Please help me narrow down my a level choices

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Anonymous #1
#1
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#1
Options I’m considering:

-maths
-further maths
(These two are definites)

-English literature
- history
(I love both but only want to pick one)

And one from:
-chemistry
-physics
-economics
(Economics sounds really interesting but my teachers advised me to pick a science to keep options open. I do enjoy both physics and chemistry equally and get the same grades in both and am I right in saying that I don’t need economics a level if I choose to do a degree in it?)

Sorry it’s a bit of a mess I want to do 4 subjects as one is further maths (and I’m getting 8s and 9s now so I think I can cope) and I’m not sure what I want to do in future but am leaning towards maths, law or maybe even a science/ social science.

Thank you
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SubhanF
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Do you know what you want to do in the future ?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by SubhanF)
Do you know what you want to do in the future ?
No but some ideas were maths, law or scientific analysis (but I don’t know any specifics)
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CletusYeetus
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At GCSE, I got 9, 9, 8 in maths, physics and chemistry respectively, and now I'm just finishing my second year of maths, further maths, physics, and chemistry at A level. If you definitely want to pick four subjects (which I wouldn't advise), make sure you don't have many that require a lot of memory, that is, don't pick both history and chemistry. Physics is an easy A level if you're good enough to pick further maths, I don't know about economics though.

I would suggest picking: maths, further maths, and either history or eng lit

OR: maths, further maths, and any two of: physics, chemistry and economics

As I said, I don't know about the workload of economics, but history and literature will both require study of old texts and memory of past events, plus a huge load of essay work. Chemistry requires a lot of information to be remembered in an annoyingly specific way. Physics just revolves around learning to use the ~80 different formulae (most of which are just a=bc), which you get given in the exam anyway.

You also might want to reconsider picking further maths, there's some fun stuff in there, but it's rarely needed for uni (In my FM class of 8 people, only one actually needs it for their chosen course, pure mathematics).

I realised I've waffled a lot here, just try to find a single broad field you'd be interested in taking further (eg; engineering), and find out what unis want for entry into those courses.
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artful_lounger
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Note that you don't need to have done an "essay based subject" to be able to pursue a law degree and they do consider and accept studen taking all STEM subjects regularly. However if you enjoy those subjects it's worth pursuing them; note however both English lit and History are quite different from GCSE to A-level as I understand. From what I hear A-level History is very different in both topics and style of answering questions, as it's a lot less focused on remembering facts and figures and much more on analysis and evaluation of historical sources and perspectives from various frames of reference. It's only required for pursuing historical (i.e. history/ancient history) degrees though.

English literature post-GCSE is very much a course in literary analysis, and so you need to be very keen on doing close reading of passages from texts, unpacking individual sentences with potentially multiple paragraphs of analysis, and learning and employing relevant literary/critical theories to texts. The more surface level character and theme analysis you can get away with at GCSE, making fairly sweepign statements about the themes of a text and character traits, is not sufficient at A-level and you always need to be starting with close textual analysis of relevant quotes before linking that to broader themes and so on. It's only required to pursue literary degrees (i.e. English/comparative/world literature) however.

As far as pursuing science subjects at uni, generally you will need more than just maths/FM to apply to these courses. Physics and most engineering courses will need A-level Physics, while chemistry and the remaining engineering courses will require A-level Chemistry. Some may require or prefer both (e.g. materials science or chemical engineering). Earth sciences will usually require maths and at least one science; I understand chemistry is very useful for once you are on the course, but any is acceptable as I understand. Bioscience courses usually require A-level Chemistry and Biology, although some may accept just chemistry. With only maths/FM your options in the STEM realm are basically limited to CS and maths, unless you apply to courses with a foundation year.

Social sciences usually don't require any particular background, although some may require or prefer an essay based subject; this is relatively uncommon and mainly at e.g. LSE and similar unis. Psychology is an exception and usually requires an experimental science and/or maths to A-level. Economics normally requires A-level Maths, and the "top" economics courses either require or strongly prefer A-level FM; A-level Economics is neither required nor expected by any economics courses I know of.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by CletusYeetus)
At GCSE, I got 9, 9, 8 in maths, physics and chemistry respectively, and now I'm just finishing my second year of maths, further maths, physics, and chemistry at A level. If you definitely want to pick four subjects (which I wouldn't advise), make sure you don't have many that require a lot of memory, that is, don't pick both history and chemistry. Physics is an easy A level if you're good enough to pick further maths, I don't know about economics though.

I would suggest picking: maths, further maths, and either history or eng lit

OR: maths, further maths, and any two of: physics, chemistry and economics

As I said, I don't know about the workload of economics, but history and literature will both require study of old texts and memory of past events, plus a huge load of essay work. Chemistry requires a lot of information to be remembered in an annoyingly specific way. Physics just revolves around learning to use the ~80 different formulae (most of which are just a=bc), which you get given in the exam anyway.

You also might want to reconsider picking further maths, there's some fun stuff in there, but it's rarely needed for uni (In my FM class of 8 people, only one actually needs it for their chosen course, pure mathematics).

