A Level and Super-Curriculars For Cambridge History

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Jason03
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Hello all, since starting a-levels what I want to do at Uni has certainly changed and a lot of research and plans have been wiped.

So originally I was aiming to study economics at degree level and took physics, further maths, maths and history to complement this.
However, my only true academic passion has only ever been in history, and now especially after the intenseness of A levels want to take history. In my eyes there seems to be a few problems.
-I’m only doing one essay based subject
- l only got a 6 in English Lit, which I wasn’t to worried about but as I’m now wanting to take history, I wonder if it is worth resitting (I want to apply to Cambridge/Durham)
-I have no clue how to go about supercurriculars, this was easy for economics as it is advised to specialise in a certain region (I have read 2 books so far on environmental economics)

So really I just want advice on what to do as I know it is wayyy to late to change subjects but I will work very hard.

-Keep my current subjects and do an EPQ - my school have never done it, but I feel I could do a pretty good one about history
-Swap FurtherMaths/Physics for Politics as it compliments history fairly well and I’m very interested and knowledgeable about politics already (and maybe do an EPQ with it)
-just drop furthermaths/physics (I don’t know if you need 4 a levels for Cambridge I do however believe in my abilities to do 4, especially if it is an easier/less time consuming humanity like politics or English Lit)

Sorry I’m really not the most knowledgable and my school doesn’t have a careers advisor, as well as my parents never going to university (or sixth form lol)
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Pengwyn<3
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(Original post by Jason03)
Hello all, since starting a-levels what I want to do at Uni has certainly changed and a lot of research and plans have been wiped.

So originally I was aiming to study economics at degree level and took physics, further maths, maths and history to complement this.
However, my only true academic passion has only ever been in history, and now especially after the intenseness of A levels want to take history. In my eyes there seems to be a few problems.
-I’m only doing one essay based subject
- l only got a 6 in English Lit, which I wasn’t to worried about but as I’m now wanting to take history, I wonder if it is worth resitting (I want to apply to Cambridge/Durham)
-I have no clue how to go about supercurriculars, this was easy for economics as it is advised to specialise in a certain region (I have read 2 books so far on environmental economics)

So really I just want advice on what to do as I know it is wayyy to late to change subjects but I will work very hard.

-Keep my current subjects and do an EPQ - my school have never done it, but I feel I could do a pretty good one about history
-Swap FurtherMaths/Physics for Politics as it compliments history fairly well and I’m very interested and knowledgeable about politics already (and maybe do an EPQ with it)
-just drop furthermaths/physics (I don’t know if you need 4 a levels for Cambridge I do however believe in my abilities to do 4, especially if it is an easier/less time consuming humanity like politics or English Lit)

Sorry I’m really not the most knowledgable and my school doesn’t have a careers advisor, as well as my parents never going to university (or sixth form lol)
Take into account while reading this I take A level Biology & History + L3 Applied Diploma in Business.

First of all, research is important. The only subject specific requirement Cambridge+Durham have is A level history & three A levels is enough.

Second, historians already use mathematics— tax rolls, census data, electoral records, business ledgers, reviewing charts and graphs that provide historical data or information on ethnic groups. History is broad.

I'm not sure about further maths & physics but I know physics relates through the industrial revolutions & past incidents with radiation and such.

Eng Lit is not easier/less time consuming. Yes, it depends on the person & the examboard but it does require a lot of independent work for the books & poetry analysis's.

If you believe dropping further maths/ physics for politics will benefit then do it. Besides grades, universities also wish to you know you are keen in your subject area (Oxbridge being more focused on academic) & show it. You'll be studying that course for three years & work/research for related areas for more.

Hope this helps!
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Jason03
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(Original post by Pengwyn<3)
Take into account while reading this I take A level Biology & History + L3 Applied Diploma in Business.

First of all, research is important. The only subject specific requirement Cambridge+Durham have is A level history & three A levels is enough.

Second, historians already use mathematics— tax rolls, census data, electoral records, business ledgers, reviewing charts and graphs that provide historical data or information on ethnic groups. History is broad.

I'm not sure about further maths & physics but I know physics relates through the industrial revolutions & past incidents with radiation and such.

