyone is cut out for it.
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    (Original post by brownguytorule)
    i aint reading this essay
    How surprising I'm shocked
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    Do the subjects you enjoy.
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    (Original post by ian765434)
    Do the subjects you enjoy.
    If only if was that easy. I'm going to delete this post and keep the text for myself to decide since nobody read it
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    (Original post by lostpenny)
    So I'm currently in year 12 and studying chem, bio, physics, maths and further maths.
    I really want to drop a subject change to Latin, but I am not sure if I should drop physics or biology. Here's a summary for pros and cons (pretty long but please skim at least?)

    Physics pros:
    -I enjoy: particle physics, wave-particle duality, space exploration, theories about the universe (pop-science-y, I know. That is where my reservations lie. I dislike mechanics and forces and am about average at them).
    -I have decent fluid reasoning which physics requires
    -Problem solving can be really fun
    -I have insane curiousity about things we don't know yet. I've always been a theoretical person. Discoveries really intrigue me so i would love to do physics research.

    Physics cons:
    -I don't know if I would like the work environment. I've gone to an all girls school for 5 years, as an explanation for that...
    -As soon as foreign and new maths gets introduced my brain nopes off to North Korea. Because it's so hard!
    -I don't want to become an engineer (which requires reptitive mundane maths). But without a CEng qual I'm looking at a pretty low salary, or high competition for a postdoc tenure with people far smarter than me. Or I could go into banking but I hate companies that exist just to make money.
    -I want money. Not because I'm greedy, but because I want freedom. And I'm also the type of person who wants a stable career - physics can't really offer these things.

    Biology pros:
    -Medicine: an indisputable sense of value in your job. You make a lot of money = stable career, and you get to see others' lives changed for the better.
    -I like the work environment. I went to a work shadowing placement for 2 weeks at a basic research lab for possible cures to muscular dystrophy - lots of very nice and smart people as colleagues would be fun. Lab work day is quite nice; you get there at 10am and leave at about 4pm.
    -I have good work ethic, decent IQ and memory. If I wanted it enough I know I could probably get through med school with more sanity intact than a physics degree as all you have to do is learn a bunch of stuff - not a difficult concept.
    -Research: I enjoy discoveries. You can pair research with an MD degree if you obtain a PhD at some point.
    -enjoy learning about evolution, pathology, genetics and neuroscience. I'm mildly interested in neurosurgery, neuroscience and pharmaceutical research.

    Biology cons:
    -If you become doctor you're looking at 60-100 hour work days and very low pay until you become a specialised doctor (after at least 7 years' training). High debt. No time for hobbies. Unsociable work hours. Not too keen on primary care side of medicine (i'm a natural introvert). Med school requires a lot of time for studying.
    -I want to go to Cambridge and if I choose medicine, I won't be doing that (medicine at Cambridge is for... super keen people with more than 1 actual life. A saga of coffee overdose and no sleep.)

    Of course I can still go to Cam for Natsci. But as you can see anyway if I apply I will choose physical natsci and probably tag on a bio module in part IA with chem and phys (my indecision is why Natsci is my firm choice, not engineering or medicine.)

    I've listed some of my main reasons. I can definitely list like four times more. Also I'm super tired rn so apologies for rambles which I tend to do anyway :c

    Just my opinions, but you seem to be more keen on Biology than Physics. I'm a keen Physics student myself and it requires lots of maths. If you don't like the new and complex maths and aren't willing to face it (not criticising here, it's fair enough) then a degree and career in Physics might not be the best option. You also don't appear keen on engineering (the mechanics and maths part) or banking, which mostly leaves research as a Physics career, which involves a lot more maths if you're interested in advanced theoretical or particle physics.

    Your main issue with a Biology path appears to be the workload, but if you enjoy it enough then you should be willing to put in the effort.

    Both choices fit in well with your other choices, but it depends on what you really want to study.
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    (Original post by lostpenny)
    So I'm currently in year 12 and studying chem, bio, physics, maths and further maths.
    I really want to drop a subject change to Latin, but I am not sure if I should drop physics or biology. Here's a summary for pros and cons (pretty long but please skim at least?)

    Physics pros:
    -I enjoy: particle physics, wave-particle duality, space exploration, theories about the universe (pop-science-y, I know. That is where my reservations lie. I dislike mechanics and forces and am about average at them).
    -I have decent fluid reasoning which physics requires
    -Problem solving can be really fun
    -I have insane curiousity about things we don't know yet. I've always been a theoretical person. Discoveries really intrigue me so i would love to do physics research.

