Average-person
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I have just finished my GCSEs and I'm having to select my A-level courses. These, obviously, are crucial for entry to a Uni course and after quite a bit of research I've decided that "Philosophy and Physics" would be my ideal course. Could anyone who is hoping to do this course-or indeed anyone who is studying it recommend the best A-levels to take (and ideally give some advice about getting on the course)?
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username5737602
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3 of the following (well maybe all of them if you think you can handle it): maths, further maths, physics and philosophy.
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Average-person
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(Original post by tej3141)
3 of the following (well maybe all of them if you think you can handle it): maths, further maths, physics and philosophy.
For the Universities which offer the course and give recommended A-levels maths and physics are normally the only mandatory subjects; do you think its worth taking philosophy and ethics, as it's called at my school, especially as I opted out of RS for GCSE?
also thanks for replying :]
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Interea
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(Original post by Average-person)
For the Universities which offer the course and give recommended A-levels maths and physics are normally the only mandatory subjects; do you think its worth taking philosophy and ethics, as it's called at my school, especially as I opted out of RS for GCSE?
also thanks for replying :]
You're right that courses don't seem to require it, but I'd suggest something essay based just to keep you in the habit - I've now had 2 years since I last wrote an essay and the thought of having to write anything long (let alone at uni level) feels quite intimidating now! Plus it's nice to add some variety when you're doing the maths and physics A level bundle
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SlashaRussia
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(Original post by Average-person)
I have just finished my GCSEs and I'm having to select my A-level courses. These, obviously, are crucial for entry to a Uni course and after quite a bit of research I've decided that "Philosophy and Physics" would be my ideal course. Could anyone who is hoping to do this course-or indeed anyone who is studying it recommend the best A-levels to take (and ideally give some advice about getting on the course)?
I'm just about to go into my master's year for Physics with Philosophy so I think I could help!

Well, the most important thing is absolutely Maths and Physics. They're a *must*. You won't be able to really handle any of the physics modules without it, and most (if not all?) Uni's will require this!

Next I would highly recommend Further Maths. Physics and Philosophy courses are very, very heavy on physics (obviously) and the foundations for that are so much more important in my opinion. I did F. Maths and it helped me so much in my first year courses and allowed me to focus on practicing uni essay writing, and learning about philosophy rather than studying for my maths modules.

I honestly would stop there. For these 3 A levels. Why not a humanity? Because, at least for me, learning about essay writing and reading and referencing and what not is so much easier at uni, than learning about all these maths and physics ideas at uni. I found that a lot of your uni degree is very focused on physics anyways.

But, I would also recommend if you have the chance for it, and if you feel confident in it, taking a humanity as an AS level or something like that! Does not have to be philosophy at all, as uni philosophy is very different from A level. The most important thing is just to practice and get used to lots and lots of reading and lots and lots of writing! That can be achieved with any sort of humanities A level!

For reference, I did History at AS, and Physics, Maths and Further Maths at A2
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Average-person
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(Original post by SlashaRussia)
I'm just about to go into my master's year for Physics with Philosophy so I think I could help!

Well, the most important thing is absolutely Maths and Physics. They're a *must*. You won't be able to really handle any of the physics modules without it, and most (if not all?) Uni's will require this!

Next I would highly recommend Further Maths. Physics and Philosophy courses are very, very heavy on physics (obviously) and the foundations for that are so much more important in my opinion. I did F. Maths and it helped me so much in my first year courses and allowed me to focus on practicing uni essay writing, and learning about philosophy rather than studying for my maths modules.

I honestly would stop there. For these 3 A levels. Why not a humanity? Because, at least for me, learning about essay writing and reading and referencing and what not is so much easier at uni, than learning about all these maths and physics ideas at uni. I found that a lot of your uni degree is very focused on physics anyways.

