Aiko chan
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Hi guys, I just want your opinion. Currently I’m doing my IGCSEs and today I had my A-level talk at school.
For my IGCSEs I chose
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Business studies
ICT (Information and Computer Technology)

I just want suggestions on which of these subjects I should choose for A-levels. I love doing all these subjects therefore I’m not sure which path to choose (medical or non medical).

Since you can only choose 4 max subjects, I’ve already decided that one will be maths.

What 3 other subjects I could choose depending on the careers (their income obviously😜)?
And any less competitive careers? (if there are any)
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ollie221011
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firstly, i suggest you only do 3 unless your fourth is going to be further maths as the workload really does increase and universities only really look at 3 anyway, and tend to view the epq more favourably than an extra a level.

in terms of subjects, biology chemistry and maths i believe is the usual ones chosen for medicine, however if you’re not that bothered about medicine i’d maybe suggest picking your favourite science and ict with maths as this will open lots of doors for you. at the end of the day though, its your choice - do some research into possible careers and find out requirements for uni courses you may be interested in
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Aiko chan
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Thanks that helps. But some people say that you need all three sciences and maths for medicine...I’m confused.
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Greatleysteg
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ICT is not looked upon very favourably by more competitive universities, so if you do want to take that, I'd suggest it be your fourth.

While most unis will make offers based on three grades, some will want a fourth subject – at least to AS level – and it demonstrates your ability to manage work. I think the majority of people nowadays do four rather than three. I took six back in 2008 and found it manageable.

Are you sure that you're able to take Maths A Level without Maths (I)GCSE?
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artful_lounger
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Computer Science, Business Studies, and Economics (not directly referenced but related to the former) are all not required for their respective degree courses - the overriding requirement for these is typically Maths (if at all for business courses, as it varies somewhat). Maths is also useful for Medicine and Biosciences, very useful for chemistry and normally required for Physics and Engineering (as well as Maths itself of course). As such, you choice of Maths is quite a sensible starting point.

Going from there, if you want to have the possibility of Medicine (and a few Bioscience courses) Chemistry would be the reasonable choice. It's necessary for (almost all) Medicine and Chemistry courses, and usually required (or at least preferred and very useful) for the "upper echelon" of Bioscience courses. It's also tangentially useful for Physics and Engineering - while not explicitly used the concepts from physical chemistry may be useful background for some of the statistical physics/thermodynamics and quantum stuff which you will cover in much greater depth in those courses. Unless you really hate Chemistry, I'd suggest strongly considering it.

After these two (which are a common STEM "core") you really have the decision between Biology and Physics (and for the "top" courses, likely Further Maths). The vast majority of engineering courses (and all Physics courses I know of) require Physics (and Maths). There are a few exceptions - quite a few Chemical/Bio(chemical) Engineering courses, Civil Engineering at UCL, and all Engineering at Exeter - but these are certainly exceptions to the rule. However, Engineering (and to a lesser extent, Physics) "with foundation year" courses are fairly common and they'd probably be happy to take someone with proven mathematical and scientific ability who simply lacks physics on one of these (you needn't necessarily have done no science courses whatsoever to apply).

Biology isn't actually required for all Medicine courses - there are enough that you could apply with Chem/Phys/Maths (/FM) to 4 plus something else (biochemistry, medical physics, biomedical engineering...etc, etc) without any problems; however, it is of course very relevant and may be useful to get an idea if you did want to pursue a biomedical direction in general. It's required for many although not all Bioscience courses - you may find some more "biomolecular" oriented courses like Biochemistry, Pharmacology, some BMS courses and similar may not explicitly require Biology; however, many do so you would find your options more restricted, compared with medicine. It also follows that it's still useful background to have even if it's nor required. While science foundation courses similar to those described above are available, these are a bit more varied and there aren't quite as many to my knowledge, so your mileage may vary there.

For broader/more interdisciplinary areas like earth sciences/geology/oceanography/climate science/etc, materials science/engineering, (bio)chemical engineering (some reference made above to this) and similar, Maths and Chemistry will usually suffice as a "core" and either Physics or Biology will be acceptable by enough courses to make a suitable application (Physics naturally more useful for most ChemE and Materials courses, unless they have a specific biological/biomedical focus, and is more useful or required for more geophysically oriented courses; biology can be useful for more palaeontological geology courses and is equally useful for oceanography).

As above, for Business/Economics/Computer Science courses, Maths is the only/main requirement - however for the "top" courses in this realm, Further Maths is a huge benefit and for CS specifically Physics can be useful and I believe Imperial and Oxford (possibly only the joint school with maths) require Further Maths to at least AS (?) level for their CS courses
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gavinlowe
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
As above, for Business/Economics/Computer Science courses, Maths is the only/main requirement - however for the "top" courses in this realm, Further Maths is a huge benefit and for CS specifically Physics can be useful and I believe Imperial and Oxford (possibly only the joint school with maths) require Further Maths to at least AS (?) level for their CS courses
At Oxford, we require Maths for Computer Science. We strongly encourage candidates to take Further Maths, because CS is a mathematical subject. However, we don't require it: not all schools offer Further Maths, so it would be inappropriate to require it. I had a student a couple of years back who had not done Further Maths, and did very well in his degree; but that's unusual. I don't think Physics is particularly useful for CS, other than it helps with mathematical abstraction: I'd rather see a Computer Science A Level, personally.

Gavin
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Aiko chan
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Thank you for you reply’s. I’ll consider those.
Actually maths is compulsory in IGCSE at our school.
And I like chem. it’s actually my favourite subject (tho not the Teacher)😝
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