Does this A level combination make sense?

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ron0studios
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#1
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#1
Hello!
As a quick background, I am in year 11 and I am predicted all 9's at GCSE's at the moment. As extras, I'm doing FSMQ, which I've heard covers most of AS level maths. Career-wise I would like to pursue computer science and entrepreneurship as well.

So what I'm asking is, if this A level combo would work out for me.
Accelerated Further maths
Computer Science
Economics
Physics
( and EPQ)

As I've heard from other people, would this be incredibly intensive, and would I have no time to do anything else? How bad of an idea is this in terms of stress? I was hoping since I'm set to do pretty well in FSMQ alongside also really liking maths, that the pressure on accelerated further maths wouldn't be as great.
As for computer science as an option, I've been coding for a very long time and have always aspired to be in the field of computer science for god knows how long XD. Since the course is mainly project-based, I feel like it would be a breeze.
What are your opinions on this? Will it be too much pressure?
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summerbirdreads
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#2
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#2
Yeah, I'd say it's quite common but it's not a good idea to do 4 A-levels along with an EQP
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Cs115
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#3
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#3
Sounds fun but wdym by accelerated further maths?
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ron0studios
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Cs115)
Sounds fun but wdym by accelerated further maths?
As far as I'm aware its just further maths and maths but as one option.
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sunny225
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#5
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#5
Personally i think 4 A levels and EPQ is a lot of stress and unnecessary (at my school anyway the EPQ is only really recommended to those doing 3 since its too much work with 4). Also since all the A levels you are choosing are both difficult and require a lot of work it seems like it could be very stressful. On the other hand, if you are very focussed on academics and not much else then it might work for you but I don't think you'd have much time to do anything else. Dropping an A level is always an option as well so if you went for all 4 and hated it then you wouldn't have to continue. However I would definitely recommend if you do go for all 4 to not take the EPQ because its just added stress with not a lot of benefit
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Cs115
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#6
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#6
(Original post by ron0studios)
As far as I'm aware its just further maths and maths but as one option.
ohh I thought you were gonna do maths and FM in one year. Yeah then that combination shouldn't really be a problem if you're willing to work hard just I dont really see the point in doing econ if you wanna do cs at uni. maths fm physics and cs (EPQ if you want as well) is standard for CS at top unis
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Cs115
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(Original post by Cs115)
ohh I thought you were gonna do maths and FM in one year. Yeah then that combination shouldn't really be a problem if you're willing to work hard just I dont really see the point in doing econ if you wanna do cs at uni. maths fm physics and cs (EPQ if you want as well) is standard for CS at top unis
oh btw FSMQ is piss in comparison to FM lol it doesn't really prepare you to do FM but I guess it gives you a headstart in maths. I think the edexcel GCSE Further pure maths is much better prep tbh. Although FM is not really as hard as it's made out to be so don't worry about it too much
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ron0studios
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#8
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(Original post by Cs115)
oh btw FSMQ is piss in comparison to FM lol it doesn't really prepare you to do FM but I guess it gives you a headstart in maths. I think the edexcel GCSE Further pure maths is much better prep tbh. Although FM is not really as hard as it's made out to be so don't worry about it too much
Oh i see, thanks! FSMQ would have been useful for just maths then, since it covers AS pretty well. For further maths not so much i think?
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Cs115
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#9
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#9
(Original post by ron0studios)
Oh i see, thanks! FSMQ would have been useful for just maths then, since it covers AS pretty well. For further maths not so much i think?
Yeah pretty much I dont even think matrices was on FSMQ so it doesn't really touch on FM at all. if you're getting all 9s at GCSE tho and an easy A on the FSMQ then it is a good indicator that you might do well on FM
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skylark2
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#10
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#10
Five A levels and an EPQ?

It's not impossible, but you need to be very careful not to end up with quantity rather than quality. AAAAA is worse, not better, in terms of university entry, than A*AA.
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ron0studios
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#11
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(Original post by skylark2)
Five A levels and an EPQ?

It's not impossible, but you need to be very careful not to end up with quantity rather than quality. AAAAA is worse, not better, in terms of university entry, than A*AA.
Right, so would I be better off not doing the EPQ since CS is coursework anyways? Or will universities not recognize that as much as it would EPQ?
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skylark2
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#12
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#12
Some universities will give you a lower offer for an EPQ at a high grade. I don't think any will give you credit for a fifth A level (most won't for a fourth).
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#13
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(Original post by ron0studios)
Hello!
As a quick background, I am in year 11 and I am predicted all 9's at GCSE's at the moment. As extras, I'm doing FSMQ, which I've heard covers most of AS level maths. Career-wise I would like to pursue computer science and entrepreneurship as well.

