shakira2343
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I'm in year 11 and am a bit conflicted on what a-levels I should pick. I already know that I'd like to study law at Cambridge hopefully but I've heard differing opinions on what a-levels they gravitate towards. So far I think I should take:
Law
Psychology
Sociology
Politics
Any input ??
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bassplayer347
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my best friend has got her interview for Cambridge this week. she takes Music, French and Geography. These are in their 'LIST A2 - Generally Suitable Arts A-levels' category.

from the info Cambridge provides, it seems that most of your specified subjects aren't really favoured by them. but if you're good at them, it's probably worth choosing them. i wouldn't make your choices solely in the hopes that you get into Cambridge, though. i'm sure you're a great student but at the end of the day it is tough. consider other options too good luck
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ManU2020
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I think some of the 'traditional' alevels for law are things like english lit or history, but law is one of those subjects where you can take any subjects really. A good grade in say psychology would be a hell of a lot more useful than a lower grade in say English lit (not that psychology is a 'bad' choice, by the way).

"The Faculty of Law itself does not have any specific requirements for which subjects you study at A level or equivalent. Many of our students find that essay-based subjects like English or History are good preparation for the critical reading and writing that they will be asked to do as Law students. These are not requirements, however, and many students who have other backgrounds go on to do very well. We do not require Law at A Level, and in fact most of our students have never encountered Law in school before coming to Cambridge."

https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....quirements.pdf


Though, I would say don't take 4 if you don't have to - it's a lot of extra work that you don't need to do, and could well lead to you getting 4 mediocre grades instead of 3 strong grades.
Last edited by ManU2020; 6 months ago
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shakira2343
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(Original post by ManU2020)
I think some of the 'traditional' alevels for law are things like english lit or history, but law is one of those subjects where you can take any subjects really. A good grade in say psychology would be a hell of a lot more useful than a lower grade in say English lit (not that psychology is a 'bad' choice, by the way).

"The Faculty of Law itself does not have any specific requirements for which subjects you study at A level or equivalent. Many of our students find that essay-based subjects like English or History are good preparation for the critical reading and writing that they will be asked to do as Law students. These are not requirements, however, and many students who have other backgrounds go on to do very well. We do not require Law at A Level, and in fact most of our students have never encountered Law in school before coming to Cambridge."

https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....quirements.pdf


Though, I would say don't take 4 if you don't have to - it's a lot of extra work that you don't need to do, and could well lead to you getting 4 mediocre grades instead of 3 strong grades.
thank you so much ! yeah, a lot of people have told me that taking 4 a-levels is quite a lot. especially considering the fact that I get overwhelmed and stressed out quite easily. I'm considering dropping politics altogether once i get to college or maybe swapping it for english lit or lang.
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shakira2343
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(Original post by bassplayer347)
my best friend has got her interview for Cambridge this week. she takes Music, French and Geography. These are in their 'LIST A2 - Generally Suitable Arts A-levels' category.

from the info Cambridge provides, it seems that most of your specified subjects aren't really favoured by them. but if you're good at them, it's probably worth choosing them. i wouldn't make your choices solely in the hopes that you get into Cambridge, though. i'm sure you're a great student but at the end of the day it is tough. consider other options too good luck
ah ok. thank you ! the college i've applied to allows you to change your choices in the first few weeks so I think I'm definitely going to change mine. based on their preferred a-levels, i'm thinking of dropping politics and swapping law with english lit or history, but preferably history since law isn't really the best choice based on many others' opinions and i enjoy history a lot after doing it in gcse. but I don't really know if english lit is the best choice since i don't enjoy it THAT much right now.
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ManU2020
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(Original post by shakira2343)
ah ok. thank you ! the college i've applied to allows you to change your choices in the first few weeks so I think I'm definitely going to change mine. based on their preferred a-levels, i'm thinking of dropping politics and swapping law with english lit or history, but preferably history since law isn't really the best choice based on many others' opinions and i enjoy history a lot after doing it in gcse. but I don't really know if english lit is the best choice since i don't enjoy it THAT much right now.
Don't take a subject if you don't really like it much - I do have a friend who takes a-level law and actually really enjoys it though, and originally they were just taking it because they didn't know what else to take!.
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matthewbrooker
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Sorry this is a long reply:

I'm in Year 13 and while I don't have any plans of doing law, most of my friends want to do the subject meaning I have quite a good understanding of applying to law and what subjects to pick etc.