    Physics cons:
    -I don't know if I would like the work environment. I've gone to an all girls school for 5 years, as an explanation for that...
    -As soon as foreign and new maths gets introduced my brain nopes off to North Korea. Because it's so hard!
    -I don't want to become an engineer (which requires reptitive mundane maths). But without a CEng qual I'm looking at a pretty low salary, or high competition for a postdoc tenure with people far smarter than me. Or I could go into banking but I hate companies that exist just to make money.
    -I want money. Not because I'm greedy, but because I want freedom. And I'm also the type of person who wants a stable career - physics can't really offer these things.

    Biology pros:
    -Medicine: an indisputable sense of value in your job. You make a lot of money = stable career, and you get to see others' lives changed for the better.
    -I like the work environment. I went to a work shadowing placement for 2 weeks at a basic research lab for possible cures to muscular dystrophy - lots of very nice and smart people as colleagues would be fun. Lab work day is quite nice; you get there at 10am and leave at about 4pm.
    -I have good work ethic, decent IQ and memory. If I wanted it enough I know I could probably get through med school with more sanity intact than a physics degree as all you have to do is learn a bunch of stuff - not a difficult concept.
    -Research: I enjoy discoveries. You can pair research with an MD degree if you obtain a PhD at some point.
    -enjoy learning about evolution, pathology, genetics and neuroscience. I'm mildly interested in neurosurgery, neuroscience and pharmaceutical research.

    Biology cons:
    -If you become doctor you're looking at 60-100 hour work days and very low pay until you become a specialised doctor (after at least 7 years' training). High debt. No time for hobbies. Unsociable work hours. Not too keen on primary care side of medicine (i'm a natural introvert). Med school requires a lot of time for studying.
    -I want to go to Cambridge and if I choose medicine, I won't be doing that (medicine at Cambridge is for... super keen people with more than 1 actual life. A saga of coffee overdose and no sleep.)

    Of course I can still go to Cam for Natsci. But as you can see anyway if I apply I will choose physical natsci and probably tag on a bio module in part IA with chem and phys (my indecision is why Natsci is my firm choice, not engineering or medicine.)

    I've listed some of my main reasons. I can definitely list like four times more. Also I'm super tired rn so apologies for rambles which I tend to do anyway :c
    How important to you is it that you do Latin as an A level? Because it seems like you're set on a science degree, so that won't be a useful A level to have in terms of admissions and it also closes options. Also, it's perfectly possible to learn Latin at some point in your life without doing the A level (there'll probably be courses at uni), while getting a career in physics really does require a physics degree. If you abandon the idea of doing Latin you don't have to make the decision on your career.

    You seem keen on biology but not medicine - but medicine is definitely not the only choice. In fact, since you liked the lab work experience and like the idea of research, you might be much better off going into biochemistry or pharmacology. These are medicine related but don't involve patient contact. The degree courses tend to care more about chemistry than biology - what do you think about A level chem?

    To decide whether you like physics, probably the best thing to think about would be how much you enjoy maths and further maths. The physics A level has been designed so it can be taken without A level maths, which basically takes away the core of the subject, and makes it completely different from university physics, which is applied maths. However, if it's the maths you don't like about physics you definitely shouldn't do it at uni.

    I think your view of engineering is overly negative too - any mundane maths (in any subject) is delegated to a computer to do.
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    5 A-levels is a lot. I did find it funny when you said engineers do loads of boring repetitive maths but also said "-As soon as foreign and new maths gets introduced my brain nopes off to North Korea. Because it's so hard!" XD. I'd just go for whatever you are truly the most interested in. I'm doing maths, further maths, physics and chemistry and love em all so much so I'm applying to phys natsci so I can have a year of indecision before choosing to go into physics or chemistry. I do really like chemistry and it's probably my best subject but I'm leaning more towards physics at other unis because physics is more mathsy and I really like maths. I was originally going to go for maths but I don't think my maths is good enough for cambridge and I think I'd find applying maths to physics more interesting than straight pure maths. That said I'm planning on going for maths+physics joint degrees at some unis so I can see what the deal is with pure maths and physics at uni level. I would do chemistry and physics joint courses but I feel the maths wouldn't be as engaging as they wouldn't assume fm even at the top unis.
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    I don’t do physics but am also interested in the same things as you are. I’m going for medicine atm so I know how you’re thinking and feeling about it. If it’s the maths you don’t like (I hate maths) you don’t have to go down the pure physics route to enjoy and understand it. You can still read about it and learn about it without having to dedicate your life to working out stupidly complex functions and equations, that’s what I do at least.

    Think about what career you would rather do. Medicine is a vocation so not something you can just slide into, you have to absolutely know for sure that’s what you want to do.
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    (Original post by sindyscape62)
    How important to you is it that you do Latin as an A level? Because it seems like you're set on a science degree, so that won't be a useful A level to have in terms of admissions and it also closes options. Also, it's perfectly possible to learn Latin at some point in your life without doing the A level (there'll probably be courses at uni), while getting a career in physics really does require a physics degree. If you abandon the idea of doing Latin you don't have to make the decision on your career.