So what I'm asking is, if this A level combo would work out for me.
Accelerated Further maths
Computer Science
Economics
Physics
( and EPQ)

As I've heard from other people, would this be incredibly intensive, and would I have no time to do anything else? How bad of an idea is this in terms of stress? I was hoping since I'm set to do pretty well in FSMQ alongside also really liking maths, that the pressure on accelerated further maths wouldn't be as great.
As for computer science as an option, I've been coding for a very long time and have always aspired to be in the field of computer science for god knows how long XD. Since the course is mainly project-based, I feel like it would be a breeze.
What are your opinions on this? Will it be too much pressure?
take out the EPQ.
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Itsmikeysfault
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#14
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#14
Doing 5 A levels (I'm assuming accelerated further maths is just maths + further maths) AND an epq is just a waste of time. Consider not doing physics, economics or an EPQ.
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artful_lounger
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I don't know what "accelerated further maths" is but most CS degrees require A-level Maths; A-level Further Maths alone does not satisfy that requirement. Imperial and Oxbridge require both A-level Maths and A-level Further Maths I believe and a few other strong CS courses strongly prefer applicants to be taking both (Warwick, Edinburgh, UCL although it's debatable how strong their course actually is).

CS courses do not normally require any other specific subjects, and no other specific subjects are going to be "beneficial" in admissions either, outside of maths/FM, unless the course does specify you need e.g. CS at A-level (very, very few unis require this; off the top of my head only Cardiff does as standard). CS is fine, although most CS degrees do not require nor expect any prior knowledge of the subject or programming skills. Also be aware that programming is a relatively small part of a CS degree and a CS degree is not a degree in programming.

Neither economics nor physics are really that relevant for CS (physics slightly more relevant in the sense that computers are physical machines and hence obey the laws of physics, but not much at A-level will be relevant in that frame). Note that economics is entirely irrelevant to "entrepreneurship"; it's the academic study of resource allocation, not "how to get rich quick/scam people/whatever you've convinced yourself entrepreneurship means". Learning about inflation and Gini coefficients isn't going to help you be a better "entrepreneur".

There is no benefit or point in doing more than three A-levels otherwise. You do not get "bonus points" in admissions for uni by taking more than three subjects, and most unis will only make offers on the basis of three subjects anyway. Taking four runs the risk of you getting four mediocre results rather than three excellent results. An EPQ doesn't usually mean much in admissions. If you have a specific project you want to do that fits into the EPQ format then by all means do it, but there is no point in doing it just for the sake of the qualification.

Basically you've managed to take a combination of subjects that is mostly not specifically relevant to the degree you want to do, fails to take the single subject required by almost every degree course in CS in the UK, and also isn't even hugely relevant to your proposed interests. So no, it doesn't "make sense" as a combination. All in all, this suggests you haven't really spent much time researching those interests and understanding what is actually entailed by those, which in turn suggests you are not interested in those areas themselves, just in your idea of what those will bring you (i.e. thinking you'll get rich easily doing a CS degree).

On that note I would point out that the grad prospects for CS graduates in the UK have been so poor so consistently the government has commissioned two inquiries into the matter. A CS degree is not a quick route to being rich and the market is flooded with CS grads, most of whom don't have a scrap of work experience. Also, if you are actually interested in economics you should think about this in economic terms: what is the outcome of a surplus of CS grads/people with computing/programming skills, and who benefits?

Ultimately the outcome is that it drives down wages for those in what were previously "skilled" occupations, as those skills are no longer uncommon and specialist but become standard and expected. It also increases the competition for the few higher paid positions that do require specialist skills in that area. This benefits the employers, who are able to hire the workers for less and line their profit margins, and detriments workers by devaluing those skills and making what was a specialist field the expectation that almost everyone should have some basic understanding of.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 2 weeks ago
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aaron2578
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#16
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#16
(Original post by ron0studios)
Hello!
As a quick background, I am in year 11 and I am predicted all 9's at GCSE's at the moment. As extras, I'm doing FSMQ, which I've heard covers most of AS level maths. Career-wise I would like to pursue computer science and entrepreneurship as well.

So what I'm asking is, if this A level combo would work out for me.
Accelerated Further maths
Computer Science
Economics
Physics
( and EPQ)

As I've heard from other people, would this be incredibly intensive, and would I have no time to do anything else? How bad of an idea is this in terms of stress? I was hoping since I'm set to do pretty well in FSMQ alongside also really liking maths, that the pressure on accelerated further maths wouldn't be as great.
As for computer science as an option, I've been coding for a very long time and have always aspired to be in the field of computer science for god knows how long XD. Since the course is mainly project-based, I feel like it would be a breeze.
What are your opinions on this? Will it be too much pressure?
I've read the other replies on the thread. I only know what Accelerated Further Maths and FSMQ are from your definitions.

I'm in Year 13 doing Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Biology A-Levels. If you have the mathematical ability I believe it'll work just fine - I'm wishing I knew Accelerated Further Maths was a thing because A-Level Maths is really really easy in comparison to Further Maths. That makes me believe the maths won't be a problem, and it sounds like you'll be alright with Computer Science and Physics as well with predicted 9s. If you're doing AQA, there's a big programming project that makes up a significant proportion of your grade - it sounds like you'll love that. As long as you're genuinely interested in all of those 4 A-Levels, the only change I would suggest is to not do the EPQ. It takes up too much time which you'll need to spend working hard on your A-Levels - yes, some universities recognise it and allow lower offers if you get a good grade for the EPQ, but ultimately I don't think it's worth it. If there's any subject that you don't genuinely like and are just doing for the sake of it, then don't do it.

