Will A Level maths be a bad idea if I get (borderline) grade 7? Watch

YatoSan
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Hi, I need a bit of advice on deciding if A level maths is a good choice for me or not...

I really love physics and would like to study it at A level with the intention of taking a physics degree at university in the future. But despite all the work I've been putting in to maths, I'm still getting a grade 6/ borderline 7 in all the practise papers I've been doing.

Ideally I'd like to study maths, physics, Japanese and philosophy at A level (Japanese is outside of school), but I'm wondering if this would be too much if I have to work EXTRA hard to compensate for only getting a 7 to get on the maths course? Also I'm worried it might lower my average grade if I get stuck halfway through the maths course with absolutely no idea what I'm doing!

If I get below 7 in maths, my alternatives are the Digital Media level 3 diploma (a Cambridge Technical, don't know that much about it) , philosophy and Japanese. Is it a concern that I'd only have two A levels if I chose this, and would it be enough for universities to accept?
It's just a shame because I'm so desperate to study A level physics...

Anything that gets you down the path of concept art and the film industry might be a useful alternative.

Thank you for reading, please leave any advice you think might be helpful (I'm so confused right now, any help would be appreciated!)
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TSR Jessica
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Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you've posted in the right place? Here's a link to our subject forum which should help get you more responses if you post there.
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artful_lounger
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I don't see any reason why A-level Maths wouldn't be possible. However I wouldn't recommend taking four subjects, especially such a wide spread of maths, a science, a humanities subject, and a language. That is an enormous amount of work, compounded by the fact all the subjects will have very different learning strategies required. The only minimal overlap in how you will be preparing for the subjects will be between maths and physics. I would strong suggest dropping one of the four.

Remember, you don't get "bonus points" for taking extra A-levels when you apply to universities, and they much prefer you do excellently in three, relevant subjects than less well in larger numbers and/or less cohesive groupings of subjects.
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Quick-use
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(Original post by YatoSan)
Hi, I need a bit of advice on deciding if A level maths is a good choice for me or not...

I really love physics and would like to study it at A level with the intention of taking a physics degree at university in the future. But despite all the work I've been putting in to maths, I'm still getting a grade 6/ borderline 7 in all the practise papers I've been doing.

Ideally I'd like to study maths, physics, Japanese and philosophy at A level (Japanese is outside of school), but I'm wondering if this would be too much if I have to work EXTRA hard to compensate for only getting a 7 to get on the maths course? Also I'm worried it might lower my average grade if I get stuck halfway through the maths course with absolutely no idea what I'm doing!

If I get below 7 in maths, my alternatives are the Digital Media level 3 diploma (a Cambridge Technical, don't know that much about it) , philosophy and Japanese. Is it a concern that I'd only have two A levels if I chose this, and would it be enough for universities to accept?
It's just a shame because I'm so desperate to study A level physics...

Anything that gets you down the path of concept art and the film industry might be a useful alternative.

Thank you for reading, please leave any advice you think might be helpful (I'm so confused right now, any help would be appreciated!)
I think with subjects like maths it's all a matter of practice. If you're borderline 7 but you're committed to studying physics in the future and you don't mind continuously working on your maths and improving it, then you should be fine. Do you enjoy maths? Would you mind spending a lot of your time in the next 2 years improving on your maths?

Also, as an aside - are you doing Japanese A level? How are you managing to study it unless you're a native speaker? What's your current level of it?

I've studied Japanese as well.
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YatoSan
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Thank you for the encouragement! Haha well I enjoy maths when I can do it. Which means yes, if I keep going I will start to find it a lot more fun

Right now I’m doing GCSE Japanese, however my school doesn’t allow us to take it for A level anymore so I’ve had to find a tutor. Oh, and I’m not a native speaker.
(Original post by Quick-use)
I think with subjects like maths it's all a matter of practice. If you're borderline 7 but you're committed to studying physics in the future and you don't mind continuously working on your maths and improving it, then you should be fine. Do you enjoy maths? Would you mind spending a lot of your time in the next 2 years improving on your maths?

