mlouise_
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#1
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So I am currently in the process of starting to apply to colleges/6th forms and I am really struggling to narrow down the a levels i want to do to 3. I want to go on to study medicine and I really want to go to a uni such as BSMS or Anglia Ruskin, maybe kcl. So I have to do bio and chem which I'm happy with as they are subjects i love and would've probably done them even if i wasn't going to go into medicine. I also think Maths would be a very useful subject to have and i really want to do maths at a level however, from what i have seen/found out from open evenings and research, i love psychology and would love to do it as an a level. Is it worth doing the 4 and then either keeping them all the way through college/6th form or dropping one once i decide which ones i want to carry on or should i just do 3 a levels?
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summerbirdreads
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#2
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I wouldn't say 4 are worth it, sure they're manageable but simply not worth the effort as unis don't care much, do 3 plus EPQ unless the 4th one is FM
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Admit-One
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#3
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#3
Unless it includes Maths + Further Maths, no, it's not worth it.
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summerbirdreads
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#4
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(Original post by Admit-One)
Unless it includes Maths + Further Maths, no, it's not worth it.
even then it's not worth it for many courses
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Admit-One
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#5
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#5
(Original post by summerbirdreads)
even then it's not worth it for many courses
It's potentially a couple more options for meeting Maths offers. Primarily I meant that it's a more manageable than other combos, assuming Maths is taken in lower sixth.
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summerbirdreads
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#6
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(Original post by Admit-One)
It's potentially a couple more options for meeting Maths offers. Primarily I meant that it's a more manageable than other combos, assuming Maths is taken in lower sixth.
Yeah fair enough
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hungrysalamander
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#7
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Doing 4 A-levels has no benefits for medicine except for QMUL where they use the UCAS tariff. It might bring your grades down and AAA looks better than ABBB. You could start out with 4 and decide whether you want to drop maths or psychology. Cambridge is the only medical school that requires 3 science A-levels
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Baleroc
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#8
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(Original post by mlouise_)
So I am currently in the process of starting to apply to colleges/6th forms and I am really struggling to narrow down the a levels i want to do to 3. I want to go on to study medicine and I really want to go to a uni such as BSMS or Anglia Ruskin, maybe kcl. So I have to do bio and chem which I'm happy with as they are subjects i love and would've probably done them even if i wasn't going to go into medicine. I also think Maths would be a very useful subject to have and i really want to do maths at a level however, from what i have seen/found out from open evenings and research, i love psychology and would love to do it as an a level. Is it worth doing the 4 and then either keeping them all the way through college/6th form or dropping one once i decide which ones i want to carry on or should i just do 3 a levels?
Some admissions statistics, according to Oxford. These are from 2013 and below, but should give an indication of how Oxbridge give offers:
2013, Oxford Admissions, page 26: https://gazette.web.ox.ac.uk/files/admissions-2013pdf

"Candidates may have taken more than 3 A-levels but table shows only the best 3 A-level"

Candidates with A*A*A* or above had a 44.6% success rate of gaining admission.
Candidates with A*A*A had a 30.3% success rate of gaining admission.
Candidates with A*AA had a 21.9% success rate of gaining admission.

Oxford mostly focuses on the grades of your top 3 A-levels. As you can see, candidates with 3 A*s had a significantly higher chance than candidates with A*A*A. Presumably, if you achieved A*A*AA at A-level, this might be perceived as a weaker candidate, compared to someone with A*A*A*.

Unless you are expected to get the grades A*A*A*A or A*A*A*A*, then no, it wouldn't be worth studying 4 A-levels.

The only time it would be worth it, is if you got at least A*A*A* in your 3 A-levels. In that case, a 4th A-level would unlikely be that much of a benefit anyway.

Based on this, I would assume it's best to focus on getting A*A*A* on 3 A-levels, than getting A*A*AA on 4 A-levels.
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mlouise_
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#9
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#9
(Original post by hungrysalamander)
Doing 4 A-levels has no benefits for medicine except for QMUL where they use the UCAS tariff. It might bring your grades down and AAA looks better than ABBB. You could start out with 4 and decide whether you want to drop maths or psychology. Cambridge is the only medical school that requires 3 science A-levels
Yeah that's true, i didn't really think about it like that. I think I might start with 4 then drop either maths/psych depending on which one is my favourite, or pay and stay on for an extra 2 years to do another a level after completing 3, obviously depending on what i want to do then. as that way i could get 2 years of work in a hospital as well.
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mlouise_
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Baleroc)
Some admissions statistics, according to Oxford. These are from 2013 and below, but should give an indication of how Oxbridge give offers:
2013, Oxford Admissions, page 26: https://gazette.web.ox.ac.uk/files/admissions-2013pdf

"Candidates may have taken more than 3 A-levels but table shows only the best 3 A-level"

Candidates with A*A*A* or above had a 44.6% success rate of gaining admission.
Candidates with A*A*A had a 30.3% success rate of gaining admission.
Candidates with A*AA had a 21.9% success rate of gaining admission.