I realised I've waffled a lot here, just try to find a single broad field you'd be interested in taking further (eg; engineering), and find out what unis want for entry into those courses.
Thanks! If I was certain on a sciences career then I would choose the options that you do. However, I’m not and I like essays too - I wouldn’t want to do all sciences! But thanks for the advice but I want to keep further maths because maths is my strongest subject and I want to keep the option of a maths/ economics degree open where it could potentially be helpful
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by cactus11235813)
That's not true about further maths - lots of people need it.

LSE strongly prefers it, and Imperial wants it for many of their courses.

Both Oxford and Cambridge physics/NatSci require further maths (unless your school doesn't offer it), and it's useful for economics.

If you do further maths, I'd recommend doing four, as most people doing it also do maths and two other subjects alongside it (and otherwise you'll just be doing maths and another subject).


I'd suggest maths, further maths, english/history, and physics - maths and further and physics go well together (and a strong mathematical background is useful for economics). Both history and english are strong humanities subjects which are useful for law (and you still have the three you need for physics/science).
Thank you! That’s what I was planning to do but maybe chemistry instead of physics but I’m not sure between the two yet lol
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Note that you don't need to have done an "essay based subject" to be able to pursue a law degree and they do consider and accept studen taking all STEM subjects regularly. However if you enjoy those subjects it's worth pursuing them; note however both English lit and History are quite different from GCSE to A-level as I understand. From what I hear A-level History is very different in both topics and style of answering questions, as it's a lot less focused on remembering facts and figures and much more on analysis and evaluation of historical sources and perspectives from various frames of reference. It's only required for pursuing historical (i.e. history/ancient history) degrees though.

English literature post-GCSE is very much a course in literary analysis, and so you need to be very keen on doing close reading of passages from texts, unpacking individual sentences with potentially multiple paragraphs of analysis, and learning and employing relevant literary/critical theories to texts. The more surface level character and theme analysis you can get away with at GCSE, making fairly sweepign statements about the themes of a text and character traits, is not sufficient at A-level and you always need to be starting with close textual analysis of relevant quotes before linking that to broader themes and so on. It's only required to pursue literary degrees (i.e. English/comparative/world literature) however.

As far as pursuing science subjects at uni, generally you will need more than just maths/FM to apply to these courses. Physics and most engineering courses will need A-level Physics, while chemistry and the remaining engineering courses will require A-level Chemistry. Some may require or prefer both (e.g. materials science or chemical engineering). Earth sciences will usually require maths and at least one science; I understand chemistry is very useful for once you are on the course, but any is acceptable as I understand. Bioscience courses usually require A-level Chemistry and Biology, although some may accept just chemistry. With only maths/FM your options in the STEM realm are basically limited to CS and maths, unless you apply to courses with a foundation year.

Social sciences usually don't require any particular background, although some may require or prefer an essay based subject; this is relatively uncommon and mainly at e.g. LSE and similar unis. Psychology is an exception and usually requires an experimental science and/or maths to A-level. Economics normally requires A-level Maths, and the "top" economics courses either require or strongly prefer A-level FM; A-level Economics is neither required nor expected by any economics courses I know of.
Thanks! Yeah I only want to choose one out of history or English because of the high workload (even tho all a levels are hard). I’ve looked at the English a level at the sixth form I’m going to and I really like the look of it (whereas some of the history topics don’t appeal to me as much) so I think I’m leaning towards English.

In regards to sciences I want to do maths, further maths and either chemistry or physics and I’ve looked on some uni websites for chemistry and most requirements are chemistry and maths with preference for physics/biology/further maths and for physics it’s physics/maths/ further maths.

I guess what I’m saying is, if I do
Maths, further maths, English lit and either chemistry or physics would that be a good set to keep options open?

Thank you and sorry for the rambling lol
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Thanks! Yeah I only want to choose one out of history or English because of the high workload (even tho all a levels are hard). I’ve looked at the English a level at the sixth form I’m going to and I really like the look of it (whereas some of the history topics don’t appeal to me as much) so I think I’m leaning towards English.

In regards to sciences I want to do maths, further maths and either chemistry or physics and I’ve looked on some uni websites for chemistry and most requirements are chemistry and maths with preference for physics/biology/further maths and for physics it’s physics/maths/ further maths.

I guess what I’m saying is, if I do
Maths, further maths, English lit and either chemistry or physics would that be a good set to keep options open?