Also, as an aside - are you doing Japanese A level? How are you managing to study it unless you're a native speaker? What's your current level of it?

I've studied Japanese as well.
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YatoSan
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Thank you for the suggestion, this is very helpful
However, I don’t think there is any way for me to avoid taking four... I need to take the A Level Japanese privately, and all the sixth forms I have applied to requires me to take three A Levels at the school. I think my only option would be to take four subjects because the sixth forms won’t allow me to only study two. Also I know that Japanese is a subject that I definitely want to continue.
(Original post by artful_lounger)
I don't see any reason why A-level Maths wouldn't be possible. However I wouldn't recommend taking four subjects, especially such a wide spread of maths, a science, a humanities subject, and a language. That is an enormous amount of work, compounded by the fact all the subjects will have very different learning strategies required. The only minimal overlap in how you will be preparing for the subjects will be between maths and physics. I would strong suggest dropping one of the four.

Remember, you don't get "bonus points" for taking extra A-levels when you apply to universities, and they much prefer you do excellently in three, relevant subjects than less well in larger numbers and/or less cohesive groupings of subjects.
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Quick-use
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(Original post by YatoSan)
Thank you for the encouragement! Haha well I enjoy maths when I can do it. Which means yes, if I keep going I will start to find it a lot more fun

Right now I’m doing GCSE Japanese, however my school doesn’t allow us to take it for A level anymore so I’ve had to find a tutor. Oh, and I’m not a native speaker.
I see. How's your Japanese tutor and what textbooks are you using?

I did a Japanese degree at Edinburgh uni and I've also lived in Japan.

Let me know if there's anything you'd like to know.
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idk01
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If you enjoy it then go for it but know that if you want a good grade, you're going to have to work harder than you've ever done. I know lots of people who got 8s and 9s at GCSE and now are heavily struggling with the subject at A level.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by YatoSan)
Thank you for the suggestion, this is very helpful
However, I don’t think there is any way for me to avoid taking four... I need to take the A Level Japanese privately, and all the sixth forms I have applied to requires me to take three A Levels at the school. I think my only option would be to take four subjects because the sixth forms won’t allow me to only study two. Also I know that Japanese is a subject that I definitely want to continue.
Is there a reason you are required to take an A-level in Japanese, rather than just continuing your language study independently? That might be a better idea, to allow you to focus on your core academics when necessary while also continuing to develop your language skills. Unless you specifically need a language qualification in Japanese (which seems unlikely, as most degrees involving Japanese don't require you to have taken any qualifications in it before, and indeed some have difficulties accepting students who have taken study to that level as they don't have sufficient resources to continue developing your language ability signifcantly beyond that) it's not really a great benefit to have.
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MidgetFever
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If you feel like you're struggling with Maths now I wouldn't advise taking it on at A-level. The jump from GCSE maths and A-level maths is huge (I took it at A-level and only 4 people in my class passed, despite some of them getting a really high grade at GCSE) I'm not saying it's impossible but you have to be extremely dedicated as it's a difficult subject.
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Danny_Man
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(Original post by Quick-use)
I see. How's your Japanese tutor and what textbooks are you using?

I did a Japanese degree at Edinburgh uni and I've also lived in Japan.

Let me know if there's anything you'd like to know.
Not OP, but I have a few questions if you don't mind me asking. 1) How much did the degree cost? 2) If you get a job during the year abroad, how is the pay like? And finally 3) By the end of the degree, how much did your Japanese improve? Thanks so much!
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Quick-use
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(Original post by Danny_Man)
Not OP, but I have a few questions if you don't mind me asking. 1) How much did the degree cost? 2) If you get a job during the year abroad, how is the pay like? And finally 3) By the end of the degree, how much did your Japanese improve? Thanks so much!
I don't mind at all.

1) I'm a Scottish student so the degree was free for me but I think it's £9,000 per year? So, it'd be £36,000 overall I think.

