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    I am in year 11 currently and wanting to do 4 A levels. I got offered a conditional at my college of choice to study Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Recently however Ive realised that i wasnt that bothered about doing 4 because i wasnt that bothered about Biology. So i was thinking, whats the point in taking on the extra work load? Then i realised that my favourite subject is actually computer science but i also like biology. I cant give up and of my other options so i have been thinking i should do my 4th in computer science. Basically i want to ask two questions :
    1) Should i do biology or computer science?
    2) For people who have done computer science A level : is it worth while, like does your knowledge advance a lot from gcse level or is it basically the same? I dont want to take it if i dont really progress that much from GCSE because then whats the point.
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    The four that you have currently chosen are quite heavy subjects, in terms of workload. Especially biology. Biology requires a lot of time and effort, but with interest in the subject and dedication to learn, you could get a good grade. But if biology isn’t required for what you want to do at Uni, then doing computer science might be better. Because doing a subject that you are keen on doing could really help you get through your A Levels with much less stress. I dont do computer science but i know friends who do. They say that it’s not very difficult, even if you have not done much of it at high school. But thats all i know about computer science. I am just saying, chem, maths and physics are three subjects that you need to work really hard on and if you think you can manage bio too, then go ahead. But if you want to do computer science, as a fourth subject, but also as a subject you really enjoy, that might be better. Its your decision. I hope i have helped
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    For CS depends on the exam board really. OCR is a whole other mess. The exam board people don't know what they are doing or what the content is. The amount of incorrect mark schemes is ridiculous. They also put A2 content into the AS exams, so clearly they don't know the syllabus. The amount of content to learn is crazy, then most of it doesn't even come up,don't know how they expect teachers to teach all of that + doing the coursework. Almost all textbooks and mark schemes contradict each other and this one time, my teacher asked OCR a question (My teacher is part of an OCR facebook groupchat where you can ask question and the OCR Computer science people can answer) and different OCR ppl were arguing over which answer is correct, cos clearly the don't f*cking jack about CS.

    (LMAO as my teacher said, all CS teachers are sh*t at CS cos, if you had a CS degree, why on earth would you go into teaching? Being a developer would pay A LOT MORE)

    OCR may be the easiest exam board in terms of content, but new syllabus is messed up, no one knows what they are doing. Unless you are doing CS, Physics, Maths, Engineering etc at uni, CS may be my favorite subject but I would suggest doing Biology. Only put up with CS if you are really passionate about it. (Liking the subject even before GCSEs)
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    (Original post by AlexaB05)
    The four that you have currently chosen are quite heavy subjects, in terms of workload. Especially biology. Biology requires a lot of time and effort, but with interest in the subject and dedication to learn, you could get a good grade. But if biology isn’t required for what you want to do at Uni, then doing computer science might be better. Because doing a subject that you are keen on doing could really help you get through your A Levels with much less stress. I dont do computer science but i know friends who do. They say that it’s not very difficult, even if you have not done much of it at high school. But thats all i know about computer science. I am just saying, chem, maths and physics are three subjects that you need to work really hard on and if you think you can manage bio too, then go ahead. But if you want to do computer science, as a fourth subject, but also as a subject you really enjoy, that might be better. Its your decision. I hope i have helped
    I think youre right there. The problem is that i dont actually know what i want to do at degree. I think my original choice would be a much too large work load. Computer science isnt a huge work load from what ive heard so it would be a decent 4th option.
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    (Original post by Agent007)
    For CS depends on the exam board really. OCR is a whole other mess. The exam board people don't know what they are doing or what the content is. The amount of incorrect mark schemes is ridiculous. They also put A2 content into the AS exams, so clearly they don't know the syllabus. The amount of content to learn is crazy, then most of it doesn't even come up,don't know how they expect teachers to teach all of that + doing the coursework. Almost all textbooks and mark schemes contradict each other and this one time, my teacher asked OCR a question (My teacher is part of an OCR facebook groupchat where you can ask question and the OCR Computer science people can answer) and different OCR ppl were arguing over which answer is correct, cos clearly the don't f*cking jack about CS.

