Fire_Fox
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I have a sibling in Y11 who has a bit of a dilemma choosing their A-Levels for next year. They're settled on Maths - the subjects they're trying to choose between are:
- Chemistry, Geography, or French
- Business or Physics

French isn't really something they're into - they prefer Chemistry and (physical) Geography - but they really can't stand the Chemistry teacher, and they hate Human Geography. In fact, the only reason they enjoyed Chemistry at GSCE was because they had a different teacher whom they particularly liked.

As for Business and Physics, they like both, but they dislike the essay-writing component of Business. However, Business would probably be the more useful subject for them (they want to start their own eco-camping business).

I'd appreciate any advice I can pass onto them - even if it only helps with one of the choices! They're not planning on going to university, so they're not looking for any facilitating subjects for a particular course.

Thanks,
Fire_Fox
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micholate9
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I think Business would definitely be a good shout given they want to start their own. The rest really don't matter. They should probably pick subjects they think they'll do best in. From my experience, people tend to do better in subjects they enjoy more.
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University of Portsmouth Student Rep
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(Original post by Fire_Fox)
I have a sibling in Y11 who has a bit of a dilemma choosing their A-Levels for next year. They're settled on Maths - the subjects they're trying to choose between are:
- Chemistry, Geography, or French
- Business or Physics

French isn't really something they're into - they prefer Chemistry and (physical) Geography - but they really can't stand the Chemistry teacher, and they hate Human Geography. In fact, the only reason they enjoyed Chemistry at GSCE was because they had a different teacher whom they particularly liked.

As for Business and Physics, they like both, but they dislike the essay-writing component of Business. However, Business would probably be the more useful subject for them (they want to start their own eco-camping business).

I'd appreciate any advice I can pass onto them - even if it only helps with one of the choices! They're not planning on going to university, so they're not looking for any facilitating subjects for a particular course.

Thanks,
Fire_Fox
Hi!

Business sounds like a really good option, especially if they want one of their own in the future.

I did geography for A-Level. I think it would be really helpful to have this as a subject as he could also apply what he learns in this to eco-camping. The human side is only half of the subject and you can always link it to the physical effects, so I don't remember doing tonnes of human geography that didn't relate to physical geography. Also, human geography links a lot to eco-camping and business.
I always found having a teacher you didn't like ruin the subject for you and I personally dropped a level because of this among other reasons. Also, don't do a subject you don't enjoy, as it will become stressful for you and you're less likely to do well in that subject, as you have no motivation to study the subject.

I hope this helps!
Chloe - Official Student Rep
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Culver
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I wouldn’t recommend french unless you really love it and you have a LOT of determination. GCSE doesn’t really prepare you for a level at all and unless you prioritise and revise it all the time you’re going to find it extremely difficult to get good grades. If your sibling isn’t really that into it then from experience I wouldn’t recommend as you really need to love it in order to deal with the stress it’ll cause you 😭
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SB1234567890
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I have just finished year 13 and did business A level (and GCSE) and would definitely recommend it. Not only would it help if they want to set up their own business but the A level has increased application to real life businesses and so much more of the content can be applied to general everyday life, making it really relevant. The first year is basically an extension of the GCSE so it is easy to adapt to other changes. Although there are more essays (up to 25 marks for AQA), the fact that each essay and paragraph has a set structure it feels less like an essay subject than other essay based subjects

Hope this helps and I'm happy to answer any other questions they have about business
Last edited by SB1234567890; 4 weeks ago
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Fire_Fox
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Thanks all, your replies are very informative! I'll pass them on to my sibling and see what they think
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Fire_Fox
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(Original post by University of Portsmouth Student Rep)
Hi!

Business sounds like a really good option, especially if they want one of their own in the future.

I did geography for A-Level. I think it would be really helpful to have this as a subject as he could also apply what he learns in this to eco-camping. The human side is only half of the subject and you can always link it to the physical effects, so I don't remember doing tonnes of human geography that didn't relate to physical geography. Also, human geography links a lot to eco-camping and business.
I always found having a teacher you didn't like ruin the subject for you and I personally dropped a level because of this among other reasons. Also, don't do a subject you don't enjoy, as it will become stressful for you and you're less likely to do well in that subject, as you have no motivation to study the subject.

I hope this helps!
Chloe - Official Student Rep
Thanks Chloe, that's very helpful. Not sure why you've assumed they're a "he" though...
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artful_lounger
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Definitely shouldn't pick French if they aren't that invested in it; I gather language A-levels are a pretty high workload and quite difficult, even for people who got very high grades in the language at GCSE and are really into that language/culture. I don't really think doing A-level Business or not will make any difference in any future entrepreneurial endeavours. That's not to say not to do it, but just that if the only reason they're considering it is for that (and if they don't want to do an essay subject) then they may want to manage their expectations with it.

For geography I think the course is pretty much 50:50 human/physical. Doing a course they won't like half of is probably not a great option, but I suppose it's possible the kinds of human geography topics at A-level are different to GCSE and may be more interesting. Note though that if they don't like essay subjects geography seems an odd choice anyway, as it is an essay based subject (there is some data analysis as well I think, but a lot of essay work I gather).

While I appreciate teaching can make or break a subject, it's not clear exactly what their issue with this chemistry teacher is. If it's just "they won't let me write in pink gel pen" or something similarly minor but annoying to them in the vein of strictness or something, that's probably not something to be spending time focusing on. If they're straight up bad at teaching (or your friend struggles to learn from them) then that is a more serious issue definitely worth considering. Note A-level Chemistry is a bit different to GCSE and definitely a bit harder, so they do need to be motivated for the subject to do well with it I think.

There doesn't seem to be any objection to physics and you indicated they liked that subject, so I'd say stick with that to have maths and physics as a good "core" (which also opens a good range of options of degree choices). For the third subject, none of the other subjects seems like a perfect match for them so perhaps they should think about what they may want to study at uni if they want to go there, and try and reverse engineer a choice from that. Not an ideal route but may help narrow things down.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 4 weeks ago
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seasaltfresh
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(Original post by Fire_Fox)
I have a sibling in Y11 who has a bit of a dilemma choosing their A-Levels for next year. They're settled on Maths - the subjects they're trying to choose between are:
- Chemistry, Geography, or French
- Business or Physics

French isn't really something they're into - they prefer Chemistry and (physical) Geography - but they really can't stand the Chemistry teacher, and they hate Human Geography. In fact, the only reason they enjoyed Chemistry at GSCE was because they had a different teacher whom they particularly liked.

As for Business and Physics, they like both, but they dislike the essay-writing component of Business. However, Business would probably be the more useful subject for them (they want to start their own eco-camping business).

I'd appreciate any advice I can pass onto them - even if it only helps with one of the choices! They're not planning on going to university, so they're not looking for any facilitating subjects for a particular course.

Thanks,
Fire_Fox
if the only reason they enjoyed a subject it’s important to decipher whether the actual subject alone interests them - whether they can spend hours a week dedicating to it. If french is already a no don’t get too hung up on it.
Also, if business is the most relevant for them in the future it’ll be worth it - i’ve heard the essays aren't a dealbreaker if you hate essays bc the teach you specific ways of structure. Some people even take it when they didn’t do it at gcse.
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University of Portsmouth Student Rep
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(Original post by Fire_Fox)
Thanks Chloe, that's very helpful. Not sure why you've assumed they're a "he" though...
Hi! Fire_Fox

Apologies for this mistake. I thought I read "he" in your post. I hope they do well in their choice of subjects and they enjoy them too!

Sorry
Chloe - Official Student Rep
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