Umaurma
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Would chemistry, physics, maths and economics a levels be sufficient enough to study economics at university?

I've read that Further maths is preferred, as well as the importance of an essay-based subject?

I need to decide quickly because my deadline for changing my a level options (previously biology instead of economics) is on the 29th of August.

Any advice would be great! Thank you!
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artful_lounger
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A-level Economics is essay-based, and I've never heard of an Economics course preferring an essay based subject before. Economic History yes, but not Economics. The main, and normally only, requirement for Economics is A-level Maths. Further Maths can be helpful, particularly for e.g. Oxbridge, Warwick. LSE and similar, but it's not required. Bear in mind at LSE for any Economics course except those that are offered jointly with their Maths department, Further Maths is normally only acceptable as a fourth subject.

However I would advise against taking 4 subjects where 2 are not Maths and FM. You are taking on more work for no benefit, essentially. A-level Economics is not required to study the same at university, and people can and do apply successfully with a full set of STEM subjects, provided they can write an appropriate Economics personal statement (which doesn't require A-level Economics...). I would suggest taking Maths plus two of the others, and perhaps considering FM as a fourth subject. Chemistry, Physics and Maths would give you the widest range of options to apply to; taking FM might be helpful as well, and those four are not an uncommon combination.
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Umaurma
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
A-level Economics is essay-based, and I've never heard of an Economics course preferring an essay based subject before. Economic History yes, but not Economics. The main, and normally only, requirement for Economics is A-level Maths. Further Maths can be helpful, particularly for e.g. Oxbridge, Warwick. LSE and similar, but it's not required. Bear in mind at LSE for any Economics course except those that are offered jointly with their Maths department, Further Maths is normally only acceptable as a fourth subject.

However I would advise against taking 4 subjects where 2 are not Maths and FM. You are taking on more work for no benefit, essentially. A-level Economics is not required to study the same at university, and people can and do apply successfully with a full set of STEM subjects, provided they can write an appropriate Economics personal statement (which doesn't require A-level Economics...). I would suggest taking Maths plus two of the others, and perhaps considering FM as a fourth subject. Chemistry, Physics and Maths would give you the widest range of options to apply to; taking FM might be helpful as well, and those four are not an uncommon combination.
Thank you for your reply! So taking A level economics has very little benefit for applying for an economics course at uni?

I see your point with Further Maths... although I'm slightly nervous about the difficultly of further maths (I am not 'bad' at maths- 9 at IGCSE and A for FSMQ Add Maths [highest possible grades] but I am definitely not exceptionally talented at maths). Did you take Further Maths A level?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Umaurma)
Thank you for your reply! So taking A level economics has very little benefit for applying for an economics course at uni?

I see your point with Further Maths... although I'm slightly nervous about the difficultly of further maths (I am not 'bad' at maths- 9 at IGCSE and A for FSMQ Add Maths [highest possible grades] but I am definitely not exceptionally talented at maths). Did you take Further Maths A level?
Yes, A-level Economics doesn't provide any specific benefit. It's not a bad option either, but there's no reason to take it as a fourth subject just for that purpose. Replacing one of Physics/Chemistry, sure, but it's not worth the opportunity cost otherwise.

I didn't do A-levels, and my Maths background has been pretty non-standard, although I've covered a fair amount of the content, and certainly stuff beyond that. However, I've no experience of the actual process of doing Maths & FM at the same time, so I can't say really how qualitatively "difficult" they are, but people who are good at and enjoy Maths seem to not have any particular issues except with one or two topics sometimes (which is true of any subject), and sometimes certain exam papers people find harder (again though, this can be true of any subject).

However based on your background I see no reason to believe you shouldn't be able to do well in it...provided you keep putting in an appropriate amount of time to studying and revising the subjects consistently through both years. Based on the topics which actually come up in FM, a few of them may be initially slightly unintuitive initially perhaps (getting to grips with proofs, other coordinate systems, some weird geometry maybe), but none of them are enormously conceptually difficult based on what I have done from them. The main thing will be the workload I think, but if you're organised and keep on top of it, and are otherwise good at maths I don't think there's much of an issue.

