SpannersVC
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Hi all

I’m helping my young cousin with her A-level options (she’s got until early July to make final decision) but we have reached a dilemma. There are 3 uni courses she’s potentially interested in but they all have slightly different ideal subject combinations.

Her school encourages the study of 4 A-levels at least at first to keep options open which is handy.

Which a-levels would you suggest that would keep options open for Psychology, Biomedical Science and Economics? She’d ideally like her fourth a-level to be Spanish as she’s good at it and would potentially look at joint honours or “with Spanish” courses that allow her to continue with her language study (she just thinks the other subjects offer more interesting career choices)
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Theloniouss
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Biology, Maths, psychology might be a sensible combination. Consider Chemistry as well.

Biology (and/or chemistry) is a requirement for most biomed courses.
Maths is a requirement for many economics courses, and counts as a second science for those unis which require two sciences for Biomed/Psychology.
Psychology would be useful for psychology (but usually isn't required - this can be switched for any other course because most psychology courses tend to want science A levels but few, if any, specify psychology).

I'd advise her to look at unis she's considering for those courses and consider their entry requirements before making any decisions. It would also be sensible to decide which of those courses she actually wants to do before choosing.
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Lalalalala221
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What about biology, psychology and economics (then also do Spanish as her fourth). Or if the school doesn't do economics maybe business or maths
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Kogomogo
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Check out the entry requirements of uni courses at the sort of places she'd want to apply to. I think biology would be essential for biomedical scoences, psychology would give her a taste of the subject and be helpful if that's the route she wants to go. Then one other for economics, less sure on that one so check entry requirements for essential a levels, but perhaps maths would be good.
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SpannersVC
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Thanks for replies so far.Biology, Maths, Psychology and Spanish was where our minds were at, tentatively, but worried that not doing chemistry shuts off biomedical (most unis say biology and one other science, we hoped maths would suffice but weren’t sure if there would be some unofficial bias by the admissions tutors)I agree if she could narrow it down it would be really useful but she’s one of those kids who is good at everything (if only she could do IB) and there are aspects of all these paths that appeal to her. Maybe I’ll see if we can sit down and talk them through again.Any further thoughts still gratefully received.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by SpannersVC)
Thanks for replies so far.Biology, Maths, Psychology and Spanish was where our minds were at, tentatively, but worried that not doing chemistry shuts off biomedical (most unis say biology and one other science, we hoped maths would suffice but weren’t sure if there would be some unofficial bias by the admissions tutors)I agree if she could narrow it down it would be really useful but she’s one of those kids who is good at everything (if only she could do IB) and there are aspects of all these paths that appeal to her. Maybe I’ll see if we can sit down and talk them through again.Any further thoughts still gratefully received.
Lack of Chemistry will make Biomed more difficult, but she could look at doing chemistry MOOCs (for example) and putting those in her PS to demonstrate interest.
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aaron2578
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What about Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Spanish? I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure a degree in psychology doesn't require A Level Psychology. Although seeing as your cousin has until July, it might be a good idea to do some MOOCs to maybe decide if she likes one of the courses more than the other.
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SpannersVC
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MOOCs are a great call and I hadn’t even thought of that (bad big cousin!) I’ll suggest that and see if we can’t narrow it down a bit. Even if we get it down to 2, I think we’ll be ok.
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aaron2578
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(Original post by SpannersVC)
MOOCs are a great call and I hadn’t even thought of that (bad big cousin!) I’ll suggest that and see if we can’t narrow it down a bit. Even if we get it down to 2, I think we’ll be ok.
Good luck! And keep us updated if that's alright
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Kogomogo
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(Original post by SpannersVC)
Thanks for replies so far.Biology, Maths, Psychology and Spanish was where our minds were at, tentatively, but worried that not doing chemistry shuts off biomedical (most unis say biology and one other science, we hoped maths would suffice but weren’t sure if there would be some unofficial bias by the admissions tutors)I agree if she could narrow it down it would be really useful but she’s one of those kids who is good at everything (if only she could do IB) and there are aspects of all these paths that appeal to her. Maybe I’ll see if we can sit down and talk them through again.Any further thoughts still gratefully received.
Chemistry would be very useful for biomedical, just having a solid foundation in those concepts would prevent a lot of headaches and help to grasp the concepts quicker. I also think Chemistry would be much harder to self learn well as opposed to taking it at a-level as you really do need a good understanding of the concepts and how stuff works, the jump between GCSE and A-level chem is massive (I remember some of my chem lessons where my teacher basically told us to forget what we'd learned at GCSE, so much of it is oversimplification and doesn't really explain what is really going on).

