apolaroidofus
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#1
Hiya - I know this is an extremely subjective question but I'm wondering... how hard is it REALLY to do 4 A-levels?

To preface, I'm going into year 12 in September and I'm predicted ten 9s and an A in Add Maths for my GCSEs (and I didn't do stupid amounts of revision to get these grades). I'm looking to take maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at college and after that I want to study chemistry at Oxford.

Obviously 4 A-levels is really hard, but is it impossible to balance 4 A-levels, a job (8 hour contract) and a social life?

My college has been really funny about me doing four - they say it's virtually impossible and that your entire life becomes dedicated to studying. I know it's a big commitment and I wouldn't be considering doing 4 if I wasn't willing to really work for it but I do still want a life at college.

I guess it's also relevant to mention I've had an offer from another college who are happy for me to do 4 and think I'll be able to smash it.

So yeah... is doing 4 really gonna be the soulless existence college are making it out to be or is it okay for people who are good at their subjects and can manage time effectively?

(Side note: grades wise I'll be aiming for A*A*AA or higher)
0
reply
apolaroidofus
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#2
And before anyone else says this - I know I don't need to do 4! There are loads of reasons why I want to do 4 and none of them are related to getting into uni
1
reply
GremlinIAMH
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#3
Report 1 month ago
#3
(Original post by apolaroidofus)
Hiya - I know this is an extremely subjective question but I'm wondering... how hard is it REALLY to do 4 A-levels?

To preface, I'm going into year 12 in September and I'm predicted ten 9s and an A in Add Maths for my GCSEs (and I didn't do stupid amounts of revision to get these grades). I'm looking to take maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at college and after that I want to study chemistry at Oxford.

Obviously 4 A-levels is really hard, but is it impossible to balance 4 A-levels, a job (8 hour contract) and a social life?

My college has been really funny about me doing four - they say it's virtually impossible and that your entire life becomes dedicated to studying. I know it's a big commitment and I wouldn't be considering doing 4 if I wasn't willing to really work for it but I do still want a life at college.

I guess it's also relevant to mention I've had an offer from another college who are happy for me to do 4 and think I'll be able to smash it.

So yeah... is doing 4 really gonna be the soulless existence college are making it out to be or is it okay for people who are good at their subjects and can manage time effectively?