    You seem keen on biology but not medicine - but medicine is definitely not the only choice. In fact, since you liked the lab work experience and like the idea of research, you might be much better off going into biochemistry or pharmacology. These are medicine related but don't involve patient contact. The degree courses tend to care more about chemistry than biology - what do you think about A level chem?

    To decide whether you like physics, probably the best thing to think about would be how much you enjoy maths and further maths. The physics A level has been designed so it can be taken without A level maths, which basically takes away the core of the subject, and makes it completely different from university physics, which is applied maths. However, if it's the maths you don't like about physics you definitely shouldn't do it at uni.

    I think your view of engineering is overly negative too - any mundane maths (in any subject) is delegated to a computer to do.
    Thanks for the reply, i agree with a lot of what you are saying. I have an embarassingly strong passion for Classics for somebody who is only considering careers in STEM. That's why I want to do latin, but I see your point very well. Right now I'm finding it hard to cope with 5 sciences so I want a more relaxed subject that I can just enjoy without feeling a need to do further reading as a means to an end.

    And I used to hate chem with a passion at GCSE (I got full UMS but it was so boring) but honestly rn i am loving it! It's almost physics as it studies electrons, but without the complex maths. I love learning electron structure and how that relates to properties. And yeah, I have considered biochemistry as well as materials science. Frankly though bio A level atm is just microscopes and carbohydrates so yeah... not really interesting.
    And it's strange. I used to love maths because I had an aptitude in it (I always got at least gold in the UKMT challenges). I also did the FSMQ with an A this summer. But at A level it's so hard and I struggle to abstractise concepts. I googled 'square root of i' while reading ahead. Mistake. The proof of that included sine and cosine. How does one even get triangles diffusing into algebra? :/ so... it's difficult to judge whether I like maths or not. It is so rewarding if you have rare moments where you are given a split second's understanding of something difficult. But if you're having just an average-Joe kind of day it sucks a lot.

    (And yes. Maybe I am using a myopic view of engineering to broadly evaluate it - I don't know a lot really about a real engineer's job, only from research)
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    If you don't like maths why are you doing further maths? Also yeah stop reading ahead you are obviously confusing yourself and it makes it seem way more intimidating than it actually is once your teacher goes through it and explains. With a-level maths you don't really have to understand the concepts thoroughly anyway, just be able to do the questions.And yeah physics has plenty of maths in it but it's not a maths degree, you just use lots of maths to model really complex physical systems but it's not about proving things from first principles.
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    Like the square root of i thing, in fp early on you are taught a pretty simple method of square rooting complex numbers and yeah once you've done the argument of a complex number and incorporated some of your gcse trig, the sin and cos thing will make sense too.
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    If you don't like maths why are you doing further maths? Also yeah stop reading ahead you are obviously confusing yourself and it makes it seem way more intimidating than it actually is once your teacher goes through it and explains. With a-level maths you don't really have to understand the concepts thoroughly anyway, just be able to do the questions.And yeah physics has plenty of maths in it but it's not a maths degree, you just use lots of maths to model really complex physical systems but it's not about proving things from first principles.
    I have to agree with him,anyway here is my point of view(I also do Maths,fm physics and chemistry and I love them)
    You should really consider 4 a levels,5 A levels is insane and just over the top all Uni's ask for 3.
    I would recommend maybe dropping Physics and then doing an EPQ on classics as you seem very interested but in the end it's your choice make sure you pick the right subjects for you (not what looks good) so you can get the best possible grades and have better future essentially.
    I can't write essays so I'll end it there.
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    (Original post by lostpenny)
    Thanks for the reply, i agree with a lot of what you are saying. I have an embarassingly strong passion for Classics for somebody who is only considering careers in STEM. That's why I want to do latin, but I see your point very well. Right now I'm finding it hard to cope with 5 sciences so I want a more relaxed subject that I can just enjoy without feeling a need to do further reading as a means to an end.

    And I used to hate chem with a passion at GCSE (I got full UMS but it was so boring) but honestly rn i am loving it! It's almost physics as it studies electrons, but without the complex maths. I love learning electron structure and how that relates to properties. And yeah, I have considered biochemistry as well as materials science. Frankly though bio A level atm is just microscopes and carbohydrates so yeah... not really interesting.
    And it's strange. I used to love maths because I had an aptitude in it (I always got at least gold in the UKMT challenges). I also did the FSMQ with an A this summer. But at A level it's so hard and I struggle to abstractise concepts. I googled 'square root of i' while reading ahead. Mistake. The proof of that included sine and cosine. How does one even get triangles diffusing into algebra? :/ so... it's difficult to judge whether I like maths or not. It is so rewarding if you have rare moments where you are given a split second's understanding of something difficult. But if you're having just an average-Joe kind of day it sucks a lot.

