awerk
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I'm going into yr 11 this sept. not sure about doing 3 or 4 a levels. I want to do maths, bio and chem. Maybe further maths as a fourth. do I need to do a fourth as I'm unsure and everyone around me says 4 is better. I'm fairly good at maths right now but I get the work load is way more in a levels. any advice for a levels or generally applying for medicine would be great.
for unis I was potentially thinking about UCL or imperial
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AelinGalanythius
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(Original post by awerk)
I'm going into yr 11 this sept. not sure about doing 3 or 4 a levels. I want to do maths, bio and chem. Maybe further maths as a fourth. do I need to do a fourth as I'm unsure and everyone around me says 4 is better. I'm fairly good at maths right now but I get the work load is way more in a levels. any advice for a levels or generally applying for medicine would be great.
for unis I was potentially thinking about UCL or imperial
Medicine offer holder here, as far as I know, there aren't any universities that require 4 a levels. It can be more advantageous to do 4 but you don't need to (many people don't). If you were doing 4 completely different subjects, I'd say go for four, because you might find you hate one of them and you can drop it but in this case, if you're considering further maths as well as maths, if you didn't like maths, you'd probably only be able to drop further maths (idk if that makes sense). I loved maths in yr 11 but I hated it so much in yr 12 (ended up dropping). For Imperial and UCL you're looking at needing A*A*A or A*AA. Another thing to think about: if you get an A in EPQ, some unis will lower your offer by one grade e.g. AAA or AAB (if AAA) so that's something to look into when applying.

My top tips would be: start looking for experience ASAP, even if it's not clinical and just healthcare in general that's good and in the summer before sixth form as usually you'll be 16 (minimum age usually for clinical experience) so that's a good time to do experience. Try and be as prepared as possible e.g. start building a knowledge base of things you might get asked at interviews as it is never too early (and takes time to build a knowledge base) e.g. NHS constitution, Alfie Evans case, Gillick Competence etc. But at the moment, it's too early to be doing loads of things so don't panic. You don't really need to start thinking about things properly until yr 12.
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artful_lounger
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Read through the first post in this thread:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5611422 which answers essentially all of your questions (and some more that you might want answered later).

The summary is, doing a fourth A-level does not offer any benefit over doing just three, except for Cardiff and I think one other medical school which scores additional points for further A-levels (GANFYD might know which others do this? It's quite unusual though). In fact taking a fourth subject might make things harder, as some medical schools (although most do not I believe) may set a 4 A-level offer thus requiring you get an A or A* in the fourth subject on top of the other three (whereas if you were only taking 3 A-levels, you would only need to get 3 such grades).

Additionally A-level Maths is not required for any medical school except Cambridge (and even there it is only required by some colleges - the others will accept A-level Physics or A-level Maths as the third subject). All other medical schools will accept any third subject - art, sociology, history, German, music, religious studies, Latin, whatever you want. A-level Further Maths is not required by any medical school and I can't see it being something that will ever be useful or used (arguably some of the concepts from A-level Maths might be, but certainly I can't see you coming across matrices, complex numbers, or any of the more sophisticated calculus techniques from FM in a medical degree).

There is some correlation between performance on the BMAT and taking A-level Maths and/or Further Maths, although there may be many reasons for this including self-selection biases into applying to BMAT unis. nexttime I think had some data on this?
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Turning_A_Corner
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Whatever meets the conditions (biology and chemistry and a free choice of a third suffice for the vast majority) and gives you the best chance of an A. You don’t need four A levels and it will not benefit you in the least to do a fourth, at least not where your medicine application is concerned. It won’t impress anyone and it may work against you to do four. Only do it if you have a genuine academic interest and you think you can manage it, not out of some misplaced notion that it will benefit a medical school application. Remember, time spent doing this could also be spent volunteering, doing wider reading, gaining work experience or doing enrichment learning activities, which are all arguably of greater benefit to a medical school application than a fourth A level.
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awerk
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(Original post by AelinGalanythius)
Medicine offer holder here, as far as I know, there aren't any universities that require 4 a levels. It can be more advantageous to do 4 but you don't need to (many people don't). If you were doing 4 completely different subjects, I'd say go for four, because you might find you hate one of them and you can drop it but in this case, if you're considering further maths as well as maths, if you didn't like maths, you'd probably only be able to drop further maths (idk if that makes sense). I loved maths in yr 11 but I hated it so much in yr 12 (ended up dropping). For Imperial and UCL you're looking at needing A*A*A or A*AA. Another thing to think about: if you get an A in EPQ, some unis will lower your offer by one grade e.g. AAA or AAB (if AAA) so that's something to look into when applying.

