Can I take physics and maths a-level at 21

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blrbl
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When I was 17 I had to leave school due to family reasons. At 19 I decided to return as I saw how difficult life would be without proper a-levels. I also really wanted to study particle physics at university (I am a girl and have been passionate about quantum physics ever since I was introduced). However, immediately after starting my physics/maths course my teacher told me that I should not be taking the subject due to the gaps in my education. I was devastated but didn't have enough will in me to fight back so I decided to switch and do 2 years in humanities courses (philosophy, English and religious studies). I am now almost 21 and about to take these a-levels. Whilst it is likely I will do well in these subjects and have enjoyed taking an entirely different approach, I still miss physics a lot. In my spare time I am always researching new theories in QM and trying to find people who actually study the subject to discuss them with, even though I often find that others don't share my passion. I do feel that life is too short and I should pursue physics. Though it feels like I've wasted 2 years in the process. In order to physics I am going to have to go back and take maths and physics a-level, which means getting the other a-levles has been rather pointless. Perhaps I should view it differently, now going back I will have the drive to try even harder as I will know that this is truly what I want. Also, I have learnt so much in the process and they're all intricately linked in some-kind of way (especially philosophy). My main question really is: is there another way? Some kind of access course that I could take? I really love philosophy too and doing both physics and philosophy together would be the absolute dream. I definitely want to pursue physics in one form or another that isn't just recreational. Would it be viable to do a philosophy undergrad and physics/maths a-level on the side?
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adam277
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(Original post by blrbl)
When I was 17 I had to leave school due to family reasons. At 19 I decided to return as I saw how difficult life would be without proper a-levels. I also really wanted to study particle physics at university (I am a girl and have been passionate about quantum physics ever since I was introduced). However, immediately after starting my physics/maths course my teacher told me that I should not be taking the subject due to the gaps in my education. I was devastated but didn't have enough will in me to fight back so I decided to switch and do 2 years in humanities courses (philosophy, English and religious studies). I am now almost 21 and about to take these a-levels. Whilst it is likely I will do well in these subjects and have enjoyed taking an entirely different approach, I still miss physics a lot. In my spare time I am always researching new theories in QM and trying to find people who actually study the subject to discuss them with, even though I often find that others don't share my passion. I do feel that life is too short and I should pursue physics. Though it feels like I've wasted 2 years in the process. In order to physics I am going to have to go back and take maths and physics a-level, which means getting the other a-levles has been rather pointless. Perhaps I should view it differently, now going back I will have the drive to try even harder as I will know that this is truly what I want. Also, I have learnt so much in the process and they're all intricately linked in some-kind of way (especially philosophy). My main question really is: is there another way? Some kind of access course that I could take? I really love philosophy too and doing both physics and philosophy together would be the absolute dream. I definitely want to pursue physics in one form or another that isn't just recreational. Would it be viable to do a philosophy undergrad and physics/maths a-level on the side?
You should be eligible for a degree with a foundation year. The foundation year basically covers all the a level bits.
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Schadenfreude65
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I agree with the above poster. If you get good grades in your A levels, you should be able to get a place on a foundation year, which I think would be the best way forward for you now. The A levels aren't wasted: a career in physics involves writing a lot of documents, and your experience will make this aspect easy for you. A well-rounded education is very valuable. Although it's late in the academic year, you may still be able to apply for this September.
Some universities offer physics with philosophy (Royal Holloway does for instance, and they also have an excellent particle physics group). It may not be possible to find a university that offers this combination as well as a foundation year, but you can do some research on that. If you hope to follow a career in particle physics, it would probably be better not to do joint honours though. A pure physics degree will set you up better
Good luck in your exams!
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