A Level Physics Vs Biology (for medicine or dentistry) + A level History?

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gradeguesser
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I have heard different things off different people and many people have told me differently so i am not too sure what to do. I am coming to the end of high school now and want to go into medicine or dentistry. I don't know whether or not universities look for physics or biology (on their websites it says it doesn't matter but people say it does matter). I am looking to take maths chemistry and then physics OR biology. I much prefer biology but i don't mind giving it up if it isn't going to help me as much as physics. I also really enjoy history at high school but obviously these 4 would be very challenging (again i don't mind giving this up if it's going to be pointless). But if anyone has done history, how challenging is it compared to GCSE and the other A-Level subjects i want to take?

Thanks
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MKMedic
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Biology
Stick with 3 4 is pointless
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nj23
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I do Biology, Chemistry and History at A-Level, and I have applied for Medicine this year.
Chemistry Biology keeps all medical universities open to you, except Oxbridge, which will require you to do Physics or Maths on top of the other 2. But Chemistry Biology are a MUST.
Do not do 4 subjects - it does nothing for you except stress you out. Some students get the impression that if you do 4, you are at some sort of advantage. However, on results day, if you don’t open that letter and get 3 As, you are done, and 2 Bs instead of an A does not cut it.
History is a challenging subject to do with 2 sciences, but it’s honestly the best decision I made. Biology Chemistry is very driven by learning concepts and studying, which can get very monotonous. History lessons are fun as you get to have debates, talk about these concepts and express your view articulately. This really helped me at MMI interviews as it maintained my ability to think fast and give detailed responses, which many students struggle with. At the end of the day, getting an offer is entirely dependent on your performance at interview, so it’s something to think about.
If you do Biology Chemistry History, you will be put at an advantage to apply to study Medicine at Hull and York Medical School, as their admissions policy states that priority is given to students who study Biology Chemistry a humanities subject. Otherwise, you are on an equal playing field as those studying Biology Chemistry Physics or Maths (except for Oxbridge where you would receive an immediate pre-interview rejection).
How you did at any subject at GCSE does not mean you’ll do well at it at A-Level, including for Biology and Chemistry. A-Levels are GCSEs, but on so much crack that it is virtually impossible to compare the two as they become 2 completely different entities.
So, definitely do Biology Chemistry, and do the subject you enjoy most out of Maths, Physics or History.
I was in the exact same position as you at the end of Year 11, and someone telling me to apply to what enjoy really cleared up my vision, and it really worked out for me.

I hope you make the right decision for you!
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gradeguesser
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(Original post by nj23)
I do Biology, Chemistry and History at A-Level, and I have applied for Medicine this year.
Chemistry + Biology keeps all medical universities open to you, except Oxbridge, which will require you to do Physics or Maths on top of the other 2. But Chemistry + Biology are a MUST.
Do not do 4 subjects - it does nothing for you except stress you out. Some students get the impression that if you do 4, you are at some sort of advantage. However, on results day, if you don’t open that letter and get 3 As, you are done, and 2 Bs instead of an A does not cut it.
History is a challenging subject to do with 2 sciences, but it’s honestly the best decision I made. Biology + Chemistry is very driven by learning concepts and studying, which can get very monotonous. History lessons are fun as you get to have debates, talk about these concepts and express your view articulately. This really helped me at MMI interviews as it maintained my ability to think fast and give detailed responses, which many students struggle with. At the end of the day, getting an offer is entirely dependent on your performance at interview, so it’s something to think about.
If you do Biology + Chemistry + History, you will be put at an advantage to apply to study Medicine at Hull and York Medical School, as their admissions policy states that priority is given to students who study Biology + Chemistry + a humanities subject. Otherwise, you are on an equal playing field as those studying Biology + Chemistry + Physics or Maths (except for Oxbridge where you would receive an immediate pre-interview rejection).
How you did at any subject at GCSE does not mean you’ll do well at it at A-Level, including for Biology and Chemistry. A-Levels are GCSEs, but on so much crack that it is virtually impossible to compare the two as they become 2 completely different entities.
So, definitely do Biology + Chemistry, and do the subject you enjoy most out of Maths, Physics or History.
I was in the exact same position as you at the end of Year 11, and someone telling me to apply to what enjoy really cleared up my vision, and it really worked out for me.

