A Level Further Maths or Physics for Medicine

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techjason
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Hello, this is my first post on the student room.

I am in Year 11, and I am currently deciding for my a-level choices and am hesitant between A-Level Further Maths or Physics (Maths, Chemistry and Biology for my other 3 choices).

I love Mathematics and I always explore topics that are not within the syllabus - I am also the top of my year currently. It is plausible that I pursue mathematics/computer science in the future.

However, my other career path is going down the medical route, which many websites and forums indicate that choosing Maths and all three sciences is more preferable.

I have achieved grade 9s for GCSE Physics across the years but I do understand the massive jump from GCSE to A-Level (many regard A-Level Physics as the hardest subject overall). However, my interest in Physics is fluctuating - stuff like relativity and quantum mechanics interests me, but root memorization for topics like waves and magnetism is boring and mundane.

Medicine is a well-respected and professional career and I do wish my A-Level choice will open my pathway down the medical route. However, it is not a career pathway I am definite about since I have interests for computer science, engineering, math, natural sciences, economics, physics etc.

Despite medical schools not regarding A-Level Maths and Further Maths as one subject, I think about it this way: Further Maths is going to be a fourth subject anyway and since universities nowadays only view 3 A-Levels, it will definitely not hinder me if I pick FM over physics. Moreover, Further Maths can open up more doors if I were to choose Economics or Computer Science (if I change my mind midway through A-Levels).

However, picking physics seems conventional and well-rounded. The only issue is my possible lack of interest in the subject. However, as many medical school websites have stated, they recommend physics as a fourth A-Level.

Which one should I pick? Further Math or Physics?
I am leaning towards Further Math, but Physics seems like a good and conventional option to choose in which many recommended.
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franca555
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Physics will be more useful
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999QR
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(Original post by franca555)
Physics will be more useful
yes, it will
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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Physics might be mildly more useful, but they're both good subjects so just take whatever you prefer.
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techjason
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
Physics might be mildly more useful, but they're both good subjects so just take whatever you prefer.
Honestly, I am more leaning towards Further Maths - so I'll have a look at it.
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by techjason)
Honestly, I am more leaning towards Further Maths - so I'll have a look at it.
If you need any extra opinions or anything let me know, I take both Further Maths & Physics (+ Computing and normal maths, obv)
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techjason
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
If you need any extra opinions or anything let me know, I take both Further Maths & Physics (+ Computing and normal maths, obv)
Out of physics and Further Maths, which one did you enjoy more? (You are studying computer science I presume?)
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artful_lounger
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For medicine neither FM nor physics will make a difference; no medical school requires either of them, and none to my knowledge prefer them over the other provided you are taking at least three other subjects (which you are). The amount of A-level Physics content that is relevant in a medical degree will be vanishingly small (compared to basically nothing in FM).

However for CS, A-level FM is much more useful and preferred compared to A-level Physics. Additionally taking all three sciences and maths is a huge workload, especially since universities normally only make offers on the basis of three A-levels. Taking A-level FM with A-level Maths, assuming you are strong in maths generally, will likely be less of a workload qualitatively due to the synergy between maths and FM.

I would suggest you take A-level FM at this stage, personally. That said nexttime has some data regarding subjects and how they correlate to UCAT/BMAT test scores though which may be relevant, and also took all five of those subjects may also be able to offer advice about which options may be worth considering in what combinations. ecolier has also compiled a great deal of information about subjects for medicine in this thread: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5611422 which also has many people asking about virtually every possible A-level combination under the sun in it
Last edited by artful_lounger; 9 months ago
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Doones
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
If you need any extra opinions or anything let me know, I take both Further Maths & Physics (+ Computing and normal maths, obv)
OP is applying for Medicine though...
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by techjason)
Out of physics and Further Maths, which one did you enjoy more? (You are studying computer science I presume?)
Hmm, thats a hard one. I think overall physics is more interesting, I really like particle physics & the fields chapters (magnetic fields, electric fields, grav fields etc), but at the same time I found mechanics really boring (maybedue to the fact we had already learnt most of it in maths...) I also found waves boring.
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techjason
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
For medicine neither FM nor physics will make a difference; no medical school requires either of them, and none to my knowledge prefer them over the other provided you are taking at least three other subjects (which you are). The amount of A-level Physics content that is relevant in a medical degree will be vanishingly small (compared to basically nothing in FM).

