Daiana_Ash
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Hi, I know its a bit late but I need some A level advice.

I plan on studying International Relations and at the moment I chose:
History
English Literature
Maths

I am thinking of taking either Economics or Politics next year. Which one will be more useful? Maybe I can drop one?

I also kind of realised that my subjects are not diverse at all, mostly essay based subjects, is that okay? Will it be better if I chose maybe Biology or French? (I'm bilingual). Although I really don't feel like studying a completely unrelated subject...
ALSO, will it be a lot of workload?

Please help!
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username4162760
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As far as I'm aware, many universities offer International Relations degrees with Politics, so maybe Politics would be more useful than Economics

Essay based subjects are quite a lot of workload but as long as you're determined to study then you should have no problems and then you will be ready for university

I will tag Michiyo who is an International Relations student so they can be more helpful
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Daiana_Ash
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(Original post by ¿PuedoAyudarte?)
As far as I'm aware, many universities offer International Relations degrees with Politics, so maybe Politics would be more useful than Economics

Essay based subjects are quite a lot of workload but as long as you're determined to study then you should have no problems and then you will be ready for university

I will tag Michiyo who is an International Relations student so they can be more helpful
Thank you so much! ☺️
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Michiyo
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(Original post by ¿PuedoAyudarte?)
As far as I'm aware, many universities offer International Relations degrees with Politics, so maybe Politics would be more useful than Economics

Essay based subjects are quite a lot of workload but as long as you're determined to study then you should have no problems and then you will be ready for university

I will tag Michiyo who is an International Relations student so they can be more helpful
Thank you for the tag! :jumphug: I am always happy to help :dance:

(Original post by Daiana_Ash)
Hi, I know its a bit late but I need some A level advice.

I plan on studying International Relations and at the moment I chose:
History
English Literature
Maths

I am thinking of taking either Economics or Politics next year. Which one will be more useful? Maybe I can drop one?

I also kind of realised that my subjects are not diverse at all, mostly essay based subjects, is that okay? Will it be better if I chose maybe Biology or French? (I'm bilingual). Although I really don't feel like studying a completely unrelated subject...
ALSO, will it be a lot of workload?

Please help!
International Relations student here, at your service! :hi:

Politics is the most useful A-level one can have for International Relations. I did government and politics and it introduced me to how British politics work and to examples that I later used in my essays. Also, it helped me gain the study skills necessary to study international relations at degree level.

Your subjects are already way more diverse than mine were! :laugh: I studied government and politics, psychology, sociology, and English literature. International Relations is not a subject for which you definitely need all traditional A-levels and variety. :nah: Your subjects are completely fine, do not worry! :hugs:

Whether you choose economics or politics depends on your interest in them and your main areas of interest in international relations. Both economics and politics are very good for International Relations (I have had lectures on and used theory from both areas in my university essays), so just pick which one you like most. I know I just said politics is the most useful A-level for International Relations, but it is far from mandatory. Many (if not most) people who study International Relations or Politics do not have an A-level in government and politics, so do not worry about it, just pick which A-level you would like more and do better in. :yep:

Biology is almost useless for International Relations, so I suggest not picking it lest you love it and/or know you will do well in it. French would indeed be very useful in International Relations; a lot of United Nations internships ask for fluency in French (but you can prove fluency with a DELF certificate or university education anyway) and you might be interested in studying it as a module in university, for instance. If you are bilingual, French might be an easy A/A* for you, but the truth is that you do not need an A-level in any language. You do not have to pick it if you do not want to! If you want, you can always choose to continue your study of French on your own or as an outside module in university. I started to study German as an outside module in university with no GCSE or A-level in a foreign language and I will continue it until I finish university, so I should become at least intermediate in German, a language I had never even considered studying before university.

As for potentially dropping a subject, once again, if you want to have four full A-levels, nothing can stop you, so you do not have to drop anything. Out of the subjects you mentioned, I believe the least useful one for International Relations in your case is English Literature, but even that is far from useless as the essay-writing and analysis skills you will gain from it are valuable for your future degree.

Just in case you are wondering why I consider Maths to be arguably more useful than English Literature in this case: firstly, you need certain numeracy skills for International Relations. Part of International Relations is research and I struggled to read the more difficult graphs and understand the more mathematical aspects of my course since I only have a C in GCSE maths. Of course, maths is definitely not a must have for International Relations, but it is useful and some universities classify International Relations as a BSc, which means they might put more emphasis on numerical skills. Also, OP, you already have other essay-based subjects like history and politics/economics there, which should prove your essay-writing skills, especially if you choose politics. However, if you pick economics instead of politics, the importance of Maths and English Literature is more or less equal as Economics can prove your numeracy skills too. Either way, whether to drop a subject and which subject to drop is your choice alone, though I would suggest dropping a subject if you do not enjoy or do well in it.