Eng Lit is not easier/less time consuming. Yes, it depends on the person & the examboard but it does require a lot of independent work for the books & poetry analysis's.

If you believe dropping further maths/ physics for politics will benefit then do it. Besides grades, universities also wish to you know you are keen in your subject area (Oxbridge being more focused on academic) & show it. You'll be studying that course for three years & work/research for related areas for more.

Hope this helps!
Well, I have done the research and understand that History is the only required a level - however it’s more about wanting to boost my application and I was wondering if Eng Lit/Pol/EPQ are better than FM/Physics which aren’t necessarily related to the degree.

I wasn’t necessarily saying that English Literature is easy (it generally is considered to be in comparison to FM or Physics, I think?) for everyone, but I am pretty good at writing essays, especially when it should link to History. However I would personally rather take politics it’s just more about what is preferred by the universities.
Also, I understand you don’t need 4 a-levels, however most successful applicants generally do, and I was wondering if that was also the case for history degrees or if they are slightly less competitive in this sense.

I will be trying to show my interest academically, which is what I was trying to gauge how universities like to see this being shown for history - I guess why I suggested an EPQ. Because looking at the universities recommended reading list it is as if they are trying to lead you to specialise and learn about British history, I’m not sure if that is truly the case?

I really just set myself up for failure by deciding against what I had planned to do at uni within the first month or so, but I guess better to overcome this earlier - thanks for your reply great insight and help!
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Scotney
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(Original post by Jason03)
Hello all, since starting a-levels what I want to do at Uni has certainly changed and a lot of research and plans have been wiped.

So originally I was aiming to study economics at degree level and took physics, further maths, maths and history to complement this.
However, my only true academic passion has only ever been in history, and now especially after the intenseness of A levels want to take history. In my eyes there seems to be a few problems.
-I’m only doing one essay based subject
- l only got a 6 in English Lit, which I wasn’t to worried about but as I’m now wanting to take history, I wonder if it is worth resitting (I want to apply to Cambridge/Durham)
-I have no clue how to go about supercurriculars, this was easy for economics as it is advised to specialise in a certain region (I have read 2 books so far on environmental economics)

So really I just want advice on what to do as I know it is wayyy to late to change subjects but I will work very hard.

-Keep my current subjects and do an EPQ - my school have never done it, but I feel I could do a pretty good one about history
-Swap FurtherMaths/Physics for Politics as it compliments history fairly well and I’m very interested and knowledgeable about politics already (and maybe do an EPQ with it)
-just drop furthermaths/physics (I don’t know if you need 4 a levels for Cambridge I do however believe in my abilities to do 4, especially if it is an easier/less time consuming humanity like politics or English Lit)

Sorry I’m really not the most knowledgable and my school doesn’t have a careers advisor, as well as my parents never going to university (or sixth form lol)
I think the main advantage of swapping to politics is the practise of essay writing,However you may have to sacrifice one of you A levels to do so.You only need 3 A levels although I am not against doing 4 in general if you are really capable.Go on Cambridge and Durham websites or look on Ucas for subject requirements for each uni.Also have a look at old threads on Tsr for ideas for super curriculars for history.What is your schools record for Oxbridge like?
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Jason03
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(Original post by Scotney)
I think the main advantage of swapping to politics is the practise of essay writing,However you may have to sacrifice one of you A levels to do so.You only need 3 A levels although I am not against doing 4 in general if you are really capable.Go on Cambridge and Durham websites or look on Ucas for subject requirements for each uni.Also have a look at old threads on Tsr for ideas for super curriculars for history.What is your schools record for Oxbridge like?
Yeah I guess it’s just mainly doing 4 A-Levels to be a stronger candidate for Oxbridge for the most part, I was taking 4 as FM and Math are pretty much essential for economics but it’s not particularly a path I want to spend 3 years doing at Uni. That is a great idea about looking back for advice, not entirely sure why I haven’t done that already ngl.