(Side note: grades wise I'll be aiming for A*A*AA or higher)
As a yr 12, i'd say go for it! Worst comes to worst you just drop one. I currently do 3 a levels (maths,FM and physics) and engineering BTEC with no issues (though the BTEC I don't really work on outside of school). I know a few people who do 4 A levels and they are doing really well and as far as I'm aware have a social life.
0
reply
SB1234567890
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#4
Report 1 month ago
#4
I know quite a few people who did 4 A levels, mostly including maths and further maths, and they seemed to manage fine but I'd personally say if you do 3, if you're aiming for A*A*AA with 4, you could get all A*s with 3, which would look more impressive, due to being able to give more attention to each subject but I can't tell you directly as I only did 3, and found that stressful enough, and unlike it sounds for you, I had to work reall hard to get average grades at GCSE and spent 99% of my day at my desk to get high UCAS, and hopefully actual, grades so you may be fine with 4. Also agree with the above as most people I know started with 4 then dropped one that was either too difficult, not enjoyable or in a different style from how they were expecting
0
reply
ajj2000
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#5
Report 1 month ago
#5
Loads of people do M, FM, Physics and AN Other. This is the main exception to the 'don't do 4 A levels' advice. Its genuinely helpful for university admissions if applying for STEM or economics, and the subjects complement each other so not like doing four courses with less crossover.
0
reply
Muttley79
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#6
Report 1 month ago
#6
(Original post by apolaroidofus)
And before anyone else says this - I know I don't need to do 4! There are loads of reasons why I want to do 4 and none of them are related to getting into uni
That is the only combination of 4 we allow - it's fine
0
reply
Theloniouss
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#7
Report 1 month ago
#7
Honestly, once you're doing Maths, FM and Physics it's basically only 2 A levels of content.
Last edited by Theloniouss; 1 month ago
0
reply
apolaroidofus
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#8
(Original post by Theloniouss)
Honestly, once you're doing Maths, FM and Physics it's basically only 2 A levels of content.
See I thought this was the case (and maths naturally clicks with me so I thought it shouldn't be too bad) but in our pre-induction lesson today they brought in a guy who has just finished first year of college. He is apparently getting the highest maths grades in the cohort but started explaining that 'taking 4 is impossible and doing it will only cause your grades to slip' (he started with 4 and had to drop one) and 'when you do further maths, maths has to become your main priority'. Doesn't that just sound a bit like he's only getting the highest grades through (extremely) hard work?
1
reply
Theloniouss
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#9
Report 1 month ago
#9
(Original post by apolaroidofus)
See I thought this was the case (and maths naturally clicks with me so I thought it shouldn't be too bad) but in our pre-induction lesson today they brought in a guy who has just finished first year of college. He is apparently getting the highest maths grades in the cohort but started explaining that 'taking 4 is impossible and doing it will only cause your grades to slip' (he started with 4 and had to drop one) and 'when you do further maths, maths has to become your main priority'. Doesn't that just sound a bit like he's only getting the highest grades through (extremely) hard work?
I did maths, FM, bio and chem and honestly didn't find it was too difficult. People have different experiences though. It's worth taking 4 because you can always drop FM but you can rarely pick it up.
0
reply
ajj2000
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#10
Report 1 month ago
#10
(Original post by apolaroidofus)
See I thought this was the case (and maths naturally clicks with me so I thought it shouldn't be too bad) but in our pre-induction lesson today they brought in a guy who has just finished first year of college. He is apparently getting the highest maths grades in the cohort but started explaining that 'taking 4 is impossible and doing it will only cause your grades to slip' (he started with 4 and had to drop one) and 'when you do further maths, maths has to become your main priority'. Doesn't that just sound a bit like he's only getting the highest grades through (extremely) hard work?
He is giving bad advice and the teachers should have clarified this. A significant majority of people taking engineering, maths, physics and chemistry degree at stronger universities will have at least started with 4 A levels including further maths.
0
reply
hhhwaffle
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#11
Report 1 month ago
#11
i do 4 a-levels and so does everyone on my further maths course and having a job is manageable for some of my peers (though many, including myself, don’t have a social life haha)
1
reply
Aethomson
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 month ago
#12
I did maths bio physics chem and am graduating this year and I honestly thought it was fine and completely manageable
0
reply
franc1s_ad204
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#13
Report 1 month ago
#13
[QUOTE=apolaroidofus;95415654]See I thought this was the case (and maths naturally clicks with me so I thought it shouldn't be too bad) but in our pre-induction lesson today they brought in a guy who has just finished first year of college. He is apparently getting the highest maths grades in the cohort but started explaining that 'taking 4 is impossible and doing it will only cause your grades to slip' (he started with 4 and had to drop
Last edited by franc1s_ad204; 1 month ago
0
reply
tej3141
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#14
Report 1 month ago
#14
(Original post by franc1s_ad204)
You rely too much on your own natural ability. Do not lie to yourself, you can’t get all 9’s without studying. I’m on track to getting 13 GCSES including a 7 in Further Maths, I didn’t revise and it won’t be all 9’s. And I’m about as smart as you can be without revising and I’m gonna get 5A*s and 4A’s and 4B’s. And even I’m smart enough to know than in A-Levels natural ability doesn’t mean jack. It’s not one boring memory game like GCSEs where people like you can memorise everything and come out on top. Well you could, but you wouldn’t be very smart in your subject. But also in regards to taking 4 A-Levels the sixth form I plan on going too makes people do 4 as compulsory so it’s very subjective to the environment and if you do 4 or plan too I don’t think an 8 hour job would be realistic to do on the side as well as expect a social life if you want A*A*AA because it’s a common rule that you should spend 4 hours outside of lessons a week revising per A-level subject as a minimum and you’ll probably end up burning yourself out unessesaraly and seeing your supposed ‘smartness’ mean nothing when students who take 3 begin to get higher. Taking 4 isn’t impossible though but don’t overestimate your own abilities, when you clearly studied like hell!
Icl this is bad advice.
1
reply
apolaroidofus
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#15
Report Thread starter 1 month ago
#15
(Original post by franc1s_ad204)
You rely too much on your own natural ability. Do not lie to yourself, you can’t get all 9’s without studying. I’m on track to getting 13 GCSES including a 7 in Further Maths, I didn’t revise and it won’t be all 9’s. And I’m about as smart as you can be without revising and I’m gonna get 5A*s and 4A’s and 4B’s. And even I’m smart enough to know than in A-Levels natural ability doesn’t mean jack. It’s not one boring memory game like GCSEs where people like you can memorise everything and come out on top. Well you could, but you wouldn’t be very smart in your subject. But also in regards to taking 4 A-Levels the sixth form I plan on going too makes people do 4 as compulsory so it’s very subjective to the environment and if you do 4 or plan too I don’t think an 8 hour job would be realistic to do on the side as well as expect a social life if you want A*A*AA because it’s a common rule that you should spend 4 hours outside of lessons a week revising per A-level subject as a minimum and you’ll probably end up burning yourself out unessesaraly and seeing your supposed ‘smartness’ mean nothing when students who take 3 begin to get higher. Taking 4 isn’t impossible though but don’t overestimate your own abilities, when you clearly studied like hell!
I never said I didn't study - just trying to emphasise that I didn't get those grades solely through hard work and that I do have an element of natural ability in subjects I'm hoping to study at college as if maths clicks with me naturally, doing 4 A-levels inc maths and further maths will be very different for me than someone who had to put in hours and hours of revision just to get the 9. I don't know why you seem to think I 'studied like hell' when all you know about me is my predicted grades?
1
reply
franc1s_ad204
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#16
Report 1 month ago
#16
(Original post by apolaroidofus)
I never said I didn't study - just trying to emphasise that I didn't get those grades solely through hard work and that I do have an element of natural ability in subjects I'm hoping to study at college as if maths clicks with me naturally, doing 4 A-levels inc maths and further maths will be very different for me than someone who had to put in hours and hours of revision just to get the 9. I don't know why you seem to think I 'studied like hell' when all you know about me is my predicted grades?
Oh crap I never realised it was FM and M. Those are similar lmao I was thinking you were planning on choosing polar opposites. Go ahead nothing is stopping you most Oxbridge applicants will have the same
0
reply
Aethomson
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#17
Report 1 month ago
#17
[QUOTE=franc1s_ad204;95415770]
(Original post by apolaroidofus)
See I thought this was the case (and maths naturally clicks with me so I thought it shouldn't be too bad) but in our pre-induction lesson today they brought in a guy who has just finished first year of college. He is apparently getting the highest maths grades in the cohort but started explaining that 'taking 4 is impossible and doing it will only cause your grades to slip' (he started with 4 and had to drop
This isn’t true. If you naturally click then you’ll be fine. I have a natural ability for applying knowledge and problem solving and ended the year averaging with 90% or above in each of my subjects. It’s very possible. It is a heavily workload though. So bear that in mind.
1
reply
kaorimiyazono
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#18
Report 1 month ago
#18
If your 4th A-Level is further maths then you shouldn't have a problem at all. I have several friends who did further maths as a 4th A Level and they all did fine and still managed to have a social life.
If they are unrelated then I would advice against doing 4 due to your 8 hour contract job. I tried to take bio, chem, music and french against my school's wishes and ended up having to drop french after about a month (I got 9s, an 8 in maths and 7s in english lang and lit at GCSE while doing a school play and music rehearsals at the same time). I ended up not being able to take the 4 A Levels because work piled up quickly- I only had 2 study periods a week and so didn't have enough time to do homework, revision and independent study while managing extracurriculars and giving myself a break. Dropping french meant I had time to take the EPQ in Y13 which I enjoyed a lot though.
However, I do know someone who took 6 A Levels and got all As and A*s but they literally had no life whatsoever outside of school work so.
It depends on you. If you have a job at the same time, taking 4 might mean you'll have to sacrifice your social life. You could always trial it and see how you find it though.
Good luck
0
reply
EDEM0978
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#19
Report 1 month ago
#19
(Original post by apolaroidofus)
Hiya - I know this is an extremely subjective question but I'm wondering... how hard is it REALLY to do 4 A-levels?