If you're very concerned, you could see if you can take the AS in FM only, as you'll cover most of the relevant topics in that alone (mostly matrices and sequences/series and maybe some of the proof stuff depending where you go and what courses you take). However not all schools offer that...but as above it's not actually required for any Economics course, so you could just as well do without any fourth subject.
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Umaurma
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Yes, A-level Economics doesn't provide any specific benefit. It's not a bad option either, but there's no reason to take it as a fourth subject just for that purpose. Replacing one of Physics/Chemistry, sure, but it's not worth the opportunity cost otherwise.

I didn't do A-levels, and my Maths background has been pretty non-standard, although I've covered a fair amount of the content, and certainly stuff beyond that. However, I've no experience of the actual process of doing Maths & FM at the same time, so I can't say really how qualitatively "difficult" they are, but people who are good at and enjoy Maths seem to not have any particular issues except with one or two topics sometimes (which is true of any subject), and sometimes certain exam papers people find harder (again though, this can be true of any subject).

However based on your background I see no reason to believe you shouldn't be able to do well in it...provided you keep putting in an appropriate amount of time to studying and revising the subjects consistently through both years. Based on the topics which actually come up in FM, a few of them may be initially slightly unintuitive initially perhaps (getting to grips with proofs, other coordinate systems, some weird geometry maybe), but none of them are enormously conceptually difficult based on what I have done from them. The main thing will be the workload I think, but if you're organised and keep on top of it, and are otherwise good at maths I don't think there's much of an issue.

If you're very concerned, you could see if you can take the AS in FM only, as you'll cover most of the relevant topics in that alone (mostly matrices and sequences/series and maybe some of the proof stuff depending where you go and what courses you take). However not all schools offer that...but as above it's not actually required for any Economics course, so you could just as well do without any fourth subject.
At our school when you do both maths and further maths a level (it is essential to pick 4 subjects first- you can drop one at the end of the first year if you really want but its strongly advised to continue all 4) you do A level maths at the end of the first year and then your second year is spent all on further maths. We don't have AS in FM at our school unfortunately D:

Thank you for all your advice- it's been really valuable and insightful!
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pereira325
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(Original post by Umaurma)
Thank you for your reply! So taking A level economics has very little benefit for applying for an economics course at uni?

I see your point with Further Maths... although I'm slightly nervous about the difficultly of further maths (I am not 'bad' at maths- 9 at IGCSE and A for FSMQ Add Maths [highest possible grades] but I am definitely not exceptionally talented at maths). Did you take Further Maths A level?
In terms of how unis will allegedly look at your application, it does not matter.
However, in practical terrms, if you've studied A-Level economics it makes 1st year far easier than if you did not study economics.
Yeah half of the A-level is irrelevant perhaps but there are things that come into micro, macro, maths which are helpful.
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Umaurma
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(Original post by pereira325)
In terms of how unis will allegedly look at your application, it does not matter.
However, in practical terrms, if you've studied A-Level economics it makes 1st year far easier than if you did not study economics.
Yeah half of the A-level is irrelevant perhaps but there are things that come into micro, macro, maths which are helpful.
I see, I guess overall further maths would be a better choice to replace biology. Thank you!
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Infinite Series
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Though it doesn't exactly say that further maths is required by unis, the top unis definitely prefer applicants with further maths, so you may be put at a disadvantage when applying to top unis even if you're predicted all A's/A*s because a lot of applicants will have had great predicted grades and would have taken further maths as well. If you look at it from the perspective of an admissions tutor, the applicants who do further maths are probably better at maths than the students that don't do it. And I know that there are some difficult areas in economics which involve quite a bit of maths, so the students who have taken further maths are more likely to succeed in these areas, hence why it's not surprising that further maths would make a competitive application.

That's not to discourage you, as you could still easily get in. It's just that it may be harder without further maths.
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Umaurma
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(Original post by Grade A)
Though it doesn't exactly say that further maths is required by unis, the top unis definitely prefer applicants with further maths, so you may be put at a disadvantage when applying to top unis even if you're predicted all A's/A*s because a lot of applicants will have had great predicted grades and would have taken further maths as well. If you look at it from the perspective of an admissions tutor, the applicants who do further maths are probably better at maths than the students that don't do it. And I know that there are some difficult areas in economics which involve quite a bit of maths, so the students who have taken further maths are more likely to succeed in these areas, hence why it's not surprising that further maths would make a competitive application.