2) You're allowed to do part-time work during your year abroad. For me, I used to get about £14 an hour but I used to teach English. Some of my friends worked for advertising companies and even various izakaya (Japanese-style pubs) and I think they probably got about half of what I used to earn an hour.

3) During my year abroad, I took various advanced literature, philosophy, economics and history modules with regular Japanese students if that's any indication of what my Japanese level was at the time. During my year abroad, I'd say it was above N1 (extremely fluent and above business fluency). In my final year, it was a little difficult to maintain my Japanese since I was back in the UK, but it was still very high. After graduating, I worked in Japan and my level of Japanese improved even more.

If you have any more questions, ask away. :fluffy:
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watershower
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I do maths and I was in the same situation as you. I really wanted to do economics at university and I was so persistent to do maths, so my sixth form let me despite getting a 6. I was very close to a 7. The content itself wasnt hugely difficult but the workload and pace was horrible. Everyone else in my class were on 8s and 9s so I felt the odd one out and barely asked for help in school, I got help outside of school instead (not tutoring).

Maths is also split in two, statistics and mechanics. It felt like I was doing 5 subjects. You can be excellent in statistics and mechanics (because mechanics is basically physics), but not so well in pure maths. It can leave you with a lower average grade than you would have hoped. I do a humanities, a language and a creative subject so it was hard juggling everything. I work so hard in maths but I’m only at a C. I regret it a lot, because I neglected my other subjects. Every time I opened my textbook I felt discouraged.

I should have just picked something I really enjoy, because I knew I wasn’t going to keep all my 4 subjects. Then again, that was just my experience. You might really enjoy the maths course. You situation is also tricky because you’re doing a subject outside of school so your school would expect you to do at least 3. If you really don’t need maths, I would say save yourself hassle, it takes a lot of dedication and determination, which ran out quickly for me. I’m definitely dropping it. Just do something you enjoy and you will do fine, good luck 😊
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YatoSan
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Thank you so much, this has been some really helpful advice.
I think you’re right; I don’t want my difficulty in maths to overshadow my passion for physics.

Also now that I think about it, taking maths is a risk for me because I have absolutely no way of dropping it if it becomes too difficult.

Thank you again, you may have just saved me a lot of stress in the next few years! I will consider other options, even if it means sacrificing physics for it 😞
(Original post by watershower)
I do maths and I was in the same situation as you. I really wanted to do economics at university and I was so persistent to do maths, so my sixth form let me despite getting a 6. I was very close to a 7. The content itself wasnt hugely difficult but the workload and pace was horrible. Everyone else in my class were on 8s and 9s so I felt the odd one out and barely asked for help in school, I got help outside of school instead (not tutoring).

Maths is also split in two, statistics and mechanics. It felt like I was doing 5 subjects. You can be excellent in statistics and mechanics (because mechanics is basically physics), but not so well in pure maths. It can leave you with a lower average grade than you would have hoped. I do a humanities, a language and a creative subject so it was hard juggling everything. I work so hard in maths but I’m only at a C. I regret it a lot, because I neglected my other subjects. Every time I opened my textbook I felt discouraged.

I should have just picked something I really enjoy, because I knew I wasn’t going to keep all my 4 subjects. Then again, that was just my experience. You might really enjoy the maths course. You situation is also tricky because you’re doing a subject outside of school so your school would expect you to do at least 3. If you really don’t need maths, I would say save yourself hassle, it takes a lot of dedication and determination, which ran out quickly for me. I’m definitely dropping it. Just do something you enjoy and you will do fine, good luck 😊
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YatoSan
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I have met my Japanese tutor to do a couple of speaking practise sessions in preparation for GCSE. She has been really encouraging and is very enthusiastic about the language.

I am currently trying to get through a bit of the JLPT N4 textbook (despite having worked on only the grammar in the first page for about a week!)

There is something I would like to know about taking a Japanese degree at university; is it true that the only career you can get when studying pure Japanese language is translation? I am slightly worried because I’m not too keen on the idea of becoming a translator... if possible I’d like to combine illustration or concept art with Japanese somehow?

