MadyanC1
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i currently do bio,chem, maths but am looking to apply for mechanical engineering. i was wondering if I am at a huge disadvantage for not taking physics as many univeristies specifically state that you require maths and physics. Ive always found maths enjoyable with chem and bio more interesting, but I feel a career with more maths is much more suited to me.

I technically have until January to apply, but the school I go to have had a strict deadline for the end of November and I therefore need some advice in the next week.

Help.
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MetricHarmony28
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I'm interested in mechanical engineering too, but dont do physics at a-levels.
My original plan was to do dentistry but I never really had any interest in it, I only knew that I was willing to help people. I sat my UCAT and did decently but that's as far as I went. I didn't have any work experience or volunteering, and was considering a gap year but as i learnt more about dentistry, I realised it not something I see myself doing.

With that said, my options are open to pharmacy, optometry and mechanical engineering, however I have been doing a lot of research and noticed that pharmacy is becoming more saturated and optometry is really boring (in my opinion) leaving mech eng. I'll be applying for a 2020 entry and will be submitting my application by the end of this month (November) but I do maths, chemistry and biology. I have noticed that most universities require physics and feel like i'm at a disadvantage now.

Any advice? (don't want to take a foundation year)
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PQ
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If you don’t want to take a foundation year then your choice is simple:
A) find mech eng courses that don’t require physics
B) take physics A level (either this year or in a gap year)
C) don’t study mech eng
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Marni_
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If a university states you need physics then if you don't have it obviously don't apply there because yes you'll be at a disadvantage. If you find uni's that don't require it specifically, then you shouldn't be at a disadvantage for those if you apply
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mnot
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(Original post by MadyanC1)
i currently do bio,chem, maths but am looking to apply for mechanical engineering. i was wondering if I am at a huge disadvantage for not taking physics as many univeristies specifically state that you require maths and physics. Ive always found maths enjoyable with chem and bio more interesting, but I feel a career with more maths is much more suited to me.

I technically have until January to apply, but the school I go to have had a strict deadline for the end of November and I therefore need some advice in the next week.

Help.
Yes this is a huge disadvantage...
I would apply for a foundation year degree option imo (although this will eat 1 year of finance up, so if u want to do an integrated masters it may effect you)

Best A-levels for mech eng are: maths, further math physcis, some uni require maths & physics as mandatory, you can always scope out unis that will accept maths & chem, im sure theyll be a couple, but youll be behind everyone else once you arrive and will need to catch up.
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artful_lounger
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As above, it depends on the course requirements; in theory a course that doesn't require A-level Physics (e.g. Exeter) won't disadvantage you as far as admissions go. It may well be helpful to have taken it on such a course though (at Exeter the first year mechanics lecturer assumed people had taken it, but the material was still pitched at a level such that it was to be taught ab initio; as a result, it was very easy for those who had done A-level Physics, and sort of averagely difficult otherwise).

Generally speaking though if you only look at universities offering mechanical engineering that don't require A-level Physics, and do not look at those offering foundation years, you are going to be somewhat limited in the range of universities you can apply for. You will also keep yourself out of consideration for several quite well regarded engineering programmes by doing so. I would recommend you broaden your choice of university options by looking at courses that offer a foundation year for their engineering (including mechanical) courses - such as Southampton, Manchester, or Birmingham, among others.

