Will taking 3 AS Levels instead of 4 disadvantage me?

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routesoup
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Let me preface this by saying I'm an international student from Malaysia whose planning to start my A levels this April (14-month course). Initially, I chose to do 4 subjects that was Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics. However, I decided it would be better to drop physics and keep the other three since 14 months is quite short. As for why its only 14 months, unfortunately because of covid my national exams which would have been in October last year got delayed to February 2021. Therefore I couldn't have joined the 18 month course in January as was my original plan.

Im planning to apply for these courses:
- Actuarial Science at LSE and Cass
- Maths at UCL, Imperial and KCL

With the exception of Cass and KCL, the other universities are all top universities. I know that doing only 3 A Levels wont disadvantage me, but what about only 3 AS Levels? I don't necessarily mind doing 4 AS Levels but I would like the extra time for extracurriculars to buff up my PS. I've also heard that certain universities like UCL require 4 AS? I don't know how true this is because I can't find anything on their website that says this. I will be having a session with the counsellor at my college later this week but I'd like to get an informed opinion on this.
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Compost
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Most UK students only take 3 A levels and do not take AS so you should be fine. However, the people most likely to do a fourth A level are those taking Further Maths but as long as you get top grades in Maths and FM I still think you'd be OK.
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routesoup
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(Original post by Compost)
Most UK students only take 3 A levels and do not take AS so you should be fine. However, the people most likely to do a fourth A level are those taking Further Maths but as long as you get top grades in Maths and FM I still think you'd be OK.
Can i ask why people taking Further Maths would do a fourth A level? As far as I know, for the courses I'm applying to, three including FM should be fine right? Unless it's recommended to take four when doing FM?
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06daraa
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LSE stated that they like further maths as a fourth a level rather than part of 3. Just a heads up!
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by 06daraa)
LSE stated that they like further maths as a fourth a level rather than part of 3. Just a heads up!
Fortunately for the OP their chosen course of Actuarial Science is one of four degrees for which LSE are happy with Maths, Further Maths and any one other A-level.

https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/U...ns-Information
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hss_2004
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Universities will prefer you to get 3 A* than AABB. the better your grades the higher the chance for the interview, won’t necessarily get you in because you need to work a lot on your personal statement but it’s important to get as high as possible. Doing 4 isn’t required at all, but if you enjoy the subject and think you can maintain the workload, why not? I take Chemistry and I definitely feel as if the chemistry content isn’t as overwhelming (i’m still only in Y12) but it have found it manageable in comparison to Geography - as it is an essay subject, it is a LOT more time consuming when studying. I think Physics will be similar to Chemistry as a lot of it is application and Physics will HELP A LOT with maths as one of your papers is mechanics, you’ll be covering a lot of that stuff in physics and in maths too so you’ll be at an advantage
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Compost
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(Original post by routesoup)
Can i ask why people taking Further Maths would do a fourth A level? As far as I know, for the courses I'm applying to, three including FM should be fine right? Unless it's recommended to take four when doing FM?
I think there are a variety of reasons, such as (in no particular order):
  1. Higher achievers are more likely to take 4 A levels. Most Further Maths students are high achievers
  2. Picking 3 A level with 2 of them as Maths seriously limits your choice of university degree. To pick just 3 A levels at 16 is a big risk if you might change your mind about your future career
  3. Some schools teach Maths & FM in fewer lessons than 2 other A levels, meaning that it's easier to fit in 4 A levels including FM into a timetable than 4 other A levels.
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