I don’t think it is terrible but definitely not great, pretty much the same as most northern state schools. Maybe a couple out of the 100-120 cohort.
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Scotney
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(Original post by Jason03)
Yeah I guess it’s just mainly doing 4 A-Levels to be a stronger candidate for Oxbridge for the most part, I was taking 4 as FM and Math are pretty much essential for economics but it’s not particularly a path I want to spend 3 years doing at Uni. That is a great idea about looking back for advice, not entirely sure why I haven’t done that already ngl.


I don’t think it is terrible but definitely not great, pretty much the same as most northern state schools. Maybe a couple out of the 100-120 cohort.
Oxford Mum has a thread/book about applying to Oxford and may have a chapter for history.I know it is Oxford but same applies for super curriculars.I will bring her in for linkOxford Mum.
I would advise as a former history student myself really drilling into the details of the courses and pick the course over the uni.Also if you go on Cambridge and Durham threads do not be put off by people sounding super competent and informed,be inspired instead.
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harrysbar having trouble replying here due to error showing can you inform relevant peeps.
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giella
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You only need to take history. You’re already doing that. Develop your interest through additional reading around your course and you will be fine. If you want to take part in additional activities for history there are plenty of opportunities through volunteering in museums, taking part in local history projects etc. Have a look at Do-It.org. Should be some opportunities there or contact local museums or your local national trust/English heritage properties. There’ll be plenty of stuff to do there as well.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Scotney)
harrysbar having trouble replying here due to error showing can you inform relevant peeps.
Thanks Scotney but you post did seem to come through as I can see it on #6

Anyway, my son is studying History at Exeter Uni so I may be able to contribute something. He came to it via a very convuluted route Jason03 as he initially started a degree in Mechanical Engineering after studying A levels in English, Maths & Physics. However, he really didn't enjoy the course - like you he has a strong interest in History (despite in his case not picking it at A level) so he dropped out and reapplied for History & Ancient History degrees. Not all unis even require History A level for that course and he chose carefully.

I work in a school and realistically, I doubt they would let you start a new A level in Politics at this stage and I don't think it would be that wise to try to do an EPQ with a school that has no experience of it, although you could talk to them about it. I would drop FM because it will not be beneficial to your application to study History and concentrate on your 3 A levels in History, Maths and Physics. Subjects very like my own son's although you are in the better situation of taking History rather than English Lit, which gives you more uni choices. Admittedly he didn't apply to Oxbridge, but he got offers from 5 good unis including Exeter, Leeds, Southampton and Birmingham without doing any extra or super curriculars or an EPQ - he just reflected on some History books he had read.

Cambridge is a different kettle of fish so I support Scotney's advice about that but even for Cambridge, I highly doubt they would prefer an applicant to have an A level in FM over someone that uses the extra time to read around their subject extensively and also focus on getting the highest grades possible.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Jason03)
Hello all, since starting a-levels what I want to do at Uni has certainly changed and a lot of research and plans have been wiped.

So originally I was aiming to study economics at degree level and took physics, further maths, maths and history to complement this.
However, my only true academic passion has only ever been in history, and now especially after the intenseness of A levels want to take history. In my eyes there seems to be a few problems.
-I’m only doing one essay based subject
- l only got a 6 in English Lit, which I wasn’t to worried about but as I’m now wanting to take history, I wonder if it is worth resitting (I want to apply to Cambridge/Durham)
-I have no clue how to go about supercurriculars, this was easy for economics as it is advised to specialise in a certain region (I have read 2 books so far on environmental economics)

So really I just want advice on what to do as I know it is wayyy to late to change subjects but I will work very hard.

-Keep my current subjects and do an EPQ - my school have never done it, but I feel I could do a pretty good one about history
-Swap FurtherMaths/Physics for Politics as it compliments history fairly well and I’m very interested and knowledgeable about politics already (and maybe do an EPQ with it)
-just drop furthermaths/physics (I don’t know if you need 4 a levels for Cambridge I do however believe in my abilities to do 4, especially if it is an easier/less time consuming humanity like politics or English Lit)

Sorry I’m really not the most knowledgable and my school doesn’t have a careers advisor, as well as my parents never going to university (or sixth form lol)
Hello Jason,

The very first thing I need to know is, which year are you in at school? Am I correct in presuming you are in the lower sixth? What are your grades for GCSE please? I still want to know, even though I need to tell you some good news about Cambridge: they are not as concerned as, say Oxford about GCSE grades as they are about A level grades. I have seen people get into Cambridge for medicine with only a handful of 8/9s at GCSE! In fact, let me tell you, I have heard of someone who got into Oxford for history with only 2 x A*s! My own son got into Oxford for German with 3 x A*s at GCSE.