To preface, I'm going into year 12 in September and I'm predicted ten 9s and an A in Add Maths for my GCSEs (and I didn't do stupid amounts of revision to get these grades). I'm looking to take maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at college and after that I want to study chemistry at Oxford.

Obviously 4 A-levels is really hard, but is it impossible to balance 4 A-levels, a job (8 hour contract) and a social life?

My college has been really funny about me doing four - they say it's virtually impossible and that your entire life becomes dedicated to studying. I know it's a big commitment and I wouldn't be considering doing 4 if I wasn't willing to really work for it but I do still want a life at college.

I guess it's also relevant to mention I've had an offer from another college who are happy for me to do 4 and think I'll be able to smash it.

So yeah... is doing 4 really gonna be the soulless existence college are making it out to be or is it okay for people who are good at their subjects and can manage time effectively?

(Side note: grades wise I'll be aiming for A*A*AA or higher)
Nope. If you want to do four A-Levels simply because you're passionate about the subjects and believe you can do well in them, regardless of university entrance requirements, I'd say go for it.

I had very similar grades to you at GCSE, and I just finished my first year of doing four A-Levels in my school (AS-Level Art, English Lit, Chemistry and Economics) and honestly, it was fine. I never felt overwhelmed. I can't imagine dropping any of them in September. Occasionally a deadline or two would cross over, but nothing to cause concern.
On top of those four, I ended up doing another full, fast track A-Level (outside of my school) in History of Art, with a grade being predicted this year.
I have a weekend job. I still managed to go out with my friends once or twice (although not as much as I liked due to lockdown).

A lot of people in my school have your exact four A-Level combination, managed to maintain strong grades in all four subjects, and they're hoping to continue doing all four next year.

It is completely manageable as long as you're motivated.
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Are you tempted to change your firm university choice on A-level results day?

Yes, I'll try and go to a uni higher up the league tables (54)
29.35%
Yes, there is a uni that I prefer and I'll fit in better (15)
8.15%
No I am happy with my choice (101)
54.89%
I'm using Clearing when I have my exam results (14)
7.61%

Watched Threads

View All