enmc
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#1
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#1
hi

so my a level choices are due in just less than 2 days and i’ve been told so much by so many different people and i’m so stressed out about it. basically i want to do law at cambridge.

thus far i’ve picked

- maths
- geography
- politics or english (or maybe even history? idk help 😭)
- chemistry

my family have told me not to take politics because of risk of a bias exam marker due to political opinions etc. and that english is more relevant to law. i’m interested in politics and current affairs etc. but i’m also good at english so it’s not really “do what you love” here and more, which one is better?

if anyone could leave any advice to help me pick or even tell me if my choices thus far are okay then i would be very grateful!!

thanks
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Mkm5
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#2
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#2
I’d say English lit and history are best for law
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artful_lounger
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#3
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#3
Politics isn't a course in political ideology, it's a course in political analysis. Just in the same way that RE isn't a course in scriptural learning but the academic study of religions from an objective viewpoint. If you simply write your political views then you will get a poor grade, but not because the examiner's views differ from yours, but because you completely missed the point of what they are assessing you on.

English literature is no more or less relevant to law than any other subject, and arguably less relevant than politics; at least law relates to legislation and hence politics, whereas there is no link to English literature. A-level English Literature is a course in literary analysis, not in "reading" generally. If you don't like doing close analysis of literary texts, thinking about literary devices, and applying literary and critical theory to these, you will probably not enjoy A-level English Literature. The very general and broad thematic and character analysis you might've gotten away with in GCSE English will not be sufficient in A-level English Lit, and you will need to be closely analysing individual sentences and passages from the texts you are reading, and then relating that close textual analysis to the broader thematic issues at play.

It doesn't sound like you really have a good idea of what is involved in either course, honestly, which is a bigger problem if that trend also extends to your other selected choices. Also there is no benefit in taking 4 A-levels as universities to do not award "bonus points" for doing so, so unless your school requires you to start with 4 and then drop one, you should only plan to take 3 (and if your school does require you start with 4, you should plan to drop one as soon as possible).
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enmc
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#4
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#4
(Original post by artful_lounger)
Politics isn't a course in political ideology, it's a course in political analysis. Just in the same way that RE isn't a course in scriptural learning but the academic study of religions from an objective viewpoint. If you simply write your political views then you will get a poor grade, but not because the examiner's views differ from yours, but because you completely missed the point of what they are assessing you on.

English literature is no more or less relevant to law than any other subject, and arguably less relevant than politics; at least law relates to legislation and hence politics, whereas there is no link to English literature. A-level English Literature is a course in literary analysis, not in "reading" generally. If you don't like doing close analysis of literary texts, thinking about literary devices, and applying literary and critical theory to these, you will probably not enjoy A-level English Literature. The very general and broad thematic and character analysis you might've gotten away with in GCSE English will not be sufficient in A-level English Lit, and you will need to be closely analysing individual sentences and passages from the texts you are reading, and then relating that close textual analysis to the broader thematic issues at play.

It doesn't sound like you really have a good idea of what is involved in either course, honestly, which is a bigger problem if that trend also extends to your other selected choices. Also there is no benefit in taking 4 A-levels as universities to do not award "bonus points" for doing so, so unless your school requires you to start with 4 and then drop one, you should only plan to take 3 (and if your school does require you start with 4, you should plan to drop one as soon as possible).
1. well first of all, i’ve researched my courses in depth and i know exactly what’s being asked of me. it’s what i’m being told by peers that’s affecting my decision making. my family don’t have experience with politics and essay based a levels hence why what they’ve said to me probably sounds bad to you

2. i don’t mind doing in depth analysis, i’ve been told by my english teacher to take it for a level which is why i’m considering it

3. my school are making me take 4 at the beginning so i’m not trying hard to achieve “bonus points”

4. all the question was asking is if either one was better suited to law to help me with my decision, sorry if it came across otherwise.
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PandaPancake0
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#5
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#5
From what I've been told English is generally harder and more effort than politics. Probably varies however from person to person. What your parents say about exam marking bias due to political opinions is not true. Of course with any essay subject you do run the slight risk of getting a dodgy marker but they distribute questions to different markers and they have many checks in place to ensure this is not the case. With A level as well it's easier to differentiate a higher level student than a lower level than at GCSE as a lot of A level essay subjects are more about convincing structured arguments as opposed to a big standard PEE at GCSE.