I think you are worrying far too much about what you *think* Cambridge wants. They want this subject, they want this grade etc. You are trying to change yourself to fit their ideal. Cambridge thinks much more outside the box than you think. What they want is yes, people who get the necessary grades at A level, but mostly someone who is absolutely passionate about history. They want to be impressed by the real you. Don't try to be someone you are not.

So all this retaking one of your GCSEs because you got a 6 and doing 4 A levels because that is what you think Cambridge wants,

no no no no!!!!

And please drop that fourth A level, you have a lot of work to do from now on. Plus it does not matter which A levels you take as long as one of them is history.

It is imperative that you look at extra research. Have you read round your history subject? Any particular period you like/historical figure? When you have chosen the topic you want, then read articles on the internet, look up the subject on Amazon and buy some cheap books. The more obscure the title of the research, the better. You do not have to do an EPQ, which is what Harrysbar says, just read about history for the sheer pleasure of it. Get into it more and more and soon you will start enjoying yourself. Unfortunately many schemes will not be running because of Covid, but lockdown, with its lack of social events, is a great opportunity to read, read read. Oh and watch TV documentaries (I particularly like the gloriously unstuffy Lucy Worsley). If you do this, you will have something really interesting to talk about on your personal statement. Some people just read the same books as everyone else, or specialise in something really generic, like the Tudors or the Romans. If you like politics, maybe you can talk about it from a historical point of view?

There will also be a history entrance test for Cambridge. I am not quite sure of the format at the moment. The interviews may still be online, and you may be given an extract to study and then be asked questions. This test can be taken by anyone without any detailed knowledge of history, they just want to test your passion for history and how you cope with new material. If you are truly passionate about history, you have no need to worry.

To look at the type of material it may cover, here is the HAT, the Oxford history entrance exam:

https://www.history.ox.ac.uk/history-aptitude-test-hat

There are sample papers there and they say what they are looking for.

I have written a book called Oxford Demystified, with handy hints on how to make your application to Oxbridge, busting some myths (which you will probably enjoy) and what Oxford is looking for (Cambridge will be looking for the same type of candidate).

The students have also each written chapters of how they have got in, the books they read and how they handled the tests and interviews. Please look at the Oxford history chapter, by BB. He is my younger son's best friend from Oxford. At the moment he is doing a masters degree in history at Cambridge.

I will also send you the history chapter of Cambridge demystified. I found it absolutely fascinating. One thing you notice about each chapter, is the personality of each student, how they think and the kind of person they are, as well as what they have read.

Enjoy reading this and good luck.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6100480

Cambridge demystified history chapter

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6467768
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Jason03
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(Original post by harrysbar)
(Original post by harrysbar)
Thanks Scotney but you post did seem to come through as I can see it on #6

Anyway, my son is studying History at Exeter Uni so I may be able to contribute something. He came to it via a very convuluted route Jason03 as he initially started a degree in Mechanical Engineering after studying A levels in English, Maths & Physics. However, he really didn't enjoy the course - like you he has a strong interest in History (despite in his case not picking it at A level) so he dropped out and reapplied for History & Ancient History degrees. Not all unis even require History A level for that course and he chose carefully.

I work in a school and realistically, I doubt they would let you start a new A level in Politics at this stage and I don't think it would be that wise to try to do an EPQ with a school that has no experience of it, although you could talk to them about it. I would drop FM because it will not be beneficial to your application to study History and concentrate on your 3 A levels in History, Maths and Physics. Subjects very like my own son's although you are in the better situation of taking History rather than English Lit, which gives you more uni choices. Admittedly he didn't apply to Oxbridge, but he got offers from 5 good unis including Exeter, Leeds, Southampton and Birmingham without doing any extra or super curriculars or an EPQ - he just reflected on some History books he had read.