I hope you make the right decision for you!
thanks a lot for that, very useful. I think maths will be the one for me, but i’ll definitely speak to the college about it before starting in September. Good luck in medicine and whatever you go on to do
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nj23
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(Original post by gradeguesser)
thanks a lot for that, very useful. I think maths will be the one for me, but i’ll definitely speak to the college about it before starting in September. Good luck in medicine and whatever you go on to do
If Maths is good for you, great!
One thing I’d mention just in case you are still considering changing Maths is that your third subject must be a “traditional” (difficult) subject. These include:
(Biology Chemistry)
Physics
Maths (not Further Maths)
History
Geography
Economics
Any traditional or modern foreign language
English Literature (but not English Language)

Some universities don’t mind artistic subjects (i.e Music, Drama and Art), but it’s best not to in order to keep lots if options open to you.

Completely black-listed subjects by most universities are subjects like:
Health and Social Care (my friend fell into this trap)
Critical Thinking
General Studies
Law
Psychology (but is accepted at a select few)
Sociology
Philosophy / Religious Studies
History of Art
Geology
Accounting
Business Studies
Media Studies
English Language
Classical Civilisation

Basically any other wishy-washy subject that seems like a fluffy subject. Stick to the traditional subjects.
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gradeguesser
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(Original post by nj23)
If Maths is good for you, great!
One thing I’d mention just in case you are still considering changing Maths is that your third subject must be a “traditional” (difficult) subject. These include:
(Biology Chemistry)
Physics
Maths (not Further Maths)
History
Geography
Economics
Any traditional or modern foreign language
English Literature (but not English Language)

Some universities don’t mind artistic subjects (i.e Music, Drama and Art), but it’s best not to in order to keep lots if options open to you.

Completely black-listed subjects by most universities are subjects like:
Health and Social Care (my friend fell into this trap)
Critical Thinking
General Studies
Law
Psychology (but is accepted at a select few)
Sociology
Philosophy / Religious Studies
History of Art
Geology
Accounting
Business Studies
Media Studies
English Language
Classical Civilisation

Basically any other wishy-washy subject that seems like a fluffy subject. Stick to the traditional subjects.
yeah i’d much prefer the harder academic route over ‘soft’ subjects, so history or maths would be perfect for me i think. Do you know if computer science is a subject they look for at all?
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nj23
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(Original post by gradeguesser)
yeah i’d much prefer the harder academic route over ‘soft’ subjects, so history or maths would be perfect for me i think. Do you know if computer science is a subject they look for at all?
Again, as I said before, stick to the traditional subjects just to stay on the safe side.
Some universities won’t have a problem with Computer Science, but I believe it will put you at an immediate disadvantage.
Put yourself in an admissions tutor’s shoes - you have 2 students that have the exact same academic statistics and similar non-academic scores (personal statements), but one takes Biology, Chemistry and History, the other takes Biology, Chemistry and Computer Science. They will most likely pick History over Computer Science.
Academics when applying for Medicine are all about giving yourself the best shot at getting that interview, and if you are capable of doing traditional subjects and getting an A, why limit that possibility right from the get-go.
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gradeguesser
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(Original post by nj23)
Again, as I said before, stick to the traditional subjects just to stay on the safe side.
Some universities won’t have a problem with Computer Science, but I believe it will put you at an immediate disadvantage.
Put yourself in an admissions tutor shoes - you have one student that have the exact same academic statistics and similar non-academic scores (personal statements), but one takes Biology, Chemistry and History, the other takes Biology, Chemistry and Computer Science. They will most likely pick History over Computer Science.
Academics when applying for Medicine are all about giving yourself the best shot at getting that interview, and if you are capable of doing traditional subjects and getting an A, why limit that possibility right from the get-go.
Very true. Thanks again, probably helped me more than my careers officer at school ! 😂
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nj23
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(Original post by gradeguesser)
Very true. Thanks again, probably helped me more than my careers officer at school ! 😂
It’s okay! I’m here to help. I had people telling me “Don’t do History! You won’t get in! Universities don’t like that!” when I applied. But through the application process, you learn a lot about what’s acceptable, the only problem being that it’s a little too late! I’m here to help clear up some of the stupid things medical applicants spew!
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Beth286
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(Original post by nj23)
If Maths is good for you, great!
One thing I’d mention just in case you are still considering changing Maths is that your third subject must be a “traditional” (difficult) subject. These include:
(Biology Chemistry)
Physics
Maths (not Further Maths)
History
Geography
Economics
Any traditional or modern foreign language
English Literature (but not English Language)

Some universities don’t mind artistic subjects (i.e Music, Drama and Art), but it’s best not to in order to keep lots if options open to you.

