What do you think about these A-level choices? Watch

DrK.
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I want to pick mathematics, politics, Russian and French. I will see how I get on but I would like to complete all four as A-levels (so I won't drop any).

I want to know what universities would think when they see these subjects and I will hopefully get very good results in all of them. I don''t want a language degree but rather something in business, economics, politics, etc.

I am not a native speaker of Russian or French, however, I am very good at learning languages and if I do choose Russian and French, I will definitely try to go to Ukraine and France for practice as well.
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artful_lounger
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It's inadvisable generally to take four A-levels where two aren't A-level Maths and A-level Further Maths, because it's a signifcant step up in workload and there is no benefit to it. This is especially true if you are already taking two languages, which is an enormous workload in of itself. Universities make offers on the basis of three A-levels; doing extra A-levels will not score you "bonus points" when applying. Univeristies (especially e.g. Oxbridge, LSE, UCL etc) would much prefer to see you do very well in three subjects than less well in four.

As such you may want to consider A-level Further Maths in place of Politics or (preferably) one of the languages. Several of the "top" economics courses (e.g. LSE and Cambridge) normally expect applicants who have it available to them to take, and for LSE specifically something like 85% of successful applicants have taken FM. Bear in mind language A-levels have a large on-going workload, as does maths. You will be extremely busy throughout the course with two languages and maths; it might be better to stick to only one language.

Additionally, you should be aware that most universities teach Russian from scratch, and in fact some universities can't accommodate students wanting to do further language study in Russian if they have a background in the subject. I would recommend dropping Russian, and either sticking with those three, or taking up Further Maths as a fourth, to maintain a more useful and balanced combination of subjects both in terms of entry criteria and for once you are on your prospective degree course, as well as to actually maximise your ability to do as well as possible in the A-levels of themselves.
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DrK.
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
It's inadvisable generally to take four A-levels where two aren't A-level Maths and A-level Further Maths, because it's a signifcant step up in workload and there is no benefit to it. This is especially true if you are already taking two languages, which is an enormous workload in of itself. Universities make offers on the basis of three A-levels; doing extra A-levels will not score you "bonus points" when applying. Univeristies (especially e.g. Oxbridge, LSE, UCL etc) would much prefer to see you do very well in three subjects than less well in four.

As such you may want to consider A-level Further Maths in place of Politics or (preferably) one of the languages. Several of the "top" economics courses (e.g. LSE and Cambridge) normally expect applicants who have it available to them to take, and for LSE specifically something like 85% of successful applicants have taken FM. Bear in mind language A-levels have a large on-going workload, as does maths. You will be extremely busy throughout the course with two languages and maths; it might be better to stick to only one language.

Additionally, you should be aware that most universities teach Russian from scratch, and in fact some universities can't accommodate students wanting to do further language study in Russian if they have a background in the subject. I would recommend dropping Russian, and either sticking with those three, or taking up Further Maths as a fourth, to maintain a more useful and balanced combination of subjects both in terms of entry criteria and for once you are on your prospective degree course, as well as to actually maximise your ability to do as well as possible in the A-levels of themselves.
My level of Russian is already advanced because I have been studying it for the last few years so it wouldn't be a huge workload for me. I also don't want to a degree in Russian or French so it won't make a difference how they teach it.

Your point about Further Maths really made me think. I am very good at maths but I find it quite boring. Do you think it would be wise to take Maths, Further Maths, Politics and Business?

Also, what do you think about a-level politics in general? how is it seen by unis?
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zxvs
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If you want a degree in politics, you're probably better off taking something like A-level English, History or Economics. A-level Politics isn't a prerequisite for politics degrees at the top RG unis and you might find better use in taking a different A-level that's more transferable for other degrees too.
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DrK.
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How about maths, further maths, history and Russian?
(Original post by zxvs)
If you want a degree in politics, you're probably better off taking something like A-level English, History or Economics. A-level Politics isn't a prerequisite for politics degrees at the top RG unis and you might find better use in taking a different A-level that's more transferable for other degrees too.
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zxvs
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It is a broad mix of subjects. I can't really see the use of taking Russian as a fourth A-level unless you want to study a course with Russian as a joint subject. I know it is impressive to be able to say you know Russian as a language, but that would be better placed in your personal statement (which universities will read) rather than as a fourth A-level. It's very easy to underestimate the step-up from GCSE to A-level and I would advise against taking four A-levels. If you are, however, set on taking four A-levels, I would suggest you steer clear of Business. It's seen as a 'soft' subject by most universities.