    (LMAO as my teacher said, all CS teachers are sh*t at CS cos, if you had a CS degree, why on earth would you go into teaching? Being a developer would pay A LOT MORE)

    OCR may be the easiest exam board in terms of content, but new syllabus is messed up, no one knows what they are doing. Unless you are doing CS, Physics, Maths, Engineering etc at uni, CS may be my favorite subject but I would suggest doing Biology. Only put up with CS if you are really passionate about it. (Liking the subject even before GCSEs)
    I dont know what exam board my college choice does for CS but I have had some similar experiences witg gcse computer science on OCR. Lots of the revision resources do contradict each other a lot and i always presumed the reason for that was because they simplify it a lot for GCSE level and perhaps dont tell us the full truth about stuff. I am more likely to computer science at degree than biology and biology is a huge workload.
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    (Original post by Agent007)
    (LMAO as my teacher said, all CS teachers are sh*t at CS cos, if you had a CS degree, why on earth would you go into teaching? Being a developer would pay A LOT MORE)
    Well a data scientist would pay considerably more than a maths teacher, yet it is not the case that all maths teachers are crap at maths. Some people just don't want to work in industry.

    Your comment and the example above can be applied to just about any graduate from a STEM degree. My GCSE physics teacher was a mechanical engineering graduate, he said he wanted to go into teaching for the holidays. I'm certain that wasn't his only reasoning, but for many people it is a big influence (and I sympathise with that)

    My chemistry teacher used to work as a chemist in a lab (no idea what area), he said he got into teaching to get out of the lab before he went insane.

    Likewise, I'm sure my CS teachers get into the role for reasons other than they suck at CS. I mean, there are hundreds of roles at tech companies that require/desire CS degrees (or related) that won't involve writing code, for example the product department where you'd be working with developers and customers defining the requirements for the developers to output.
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    (Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
    Well a data scientist would pay considerably more than a maths teacher, yet it is not the case that all maths teachers are crap at maths. Some people just don't want to work in industry.

    Your comment and the example above can be applied to just about any graduate from a STEM degree. My GCSE physics teacher was a mechanical engineering graduate, he said he wanted to go into teaching for the holidays. I'm certain that wasn't his only reasoning, but for many people it is a big influence (and I sympathise with that)

    My chemistry teacher used to work as a chemist in a lab (no idea what area), he said he got into teaching to get out of the lab before he went insane.

    Likewise, I'm sure my CS teachers get into the role for reasons other than they suck at CS. I mean, there are hundreds of roles at tech companies that require/desire CS degrees (or related) that won't involve writing code, for example the product department where you'd be working with developers and customers defining the requirements for the developers to output.
    Yh but I'm talking about CS Degree specifically.
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    (Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
    I dont know what exam board my college choice does for CS but I have had some similar experiences witg gcse computer science on OCR. Lots of the revision resources do contradict each other a lot and i always presumed the reason for that was because they simplify it a lot for GCSE level and perhaps dont tell us the full truth about stuff. I am more likely to computer science at degree than biology and biology is a huge workload.
    yea, I noticed the same thing. look at the spec for OCR gcse and a level CS. It is so vague and unspecific. Hardly surprising that each revision book contains different content and different versions of the same content. aqa a level CS looks much better
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    (Original post by SamMed)
    yea, I noticed the same thing. look at the spec for OCR gcse and a level CS. It is so vague and unspecific. Hardly surprising that each revision book contains different content and different versions of the same content.
    yeah i think how non specific it is makes it unclear as to what level of depth we need to know it. That had been especially stressful this year as were doing the new exam and cant look back at past papers to see
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    (Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
    I dont know what exam board my college choice does for CS but I have had some similar experiences witg gcse computer science on OCR. Lots of the revision resources do contradict each other a lot and i always presumed the reason for that was because they simplify it a lot for GCSE level and perhaps dont tell us the full truth about stuff. I am more likely to computer science at degree than biology and biology is a huge workload.
    no idea what sort of content they include in CS at non-university level. However almost all CS degrees I've ever come across never ask for it, so it can't be THAT much of an advantage to take it ahead of, well just about anything (excluding maths, or maybe electronics).