Completely black-listed subjects by most universities are subjects like:
Health and Social Care (my friend fell into this trap)
Critical Thinking
General Studies
Law
Psychology (but is accepted at a select few)
Sociology
Philosophy / Religious Studies
History of Art
Geology
Accounting
Business Studies
Media Studies
English Language
Classical Civilisation

Basically any other wishy-washy subject that seems like a fluffy subject. Stick to the traditional subjects.
You only need two fascilitating subjects if you want to do something like Medicine, unless you want to go to oxbridge. People so biology chemistry and psychology as they are all sciences, however psychology is seen as a ‘soft science’, but it doesn’t matter aslong as they have the required chemistry and biology.
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nj23
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(Original post by Beth286)
You only need two fascilitating subjects if you want to do something like Medicine, unless you want to go to oxbridge. People so biology chemistry and psychology as they are all sciences, however psychology is seen as a ‘soft science’, but it doesn’t matter aslong as they have the required chemistry and biology.
Yes, you can do Psychology and get in. No, it’s not a science, it’s a social science.
I’m not saying you can’t do Psychology and get in, but I will point to the example I gave above:
Put yourself in an admissions tutor’s shoes - you have 2 students that have the exact same academic statistics and similar non-academic scores (personal statements), but one takes Biology, Chemistry and History (or another traditional subject), the other takes Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. They will most likely pick History over Psychology.
Academics when applying for Medicine are all about giving yourself the best shot at getting that interview, and if you are capable of doing traditional subjects and getting an A, why limit that possibility right from the get-go.
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Beth286
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(Original post by nj23)
Yes, you can do Psychology and get in. No, it’s not a science, it’s a social science.
I’m not saying you can’t do Psychology and get in, but I will point to the example I gave above:
Put yourself in an admissions tutor’s shoes - you have 2 students that have the exact same academic statistics and similar non-academic scores (personal statements), but one takes Biology, Chemistry and History (or another traditional subject), the other takes Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. They will most likely pick History over Psychology.
Academics when applying for Medicine are all about giving yourself the best shot at getting that interview, and if you are capable of doing traditional subjects and getting an A, why limit that possibility right from the get-go.
But psychology is more useful to the degree, and it’s not always about that. They may do better in psychology and get (for example) AAA doing psychology whereas doing another facilitating subject could jeopardise this and lead to them having to put more time into history, meaning they won’t do as well in the subjects that are actually needed. If the person gets higher in the sciences than the one with history they are going to be chosen.
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nj23
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(Original post by Beth286)
But psychology is more useful to the degree, and it’s not always about that. They may do better in psychology and get (for example) AAA doing psychology whereas doing another facilitating subject could jeopardise this and lead to them having to put more time into history, meaning they won’t do as well in the subjects that are actually needed. If the person gets higher in the sciences than the one with history they are going to be chosen.
But, if you capable of getting an 3 As in 3 traditional subjects, you have the upper-hand compared to someone who got 3 As in 2 traditional subjects and 1 “soft” subject.
My aunt is an admissions tutor at a very well regarded university and she said these are some of the untold methods they, and most other universities, use when selecting applicants for interviews (with predicted grades) and on results day.
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Beth286
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(Original post by nj23)
But, if you capable of getting an 3 As in 3 traditional subjects, you have the upper-hand compared to someone who got 3 As in 2 traditional subjects and 1 “soft” subject.
My aunt is an admissions tutor at a very well regarded university and she said these are some of the untold methods they, and most other universities, use when selecting applicants for interviews (with predicted grades) and on results day.
True, well good luck in your exams whatever year you are in
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nj23
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(Original post by Beth286)
True, well good luck in your exams whatever year you are in
Good luck to you too!
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mintchocchip
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Biology is needed for most medicine schools as well as chemistry
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