mslcrux
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I'm currently in Y11 and need to choose A-level choices; I definitely want to do Biology and Chemistry and want to at least start sixth form with 4 A levels. I also really love computer science and wouldn't mind following it up at degree level, but I realised that maths A level was also required for most university courses. My backup-backup options were some form of engineering but most of the main courses involve maths as well. Even if I were to just pursue biomedicine, maths would certainly help. The only issue is I'm really self-conscious about my maths. In almost all my subjects I'm predicted 8/9's (apart from German which is a 7) but I'm currently a 7 in maths. I got moved down from the top class after two consecutive 6's and in my recent mocks I got an 8 in the calculator papers but JUST got a 7 in the non-calc. I really, really want to pursue a career in STEM and to do so maths seems essential. I don't actually mind it (I can use it in other maths-related subjects just fine), but idk if I would find the course hard and end up messing up my final grades. The exam board is Edexcel btw.
Do you think I should go for it or reconsider? Also, if you're doing A-level maths, how hard is it/how do you revise + stay on top of things?

(Also, my wildcard A-level is Geography since I love it SO much even though it's unrelated to anything I want to do, so if any of you know any successful career paths/uses I would appreciate an excuse to squeeze it in my options..)
Thanks so much.
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DGeorge13
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At this point in the year it’s good to have a lot of options as I’m pretty sure you don’t have to finalise anything until you have your GCSEs grades. Last year I was in a similar position and was very unsure and worried about maths and on a similar grade to you and wanted to do something in STEM and was quite unsure about maths. I ended up liking maths quite a lot as everything fell into place - I know this won’t happen for everyone - and now take it at college.
I would say that maths is not necessarily essential for certain STEM subjects at uni and not a prerequisite to do a levels in biology and chemistry although there are certain things in maths which help with the other two. I would advise you to only go for maths if you really enjoy it as whilst many subjects have different and varied topics maths is just maths although there are different aspects such as: differentiation, integration, graphs, logarithms, stats and mechanics.
In terms of how hard I find it I would say it is nicely challenging at as although I am aware second year is a bit harder. I revise by doing textbook questions related to the topic, consolidation homeworks and past exam questions by topic and spend an average of 6 hours outside lessons doing this which is definitely a manageable amount for me and I still have time to do other stuff too.
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Jamiehou
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I've been in near enough the exact same situation as you. Currently at college I am in my first year, studying biology, mathematics and geography.

I had only got a 7 in maths at GCSE and have even had a year out of mathematics all together, going into the course my teacher did warn me that it's going to be hard, which it can be at times. But if you really do want to study it and you enjoy it, like myself, you will definitely succeed. She worried I wasn't going to make it but recently had a test and I was second highest scorer and I'm working ahead of the class I'm in currently, and I don't revise it consistently I do the prep-work (homework basically) she gives us each week for about 3 hours a week and that's it. So go for it, you won't regret it even if it is difficult at times, your definitely capable.

In terms of your other a-levels, very good choice and very ranged. I wish I had done chemistry, as I wish to maybe go onto foundation medicine or biomedical science. Don't put to much stress on yourself about a-levels though at the moment, revise and get your GCSEs and in the first 2 weeks of college they usually give you the option to change if it doesn't appeal to you.

Good luck with your GCSEs!
Last edited by Jamiehou; 2 years ago
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mslcrux
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Thanks so much for the detailed responses. I do think I could achieve higher grades in maths if I worked harder (it's so easy to get carried away revising another subject) so I do feel a bit more motivated to give it a shot. I do also enjoy using it in chemistry and physics, and admittedly the reason I don't love pure maths anymore is because of my old teacher, and I am in a new class now. I think I will probably at least try to start with biology/chemistry/maths/computer science and see how things go.
Thanks again
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