Cambridge is a different kettle of fish so I support Scotney's advice about that but even for Cambridge, I highly doubt they would prefer an applicant to have an A level in FM over someone that uses the extra time to read around their subject extensively and also focus on getting the highest grades possible.
Yeah the EPQ would be difficult, especially to get a decent grade with no support or knowledge from the school. However, I believe that I can do 4 A-Levels as well as super curricular and get predicted A*, which obviously is necessary for a Cambridge applicant.
I guess yeah reading around a specific area of history and reading books is what I was planning on doing - but as for expanding and doing more thoughtful history super-curriculars I can’t think past that in terms of what to do academically, maybe lectures/podcast.

(Original post by Oxford Mum)
(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Hello Jason,

The very first thing I need to know is, which year are you in at school? Am I correct in presuming you are in the lower sixth? What are your grades for GCSE please? I still want to know, even though I need to tell you some good news about Cambridge: they are not as concerned as, say Oxford about GCSE grades as they are about A level grades. I have seen people get into Cambridge for medicine with only a handful of 8/9s at GCSE! In fact, let me tell you, I have heard of someone who got into Oxford for history with only 2 x A*s! My own son got into Oxford for German with 3 x A*s at GCSE.

I think you are worrying far too much about what you *think* Cambridge wants. They want this subject, they want this grade etc. You are trying to change yourself to fit their ideal. Cambridge thinks much more outside the box than you think. What they want is yes, people who get the necessary grades at A level, but mostly someone who is absolutely passionate about history. They want to be impressed by the real you. Don't try to be someone you are not.

So all this retaking one of your GCSEs because you got a 6 and doing 4 A levels because that is what you think Cambridge wants,

no no no no!!!!

And please drop that fourth A level, you have a lot of work to do from now on. Plus it does not matter which A levels you take as long as one of them is history.

It is imperative that you look at extra research. Have you read round your history subject? Any particular period you like/historical figure? When you have chosen the topic you want, then read articles on the internet, look up the subject on Amazon and buy some cheap books. The more obscure the title of the research, the better. You do not have to do an EPQ, which is what Harrysbar says, just read about history for the sheer pleasure of it. Get into it more and more and soon you will start enjoying yourself. Unfortunately many schemes will not be running because of Covid, but lockdown, with its lack of social events, is a great opportunity to read, read read. Oh and watch TV documentaries (I particularly like the gloriously unstuffy Lucy Worsley). If you do this, you will have something really interesting to talk about on your personal statement. Some people just read the same books as everyone else, or specialise in something really generic, like the Tudors or the Romans. If you like politics, maybe you can talk about it from a historical point of view?

There will also be a history entrance test for Cambridge. I am not quite sure of the format at the moment. The interviews may still be online, and you may be given an extract to study and then be asked questions. This test can be taken by anyone without any detailed knowledge of history, they just want to test your passion for history and how you cope with new material. If you are truly passionate about history, you have no need to worry.

To look at the type of material it may cover, here is the HAT, the Oxford history entrance exam:

https://www.history.ox.ac.uk/history-aptitude-test-hat

There are sample papers there and they say what they are looking for.

I have written a book called Oxford Demystified, with handy hints on how to make your application to Oxbridge, busting some myths (which you will probably enjoy) and what Oxford is looking for (Cambridge will be looking for the same type of candidate).

The students have also each written chapters of how they have got in, the books they read and how they handled the tests and interviews. Please look at the Oxford history chapter, by BB. He is my younger son's best friend from Oxford. At the moment he is doing a masters degree in history at Cambridge.

I will also send you the history chapter of Cambridge demystified. I found it absolutely fascinating. One thing you notice about each chapter, is the personality of each student, how they think and the kind of person they are, as well as what they have read.

Enjoy reading this and good luck.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6100480

Cambridge demystified history chapter

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6467768
Hiya, thanks for the response, been practicing for the smc. I got 8 9s and then the 6 in Eng Lit.