Also, do you have any specific degree ideas in mind? Based on your interests, I think that PPE would be a solid choice for you if you are unsure. A good mix would be A-level Maths, Economics and History if you intend on doing PPE.
(Original post by DrK.)
How about maths, further maths, history and Russian?
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DrK.
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(Original post by zxvs)
It is a broad mix of subjects. I can't really see the use of taking Russian as a fourth A-level unless you want to study a course with Russian as a joint subject. I know it is impressive to be able to say you know Russian as a language, but that would be better placed in your personal statement (which universities will read) rather than as a fourth A-level. It's very easy to underestimate the step-up from GCSE to A-level and I would advise against taking four A-levels. If you are, however, set on taking four A-levels, I would suggest you steer clear of Business. It's seen as a 'soft' subject by most universities.

Also, do you have any specific degree ideas in mind? Based on your interests, I think that PPE would be a solid choice for you if you are unsure. A good mix would be A-level Maths, Economics and History if you intend on doing PPE.
Thank you very much! I've just read a bit about PPE and it seems like a great option. I understand A-level maths and history but I've heard before that economics a-level is also seen as a soft subject and even for a degree in economics you don't really need it. What do you think?

Tell me more about PPE please, if you can.
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Quick-use
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You could do Maths, Further Maths, Russian and French. Or, Maths, Further Maths, History/Politics/Economics and Russian/French.

Any of the previous combinations would open you up for any business, economic, language or social science degrees. :fluffy:
Last edited by Quick-use; 5 months ago
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by DrK.)
How about maths, further maths, history and Russian?
Better than your original combination...

If you find maths boring, I'm not sure an economics degree is going to be that interesting to you though...you'll be doing a lot of maths in such a course. For politics/business/finance type courses FM is unnecessary (and irrelevant), and Maths/History/Russian (or French, or anything else really) would be perfectly sufficient for any such courses.

I would further draw your attention to the fact that, as far as language teaching goes, French in university is normally only offered for post-A-level students, except as extracurricular learning through the universities language centre (i.e. not for degree credit). Given this, and that as above, Russian is normally available from scratch and some universities can't accommodate students with to study Russian post-A-level. if you were going to take a language I would suggest French would be the better option. Even if you don't want to do a degree only in languages, if you wanted to take language modules as part of your degree, you might find taking Russian instead of French limits yourself with regard to both languages.

Maths/French/something (e.g. History, Politics, any subject other than FM really) would give you a wide range of options while still catering to your interests and aptitudes. I would still not suggest taking a second language along with maths, but as part of a three subject combination it would be less onerous so could be considered within reason...
Last edited by artful_lounger; 5 months ago
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DrK.
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(Original post by Quick-use)
You could do Maths, Further Maths, Russian and French. That would be a fantastic mix and would open you up for any business, economic, language or social science degree. :fluffy:
Thanks, I will definitely think about it!
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Quick-use
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(Original post by DrK.)
Thanks, I will definitely think about it!
Hey, I slightly edited my original post. Feel free to have another look.
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zxvs
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That's great to hear, but do continue exploring more degree choices! I think eventually you'll find a very good fit for your interests.

Bear in mind I might be biased as I did A-level Economics for two years, but I definitely don't think A-level Economics is a soft subject. Top RG universities see it as a facilitating subject and it is commonly studied by A-level students applying for economics related courses. You might find it helpful to refer to the Which? University website where you can see the most common subject mix that successful applicants took for a particular degree at any given university. That being said, it is true that A-level Economics is not a prerequisite for most economics degrees, although you should find most students will be studying it anyway. What I want you to take away from this is that it should be your own decision based on your own research. Think carefully and try to narrow down some courses you would be interested in studying for university. Then look at the commonly studied subjects that successful applicants took (and if there are any prerequisites) and base your decisions off that, alongside taking into account what you will enjoy studying the most.

I would be happy to tell you more about PPE. Feel free to send me a private message.
(Original post by DrK.)
Thank you very much! I've just read a bit about PPE and it seems like a great option. I understand A-level maths and history but I've heard before that economics a-level is also seen as a soft subject and even for a degree in economics you don't really need it. What do you think?

Tell me more about PPE please, if you can.
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Leah.001
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maths, politics, Russian and French? They all seem like fantastic A levels. I mean it's really cool to do languages, almost no one does languages A levels anymore so they're really looked highly upon and Maths is a difficult academic subject that is looked highly upon. And as for politics I don't know that much about it but I say go for it if you want to get into politics, you did mention business as well and that's a good A level to have I think personally so yeah maths, Russian, French are highly respected by universities and employers (especially if you carry on with all of them) and as for the other pick one that interests you most
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