Oxford mostly focuses on the grades of your top 3 A-levels. As you can see, candidates with 3 A*s had a significantly higher chance than candidates with A*A*A. Presumably, if you achieved A*A*AA at A-level, this might be perceived as a weaker candidate, compared to someone with A*A*A*.

Unless you are expected to get the grades A*A*A*A or A*A*A*A*, then no, it wouldn't be worth studying 4 A-levels.

The only time it would be worth it, is if you got at least A*A*A* in your 3 A-levels. In that case, a 4th A-level would unlikely be that much of a benefit anyway.

Based on this, I would assume it's best to focus on getting A*A*A* on 3 A-levels, than getting A*A*AA on 4 A-levels.
Yeah, i would definitely rather get 3 A* rather than lower but 4. I think i may just start with the 4 then drop either maths/psych after a term
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hungrysalamander
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#11
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#11
(Original post by mlouise_)
Yeah that's true, i didn't really think about it like that. I think I might start with 4 then drop either maths/psych depending on which one is my favourite, or pay and stay on for an extra 2 years to do another a level after completing 3, obviously depending on what i want to do then. as that way i could get 2 years of work in a hospital as well.
Not possible. Most medical schools want you to finish A-levels in 2 years
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summerbirdreads
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#12
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#12
(Original post by mlouise_)
Yeah, i would definitely rather get 3 A* rather than lower but 4. I think i may just start with the 4 then drop either maths/psych after a term
Yeah that's a good idea
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mlouise_
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#13
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(Original post by hungrysalamander)
Not possible. Most medical schools want you to finish A-levels in 2 years
Yeah but I would finish 3 in 2 years then I would take an extra one for 2 years so technically I would be finishing a levels in 2 years
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Googley_eyes
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#14
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#14
(Original post by mlouise_)
Yeah but I would finish 3 in 2 years then I would take an extra one for 2 years so technically I would be finishing a levels in 2 years
That’s a waste of time and money. Would you do 2 gap years? You wouldn’t have time to do it with medical school and they probably won’t allow 2 gap years. And you must start uni within a certain number of years after completing a levels or you have to do an access course instead
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Jpw1097
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#15
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#15
(Original post by mlouise_)
Yeah but I would finish 3 in 2 years then I would take an extra one for 2 years so technically I would be finishing a levels in 2 years
That would be a complete waste of time and would not help you getting into medical school, it would only delay you by at least two years for no reward.

Only consider doing 4 A levels if you think you are capable for achieving A/A* in all subjects, I did 4 A levels and was able to achieve 4 A*s, so it’s definitely possible.
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Reality Check
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#16
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(Original post by mlouise_)
So I am currently in the process of starting to apply to colleges/6th forms and I am really struggling to narrow down the a levels i want to do to 3. I want to go on to study medicine and I really want to go to a uni such as BSMS or Anglia Ruskin, maybe kcl. So I have to do bio and chem which I'm happy with as they are subjects i love and would've probably done them even if i wasn't going to go into medicine. I also think Maths would be a very useful subject to have and i really want to do maths at a level however, from what i have seen/found out from open evenings and research, i love psychology and would love to do it as an a level. Is it worth doing the 4 and then either keeping them all the way through college/6th form or dropping one once i decide which ones i want to carry on or should i just do 3 a levels?
I'd concentrate on doing three for medicine, and getting A*A*A* in them. Four A levels offers no advantage for an application to study medicine. Chemistry, biology and maths is probably the most common combination for medicine admissions, by the way
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mlouise_
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Reality Check)
I'd concentrate on doing three for medicine, and getting A*A*A* in them. Four A levels offers no advantage for an application to study medicine. Chemistry, biology and maths is probably the most common combination for medicine admissions, by the way
yeah i will probably just do the 3. also im not aiming for 3A* because for me, thats not going to happen. im aiming for an A* in bio and then A in both maths and chem, maybe and A* in chem
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Red Tesla
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#18
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(Original post by mlouise_)
So I am currently in the process of starting to apply to colleges/6th forms and I am really struggling to narrow down the a levels i want to do to 3. I want to go on to study medicine and I really want to go to a uni such as BSMS or Anglia Ruskin, maybe kcl. So I have to do bio and chem which I'm happy with as they are subjects i love and would've probably done them even if i wasn't going to go into medicine. I also think Maths would be a very useful subject to have and i really want to do maths at a level however, from what i have seen/found out from open evenings and research, i love psychology and would love to do it as an a level. Is it worth doing the 4 and then either keeping them all the way through college/6th form or dropping one once i decide which ones i want to carry on or should i just do 3 a levels?
No, what's the point
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Jpw1097
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#19
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#19
(Original post by mlouise_)
yeah i will probably just do the 3. also im not aiming for 3A* because for me, thats not going to happen. im aiming for an A* in bio and then A in both maths and chem, maybe and A* in chem
In that case stick to 3 A levels, if you’re not confident that you’ll get an A* in maths, an extra A level on top will just spread you too thinly. Focus on getting that A* in chemistry and maths.
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