I googled economics courses quick, Kent just seems to require any three a-levels but Bristol requires maths, so it might be necessary to take maths if she doesn't want to have to narrow her uni choices down the line.

For Psychology Bristol uni seem to just require a science, and Biology and Chem would both satisfy that. It also might be the easiest to learn via moocs or picking up a textbook.

So personally i'd probably go for bio, chem and maths, then either psych or spanish as well. One year of chem might also be sufficient depending on how the course is structured (my first year was all organics, second year was inorganics which is less useful for biomed), and could then continue either chem or spanish / psych into second year depending on how grades, content and interests are going.
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Phoenixfeather99
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Psychology is counted as a science. Whether hard science degrees (biology, physics, chemistry and their variations) will accept it is another thing.
Some psychology degrees do require two sciences, or 2 sciences will results in a lower offer, in which case biology and psychology will did that. Some universities also include maths as a science, some include geography too.

What your best off doing is looking at degrees at universities and getting a general feel for the subjects entry requires and basing the decision off that.

What I will say though to the previous comments about not needing to study psychology at A Level to do a psychology degree. This is true, but your cousin will be at a disadvantage as the majority of the students on the course will have studied the subject at A Level, so they will be playing some version of catch up most of first year as first year is primarily A Level content in more depth. In my first year of psychology I got to focus on learning how to write to university standard rather than having to learn a whole new subject from scratch, whereas new to psychology people had to do both, and they found it tough. At the end of the day, you are doing a degree in a subject you have never studied before and have no previous knowledge of. It’s like being thrown into the deep end. A level at least teaches you the basics.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Phoenixfeather99)
Psychology is counted as a science. Whether hard science degrees (biology, physics, chemistry and their variations) will accept it is another thing.
Some psychology degrees do require two sciences, or 2 sciences will results in a lower offer, in which case biology and psychology will did that. Some universities also include maths as a science, some include geography too.

What your best off doing is looking at degrees at universities and getting a general feel for the subjects entry requires and basing the decision off that.

What I will say though to the previous comments about not needing to study psychology at A Level to do a psychology degree. This is true, but your cousin will be at a disadvantage as the majority of the students on the course will have studied the subject at A Level, so they will be playing some version of catch up most of first year as first year is primarily A Level content in more depth. In my first year of psychology I got to focus on learning how to write to university standard rather than having to learn a whole new subject from scratch, whereas new to psychology people had to do both, and they found it tough. At the end of the day, you are doing a degree in a subject you have never studied before and have no previous knowledge of. It’s like being thrown into the deep end. A level at least teaches you the basics.
Psychology is typically not counted as a science for biomed degrees.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by SpannersVC)
MOOCs are a great call and I hadn’t even thought of that (bad big cousin!) I’ll suggest that and see if we can’t narrow it down a bit. Even if we get it down to 2, I think we’ll be ok.
There's a really good Psychology MOOC by UToronto, actually (in case you decide against psychology A level) - very extensive and the professor who runs it is really interesting.
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something_orphic
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(Original post by aaron2578)
What about Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Spanish? I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure a degree in psychology doesn't require A Level Psychology. Although seeing as your cousin has until July, it might be a good idea to do some MOOCs to maybe decide if she likes one of the courses more than the other.
This is correct - a psych degree doesn't require A level psych. Most unis do prefer at least 1 science (out of bio,chem,psych,maths or physics) and as far as I am aware thats the only *general* entry requirements.
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SpannersVC
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Thank you all.