In such a course you will sit a preliminary year 0 where you cover any material you haven't done in A-level (such as relevant physics content) before moving into the first year of the main course and hence as any other student. These courses are designed for those who haven't taken some or any of the required prerequisite courses in A-levels. However do be aware some only consider applicants without any of the relevant subjects, so do check the entry criteria and eligibility for those. Most will probably look favourably on an applicant who has taken and done well in A-level Maths already though, as an indicator of likely success on the foundation year and hence degree.
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MetricHarmony28
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well, option A it is I guess
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by MetricHarmony28)
well, option A it is I guess
I don't know, but suspect that it's lower ranked universities that don't require Physics - it is fundamental to the subject. What are your predicted grades? If you can aim higher, it may be worth doing a gap year to cover Physics and FM, and to get some work experience to show a commitment to your new choice. Good luck.
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MetricHarmony28
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
As above, it depends on the course requirements; in theory a course that doesn't require A-level Physics (e.g. Exeter) won't disadvantage you as far as admissions go. It may well be helpful to have taken it on such a course though (at Exeter the first year mechanics lecturer assumed people had taken it, but the material was still pitched at a level such that it was to be taught ab initio; as a result, it was very easy for those who had done A-level Physics, and sort of averagely difficult otherwise).

Generally speaking though if you only look at universities offering mechanical engineering that don't require A-level Physics, and do not look at those offering foundation years, you are going to be somewhat limited in the range of universities you can apply for. You will also keep yourself out of consideration for several quite well regarded engineering programmes by doing so. I would recommend you broaden your choice of university options by looking at courses that offer a foundation year for their engineering (including mechanical) courses - such as Southampton, Manchester, or Birmingham, among others.

In such a course you will sit a preliminary year 0 where you cover any material you haven't done in A-level (such as relevant physics content) before moving into the first year of the main course and hence as any other student. These courses are designed for those who haven't taken some or any of the required prerequisite courses in A-levels. However do be aware some only consider applicants without any of the relevant subjects, so do check the entry criteria and eligibility for those. Most will probably look favourably on an applicant who has taken and done well in A-level Maths already though, as an indicator of likely success on the foundation year and hence degree.
original person was me (MadyanC1)

I'm not really interested in a foundation year, my local uni is UOB and they require only maths so that's a good thing I guess.

I really wouldn't mind catching up on the physics, even in my own time, I feel the mechanics modules in maths will allow me to get through this especially since I've always found maths enjoyable, but didn't choose physics due to the theory being less interesting as a whole compared to biology,

Do you think that if I put on my personal statement that I have been self teaching some of the physics topics, specifically those that are directly related to the degree, will increase my chance of getting accepted at unis not requiring physics.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by MetricHarmony28)
original person was me (MadyanC1)

I'm not really interested in a foundation year, my local uni is UOB and they require only maths so that's a good thing I guess.

I really wouldn't mind catching up on the physics, even in my own time, I feel the mechanics modules in maths will allow me to get through this especially since I've always found maths enjoyable, but didn't choose physics due to the theory being less interesting as a whole compared to biology,

Do you think that if I put on my personal statement that I have been self teaching some of the physics topics, specifically those that are directly related to the degree, will increase my chance of getting accepted at unis not requiring physics.
No, I don't think writing about studying those topics will really make a difference. If they require A-level Physics, that won't satisfy that requirement, and if they don't, it won't make a difference.

Is there a reason you are disregarding a foundation year, despite being pretty much the exact student they are designed for?
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MetricHarmony28
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That was my exact concern, potentially applying to universities that are lower ranked, I have checked and found that there are no universities in the top 10 (UK) that will accept you without physics, but there are around for in the next 10, specifically UOB which is only 15 mins away.

I'm not really sure what's going on with my predicted grades to be honest, at the end of yr 12 it was BBD with the D in chem.
I talked to the UCAS leader in my school and they said that the D was definitely wrong as I didn't get anything below a C all year with mostly As and 1 C in the mock.

He also said if we perform well in the first couple of assesments in yr 13, they'll be increased. I've gotten 4 A*s and 2 As in my maths tests so far so hoping for atleast an A predicted. In regards to biology, I've been getting Bs with my first A in my most recent assessment, so theres potential for an A predicted grade.