    If you enjoy CS and want to do it for a degree, then you have maths already selected which is enough. Can't imagine the CS A-level will be much of a deciding factor for applications (asides from making it easier to discuss why you want to study CS at degree level, but you can get the same discussion material from doing your own projects, which would likely be more enjoyable and likely more beneficial in terms of intuition than an A-level CS).

    From a purely knowledge perspective, biology seems like a better choice as it opens more doors. To justify your interest in CS, take some online courses/challenges (so may free ones out there), e.g. udacity, udemy, hackerrank etc and work on your own projects to get a bit of a portfolio going. Doesn't have to be extensive, just some webpages, apps, robotics projects or whatever area your interests happen to be in, just be creative with it and do it for the fun of it, you'll probably learn more from that than through the CS A-level.

    That said, CS is probably easier to pass.

    Kind of sad that the education system is one such that intuitive learning is neglected in place of memorising/regurgitation of theory to a point of overkill.
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    (Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
    no idea what sort of content they include in CS at non-university level. However almost all CS degrees I've ever come across never ask for it, so it can't be THAT much of an advantage to take it ahead of, well just about anything (excluding maths, or maybe electronics).

    If you enjoy CS and want to do it for a degree, then you have maths already selected which is enough. Can't imagine the CS A-level will be much of a deciding factor for applications (asides from making it easier to discuss why you want to study CS at degree level, but you can get the same discussion material from doing your own projects, which would likely be more enjoyable and likely more beneficial in terms of intuition than an A-level CS).

    From a purely knowledge perspective, biology seems like a better choice as it opens more doors. To justify your interest in CS, take some online courses/challenges (so may free ones out there), e.g. udacity, udemy, hackerrank etc and work on your own projects to get a bit of a portfolio going. Doesn't have to be extensive, just some webpages, apps, robotics projects or whatever area your interests happen to be in, just be creative with it and do it for the fun of it, you'll probably learn more from that than through the CS A-level.

    That said, CS is probably easier to pass.

    Kind of sad that the education system is one such that intuitive learning is neglected in place of memorising/regurgitation of theory to a point of overkill.
    See your sentiment here is the reason why i originally decided to do biology. But at the same time I think doing 4 heavy-workload A levels would jeopordise my results. Also, i think it would be good to do an A level that i am really interested in rather than just doing biology for the sake of keeping doors open
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    (Original post by Agent007)
    Yh but I'm talking about CS Degree specifically.
    yh which I covered in my comment.

    There are hundred of roles that do not require technical skills at tech companies for CS graduates. Project management, product management/ownership, business analysts etc etc. All of which would pay more and have more career progression routes than teaching. So it makes no sense to say 'CS teachers are crap at CS as they can get a higher paid job in development'.
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    (Original post by Et Tu, Brute?)
    yh which I covered in my comment.

    There are hundred of roles that do not require technical skills at tech companies for CS graduates. Project management, product management/ownership, business analysts etc etc. All of which would pay more and have more career progression routes than teaching. So it makes no sense to say 'CS teachers are crap at CS as they can get a higher paid job in development'.
    lmao this is just what my teacher said. Y r u giving me crap? He has seen and experienced this first hand so I kind of agree with him over you. Sorry.
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    (Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
    See your sentiment here is the reason why i originally decided to do biology. But at the same time I think doing 4 heavy-workload A levels would jeopordise my results. Also, i think it would be good to do an A level that i am really interested in rather than just doing biology for the sake of keeping doors open
    well it sounds like your mind is made up already then, perhaps you are only asking as you feel a little anxious about it and want to get some reassurance in your choice, I've been there. Have some faith in your decisions and do what you feel is right. This is why I hate A-levels really, it is insane to ask students at 16yrs old to specialise in 3/4 subjects, utter madness.

