Which A-level combination seems best?

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lanaisbrowsing
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#1
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#1
Okay so I either want to study classics or bio anthropology at university (leaning more towards classics atm but it keeps changing) so which combination of subjects would cater best for both of these fields?
1)
- Biology
- Geography
- Classics
- Philosophy
2)
-Biology
-English Language
-Classics
-Philosophy
3)
-Biology
-English Literature
-Classics
-Philosophy

If you have any other suggestions as to what subjects would work that would be great. Really having a hard time deciding which would be best and I don’t have long lol.
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econhelp525
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#2
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#2
3!!!
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artful_lounger
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#3
Report 9 months ago
#3
Does your school require you take 4 subjects and then drop one? If not you should only aim to take 3, because universities only require 3 A-levels to apply and normally make offers on the basis of 3 A-levels. They do not award "bonus points" for taking additional A-levels beyond 3, and universities up to and including Oxbridge have indicated they much prefer seeing a strong set of 3 A-level grades than a more mediocre set of 4 A-level grades - A*AA is much better than A*ABC as far as unis are concerned!

That aside, I would note that if you are able to, taking A-level Latin or Greek would be the best preparation for a classics degree. So if that is an option for you I would strongly recommend exploring that. Since classics degrees tend to focus on classical literature more or less no matter which degree you do (whereas philosophy/archaeology/ancient history tend to be more variable), A-level English Lit might be good preparation for that literary analysis - although if you aren't too keen on the texts covered in the course it would probably not be that enjoyable, so that is something to consider. The best preparation would probably be reading widely around the subject matter to explore it directly!

I think geography would be very relevant for preparing for any kind of anthropology degree. Biology I can see the relevance although biological anthropology degrees don't tend to be extremely scientific so it's not essential so much I think. That said most anthropology degrees (biological and otherwise) tend to not require any specific A-levels and all sorts of backgrounds can be helpful in different ways for those courses, so really any combination should be suitable for that.

Something to note, is that anthropological approaches are used in classics scholarship as well, so that might be something interesting to explore. Particularly I've seen structuralist theories on rites of passage (e.g. Victor Turner for the theory) and mythology (Levi-Strauss and Derrida from the theory point of view, Vernant on applying it to classical texts) among others are popular ways to interpret some classical texts. On the classical archaeology side some elements physical anthropology may be relevant in terms of funerary archaeology and the study of ancient human remains, although the more evolutionary elements are less prevalent I think.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 9 months ago
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lanaisbrowsing
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#4
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#4
Hi, thank you so much for the detailed reply!

As for the 4 subjects, I had always planned on dropping one it’s just that my sixth form encourages that you do 4 at AS, particularly if you perform really well in your GCSE’s. I plan on taking an epq instead of doing 4 full alevels.

Unfortunately I don’t have the option to study Latin or Ancient Greek, although I think there’s some extra curricular Latin classes that take place so I’ll definitely be participating in those and anything else that’s put on by the local university’s classics department.

Biology I’m quite keen to keep even though it’s not completely necessary, as I have a genuine interest in the subject, although, most likely, it is the subject I will only take to AS level.

Do you think that if I were end up doing alevels in Classic Philosophy and Geography, with an AS in Biology I’d be well equipped to study either of the subjects I’ve mentioned at a top uni (which is what I’m aiming for).
Also do you think not taking english Lit (or Lang)will hold me back too much cause it’s one that unis usually like for classics. Part of me wants to do it cause I was good at it at GCSE and debating texts is something I find enjoyable, but I fear the workload of doing too many essay subjects might stress me out.
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artful_lounger
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#5
Report 9 months ago
#5
(Original post by lanaisbrowsing)
Hi, thank you so much for the detailed reply!

As for the 4 subjects, I had always planned on dropping one it’s just that my sixth form encourages that you do 4 at AS, particularly if you perform really well in your GCSE’s. I plan on taking an epq instead of doing 4 full alevels.

Unfortunately I don’t have the option to study Latin or Ancient Greek, although I think there’s some extra curricular Latin classes that take place so I’ll definitely be participating in those and anything else that’s put on by the local university’s classics department.

Biology I’m quite keen to keep even though it’s not completely necessary, as I have a genuine interest in the subject, although, most likely, it is the subject I will only take to AS level.

Do you think that if I were end up doing alevels in Classic Philosophy and Geography, with an AS in Biology I’d be well equipped to study either of the subjects I’ve mentioned at a top uni (which is what I’m aiming for).
Also do you think not taking english Lit (or Lang)will hold me back too much cause it’s one that unis usually like for classics. Part of me wants to do it cause I was good at it at GCSE and debating texts is something I find enjoyable, but I fear the workload of doing too many essay subjects might stress me out.
I think the combinations of classics/philosophy/geography would be fine for classics as well as (biological) anthropology. English lit isn't essential (nor is English language, although some of the aspects of formal grammar you might learn a little about that would be useful background knowledge - but these can be easily picked up elsewhere outside of your studies).

Note that geography is also an essay based subject at A-level I think, to some extent!

Definitely take any opportunity to explore the ancient languages themselves if you're interested in classics because that's a big part of the degree.
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lanaisbrowsing
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#6
Report Thread starter 9 months ago
#6
(Original post by artful_lounger)
I think the combinations of classics/philosophy/geography would be fine for classics as well as (biological) anthropology. English lit isn't essential (nor is English language, although some of the aspects of formal grammar you might learn a little about that would be useful background knowledge - but these can be easily picked up elsewhere outside of your studies).

Note that geography is also an essay based subject at A-level I think, to some extent!

Definitely take any opportunity to explore the ancient languages themselves if you're interested in classics because that's a big part of the degree.
Thanks for your advice. I’ll definitely be looking more into the ancient languages, other than trying to learn Latin on Duolingo cause tbh Duolingo isn’t the most accurate.
I think while geography does include essay writing it isn’t as heavily reliant on it as English would be so might take the ease off the other heavily essay based subjects I’ll be doing. I can always read Shakespeare in my spare time lol
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artful_lounger
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#7
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#7
(Original post by lanaisbrowsing)
Thanks for your advice. I’ll definitely be looking more into the ancient languages, other than trying to learn Latin on Duolingo cause tbh Duolingo isn’t the most accurate.
I think while geography does include essay writing it isn’t as heavily reliant on it as English would be so might take the ease off the other heavily essay based subjects I’ll be doing. I can always read Shakespeare in my spare time lol
To be fair you'll probably develop some literary analysis in the classics A-level course anyway, although I think the questions in that are a lot more structured and less open-ended essays than A-level English Lit.
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