I know that most mechanical engineering students will find it hard to get work experience related to the degree, with most universities not specifically asking for it, so i'm not too worried about this, I was wondering however that if I self teach some the physics topic that have mechanics and lots of maths (the only topics I enjoy, theory often bores me), will unis not asking for physics be more likely to consider me?
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MetricHarmony28
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
No, I don't think writing about studying those topics will really make a difference. If they require A-level Physics, that won't satisfy that requirement, and if they don't, it won't make a difference.

Is there a reason you are disregarding a foundation year, despite being pretty much the exact student they are designed for?
How about with universities that require maths and say that physics is also preferred/beneficial but not required?

I don't really want to take an extra year when I genuinely feel I can do well without the foundation year.

I'm just really confused on what to do, I've accepted that i'm unable to even apply to most top unis, but at the same time, I wouldn't mind if I didn't get in if I was accepted by UOB
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by MetricHarmony28)
How about with universities that require maths and say that physics is also preferred/beneficial but not required?

I don't really want to take an extra year when I genuinely feel I can do well without the foundation year.

I'm just really confused on what to do, I've accepted that i'm unable to even apply to most top unis, but at the same time, I wouldn't mind if I didn't get in if I was accepted by UOB
I don't know which university "UOB" refers to, since there are multiple universities in the UK with that acronym; off the top of my head, Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bolton, and Bournemouth...

That aside, I would caution you to beware the Dunning-Kruger effect. At the very least you should accept that you will not be able to be successful on a course which requires A-level Physics if you have not taken it. You may be successful on one that does not require it, however, of course. Incidentally I'm not aware of any courses that "prefer" A-level Physics but don't require it, offhand. As someone who was let onto a course without the required prerequisites, and struggled greatly because of it, it is not worth it. Do whatever you can to give yourself as strong a background as possible for the degree you want to be doing now.

The "extra" year is as much if not less time than you would need to take if you decided you did need A-level Physics in the end and took a gap year (or two) to take it. It's also much cheaper, and you will spend an entire year as a member of your university (often, though not always, on campus) becoming familiar with the new environment, so you are already well situated by the time you begin in the first year of the degree. Additionally, as above, it will set you up to do well in the rest of the degree course - getting into a degree programme is just the first step, and the degree is not worth a lot if you get a 3rd in the end.
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MetricHarmony28
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MetricHarmony28
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I don't know which university "UOB" refers to, since there are multiple universities in the UK with that acronym; off the top of my head, Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Bradford, Bolton, and Bournemouth...

That aside, I would caution you to beware the Dunning-Kruger effect. At the very least you should accept that you will not be able to be successful on a course which requires A-level Physics if you have not taken it. You may be successful on one that does not require it, however, of course. Incidentally I'm not aware of any courses that "prefer" A-level Physics but don't require it, offhand. As someone who was let onto a course without the required prerequisites, and struggled greatly because of it, it is not worth it. Do whatever you can to give yourself as strong a background as possible for the degree you want to be doing now.

The "extra" year is as much if not less time than you would need to take if you decided you did need A-level Physics in the end and took a gap year (or two) to take it. It's also much cheaper, and you will spend an entire year as a member of your university (often, though not always, on campus) becoming familiar with the new environment, so you are already well situated by the time you begin in the first year of the degree. Additionally, as above, it will set you up to do well in the rest of the degree course - getting into a degree programme is just the first step, and the degree is not worth a lot if you get a 3rd in the end.
Sorry, I was so used to calling it UOB where I live that I forget it can be an entirely different uni for others, I was referring to Birmingham.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by MetricHarmony28)
Sorry, I was so used to calling it UOB where I live that I forget it can be an entirely different uni for others, I was referring to Birmingham.
While you meet the requirements of that university, your options are otherwise severely limited. Hence, you should consider applying to foundation year courses along with that one, as there is no guarantee you will get an offer (or if you do, achieve that offer) from Birmingham. Putting ones eggs all in one basket is usually inadvisable.
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MetricHarmony28
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
While you meet the requirements of that university, your options are otherwise severely limited. Hence, you should consider applying to foundation year courses along with that one, as there is no guarantee you will get an offer (or if you do, achieve that offer) from Birmingham. Putting ones eggs all in one basket is usually inadvisable.
yes i completely agree, i know of a few other universities higher ranked than birmingham that I can apply for.

i was thinking of applying for optometry too with mechanical at Birmingham as a 5th choice, but i wouldn't be applying to birmingham for optometry so i don't think that would necessarily work.