I’m not overly worried about the work and this is why I am okay doing 4 as I almost enjoy doing the extra subject, especially with the lack of things to do due to the situation - however obviously I understand Further maths and physics aren’t particularly related to history. I believe I’m pretty good at geography (but everyone told me it was a weaker subject so I decided against it) and would probably be good at politics/English Lit.

I have always, and regardless will continue to read history for the enjoyment, however it is more so an EPQ would better explain and allow me to show my interests, without too much extra work that just reading and critiquing books. I was generally thinking about the impact of the enlightenment economically and politically.

I’ve been to, and really enjoy the prospect of applying to Homerton College, which currently doesn’t actually have a entrance exam, although that might be due to the whole COVID.

I will do a bit more reading about the book but the history applicants section is truly fascinating thank you so much for the link, and the help!
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Mikos
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Hi!

To recommend you some history supercurriculars, I would probably start with the book "What is History?" by EH Carr. Gives a really interesting insight into what the study of history actually is and imo will show you that you're able to think about history in a way beyond simply "things that happened in the past".

I'd also suggest wider reading from your A-level studies. Specifically, look at some of the historical debate, as much of the study of history does surround this at higher level. For example, say you're doing Tudors at A-level. You could perhaps read "Mid Tudor Crisis" by Whitney Jones, and then think about how this differs from another historian's view on the matter, e.g. David Loades' response to Jones' piece on the Mid Tudor Crisis. That's just one example, but I think it would reflect really well on you if you showed admissions tutors that you're capable of engaging with wider historical debate.

Best of luck with your application!
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OCorOOC6337
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Aligning your A Levels more towards History (e.g swapping, say, the FM for Politics) would overall be sensible, but do consider if you will have the time, motivation and *permission* to swap two months into term. It won't be fatal to your application if you're not heavily essay/history-based, particularly if you're able to demonstrate a clear interest and passion for the subject, which it sounds like you will. Depending on what kinds of MOOCs, books, possible-EPQ and even work experience you might be able to get (COVID-permitting) and how time-consuming those might be, dropping a subject anyway may be a good idea. Again, it depends on you judging your own time and motivation. Having four A Levels/ grades, even for Cambridge, isn't a necessity. It used to be expected when four was the standard, but that isn't so much the case anymore. It certainly doesn't hurt, but they don't expect it of you.
Overall, I would say to try and assess what time and inclination you have and base your decisions off of that. You're in a decent position already and getting the grades (usually A* A(*) A for Cambridge) and having a clear passion in your PS are the highest priorities, above even the exact subjects or number of grades you have. Good luck!
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Jason03
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(Original post by OCorOOC6337)
Aligning your A Levels more towards History (e.g swapping, say, the FM for Politics) would overall be sensible, but do consider if you will have the time, motivation and *permission* to swap two months into term. It won't be fatal to your application if you're not heavily essay/history-based, particularly if you're able to demonstrate a clear interest and passion for the subject, which it sounds like you will. Depending on what kinds of MOOCs, books, possible-EPQ and even work experience you might be able to get (COVID-permitting) and how time-consuming those might be, dropping a subject anyway may be a good idea. Again, it depends on you judging your own time and motivation. Having four A Levels/ grades, even for Cambridge, isn't a necessity. It used to be expected when four was the standard, but that isn't so much the case anymore. It certainly doesn't hurt, but they don't expect it of you.
Overall, I would say to try and assess what time and inclination you have and base your decisions off of that. You're in a decent position already and getting the grades (usually A* A(*) A for Cambridge) and having a clear passion in your PS are the highest priorities, above even the exact subjects or number of grades you have. Good luck!
Yeah, I’m not against taking further maths and fairly enjoy it, just it’s not related to History so it isn’t really that favourable as say Politics. I’m good at geography and (probably, due to interest and its similarity) politics. It’s obviously if i am allowed and which one I decide is the best for application to uni.
Yeah I will definitely be motivated and enjoy the academic side of studies - not so much physics and probably due to repetition eventually further maths. An EPQ would probably be good - is this something done instead of say 50% of suopercurricular or would I have to do all the extra supercurricular alongside it. Yeah I totally agree passion is an important and would hopefully will definitely show it, in a sense it is why I want to do history instead of economics as I have a clear passion for history.

(Original post by Mikos)
Hi!