I think we need to sit down and weigh up the psychology/chemistry question. I don’t think she wants to do a Psychology degree without Psychology but equally doesn’t want to put herself at a disadvantage content wise if she takes the Biomed route without Chemistry.

I’ve checked the entry requirements of the Unis she’s possibly interested in for Biomed and all but 1 (Imperial) do count Psychology as a science. However she will be definitely taking Maths, which they all accept.

There might need to be a difficult decision made about the Spanish. She’d be terribly disappointed to drop it though.

I’m taking her out for lunch in a bit to have another chat. She was also doing a bit of thought and research herself over the weekend so will probably have thoughts of her own to bring to the table too.
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Kogomogo
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(Original post by SpannersVC)
Thank you all.

I think we need to sit down and weigh up the psychology/chemistry question. I don’t think she wants to do a Psychology degree without Psychology but equally doesn’t want to put herself at a disadvantage content wise if she takes the Biomed route without Chemistry.

I’ve checked the entry requirements of the Unis she’s possibly interested in for Biomed and all but 1 (Imperial) do count Psychology as a science. However she will be definitely taking Maths, which they all accept.

There might need to be a difficult decision made about the Spanish. She’d be terribly disappointed to drop it though.

I’m taking her out for lunch in a bit to have another chat. She was also doing a bit of thought and research herself over the weekend so will probably have thoughts of her own to bring to the table too.
Aww you sound like a good mum doing all this research for your daughter to help her, and sounds like you're still ultimately allowing her to make the decision herself and you just giving her the info which is good.


The only other thought i have if she thinks she will have to drop the spanish to prepare for uni, is to look into other language school classes, spanish is popular so lots of centres teach it as an evening course and it doesn't need to be done as an a level , or even look into an intensive summer school in Spain, which would be a fun couple weeks over summer too.
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SpannersVC
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Thanks. She’s my cousin, not my daughter but she’s always come to me for school related questions as her parents are, by their own admission, not that academic and didn’t do a-levels or go to university themselves so this is totally uncharted territory.

We had a good chat over lunch. We’ve got 5 preferred unis and courses for each degree, listed the required subjects and I think we’ve decided on Maths and Biology as definites then two of Chemistry, Psych and Spanish. Doing Spanish outside of school is definitely a possibility, we’ve found some options for that, but before we commit to that she’s going to take some time to look at MOOCs to see if Biochem or Psych appeal more and if we’re still stuck then maybe spanish will have to give.
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aaron2578
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(Original post by SpannersVC)
Thanks. She’s my cousin, not my daughter but she’s always come to me for school related questions as her parents are, by their own admission, not that academic and didn’t do a-levels or go to university themselves so this is totally uncharted territory.

We had a good chat over lunch. We’ve got 5 preferred unis and courses for each degree, listed the required subjects and I think we’ve decided on Maths and Biology as definites then two of Chemistry, Psych and Spanish. Doing Spanish outside of school is definitely a possibility, we’ve found some options for that, but before we commit to that she’s going to take some time to look at MOOCs to see if Biochem or Psych appeal more and if we’re still stuck then maybe spanish will have to give.
That sounds like a good plan, but I hope you're just using the 5 universities for each course as an outline and not picking out their future universities to apply to already, because that wouldn't be a good idea.
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Lalalalala221
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(Original post by SpannersVC)
Thanks for replies so far.Biology, Maths, Psychology and Spanish was where our minds were at, tentatively, but worried that not doing chemistry shuts off biomedical (most unis say biology and one other science, we hoped maths would suffice but weren’t sure if there would be some unofficial bias by the admissions tutors)I agree if she could narrow it down it would be really useful but she’s one of those kids who is good at everything (if only she could do IB) and there are aspects of all these paths that appeal to her. Maybe I’ll see if we can sit down and talk them through again.Any further thoughts still gratefully received.
why dont you contact a few universities to see what they think. i know some include psychology as a science (which i think is weird but very helpful)
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SpannersVC
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Yes more as an indication of what the range of requirements look like. We just did 5 because that’s what it will be like in a couple of years come application time.
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