Natashya Becks
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I am in urgent need of A level choices help. I have just had my induction days for Sixth Form and I have chosen to study Physics, Maths, Further Maths and Biology. However, I still have the opportunity to change subjects up until enrolment in August. I chose Physics, Maths, and Further Maths to open the door to studying Physics at Oxford.

However, I am really interested in Biology/Biomedical Science also. Hence why I chose to add Biology as a fourth subject. Specifically, cell biology and genetics are the topics which most interest me within Biology and which I would look to specialise in if I chose this as a career. I have looked at uni requirements and they specify Biology and one other science out of Chem, Physics or Maths.

However, I am really worried at the moment because from my research it seems to be an 'unwritten rule' that for students who want to take Biology at top universities, it is expected that you take Chemistry A level. Is this true? Is it highly desriable to take Chemistry to facilitate a career in cell biology/genetics?

If so, why aren't universities explicit about it in their entry requirements? Would I be limiting my options and be a less competitive applicant Bioscience wise if I don't take Chemistry?

If I drop Further Maths, this would disadvantage me in applying for Physics at Oxford as I have the opportunity to take it.

I would reallly appreciate some urgent advice please, particularly from students at Uni who are studying Biology and know the application process, sixth form students who have been advised by teachers/tutors or careers advisors etc.
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ApplePiePanda
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Yo, sixth form dude here.

I did Maths, Chemistry and Biology. I initially did further maths, but dropped it due to how much I was struggling. I applied to universities so I'll tell you what they wanted for entry requirements. I applied to Biochemistry and one university wanted both Biology and Chemistry. Two universities wanted Chemistry and another science subjects, one wanted two science subjects and I'm not entirely sure if the last one specified (I'll have a look if you want).

In my opinion, I don't think you must have chemistry in order to do Biology at top universities? (Though I haven't checked so don't take my word for it). Doing the A level may help with some concepts and parts of the Biology specification.

There's no harm asking the Oxford admissions team about your dilemma since it may give you some much needed information about what to do for A levels.

Good luck dude
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QuentinM
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(Original post by Natashya Becks)
I am in urgent need of A level choices help. I have just had my induction days for Sixth Form and I have chosen to study Physics, Maths, Further Maths and Biology. However, I still have the opportunity to change subjects up until enrolment in August. I chose Physics, Maths, and Further Maths to open the door to studying Physics at Oxford.

However, I am really interested in Biology/Biomedical Science also. Hence why I chose to add Biology as a fourth subject. Specifically, cell biology and genetics are the topics which most interest me within Biology and which I would look to specialise in if I chose this as a career. I have looked at uni requirements and they specify Biology and one other science out of Chem, Physics or Maths.

However, I am really worried at the moment because from my research it seems to be an 'unwritten rule' that for students who want to take Biology at top universities, it is expected that you take Chemistry A level. Is this true? Is it highly desriable to take Chemistry to facilitate a career in cell biology/genetics?

If so, why aren't universities explicit about it in their entry requirements? Would I be limiting my options and be a less competitive applicant Bioscience wise if I don't take Chemistry?

If I drop Further Maths, this would disadvantage me in applying for Physics at Oxford as I have the opportunity to take it.

I would reallly appreciate some urgent advice please, particularly from students at Uni who are studying Biology and know the application process, sixth form students who have been advised by teachers/tutors or careers advisors etc.
If you look at the requirements for a lot of the "top universities" a lot of them either specify Biology+chemistry, or use some language that's easier to satisfy by just doing both. You'll have to look at each one individually I'm afraid, but not doing chemistry will likely limit your options a lot
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yeahthatonethere
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It depends on the uni and its requirements so make sure to check each uni you might want to apply to. If they want specifically chemistry they will state that in their requirements. If they say "biology and one of..." then there won't be bias as long as you take one of the listed subjects.

I do microbiology at a Russel group uni and many of my coursemates did not do chemistry A level and are doing fine. One of them is even on the integrated masters course! I did chemistry and I'm not gonna lie there wasn't really much benefit from it.

So basically, it depends. If it doesn't explicitly state it qnd you meet all the requirements then go for it. If it says you need chemistry then either pick a different uni or reconsider your choices. Hope that's helped and if you have any questions about this or biology at uni (I'm going into my fourth year of an integrated masters in microbiology) then just shout!
Last edited by yeahthatonethere; 2 months ago
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University of Sheffield Students
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Hi,

I have just finished my BSc Biology with a Year Abroad degree at the University of Sheffield. Despite the listed entry requirements being two science subjects at the time, I got onto the course having studied German, History, and Biology at A-Level.

I would say that you shouldn't be at any disadvantage for not having done Chemistry A-Level because the first year for most degrees is aimed at providing all students with the necessary foundation of knowledge to succeed at in later years - regardless of their previous studies.

During my degree, I have completed modules ranging from physiology and biochemistry to ecology and genetics. The fact that I did not studied A-Level Maths or Chemistry hasn't limited my academic progress or achievement in any way.

I hope this has helped, but if you have any further questions please feel free to ask.

Daniel
Third Year
BSc Biology with a Year Abroad
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