    (And yes. Maybe I am using a myopic view of engineering to broadly evaluate it - I don't know a lot really about a real engineer's job, only from research)
    If you're finding five A levels a lot of work you could just drop one. Seriously, there's no shame in that, no university requires more than three, and four is very respectable. But if you think Latin would make it less stressful for you, and you'd really enjoy it then go for it.

    To be honest you don't sound like a future physicist, because you're kind of lukewarm about maths. Don't feel obliged to like maths (or anything else) just because you've generally done well at it - it isn't for everyone, and it only becomes more abstract the more you continue with it. And physics without the maths isn't really physics

    My inner maths nerd is now going to force me to say that sine and cosine aren't really based on triangles; it's better to think of them as concepts which are involved in many areas of maths, and triangles happens to be one of them. (Sorry)

    I agree with you that A level biology isn't the most exciting (although I found it got better as it went along) and even the Cambridge biochemistry options in NatSci don't require A level biology, so you could argue that dropping it doesn't actually stop you from doing anything. However, that would leave you doing three subjects (2x maths and physics) that you're not really keen on and find harder, and I don't think that's going to be fun for the next couple of years.

    It's great that you're enjoying chemistry, there's plenty of places you can go with that.
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    I'm actually surprised that people outside of my school did 5 a levels nonetheless the exact same. sleep must be non-existent. if you're not sure on what to drop and what career you want, play to your strengths. see what subjects u get the highest marks and go from there, see what careers you can get into and where u can go. it's not a good plan but it's sort of a start.
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    (Original post by lostpenny)
    (And yes. Maybe I am using a myopic view of engineering to broadly evaluate it - I don't know a lot really about a real engineer's job, only from research)
    Really depends on the job in question. In my experience a lot of the repetitive stuff would be done using something like an Excel spreadsheet, because doing the same thing over and over isn't a good use of time. That said, it does seem that your interests primarily lie with physics rather than engineering from what you have said, as engineering is mainly about the designing, making, improving things rather than the maths, which is a tool rather than the focus.
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    Ok so I've made a choice and this might seem counterintuitive to what I've been told a lot in this thread but I'm dropping Biology. I didn't mention that for about four years now I've been planning on doing Physics or engineering at university and only recently I started having second thoughts.
    Since I don't think I would enjoy medicine, I decided that I would be doing research in either field so the money issue can't be helped, or engineering if the job market really looks tough. (engineering and physics research would also give me the opportunity to work in other countries and I've always wanted to work in USA or EU. For engineering I'd probably defer naturally to the USA anyway, since pay is better and the housing market is significantly less overpriced).
    I may not be a genius that walks in the halls of the gods like some physicists, but I know that it's what I wouldn't mind devoting my life to. I'm no mathematician and it doesn't come easy (my strength in maths isn't being able to think fast, but being able to think differently and find the easiest way to solve solutions because I'm a lazy ass) but as long as I don't have to be asked to derive proofs or anything too high end by myself, i think I would enjoy physics.
    And kudos for y'all for reading this mess I really appreciate your help!
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    (Original post by lostpenny)
    Ok so I've made a choice and this might seem counterintuitive to what I've been told a lot in this thread but I'm dropping Biology. I didn't mention that for about four years now I've been planning on doing Physics or engineering at university and only recently I started having second thoughts.
    Since I don't think I would enjoy medicine, I decided that I would be doing research in either field so the money issue can't be helped, or engineering if the job market really looks tough. (engineering and physics research would also give me the opportunity to work in other countries and I've always wanted to work in USA or EU. For engineering I'd probably defer naturally to the USA anyway, since pay is better and the housing market is significantly less overpriced).
    I may not be a genius that walks in the halls of the gods like some physicists, but I know that it's what I wouldn't mind devoting my life to. I'm no mathematician and it doesn't come easy (my strength in maths isn't being able to think fast, but being able to think differently and find the easiest way to solve solutions because I'm a lazy ass) but as long as I don't have to be asked to derive proofs or anything too high end by myself, i think I would enjoy physics.
    And kudos for y'all for reading this mess I really appreciate your help!
    Yeah I'm no genius either but physics is just really cool and amazing and I think I'd love to study it at uni. I personally really love maths but I know I find a lot of maths intuitive enough to come up with myself. I think it's a good thing to do subjects you find challenging. Personally I find chemistry easier than physics and to an extent maths. Also you never know, if you work really hard you might get onto cambridge natsci where if you find physics isn't for you, you could do materials science instead which is a valid path to end up working in the engineering industry. If you do think you'll want to become an engineer definitely do an engineering degree though.
 
 
 
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