Should I be taking a fourth A Level to study aerospace at Oxbridge/Imperial level? Watch

anonStudent15
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I plan to study Maths, Further Maths, and Physics at A Level with the aim of studying engineering (aerospace) at Cambridge/Imperial or something of a similar caliber. I am currently predicted all 9s at GCSE level and, if it's worth taking a fourth a level? which one should I take? I'm currently of the mind that my three real choices are, ranging from most humanistic to most STEM, English Geography or Chemistry. I'm very keen to know your thoughts. Will the advantage of a fourth A level in the uni application process justify the extra workload?
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Sannah 21
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Doing a fourth A level won’t benefit u at all
Like it doesn’t give u any advantage but just give u more stress and workload

Uni’s don’t mind if it’s 3 or 4
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Muttley79
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(Original post by anonStudent15)
I plan to study Maths, Further Maths, and Physics at A Level with the aim of studying engineering (aerospace) at Cambridge/Imperial or something of a similar caliber. I am currently predicted all 9s at GCSE level and, if it's worth taking a fourth a level? which one should I take? I'm currently of the mind that my three real choices are, ranging from most humanistic to most STEM, English Geography or Chemistry. I'm very keen to know your thoughts. Will the advantage of a fourth A level in the uni application process justify the extra workload?
Cambridge only offer General engineering ... go somewhere with a year in industry.
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anonStudent15
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Cambridge only offer General engineering ... go somewhere with a year in industry.
I haven't decided if I'm going to go to oxbridge or imperial as I'm only in year 11, but I want to make sure I have the right A Levels that leave my options open for me. Imperial do have a year in industry, so do you think I'd need four A Levels there?
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Muttley79
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(Original post by anonStudent15)
I haven't decided if I'm going to go to oxbridge or imperial as I'm only in year 11, but I want to make sure I have the right A Levels that leave my options open for me. Imperial do have a year in industry, so do you think I'd need four A Levels there?
Please do your own research. If you are thinking of Engineering then RG is not relevant - you need somewhere that aims to prepare you for working in industry if that's what you want. Some of the 'newer' unis are a better option -
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zootzoot
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(Original post by anonStudent15)
I haven't decided if I'm going to go to oxbridge or imperial as I'm only in year 11, but I want to make sure I have the right A Levels that leave my options open for me. Imperial do have a year in industry, so do you think I'd need four A Levels there?
There is little point in doing 4 - Alevels, it just means a lot more stress and the grades of your uni offer will be the same (E.g. Cambridge min requirement for eng is A*A*A or A*A*AA/ A*A*A*A).

Further maths (If u are up to it), is alot more important, but you still have a good chance without it.

Bear in mind Imperial is the best for eng in the UK (With the Oxford/ Cambridge course being a lot more theoretical and less practical than any other unis, which is better for doing a PHD but not so much for industry)

Edit: Look at requirements on uni websites
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anonStudent15
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(Original post by zootzoot)
There is little point in doing 4 - Alevels, it just means a lot more stress and the grades of your uni offer will be the same (E.g. Cambridge min requirement for eng is A*A*A or A*A*AA/ A*A*A*A).

Further maths (If u are up to it), is alot more important, but you still have a good chance without it.

Bear in mind Imperial is the best for eng in the UK (With the Oxford/ Cambridge course being a lot more theoretical and less practical than any other unis, which is better for doing a PHD but not so much for industry)

Edit: Look at requirements on uni websites
I will be taking further maths as one of my three A Levels, so is that more important than taking four? Also I did not know that a more theoretical course was better for a PhD so thanks for letting me know.
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zootzoot
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(Original post by anonStudent15)
I will be taking further maths as one of my three A Levels, so is that more important than taking four? Also I did not know that a more theoretical course was better for a PhD so thanks for letting me know.
I think if u can take 3 alevels with one being further maths, it would be good.