To summarise, politics is more useful and you do not exactly need economics to prove your numeracy skills if you have A-level maths, but you do not need politics either since a lot of International Relations students do not have it as an A-level, so pick which one you think you would like more and do better in. Obviously, I recommend politics as I loved it, but your subjects are fine and I am sure that regardless of which other A-level you choose, you will get an offer.

Feel free to ask if you have any other questions. :cube:
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Daiana_Ash
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(Original post by Michiyo)
Thank you for the tag! :jumphug: I am always happy to help :dance:



International Relations student here, at your service! :hi:

Politics is the most useful A-level one can have for International Relations. I did government and politics and it introduced me to how British politics work and examples that I later used in my essays. Also, it helped me gain the study skills necessary to study international relations at degree level.

Your subjects are already way more diverse than mine were! :laugh: I studied government and politics, psychology, sociology, and English literature. International Relations is not a subject for which you definitely need all traditional A-levels and variety. :nah: Your subjects are completely fine, do not worry! :hugs:

Whether you choose economics or politics depends on your interest in them and your main areas of interest in international relations. Both economics and politics are very good for International Relations (I have had lectures on and used theory from both areas in my university essays), so just pick which one you like most. I know I just said politics is the most useful A-level for International Relations, but it is far from mandatory. Many (if not most) people who study International Relations or Politics do not have an A-level in government and politics, so do not worry about it, just pick which A-level you would like more and do better in. :yep:

Biology is almost useless for International Relations, so I suggest not picking it lest you love it and/or know you will do well in it. French would indeed be very useful in International Relations; a lot of United Nations internships ask for fluency in French (but you can prove fluency with a DELF certificate or university education anyway) and you might be interested in studying it as a module in university, for instance. If you are bilingual, French might be an easy A/A* for you, but the truth is that you do not need an A-level in any language. You do not have to pick it if you do not want to! If you want, you can always choose to continue your study of French on your own or as an outside module in university. I started to study German as an outside module in university with no GCSE or A-level in a foreign language and I will continue it until I finish university, so I should become at least intermediate in German in a language I had never even considered studying before university.

As for potentially dropping a subject, once again, if you want to have four full A-levels, nothing can stop you, so you do not have to drop anything. Out of the subjects you mentioned, I believe the least useful one for International Relations in your case is English Literature, but even that is far from useless as the essay-writing and analysis skills you will gain from it is valuable for your future degree.

Just in case you are wondering why I consider Maths to be arguably more useful than English Literature in this case: firstly, you need certain numeracy skills for International Relations. Part of International Relations is research and I struggled to read the more difficult graphs and understand the more mathematical aspects of my course since I only have a C in GCSE maths. Of course, maths is definitely not a must have for International Relations, but it is useful and some universities classify International Relations as a BSc, which means they might put more emphasis on numerical skills. Also, OP, you already have other essay-based subjects like history and politics/economics there, which should prove your essay-writing skills, especially if you choose politics. However, if you pick economics instead of politics, the importance of Maths and English Literature is more or less equal as Economics can prove your numeracy skills too. Either way, whether to drop a subject and which subject to drop is your choice alone, though I would suggest dropping a subject if you do not enjoy or do well in it.

To summarise, politics is more useful and you do not exactly need economics to prove your numeracy skills if you have A-level maths, but you do not need politics either since a lot of International Relations students do not have it as an A-level, so pick which one you think you would like more and do better in. Obviously, I recommend politics as I loved it, but your subjects are fine and I am sure that regardless of which other A-level you choose, you will get an offer.

Feel free to ask if you have any other questions. :cube:
Thank you soooo much! You are a literal angel! ❤️❤️❤️ Thank you for breaking everything down, helped me so much. Now I think you have convinced me to take Government and Politics! 😄 Although, maybe I’ll switch it to French if I get a good result in my GCSE. Also I didn’t make it very clear, I meant that I know Russian and English, I’m just learning French.
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Michiyo
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(Original post by Daiana_Ash)
Thank you soooo much! You are a literal angel! ❤️❤️❤️ Thank you for breaking everything down, helped me so much. Now I think you have convinced me to take Government and Politics! 😄 Although, maybe I’ll switch it to French if I get a good result in my GCSE. Also I didn’t make it very clear, I meant that I know Russian and English, I’m just learning French.
You are more than welcome, it is my pleasure! :hugs: I am just a student like you, but I am a student who happens to be like three years older