First of all Law at Cambridge is incredibly competitive to get into. Therefore don't think that is the only thing you can do. I don't know you, what your would likely get in our exams, but it is important never to be so set on one university.

There are many things that make up a good application to Cambridge Law they mainly include:

Grades in Appropriate subjects that meet the entry requirements,
Very good Interviews,
Very Good Personal Statement and SAQ, (Needing good super curriculars)
Very good CLT,

I'm not going to talk about all of these elements but just to inform you what is required for a decent shot at it.


Specifically talking about subjects:

There are a lot of unwritten rules about subject choices. There is no list of what subject to take at a level, but there are certain combinations top unis (like cambridge) like to see.

The most common one is
English Lit,
History,
Gov and Pol,

English Lit and History are very common among applicants with Gov and Pol being often interchanged with subjects like Economics, Psychology (Economics is better than Psych, but Psych is fine) etc.

Top Unis for law just want rigorous subjects.

The issue with your subjects is that Law and Sociology aren't seen as being rigorous enough. Emphasis on seen.
I don't study any of these subjects, so I don't know how hard they are. But they are often perceived as being 'soft' a levels.
While many top unis don't give a list of 'hard' and 'soft' subjects, there are often biases against certain subjects.

Sociology: It has a bad name as being seen as an easy subject, It might be interesting and difficult, but many people (specifically admission tutors) are prejudiced against it.

Law: It is quite counter intuitive. Many people think they should do law as it shows you are enthusiastic for the subject and it is what unis want. It is not. It is seen as another soft subject that it isn't rigorous enough. Many admissions tutors think it doesn't teach law properly and dislike student who have it. For many top unis they sometimes exclude Law as a 'proper' alevel and only take someone who does it as a 4th a level.

You probably won't like this, but if you want a serious chance of getting into Cambridge. Choose either.

English Lit,
History,
Then Psychology or politics for a third alevel.
This probably gives the best chances.

Or

English Lit or History
Psych
Gov and Pol
Slightly less rigorous but still perfectly acceptable.

I am well aware I have just entirely redone your A level choices, but being realistic for cambridge, this is what is required. While I probably come across as incredibly cynical and maybe condescending, this is what the top unis want.

Obviously you have to enjoy the subjects you do but a combination of Sociology, Law, Psych and Gov and Pol likely won't be seen as rigorous enough
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Quick-use
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(Original post by matthewbrooker)
The issue with your subjects is that Law and Sociology aren't seen as being rigorous enough. Emphasis on seen.
I don't study any of these subjects, so I don't know how hard they are. But they are often perceived as being 'soft' a levels.
While many top unis don't give a list of 'hard' and 'soft' subjects, there are often biases against certain subjects.

Sociology: It has a bad name as being seen as an easy subject, It might be interesting and difficult, but many people (specifically admission tutors) are prejudiced against it.

Law: It is quite counter intuitive. Many people think they should do law as it shows you are enthusiastic for the subject and it is what unis want. It is not. It is seen as another soft subject that it isn't rigorous enough. Many admissions tutors think it doesn't teach law properly and dislike student who have it. For many top unis they sometimes exclude Law as a 'proper' alevel and only take someone who does it as a 4th a level.

You probably won't like this, but if you want a serious chance of getting into Cambridge. Choose either.

English Lit,
History,
Then Psychology or politics for a third alevel.
This probably gives the best chances.

Or

English Lit or History
Psych
Gov and Pol
Slightly less rigorous but still perfectly acceptable.

I am well aware I have just entirely redone your A level choices, but being realistic for cambridge, this is what is required. While I probably come across as incredibly cynical and maybe condescending, this is what the top unis want.

Obviously you have to enjoy the subjects you do but a combination of Sociology, Law, Psych and Gov and Pol likely won't be seen as rigorous enough
I know you mean well, but Oxbridge and other top universities have confirmed time and time again that A level Law, Sociology and Gov+Pol etc are 100% acceptable. They aren't considered 'slightly less rigorous' by any means, and Oxbridge won't consider a student offering A levels in English Lit and History more impressive.

Sure, Oxbridge ask for at least 1 traditional subject, but that's just to ensure applicants are receiving fundamental essay writing and research skills.

If anyone is still unsure, then please go ahead and directly email the Oxbridge admission teams. They will reiterate that doing A level English Lit and History aren't considered more impressive/rigorous for an application even if they are common choices.
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