Yeah PhDs are mainly about research and are therefore alot more theory based compared to work in industry. But when it comes to Oxbridge Vs imperial, I doubt any employer will have much of a preference (plus Oxbridge looks better if u are going for a job in an unrelated sector, like banking ect)
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mnot
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(Original post by anonStudent15)
I haven't decided if I'm going to go to oxbridge or imperial as I'm only in year 11, but I want to make sure I have the right A Levels that leave my options open for me. Imperial do have a year in industry, so do you think I'd need four A Levels there?
So I would say the benefits of doing 4 A-levels in: you can drop one & if you are one of the students who can easily get an A in any A-level Imperial offer A*AAA as an offer instead of A*A*A ie slightly reduced pressure on the A*s.

I would say start with 4 (math, further math, physics, chemistry), and consider dropping chemistry after year 12 if you feel A*A*A is easier than A*AAA...

Also Oxbridge dont offer Aerospace. They do a general course with some Aero options
Imperial do aeronautical engineering: whats the difference?
well the aerospace courses sometimes offer a wider variety of propulsion systems, design and a bit more satellite and different tech modules whereas with aeronautical is assume a heavier balance towards turbojet & turbofan propulsion systems and the technology based optional modules later in the degree (like in 3rd/4th year) will be a little different.
(Original post by anonStudent15)
Also I did not know that a more theoretical course was better for a PhD so thanks for letting me know.
Why are you talking about a PhD when your in year 11, dont even look at it till your 3rd or 4th year at uni.
The most important thing for a PhD is a stellar academic track record (at uni, A-levels & GCSEs wont even be discussed at this point), very strong dissertation and ideally a post-grad masters where you have done research preparation.

Either way there is no way in year 11 you have an in depth subject interest, and no way of knowing if your capable of doing academic research. This is years away from thinking about.
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anonStudent15
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(Original post by mnot)
So I would say the benefits of doing 4 A-levels in: you can drop one & if you are one of the students who can easily get an A in any A-level Imperial offer A*AAA as an offer instead of A*A*A ie slightly reduced pressure on the A*s.

I would say start with 4 (math, further math, physics, chemistry), and consider dropping chemistry after year 12 if you feel A*A*A is easier than A*AAA...

Also Oxbridge dont offer Aerospace. They do a general course with some Aero options
Imperial do aeronautical engineering: whats the difference?
well the aerospace courses sometimes offer a wider variety of propulsion systems, design and a bit more satellite and different tech modules whereas with aeronautical is assume a heavier balance towards turbojet & turbofan propulsion systems and the technology based optional modules later in the degree (like in 3rd/4th year) will be a little different.

Why are you talking about a PhD when your in year 11, dont even look at it till your 3rd or 4th year at uni.
The most important thing for a PhD is a stellar academic track record (at uni, A-levels & GCSEs wont even be discussed at this point), very strong dissertation and ideally a post-grad masters where you have done research preparation.

Either way there is no way in year 11 you have an in depth subject interest, and no way of knowing if your capable of doing academic research. This is years away from thinking about.
Thank you for your in-depth reply. By the way, I'm not even thinking about PhDs at this age, it was just a factor I had never heard about which I thought was interesting.

The fact that we no longer have AS levels at my school means I'm more cautious about the prospect of taking a subject only to drop it, having gained no qualifications... Do you know if Oxbridge also have a lower entry requirement for four A Levels like Imperial does?
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mnot
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(Original post by anonStudent15)
Thank you for your in-depth reply. By the way, I'm not even thinking about PhDs at this age, it was just a factor I had never heard about which I thought was interesting.

The fact that we no longer have AS levels at my school means I'm more cautious about the prospect of taking a subject only to drop it, having gained no qualifications... Do you know if Oxbridge also have a lower entry requirement for four A Levels like Imperial does?
So its not lower its just different, you still have to get A*AAA... which is no easy feet at A-level.
I believe Oxbridge both only offer A*A*A but you can email & check.

Regardless students at all these uni are often exceeding these entry criteria, these are the minimum requirements.

I wouldn't worry about studying an A-level just because you wont have an AS certificate, I would think about it this way: your trying to give yourself the best shot at getting into a top uni & get the best preparation for a degree, doing 4 A-levels at the start gives you more flexibility if you want to drop one, and you can learn more useful information.