To recommend you some history supercurriculars, I would probably start with the book "What is History?" by EH Carr. Gives a really interesting insight into what the study of history actually is and imo will show you that you're able to think about history in a way beyond simply "things that happened in the past".

I'd also suggest wider reading from your A-level studies. Specifically, look at some of the historical debate, as much of the study of history does surround this at higher level. For example, say you're doing Tudors at A-level. You could perhaps read "Mid Tudor Crisis" by Whitney Jones, and then think about how this differs from another historian's view on the matter, e.g. David Loades' response to Jones' piece on the Mid Tudor Crisis. That's just one example, but I think it would reflect really well on you if you showed admissions tutors that you're capable of engaging with wider historical debate.

Best of luck with your application!
That book looks like a great read definitely going to give it a read - thanks for the advice.
Yeah I was doing revision for my history, just writing up notes with extra detail and it’s bizarre how much of it is wrong and my teachers are giving me a couple of more factually correct books to rectify the inaccuracies lol. So in terms of wider historical debate is this more about reading more journals and gauging different opinions and views and being able to argue for both?
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Scotney
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Yes re journals. I would ask school re politics change but avoid geography. Far too much course work with history (son did this!) but if they say no then proceed with what you are doing A level wise. You can always drop one later if it feels like too much. Does school have any debating clubs or history days or weeks you could contribute to. Covid is making super curriculars other than reading/online/documentaries more difficult. But you have time on your side. Finally plenty of people have no idea what they want to study at 18 so you have the advantage there.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Mikos)
Hi!

To recommend you some history supercurriculars, I would probably start with the book "What is History?" by EH Carr. Gives a really interesting insight into what the study of history actually is and imo will show you that you're able to think about history in a way beyond simply "things that happened in the past".

I'd also suggest wider reading from your A-level studies. Specifically, look at some of the historical debate, as much of the study of history does surround this at higher level. For example, say you're doing Tudors at A-level. You could perhaps read "Mid Tudor Crisis" by Whitney Jones, and then think about how this differs from another historian's view on the matter, e.g. David Loades' response to Jones' piece on the Mid Tudor Crisis. That's just one example, but I think it would reflect really well on you if you showed admissions tutors that you're capable of engaging with wider historical debate.

Best of luck with your application!
Fantastic advice.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Scotney)
Yes re journals. I would ask school re politics change but avoid geography. Far too much course work with history (son did this!) but if they say no then proceed with what you are doing A level wise. You can always drop one later if it feels like too much. Does school have any debating clubs or history days or weeks you could contribute to. Covid is making super curriculars other than reading/online/documentaries more difficult. But you have time on your side. Finally plenty of people have no idea what they want to study at 18 so you have the advantage there.
Yet more fantastic advice. We're cooking on gas on this thread!
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Mikos
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(Original post by Jason03)
Yeah, I’m not against taking future maths and fairly enjoy it, just it’s not related to History so it isn’t really that favourable as say Politics. I’m good at geography and (probably, due to interest and its similarity) politics. It’s obviously if i am allowed and which one I decide is the best for application to uni.
Yeah I will definitely be motivated and enjoy the academic side of studies - not so much physics and probably due to repetition eventually further maths. An EPQ would probably be good - is this something done instead of say 50% of suopercurricular or would I have to do all the extra supercurricular alongside it. Yeah I totally agree passion is an important and would hopefully will definitely show it, in a sense it is why I want to do history instead of economics as I have a clear passion for history.


That book looks like a great read definitely going to give it a read - thanks for the advice.
Yeah I was doing revision for my history, just writing up notes with extra detail and it’s bizarre how much of it is wrong and my teachers are giving me a couple of more factually correct books to rectify the inaccuracies lol. So in terms of wider historical debate is this more about reading more journals and gauging different opinions and views and being able to argue for both?
Yeah, with history it's very much down to interpretation. The evidence that historians will focus on to answer any given historical question will be different, and the lens that certain historians view evidence through is also different (e.g. Marxist historians will centralise social class constraints when analysing evidence, revisionist historians will challenge the more orthodox interpretation of events, and there are many more schools of thought). Because of this, you'll find that different historians will come to different conclusions.