Thanks for the help 🙂


(Original post by Quick-use)
I see. How's your Japanese tutor and what textbooks are you using?

I did a Japanese degree at Edinburgh uni and I've also lived in Japan.

Let me know if there's anything you'd like to know.
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YatoSan
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I have considered taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test ( JLPT- an internationally recognised qualification) instead of an A level.

That is true, perhaps I won’t need the A level, considering that I have (temporarily) changed my mind and may not be taking maths and physics anymore.
(Original post by artful_lounger)
Is there a reason you are required to take an A-level in Japanese, rather than just continuing your language study independently? That might be a better idea, to allow you to focus on your core academics when necessary while also continuing to develop your language skills. Unless you specifically need a language qualification in Japanese (which seems unlikely, as most degrees involving Japanese don't require you to have taken any qualifications in it before, and indeed some have difficulties accepting students who have taken study to that level as they don't have sufficient resources to continue developing your language ability signifcantly beyond that) it's not really a great benefit to have.
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YatoSan
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That is true, I don’t think I would have the time to keep up with maths (if I’m struggling with it at GCSE already) so it may not be a good idea for me to continue it. Especially since I would like to work hard in other subjects too, such as Japanese.

Thank you for helping~
(Original post by MidgetFever)
If you feel like you're struggling with Maths now I wouldn't advise taking it on at A-level. The jump from GCSE maths and A-level maths is huge (I took it at A-level and only 4 people in my class passed, despite some of them getting a really high grade at GCSE) I'm not saying it's impossible but you have to be extremely dedicated as it's a difficult subject.
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Umaurma
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I’m doing maths and f maths so currently at the end of my first year I’ve already completed all maths spec. I found it quite a large step up from GCSE maths (even FSMQ Add Maths didn’t really narrow the gap much) but as long as you’re dedicated and work hard it should be possible.
If you want to study physics at uni I’m pretty sure you need at least maths a level. Personally I find physics much harder than maths now. I’m doing 4 A levels at the moment (4th is econ) and I definitely spend less time doing maths than econ+phys together.
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TensorTympani
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(Original post by YatoSan)
Hi, I need a bit of advice on deciding if A level maths is a good choice for me or not...

I really love physics and would like to study it at A level with the intention of taking a physics degree at university in the future. But despite all the work I've been putting in to maths, I'm still getting a grade 6/ borderline 7 in all the practise papers I've been doing.

Ideally I'd like to study maths, physics, Japanese and philosophy at A level (Japanese is outside of school), but I'm wondering if this would be too much if I have to work EXTRA hard to compensate for only getting a 7 to get on the maths course? Also I'm worried it might lower my average grade if I get stuck halfway through the maths course with absolutely no idea what I'm doing!

If I get below 7 in maths, my alternatives are the Digital Media level 3 diploma (a Cambridge Technical, don't know that much about it) , philosophy and Japanese. Is it a concern that I'd only have two A levels if I chose this, and would it be enough for universities to accept?
It's just a shame because I'm so desperate to study A level physics...

Anything that gets you down the path of concept art and the film industry might be a useful alternative.

Thank you for reading, please leave any advice you think might be helpful (I'm so confused right now, any help would be appreciated!)
Depends if you need maths at A levels for the specific degree at the specific university that you want to attend.
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YatoSan
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Thanks for the encouragement

I’m just a bit concerned that because I’m putting in so much effort now and only getting sixes and low sevens in GCSE that I might end up seriously struggling at A Level.

And currently it seems as if I’m not progressing with my maths grades at all...
(Original post by Umaurma)
I’m doing maths and f maths so currently at the end of my first year I’ve already completed all maths spec. I found it quite a large step up from GCSE maths (even FSMQ Add Maths didn’t really narrow the gap much) but as long as you’re dedicated and work hard it should be possible.
If you want to study physics at uni I’m pretty sure you need at least maths a level. Personally I find physics much harder than maths now. I’m doing 4 A levels at the moment (4th is econ) and I definitely spend less time doing maths than econ+phys together.
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