My top tips would be: start looking for experience ASAP, even if it's not clinical and just healthcare in general that's good and in the summer before sixth form as usually you'll be 16 (minimum age usually for clinical experience) so that's a good time to do experience. Try and be as prepared as possible e.g. start building a knowledge base of things you might get asked at interviews as it is never too early (and takes time to build a knowledge base) e.g. NHS constitution, Alfie Evans case, Gillick Competence etc. But at the moment, it's too early to be doing loads of things so don't panic. You don't really need to start thinking about things properly until yr 12.
thanks so much for all your help. I have got a friend who works in NHS who's trying to get me some work experience so hopefully that comes through. do you think its worth working in a care home?
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awerk
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(Original post by Turning_A_Corner)
Whatever meets the conditions (biology and chemistry and a free choice of a third suffice for the vast majority) and gives you the best chance of an A. You don’t need four A levels and it will not benefit you in the least to do a fourth, at least not where your medicine application is concerned. It won’t impress anyone and it may work against you to do four. Only do it if you have a genuine academic interest and you think you can manage it, not out of some misplaced notion that it will benefit a medical school application. Remember, time spent doing this could also be spent volunteering, doing wider reading, gaining work experience or doing enrichment learning activities, which are all arguably of greater benefit to a medical school application than a fourth A level.
thanks I think I may just stick to 3 and do more volunteering
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awerk
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Read through the first post in this thread:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=5611422 which answers essentially all of your questions (and some more that you might want answered later).

The summary is, doing a fourth A-level does not offer any benefit over doing just three, except for Cardiff and I think one other medical school which scores additional points for further A-levels (GANFYD might know which others do this? It's quite unusual though). In fact taking a fourth subject might make things harder, as some medical schools (although most do not I believe) may set a 4 A-level offer thus requiring you get an A or A* in the fourth subject on top of the other three (whereas if you were only taking 3 A-levels, you would only need to get 3 such grades).

Additionally A-level Maths is not required for any medical school except Cambridge (and even there it is only required by some colleges - the others will accept A-level Physics or A-level Maths as the third subject). All other medical schools will accept any third subject - art, sociology, history, German, music, religious studies, Latin, whatever you want. A-level Further Maths is not required by any medical school and I can't see it being something that will ever be useful or used (arguably some of the concepts from A-level Maths might be, but certainly I can't see you coming across matrices, complex numbers, or any of the more sophisticated calculus techniques from FM in a medical degree).

There is some correlation between performance on the BMAT and taking A-level Maths and/or Further Maths, although there may be many reasons for this including self-selection biases into applying to BMAT unis. nexttime I think had some data on this?
thanks so much I checked out the 1st link and it was super helpful. I think I might try and stick to 3 a levels and maybe do EPQ? is it worth it or should I just use the time to do more volunteering
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AelinGalanythius
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(Original post by awerk)
thanks so much for all your help. I have got a friend who works in NHS who's trying to get me some work experience so hopefully that comes through. do you think its worth working in a care home?
YES! Definitely. Medical schools love it when you can show that you've evaluated medicine as a whole rather than just the easy or fun bits. Working in a care home also gives you loads to talk about on your CV.
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artful_lounger
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thanks so much I checked out the 1st link and it was super helpful. I think I might try and stick to 3 a levels and maybe do EPQ? is it worth it or should I just use the time to do more volunteering
An EPQ can be a good option if you have a clear idea for a project in mind, especially if it's something you want to explore as an extracurricular activity anyway but which the EPQ encompasses. I don't think it's worth doing an EPQ "just because" since they aren't generally considered as anything but indications of interest in that area by unis (which you can do via other extracurricular activities anyway) and not having a very clear project in mind means you might end up stuck on the EPQ without much to do and struggle to do well in it.
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Googley_eyes
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(Original post by awerk)
thanks so much I checked out the 1st link and it was super helpful. I think I might try and stick to 3 a levels and maybe do EPQ? is it worth it or should I just use the time to do more volunteering
An EPQ is good, just make sure that your school/college runs it properly. Mine made us do one and didn’t run it well, so bearing in mind the people doing it were A*-A students, most people came out with a C-D grade. The grade boundaries are 5 marks so it’s easy to just miss out on the grade above like I did, as the schools mark it and often they don’t get moderated. I ended up having to declare my EPQ but have decided to never mention it outside of my UCAS form to anyone irl.
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awerk
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
An EPQ can be a good option if you have a clear idea for a project in mind, especially if it's something you want to explore as an extracurricular activity anyway but which the EPQ encompasses. I don't think it's worth doing an EPQ "just because" since they aren't generally considered as anything but indications of interest in that area by unis (which you can do via other extracurricular activities anyway) and not having a very clear project in mind means you might end up stuck on the EPQ without much to do and struggle to do well in it.
thanks. yes I'm not really interested in anything as of now. I do lacrosse and music so involved in a fair amount of extra curriculars
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by awerk)
thanks. yes I'm not really interested in anything as of now. I do lacrosse and music so involved in a fair amount of extra curriculars
Yeah probably better to just do your explorations in an extracurricular manner then. I don't think any medical schools give reduced offers for people with EPQs either so it's no better than doing the same stuff outside of a formal qualification!
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