If you want to get a sense for historians' opinions in full, you could try and find some stuff written by them, e.g. on Jstor and similar websites.
Some historians also have websites where you can see their interpretation of events quite easily, for example orlandofiges.info has a lot of his interpretation on revolutionary Russian history, and most of it is free.

I would say that for an aspiring history student it will be valuable practice for you to identify these historians' different views, why they come to these different conclusions (e.g. do their political beliefs have a bearing on their interpretation? How about what kind of evidence did they use?), and ultimately think about which one you think is more convincing.
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Jason03
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(Original post by Scotney)
Yes re journals. I would ask school re politics change but avoid geography. Far too much course work with history (son did this!) but if they say no then proceed with what you are doing A level wise. You can always drop one later if it feels like too much. Does school have any debating clubs or history days or weeks you could contribute to. Covid is making super curriculars other than reading/online/documentaries more difficult. But you have time on your side. Finally plenty of people have no idea what they want to study at 18 so you have the advantage there.
Okay, will definitely look into some journals and further reading when I decide which area I'm more sort of interested in, (as well as if I am allowed to do an EPQ at my school). So you think keeping the further maths is worth it, I have no issues with the content or getting the grades, however, it seems fairly counterintuitive being quite different to history?

I am certainly looking to swap further maths for politics, and on this subject, is politics regarded well by universities, it isn't a facilitating subject like geography so would it be viewed upon worse? I'm definitely open to switching further maths and (if possible) physics to geography and politics. Again not because I'm incompetent and these subjects, but because geography and politics would align more aptly with History at degree level (as my current subjects were picked with the aim of applying for economics courses). So if coursework isn't an issue is politics still viewed upon no less negatively than geography? My year group is pretty small and my school doesn't really do anything outside of lessons, but I will look into debate clubs (not entirely sure what you mean by 'history days' sorry).

(Original post by Mikos)
Yeah, with history it's very much down to interpretation. The evidence that historians will focus on to answer any given historical question will be different, and the lens that certain historians view evidence through is also different (e.g. Marxist historians will centralise social class constraints when analysing evidence, revisionist historians will challenge the more orthodox interpretation of events, and there are many more schools of thought). Because of this, you'll find that different historians will come to different conclusions.

If you want to get a sense for historians' opinions in full, you could try and find some stuff written by them, e.g. on Jstor and similar websites.
Some historians also have websites where you can see their interpretation of events quite easily, for example orlandofiges.info has a lot of his interpretation on revolutionary Russian history, and most of it is free.

I would say that for an aspiring history student it will be valuable practice for you to identify these historians' different views, why they come to these different conclusions (e.g. do their political beliefs have a bearing on their interpretation? How about what kind of evidence did they use?), and ultimately think about which one you think is more convincing.
This is actually really fascinating, I have never really judged the difference and focus on historical interpretations as a result of their schools of thought. I've heard of Jstor, and will definitely check it out and do some research - also we are being taught Russian History so I've actually recently bought revolutionary Russia and I think my teacher is going to also give me a copy of a peoples tragedy.

When reading these books I will certainly keep that in mind and try to more actively assess the writings rather than just simply trying to absorb the information.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Mikos)
Yeah, with history it's very much down to interpretation. The evidence that historians will focus on to answer any given historical question will be different, and the lens that certain historians view evidence through is also different (e.g. Marxist historians will centralise social class constraints when analysing evidence, revisionist historians will challenge the more orthodox interpretation of events, and there are many more schools of thought). Because of this, you'll find that different historians will come to different conclusions.

If you want to get a sense for historians' opinions in full, you could try and find some stuff written by them, e.g. on Jstor and similar websites.
Some historians also have websites where you can see their interpretation of events quite easily, for example orlandofiges.info has a lot of his interpretation on revolutionary Russian history, and most of it is free.

I would say that for an aspiring history student it will be valuable practice for you to identify these historians' different views, why they come to these different conclusions (e.g. do their political beliefs have a bearing on their interpretation? How about what kind of evidence did they use?), and ultimately think about which one you think is more convincing.
PRSOM and top post.
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