In regards to the foundation year, I've have always seen that if you want to do one, youo need to have achieved a maximum grade of x and usually not do more than one of the sciences.
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mnot
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(Original post by MetricHarmony28)
original person was me (MadyanC1)

I'm not really interested in a foundation year, my local uni is UOB and they require only maths so that's a good thing I guess.

I really wouldn't mind catching up on the physics, even in my own time, I feel the mechanics modules in maths will allow me to get through this especially since I've always found maths enjoyable, but didn't choose physics due to the theory being less interesting as a whole compared to biology,

Do you think that if I put on my personal statement that I have been self teaching some of the physics topics, specifically those that are directly related to the degree, will increase my chance of getting accepted at unis not requiring physics.
The thing that jumps out here is you prefer biology over physics, the nit-picky bits of physics are worse in an engineering degree...
Fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, propulsion systems, control systems etc. will feel very pure sciencey its a lot of maths.

If u prefer bio then i cant imagine you will enjoy solving the navier-stokes equations or understanding the math manipulations in different CFD turbulence schemes.

Can i ask why mechanical engineering over say Biological sciences?
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MetricHarmony28
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(Original post by mnot)
The thing that jumps out here is you prefer biology over physics, the nit-picky bits of physics are worse in an engineering degree...
Fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, propulsion systems, control systems etc. will feel very pure sciencey its a lot of maths.

If u prefer bio then i cant imagine you will enjoy solving the navier-stokes equations or understanding the math manipulations in different CFD turbulence schemes.

Can i ask why mechanical engineering over say Biological sciences?
I think it is the fact that, if i do a course that heavily includes maths, i will enjoy it, I've noticed that, from all the subjects i do, its maths i like, physical chemistry i also like (due to it heavily involving maths), the rest of chemistry is interesting, with bio, its the fact that there is very little maths and loads of theory that you have to learn, and that's why biological sciences it not for me.

Even my family would agree that i would have been better off doing accountancy and fincance because of how much i like maths, but its not where my interest lies, im genuinely interested in robotics and the creating technologies for the future.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by MetricHarmony28)
yes i completely agree, i know of a few other universities higher ranked than birmingham that I can apply for.

i was thinking of applying for optometry too with mechanical at Birmingham as a 5th choice, but i wouldn't be applying to birmingham for optometry so i don't think that would necessarily work.

In regards to the foundation year, I've have always seen that if you want to do one, youo need to have achieved a maximum grade of x and usually not do more than one of the sciences.
In terms of having taken science subjects, it depends on the foundation year; I do know of a few which won't consider those who have taken the relevant subjects but merely missed the grades for the main course. Since you've only done maths and not physics or FM I'm quite confident most will consider you. I've never heard of any with "maximum" grade requirements - foundation years are not generally for those who did poorly in A-levels the first time round. They may consider e.g. contextual applicants or mature students more holistically (and possibly flexibly) than school leavers, but generally they expect school leavers to have done well in whatever subjects they did study.

Allied health professions courses (such as optometry), as I understand, will scrutinise your personal statement to satisfy themselves you have a good awareness of and commitment to the profession in question. I don't really see that you can discuss another subject in an optometry personal statement, and while some courses might accept an optometry statement without prejudice, I highly doubt mechanical engineering (or probably any kind of engineering) will be one of them. Of course, they might be happy to consider it, with or without an alternate statement being sent - I would recommend you confirm this with the universities directly, well before applying.
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