That's not to discourage you, as you could still easily get in. It's just that it may be harder without further maths.
The competition for economics courses seems really high in general D: I just don't know how I will do in Further Maths... as previously mentioned I am not necessarily 'bad' at maths but by no means an exceptional student. I'm worried about not being able to manage FM in upper sixth- especially as I will have to take my physics and chemistry A levels then- leading to a mental breakdown (I know I sound dramatic but) and failing everything. Also the prospect of finishing A level maths in a year seems incomprehensible and terrifying for me. Did you do FM A level?
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by Umaurma)
The competition for economics courses seems really high in general D: I just don't know how I will do in Further Maths... as previously mentioned I am not necessarily 'bad' at maths but by no means an exceptional student. I'm worried about not being able to manage FM in upper sixth- especially as I will have to take my physics and chemistry A levels then- leading to a mental breakdown (I know I sound dramatic but) and failing everything. Also the prospect of finishing A level maths in a year seems incomprehensible and terrifying for me. Did you do FM A level?
Have you considered taking a gap year?
I'm applying for maths but am not doing further maths right now as I only recently decided to pursue maths at uni so it's too late to take up FM so I am planning to take a gap year. In my gap year, I am planning to study A-Level further maths while also getting some internships/work experience in banking which will give me an advantage both when i'm applying to uni and also when i'm applying to Spring Week programmes at uni as I will have had experience that most other applicants wouldn't have had.
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Umaurma
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(Original post by Grade A)
Have you considered taking a gap year?
I'm applying for maths but am not doing further maths right now as I only recently decided to pursue maths at uni so it's too late to take up FM so I am planning to take a gap year. In my gap year, I am planning to study A-Level further maths while also getting some internships/work experience in banking which will give me an advantage both when i'm applying to uni and also when i'm applying to Spring Week programmes at uni as I will have had experience that most other applicants wouldn't have had.
Nope- I would have to take A level maths at the end of lower sixth and FM at the end of upper sixth with my school.
I see- that sounds like a great plan! Good luck!
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pereira325
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(Original post by Umaurma)
The competition for economics courses seems really high in general D: I just don't know how I will do in Further Maths... as previously mentioned I am not necessarily 'bad' at maths but by no means an exceptional student. I'm worried about not being able to manage FM in upper sixth- especially as I will have to take my physics and chemistry A levels then- leading to a mental breakdown (I know I sound dramatic but) and failing everything. Also the prospect of finishing A level maths in a year seems incomprehensible and terrifying for me. Did you do FM A level?
Yeah. It depends on what your expectations are. LSE, UCL, Oxbridge are very competitive. Places like Warwick, Bath, QMUL quite competitive. Regardless, not having FM shouldn't hinder your application.
FM is not easy and I did only the AS myself and found that a bit difficult so I didn't want to do the A2... and as expected a lot of people who did the A2 of further maths found it very demanding. Same for physics and chemistry. Chemistry, physics and maths is a stressful combo as it is, and adding f.maths to it would be pretty craze. 3 A-levels is fine for uni applications.


(Original post by Grade A)
Have you considered taking a gap year?
I'm applying for maths but am not doing further maths right now as I only recently decided to pursue maths at uni so it's too late to take up FM so I am planning to take a gap year. In my gap year, I am planning to study A-Level further maths while also getting some internships/work experience in banking which will give me an advantage both when i'm applying to uni and also when i'm applying to Spring Week programmes at uni as I will have had experience that most other applicants wouldn't have had.
Good stuff but as expected the downside is you are a year behind.
1st year summer of uni is quite long so decent way to build up experience for people.
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username3257996
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(Original post by Umaurma)
Would chemistry, physics, maths and economics a levels be sufficient enough to study economics at university?

I've read that Further maths is preferred, as well as the importance of an essay-based subject?

I need to decide quickly because my deadline for changing my a level options (previously biology instead of economics) is on the 29th of August.