I am truly glad I managed to help :blushing: I can break things down even more, if you want, I do not mind :jive:

Understood I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did if you stick with it :cube: And even if you switch to French, that is also more than fine as either way, you are very likely to get an offer as long as your grades match the entry requirements :wink2:

Oh, sorry! :hide: I did not realise :getmecoat:

Russian?! :shock: That is so cool! :adore: I have wanted to learn Russian for a few years now as it is so useful :yep: (The UN internships I mentioned in my previous post consider any knowledge of an official UN language an asset and Russian is one of the most sought-after languages in International Relations at the moment. :daydreaming: )

And my apologies, I forgot to answer the second question from your original post in my first post! :pinch: So here is the answer By 'Will it be a lot of workload?', are you referring to the degree or those A-levels? :hmmmm: If you meant the degree, my answer is that there will be quite a bit of workload, but it is nothing that cannot be handled. You will have to read plenty of extracts from books, master the arts of skim-reading and note-taking while skim-reading, make sure your references and bibliography are correct (which is more painful than it sounds), learn theory, search for examples to support your points, write a lot of essays, argue well, be able to work both independently and in teams, and not be afraid of public speaking and presentations. My assignments so far have been mostly essays with two tests, presentations, and final assignments (3000 words long for coursework-only modules) thrown in. Half of my modules were coursework-only (so I had a test, a presentation, and a final assignment for them) and half of them were marked on both coursework (essays) and an exam. In my second and third year, most of my modules will be coursework-only modules, so I only have three exams next year (I had four this year, but that was only because I picked two modules from other departments and they happened to have an exam). This differs from university to university, though. Even so, if you are good at essays and writing solid arguments, you will most likely do well. The most important thing is not to procrastinate. :bigsmile:

Also, a few more tips: follow the news, use the most recent example unless the older example solidifies your argument much more than the newer one, and read books about politics and international relations. My favourite one (which I read as an AS-level student) is 'Understanding International Relations' by Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainley, but I have a loooong list of recommendations if you are interested. :gah:
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Daiana_Ash
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(Original post by Michiyo)
You are more than welcome, it is my pleasure! :hugs: I am just a student like you, but I am a student who happens to be like three years older

I am truly glad I managed to help :blushing: I can break things down even more, if you want, I do not mind :jive:

Understood I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did if you stick with it :cube: And even if you switch to French, that is also more than fine as either way, you are very likely to get an offer as long as your grades match the entry requirements :wink2:

Oh, sorry! :hide: I did not realise :getmecoat:

Russian?! :shock: That is so cool! :adore: I have wanted to learn Russian for a few years now as it is so useful :yep: (The UN internships I mentioned in my previous post consider any knowledge of an official UN language an asset and Russian is one of the most sought-after languages in International Relations at the moment. :daydreaming: )

And my apologies, I forgot to answer the second question from your original post in my first post! :pinch: So here is the answer By 'Will it be a lot of workload?', are you referring to the degree or those A-levels? :hmmmm: If you meant the degree, my answer is that there will be quite a bit of workload, but it is nothing that cannot be handled. You will have to read plenty of extracts from books, master the arts of skim-reading and note-taking while skim-reading, make sure your references and bibliography are correct (which is more painful than it sounds), learn theory, search for examples to support your points, write a lot of essays, argue well, be able to work both independently and in teams, and not be afraid of public speaking and presentations. My assignments so far have been mostly essays with two tests, presentations, and final assignments (3000 words long for coursework-only modules) thrown in. Half of my modules were coursework-only (so I had a test, a presentation, and a final assignment for them) and half of them were marked on both coursework (essays) and an exam. In my second and third year, most of my modules will be coursework-only modules, so I only have three exams next year (I had four this year, but that was only because I picked two modules from other departments and they happened to have an exam). This differs from university to university, though. Even so, if you are good at essays and writing solid arguments, you will most likely do well. The most important thing is not to procrastinate. :bigsmile:

Also, a few more tips: follow the news, use the most recent example unless the older example solidifies your argument much more than the newer one, and read books about politics and international relations. My favourite one (which I read as an AS-level student) is 'Understanding International Relations' by Chris Brown and Kirsten Ainley, but I have a loooong list of recommendations if you are interested. :gah:
Wow! There is a lot of workload... I have go stop procrastinating all the time 😂 Honestly, your recommendations are amazing! I hope that you don’t mind helping me! As I was kind of afraid to start reading IR books because I thought they may be too difficult for me to understand at the moment.
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