    If you want to do CS as you are more interested in that than biology then there is no question really. Regarding the content, if it is a load of balls and not much different to the GCSE stuff, well you'll have an easy couple of years with it, get a good grade and have some extra time during the year to focus on your maths and physics (more beneficial in tech than a CS A-level) as well as your own tech projects (also more beneficial than any A-level).

    No matter what you decide, just remember that it is never too late to change your subject area. So long as the grades a good you can get onto most university degrees that offer preliminary years (year 0s/foundation years) where you can switch the specialism if needed.
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    (Original post by Agent007)
    lmao this is just what my teacher said. Y r u giving me crap? He has seen and experienced this first hand so I kind of agree with him over you. Sorry.
    I'm not giving you crap, I'm just saying that statement is a load of rubbish.

    I've seen and experienced a lot of talented developers working in non-technical roles in software companies, I've also seen and experienced lots of technical graduates going directly into non-technical roles in industry.

    If what your teacher meant by his comment was actually 'you'll rarely find experts in their field teaching CS in a school' then yes he is correct. People of such talent probably really enjoy the area they are in, which is why they are so good at it, so to drop that and teach a very basic element of their specialism makes no sense whatsoever.

    However a CS graduate with a decent intuition of the subject is more than capable of teaching the CS A-level content comfortably.

    Anyway, think I've had enough A-level bashing and 16yr old bashing for one day, maybe I'll see you guys in a few months if I ever come back on this site again.
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    I'd say CS is fun. Tbh, either one is a good useful subject. However Biology is basically the science equivalent of english literature, and there's a lot of content to take on, so choose wisely.

    CS is quite engaging, however it really depends on your board, as Agent007 said. OCR CS, the one that's in our school, calling it trash is a bit of an understatement, however if you like it enough and you're willing to handle their incompetence, the theory isn't so bad and is somewhat fun. In Y13 you get to do a large scale programming project, in tandem with your theory. Which is an enjoyable part.
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    CS is not necessarily less of a workload than Biology..
    You have to do a whole project and report that eats up a lot of time.
    Also the stuff about textbooks and mark schemes contradicting each other is VERY true, even for AQA.
    Then again, Biology is known for going off spec more often than being on spec so they're both crapshoots really.
    If you can do Further Maths, do that. It's far less of a workload than Biology or CS and it's very useful for CS degrees. If you think there's any chance of you doing Medicine, do Biology.
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    (Original post by Agent007)
    lmao this is just what my teacher said. Y r u giving me crap? He has seen and experienced this first hand so I kind of agree with him over you. Sorry.
    Does your teacher teach CS? And more generally why did they decide to be a teacher at all? I doubt it was primarily for the pay...

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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Does your teacher teach CS? And more generally why did they decide to be a teacher at all? I doubt it was primarily for the pay...

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    My teacher does teach CS. When he said this I asked him why he's teaching as supposed to doing a CS Job e.g. programming etc. He said that he completely flopped A levels, went to a sh*t uni and probably has a low chance of getting a decent job anywhere unless it's a tiny start-up or teaching.

    He said he worked for a couple of tiny start-up companies and didn't like it because either a)Way too challenging (apparently) or b) People around him were WAY better than him and felt pressured.

    Hence why now he's teaching A level CS
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    (Original post by Nihilisticb*tch)
    I think youre right there. The problem is that i dont actually know what i want to do at degree. I think my original choice would be a much too large work load. Computer science isnt a huge work load from what ive heard so it would be a decent 4th option.
    Yeah. Find out more about the computer science course if u can, before u make a final decision.
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