I would recommend Math, further math, physcis if you only do 3, but would recommend doing a 4th st least at the start, you can always drop it after 2-3 months (or a year..) or just do 4. But you cant pick a new A-level up after 3 months.
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Helloworld_95
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As above, there's really a substantial list of top tier unis for engineering. For aero specifically this is my list, with any notable differences that I know of in brackets:

UWE (relatively low grade requirements), Surrey (Space + good extracurricular projects), Southampton (Space), Sheffield (Space + more variety than other Aero degrees + good extracurricular projects), Strathclyde (Space + good extracurricular projects), Glasgow, Leeds (Very Mechanical focused), Imperial, Bristol, Bath (top Formula Student team), Manchester, Nottingham, Loughborough, Swansea(relatively low grade requirements), Oxford (General), Cambridge (General), Durham (General)

If you go to any of those then a good career is in easy reach, either in industry or academia. If you're an international student then you might want to be more choosy with which universities have the stronger brand name, but even then you won't notice too much difference in career prospects between say Sheffield and Oxbridge.

Also the theoretical nature of Oxbridge engineering degrees is just a different approach, not necessarily an advantage or disadvantage in industry. However academia is generally a bit sceptical of Oxbridge graduates as undergraduate Oxbridge educations supposedly don't prepare you as well for research careers as other universities. I'd also disagree with equating theoretical and PhD, the theoretical part is really a small aspect of research and most of it is applied, just not in the same way as industry does it.

I wouldn't worry about not getting a qualification out of any 4th A level you drop, as soon as you get to uni even the grades of the 3 you do complete really don't matter anyway, do it for the learning which will be much more advantageous at uni and potentially beyond. I'd say do Maths, Physics, Further Maths and a language as knowing a language will really improve your uni experience and potentially graduate prospects, but it's up to what you'll enjoy really, don't do FM or a language if you would prefer to do something else, neither of those are necessary.
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mnot
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(Original post by Helloworld_95)
As above, there's really a substantial list of top tier unis for engineering. For aero specifically this is my list, with any notable differences that I know of in brackets:

UWE (relatively low grade requirements), Surrey (Space + good extracurricular projects), Southampton (Space), Sheffield (Space + more variety than other Aero degrees + good extracurricular projects), Strathclyde (Space + good extracurricular projects), Glasgow, Leeds (Very Mechanical focused), Imperial, Bristol, Bath (top Formula Student team), Manchester, Nottingham, Loughborough, Swansea(relatively low grade requirements), Oxford (General), Cambridge (General), Durham (General)

If you go to any of those then a good career is in easy reach, either in industry or academia. If you're an international student then you might want to be more choosy with which universities have the stronger brand name, but even then you won't notice too much difference in career prospects between say Sheffield and Oxbridge.

Also the theoretical nature of Oxbridge engineering degrees is just a different approach, not necessarily an advantage or disadvantage in industry. However academia is generally a bit sceptical of Oxbridge graduates as undergraduate Oxbridge educations supposedly don't prepare you as well for research careers as other universities. I'd also disagree with equating theoretical and PhD, the theoretical part is really a small aspect of research and most of it is applied, just not in the same way as industry does it.

I wouldn't worry about not getting a qualification out of any 4th A level you drop, as soon as you get to uni even the grades of the 3 you do complete really don't matter anyway, do it for the learning which will be much more advantageous at uni and potentially beyond. I'd say do Maths, Physics, Further Maths and a language as knowing a language will really improve your uni experience and potentially graduate prospects, but it's up to what you'll enjoy really, don't do FM or a language if you would prefer to do something else, neither of those are necessary.
I think this ist is a little too broad, but the best aero engineering unis imo:
-Imperial, Bristol, Notts, Sheffield, Loughborough, Cambridge (you'll notice all these unis also work very closely with top industry partners *cough* RR etc.)
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Helloworld_95
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(Original post by mnot)
I think this ist is a little too broad, but the best aero engineering unis imo:
-Imperial, Bristol, Notts, Sheffield, Loughborough, Cambridge (you'll notice all these unis also work very closely with top industry partners *cough* RR etc.)
This is the list I've acquired from going around to hiring events and seeing who gets hired. UWE in particular works a lot with industry and gets a lot of people into aero jobs if you want to base it upon that solely. But yes, there is definitely an aspect of companies having favourite universities to hire from, but that also means you can quite easily miss good universities if you're surrounded by one group of companies which mostly hires from a certain set of unis.
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