Thank you and sorry for the rambling lol
If you want to keep your options maximally open, why not juts do maths/FM/chemistry/physics? The only "options" you don't keep are literature degrees, which since you aren't absolutely certain you want to take English lit I'm guessing aren't a major consideration for you anyway, and the few social science courses that require an essay based subject in general (e.g. economic history at LSE). You'd still have the option then of basically any physical science/engineering course, psychology, law, most other humanities/social science courses with no specific requirements (e.g. archaeology, anthropology, sociology, classical civilisation etc). I doubt English lit is "easier" than either chemistry or physics (and may well be harder depending on your strengths and interests) so it's not like it's an "easy option" by any means.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
If you want to keep your options maximally open, why not juts do maths/FM/chemistry/physics? The only "options" you don't keep are literature degrees, which since you aren't absolutely certain you want to take English lit I'm guessing aren't a major consideration for you anyway, and the few social science courses that require an essay based subject in general (e.g. economic history at LSE). You'd still have the option then of basically any physical science/engineering course, psychology, law, most other humanities/social science courses with no specific requirements (e.g. archaeology, anthropology, sociology, classical civilisation etc). I doubt English lit is "easier" than either chemistry or physics (and may well be harder depending on your strengths and interests) so it's not like it's an "easy option" by any means.
English and maths are two of my favourite subjects so I think I want to do both. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy STEM subjects but I want some variety - both the sciences and English are challenging in their own ways but I would prefer the variety. Also, I have been considering journalism / science journalism so english would be beneficial for that. Thank you for the advice though and I’ll have a think over what you’ve said
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
English and maths are two of my favourite subjects so I think I want to do both. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy STEM subjects but I want some variety - both the sciences and English are challenging in their own ways but I would prefer the variety. Also, I have been considering journalism / science journalism so english would be beneficial for that. Thank you for the advice though and I’ll have a think over what you’ve said
*I do enjoy STEM subjects
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Options I’m considering:

-maths
-further maths
(These two are definites)

-English literature
- history
(I love both but only want to pick one)

And one from:
-chemistry
-physics
-economics
(Economics sounds really interesting but my teachers advised me to pick a science to keep options open. I do enjoy both physics and chemistry equally and get the same grades in both and am I right in saying that I don’t need economics a level if I choose to do a degree in it?)

Sorry it’s a bit of a mess I want to do 4 subjects as one is further maths (and I’m getting 8s and 9s now so I think I can cope) and I’m not sure what I want to do in future but am leaning towards maths, law or maybe even a science/ social science.

Thank you
Would take maths , further maths and history as it provides you with the numerial subjects to leave the options of economics or maths at university and the history A level would ensure your writing level would remain at a high standard should you wish to pursue a writing based subject at university e.g. Law
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Anonymous #3
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I’m taking maths further maths physics and economics now, I think maybe pick one from English/History/Economics and then one from physics/chemistry will be really good. If you really thought they were all good options for you, I think try some videos on youtube or take a look at the coursebooks can be helpful—they might help you to pick the one simpler or more suitable. In my school physics is probably the most popular a level course(other than maths as that’s compulsory in my school), and I personally consider it to be easier than chemistry, so I would recommend that (but you can take a look and maybe you think chem is easier : )
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Anonymous #4
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Options I’m considering:

-maths
-further maths
(These two are definites)

-English literature
- history
(I love both but only want to pick one)

And one from:
-chemistry
-physics
-economics
(Economics sounds really interesting but my teachers advised me to pick a science to keep options open. I do enjoy both physics and chemistry equally and get the same grades in both and am I right in saying that I don’t need economics a level if I choose to do a degree in it?)

Sorry it’s a bit of a mess I want to do 4 subjects as one is further maths (and I’m getting 8s and 9s now so I think I can cope) and I’m not sure what I want to do in future but am leaning towards maths, law or maybe even a science/ social science.

Thank you
i highly recommend not doing 4 subjects unless you're a very organised and productive person because balancing 3 subjects itself is hard. im doing alevel maths chem and bio and its way too much.
another thing to watch out for- something i wish i was told before when choosing my alevels...is that just because your doing really well in gcse doesnt necessarily mean your also going to do well in that subject for alevels.
But overall: maths is quite easy if you understand basic concepts but can get really difficult sometimes but i defo recommend taking this alevel since it opens up a lot of pathways for the future. whereas chemistry...i recommend doing if you actually really enjoy it. AS will be relatively easy but A2 is when everything hits hard. its nothing like GCSES. from what iv heard from my friends- physics is the hardest science of all. out of english lit and history..i recommend english lit as its probably easier than history (this is purely based on what ive heard from my friends tho)
hope that helps x
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Anonymous)
i highly recommend not doing 4 subjects unless you're a very organised and productive person because balancing 3 subjects itself is hard. im doing alevel maths chem and bio and its way too much.
another thing to watch out for- something i wish i was told before when choosing my alevels...is that just because your doing really well in gcse doesnt necessarily mean your also going to do well in that subject for alevels.
But overall: maths is quite easy if you understand basic concepts but can get really difficult sometimes but i defo recommend taking this alevel since it opens up a lot of pathways for the future. whereas chemistry...i recommend doing if you actually really enjoy it. AS will be relatively easy but A2 is when everything hits hard. its nothing like GCSES. from what iv heard from my friends- physics is the hardest science of all. out of english lit and history..i recommend english lit as its probably easier than history (this is purely based on what ive heard from my friends tho)
hope that helps x
Thanks I’m only doing 4 subjects because one of them is further maths - I wouldn’t do four completely different subjects! But thanks for the advice x
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