Any advice would be great! Thank you!
Instead of taking sciences, you could take Business and Accounting. But, if you really love to study sciences along with Economics, then go for it!

I personally decided to study A Level Business, Economics and Chemistry even though a lot of people questioned my choice of subjects.

You should have at least two similar / relatable subjects and one (or two since you'll be taking a total of four) subject(s) that you love or enjoy. It can be difficult to find a course that is straightforward and only requires you to have the knowledge from one subject
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Umaurma
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(Original post by reyxhh)
Instead of taking sciences, you could take Business and Accounting. But, if you really love to study sciences along with Economics, then go for it!

I personally decided to study A Level Business, Economics and Chemistry even though a lot of people questioned my choice of subjects.

You should have at least two similar / relatable subjects and one (or two since you'll be taking a total of four) subject(s) that you love or enjoy. It can be difficult to find a course that is straightforward and only requires you to have the knowledge from one subject
Unfortunately our school doesn't offer Business as an A level subject D: I enjoy mostly stem subjects and I guess physics and maths are related in some aspects? Your choices sound great! Thank you!
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studentgirlx
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i am in the same situation but i don't have the choice to do further maths since i only got a 7 in maths and you need an 8 to do it. should i take it privately
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Umaurma
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(Original post by pereira325)
Yeah. It depends on what your expectations are. LSE, UCL, Oxbridge are very competitive. Places like Warwick, Bath, QMUL quite competitive. Regardless, not having FM shouldn't hinder your application.
FM is not easy and I did only the AS myself and found that a bit difficult so I didn't want to do the A2... and as expected a lot of people who did the A2 of further maths found it very demanding. Same for physics and chemistry. Chemistry, physics and maths is a stressful combo as it is, and adding f.maths to it would be pretty craze. 3 A-levels is fine for uni applications.
I know shouldn't hinder your application but I guess it would put you at an advantage- especially due to the competition... Unfortunately I have to chose 4 A levels to take, at least up until the end of lower sixth (without even doing an AS level in the subject), before deciding whether or not to drop one.
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pereira325
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(Original post by Umaurma)
I know shouldn't hinder your application but I guess it would put you at an advantage- especially due to the competition... Unfortunately I have to chose 4 A levels to take, at least up until the end of lower sixth (without even doing an AS level in the subject), before deciding whether or not to drop one.
Probably does so it's up to your mental strength lol if you want to push yourself to do 4 a levels.
Well, might aswell take further maths then. The year 12 one is interesting I suppose and has links to 1st year econ at degree level (matrices, optimisation), and it will make regular maths look a lot easier.
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Infinite Series
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(Original post by pereira325)
Good stuff but as expected the downside is you are a year behind.
1st year summer of uni is quite long so decent way to build up experience for people.
I don't do further maths so a gap year is the only way I can get into a top uni
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pereira325
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(Original post by Umaurma)
Unfortunately our school doesn't offer Business as an A level subject D: I enjoy mostly stem subjects and I guess physics and maths are related in some aspects? Your choices sound great! Thank you!
Business A-level is considered economics lite. I know it's not true as the specs are way different but literally, sadly, business A-level is not on the same level as economics. If you're doing economics I've heard it's not worth doing business too.

(Original post by Grade A)
I don't do further maths so a gap year is the only way I can get into a top uni
Yeah I guess since you want to apply for pure maths it's very important. Only a few people applied for degree maths and yeah they did further. I guess it's cos so many people (even not doing pure degree maths) are doing a-level maths so you kind of need to be a step up
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username3257996
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(Original post by Umaurma)
Unfortunately our school doesn't offer Business as an A level subject D: I enjoy mostly stem subjects and I guess physics and maths are related in some aspects? Your choices sound great! Thank you!
Ohh, I know what that feels like. I really wanted to take Psychology but our school didn't offer it this year because last year only one student was interested in studying that whereas this year so many students wanted to study Psychology and they still didn't offer it

That's amazing if you enjoy STEM subjects. These days everyone has sort of lost hope in STEM subjects due to subjects getting difficult and so they opt for less difficult subjects which they may not even have an interest in. Good thing you've got Maths and Physics, but do you plan on doing a course related to those subjects?
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