But, I would also recommend if you hTave the chance for it, and if you feel confident in it, taking a humanity as an AS level or something like that! Does not have to be philosophy at all, as uni philosophy is very different from A level. The most important thing is just to practice and get used to lots and lots of reading and lots and lots of writing! That can be achieved with any sort of humanities A level!

For reference, I did History at AS, and Physics, Maths and Further Maths at A2
Thank you so much! I'll definitely consider further maths. My only concern is that the Further Maths group in sixth form is quite high pressure; for context I go to a grammar school so many of the people taking the subject are prospective Oxbridge students with a great interest in pure Mathematics, whereas I am more interested in the physical side and I feel it's quite a choice, and might be an aberration from my interests, to devote two of my A-level choices to maths.

I'd like to say it's brilliant to have someone who has the exact experience to give me advice!

edit: I've just re-read your reply. Currently I'm doing as well as and if not better in my essay based subjects and I generally find I have to spend less time to achieve similar grades. I am also planning on completing a PhysPhil EPQ next year to keep up essay writing. Do you then think Further Maths to be less Crucial? Thanks
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SlashaRussia
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(Original post by Average-person)
Thank you so much! I'll definitely consider further maths. My only concern is that the Further Maths group in sixth form is quite high pressure; for context I go to a grammar school so many of the people taking the subject are prospective Oxbridge students with a great interest in pure Mathematics, whereas I am more interested in the physical side and I feel it's quite a choice, and might be an aberration from my interests, to devote two of my A-level choices to maths.

I'd like to say it's brilliant to have someone who has the exact experience to give me advice!

edit: I've just re-read your reply. Currently I'm doing as well as and if not better in my essay based subjects and I generally find I have to spend less time to achieve similar grades. I am also planning on completing a PhysPhil EPQ next year to keep up essay writing. Do you then think Further Maths to be less Crucial? Thanks
Sorry for late reply! But, let's see

Well, if you're doing better in your essay based subjects and spend less time on those, then perhaps doing a humanities is better for you than further maths! Like I mentioned, f. maths was only super useful in first year, after that everyone is on the same level and it becomes irrelevant

And if you're better with essays and so on, then you might not need to put in as much time into learning uni essays and so on as I did and can focus more time on learning the maths!

Honestly, as long as you have maths and physics down, and are confident in them, you will be fine what ever you choose to do
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artful_lounger
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Generally maths, physics, and FM would be the most important subjects. An essay based subject (like philosophy, but also many other options) might also be helpful as a fourth subject but isn't essential from what I gather. Generally it's possible to go into philosophy from more or less any academic background at the undergraduate level is my impression, but for the physics side of the course A-level Maths and Physics will normally be required, and A-level Further Maths would be an enormous benefit for that half of the course. So I think focus on ticking the boxes for the physics half, and for the philosophy half just make a point of reading widely in that subject area (and related areas) and thinking critically about the arguments presented in what you've read.
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(Original post by Average-person)
I have just finished my GCSEs and I'm having to select my A-level courses. These, obviously, are crucial for entry to a Uni course and after quite a bit of research I've decided that "Philosophy and Physics" would be my ideal course. Could anyone who is hoping to do this course-or indeed anyone who is studying it recommend the best A-levels to take (and ideally give some advice about getting on the course)?
Hi there,

Great to hear you're interested in physics and philosophy!

I studied physics and philosophy at the University of Sheffield (I'm now doing a masters' in science communication) and I absolutely loved it!
The course requires maths and physics but there are no requirements on the philosophy side of the course: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/undergra...philosophy-bsc

I did physics, chemistry and maths at a-level and did an AS in religious studies. But really for philosophy you don't have any pre-requisites, just an interest and curiosity in it. At Sheffield there are no core modules in philosophy which is really exciting because it means you can build the course as you want it and study the areas that really interest you. On the other hand, physics does have a lot of core modules in first year to bring everyone up to the same level.

Hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions.

Sarah
BSc Physics and Philosophy, MSc Science Communication
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