However for CS, A-level FM is much more useful and preferred compared to A-level Physics. Additionally taking all three sciences and maths is a huge workload, especially since universities normally only make offers on the basis of three A-levels. Taking A-level FM with A-level Maths, assuming you are strong in maths generally, will likely be less of a workload qualitatively due to the synergy between maths and FM.

I would suggest you take A-level FM at this stage, personally. That said nexttime has some data regarding subjects and how they correlate to UCAT/BMAT test scores though which may be relevant, and also took all five of those subjects may also be able to offer advice about which options may be worth considering in what combinations. ecolier has also compiled a great deal of information about subjects for medicine in this thread: https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5611422 which also has many people asking about virtually every possible A-level combination under the sun in it
Thank you so much! I completely agree to you that taking all three sciences will be a heavier workload for me compared to taking Maths + FM + 2 sciences. Thanks for the link towards the medical mega thread - I will consider Further Maths now since it is what I enjoy doing despite it not being particularly useful for medicine.
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techjason
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
Hmm, thats a hard one. I think overall physics is more interesting, I really like particle physics & the fields chapters (magnetic fields, electric fields, grav fields etc), but at the same time I found mechanics really boring (maybedue to the fact we had already learnt most of it in maths...) I also found waves boring.
Yeah this is what I am afraid about - choosing physics might be boring compared to Further Maths where it requires logic and thinking. One question, how much memorisation is needed for A-Level Physics? If I am not interested in the subject, root memorisation can be difficult.
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GreenCub
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From what you've said, I think Further Maths would almost definitely be the best option for you.

Relativity and quantum mechanics are really interesting topics, but pretty much don't come up at all at A level - there's no relativity at all in A level physics and only a very small amount of content that's passable as quantum mechanics. A level physics has a lot of emphasis on waves and electricity and writing explanations, and there's a decent amount of memorisation, but far less than biology.

No medical schools require Physics and you certainly don't need to have 3 sciences. Plenty of people who don't take A level physics can still do really well in the BMAT which has some GCSE physics questions in section 2.

Also if you're considering Maths or Computer Science then further maths would certainly be more useful, since most high-ranking universities require Further Maths for maths degrees, whilst Physics isn't a requirement.

Also it would be rather difficult to keep all the options of Medicine, Maths and Engineering open without doing 5 A levels.
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techjason
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(Original post by GreenCub)
From what you've said, I think Further Maths would almost definitely be the best option for you.

Relativity and quantum mechanics are really interesting topics, but pretty much don't come up at all at A level - there's no relativity at all in A level physics and only a very small amount of content that's passable as quantum mechanics. A level physics has a lot of emphasis on waves and electricity and writing explanations, and there's a decent amount of memorisation, but far less than biology.

No medical schools require Physics and you certainly don't need to have 3 sciences. Plenty of people who don't take A level physics can still do really well in the BMAT which has some GCSE physics questions in section 2.

Also if you're considering Maths or Computer Science then further maths would certainly be more useful, since most high-ranking universities require Further Maths for maths degrees, whilst Physics isn't a requirement.

Also it would be rather difficult to keep all the options of Medicine, Maths and Engineering open without doing 5 A levels.
Thank you so much for your constructive response! I have now definitely decided to pursue A-Level Further Maths instead of Physics. I am finally less stressful about my subject choice. Thank you again. Wish you the best.
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fayeelw
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Hey! I'm taking maths, further maths, biology and chemistry and planning on applying for medicine, so if you wanted to ask any questions about how I'm finding the combination, just pm me!
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