I'd say you should do the subjects you're interested in. You already have three very strong subjects that leave a lot of doors open for you. Geography is a good subject for law as it is an essay writing subject. I don't think you should take advice from your parents as they obviously don't know how the exams work but are just being concerned as parents do lol. Maybe speak to a teacher?

Personally, I think maths chemistry geography and English literature looks like a MASSIVE workload. Chemistry geography and English are three very content heavy subjects. Politics is still content heavy but it doesn't have any coursework like English lit and Geography do so it might be a bit less stressful (unless you feel like coursework would alleviate the stress). What texts do you do? Depending on how well you enjoy them you could base your decision off of that. With Politics from what I've seen of the course if you have a rudimentary grasping of politics from reading the news or an interest you will like the course a lot and be at a headstart.
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enmc
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#6
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#6
(Original post by PandaPancake0)
From what I've been told English is generally harder and more effort than politics. Probably varies however from person to person. What your parents say about exam marking bias due to political opinions is not true. Of course with any essay subject you do run the slight risk of getting a dodgy marker but they distribute questions to different markers and they have many checks in place to ensure this is not the case. With A level as well it's easier to differentiate a higher level student than a lower level than at GCSE as a lot of A level essay subjects are more about convincing structured arguments as opposed to a big standard PEE at GCSE.

I'd say you should do the subjects you're interested in. You already have three very strong subjects that leave a lot of doors open for you. Geography is a good subject for law as it is an essay writing subject. I don't think you should take advice from your parents as they obviously don't know how the exams work but are just being concerned as parents do lol. Maybe speak to a teacher?

Personally, I think maths chemistry geography and English literature looks like a MASSIVE workload. Chemistry geography and English are three very content heavy subjects. Politics is still content heavy but it doesn't have any coursework like English lit and Geography do so it might be a bit less stressful (unless you feel like coursework would alleviate the stress). What texts do you do? Depending on how well you enjoy them you could base your decision off of that. With Politics from what I've seen of the course if you have a rudimentary grasping of politics from reading the news or an interest you will like the course a lot and be at a headstart.
Thank you so much for this!! This is actually very helpful advice I’m pretty sure the texts change each year but currently they’re studying Howard’s End, poems and then there’s also an unseen. While I like English, and do well in it, analysing an unseen passage is probably the most daunting part to me and I agree, I think if I took English the workload would be too heavy. I’m interested in Politics so I think I might go for it. Thanks for the help!
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University of Portsmouth Student Rep
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#7
Report 8 months ago
#7
(Original post by enmc)
hi

so my a level choices are due in just less than 2 days and i’ve been told so much by so many different people and i’m so stressed out about it. basically i want to do law at cambridge.

thus far i’ve picked

- maths
- geography
- politics or english (or maybe even history? idk help 😭)
- chemistry

my family have told me not to take politics because of risk of a bias exam marker due to political opinions etc. and that english is more relevant to law. i’m interested in politics and current affairs etc. but i’m also good at english so it’s not really “do what you love” here and more, which one is better?

if anyone could leave any advice to help me pick or even tell me if my choices thus far are okay then i would be very grateful!!

thanks
Hey

I took A-Level English and I really enjoyed it! It has lots of variety within it too. I didn't study Politics but I have heard great things about it too.
Your other choices look great! A good mix of subjects which are applicable to many areas.

If you are considering going to University in the future, would this be for politics? or something similar? If so, politics may be a good choice. Likewise, English will keep doors open for most future careers.
It's also important to highlight that A-Level exam markers will be as unbiased as possible due to the nature of the marking. They are faced with a mark scheme, and that is what they are marking the answers up against, so there shouldn't be any opportunity for them to consider their own political opinions.

Hope this helps
Sian- UoP Rep
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