Hope this helps.
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ajay06
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#17
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#17
(Original post by ron0studios)
Hello!
As a quick background, I am in year 11 and I am predicted all 9's at GCSE's at the moment. As extras, I'm doing FSMQ, which I've heard covers most of AS level maths. Career-wise I would like to pursue computer science and entrepreneurship as well.

So what I'm asking is, if this A level combo would work out for me.
Accelerated Further maths
Computer Science
Economics
Physics
( and EPQ)

As I've heard from other people, would this be incredibly intensive, and would I have no time to do anything else? How bad of an idea is this in terms of stress? I was hoping since I'm set to do pretty well in FSMQ alongside also really liking maths, that the pressure on accelerated further maths wouldn't be as great.
As for computer science as an option, I've been coding for a very long time and have always aspired to be in the field of computer science for god knows how long XD. Since the course is mainly project-based, I feel like it would be a breeze.
What are your opinions on this? Will it be too much pressure?
I did maths, fm, econ and physics, I found it manageable but I think adding more will be a lot of stress
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ron0studios
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#18
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#18
(Original post by artful_lounger)
I don't know what "accelerated further maths" is but most CS degrees require A-level Maths; A-level Further Maths alone does not satisfy that requirement. Imperial and Oxbridge require both A-level Maths and A-level Further Maths I believe and a few other strong CS courses strongly prefer applicants to be taking both (Warwick, Edinburgh, UCL although it's debatable how strong their course actually is).

CS courses do not normally require any other specific subjects, and no other specific subjects are going to be "beneficial" in admissions either, outside of maths/FM, unless the course does specify you need e.g. CS at A-level (very, very few unis require this; off the top of my head only Cardiff does as standard). CS is fine, although most CS degrees do not require nor expect any prior knowledge of the subject or programming skills. Also be aware that programming is a relatively small part of a CS degree and a CS degree is not a degree in programming.

Neither economics nor physics are really that relevant for CS (physics slightly more relevant in the sense that computers are physical machines and hence obey the laws of physics, but not much at A-level will be relevant in that frame). Note that economics is entirely irrelevant to "entrepreneurship"; it's the academic study of resource allocation, not "how to get rich quick/scam people/whatever you've convinced yourself entrepreneurship means". Learning about inflation and Gini coefficients isn't going to help you be a better "entrepreneur".

There is no benefit or point in doing more than three A-levels otherwise. You do not get "bonus points" in admissions for uni by taking more than three subjects, and most unis will only make offers on the basis of three subjects anyway. Taking four runs the risk of you getting four mediocre results rather than three excellent results. An EPQ doesn't usually mean much in admissions. If you have a specific project you want to do that fits into the EPQ format then by all means do it, but there is no point in doing it just for the sake of the qualification.

Basically you've managed to take a combination of subjects that is mostly not specifically relevant to the degree you want to do, fails to take the single subject required by almost every degree course in CS in the UK, and also isn't even hugely relevant to your proposed interests. So no, it doesn't "make sense" as a combination. All in all, this suggests you haven't really spent much time researching those interests and understanding what is actually entailed by those, which in turn suggests you are not interested in those areas themselves, just in your idea of what those will bring you (i.e. thinking you'll get rich easily doing a CS degree).

On that note I would point out that the grad prospects for CS graduates in the UK have been so poor so consistently the government has commissioned two inquiries into the matter. A CS degree is not a quick route to being rich and the market is flooded with CS grads, most of whom don't have a scrap of work experience. Also, if you are actually interested in economics you should think about this in economic terms: what is the outcome of a surplus of CS grads/people with computing/programming skills, and who benefits?

Ultimately the outcome is that it drives down wages for those in what were previously "skilled" occupations, as those skills are no longer uncommon and specialist but become standard and expected. It also increases the competition for the few higher paid positions that do require specialist skills in that area. This benefits the employers, who are able to hire the workers for less and line their profit margins, and detriments workers by devaluing those skills and making what was a specialist field the expectation that almost everyone should have some basic understanding of.
Thank you for your comments! At the end of the day I tried taking subjects that I found interesting and wanted to look into in depth. I very well understand that economics isn't going to help with becoming entrepreneurial and that physics isn't necessary for a CS degree. However, I have found the two subjects very interesting over the gcse course and I have tried going out of syllabus, e.g reading books on economics every now and again. Would you say that the extra effort is not worthwhile if I would find it interesting? If I were to remove economics and physics from my options, and even drop down accelerated further maths, I would still have a 4th option left. In this case would I just pick a subject I like and then drop it after a year?

I must say I am very confused now, since I was previously fixated on those options and am now not as sure. I intend to pick these subjects based on interest mainly (apart from physics, which I thought was a good pair with maths and CS until now, it seems I was mistaken). The main reason I picked economics, knowing that it is the most anomalous out of the 5, was because I liked the books that I read on it, and I have enjoyed the GCSE so far. As far as I've seen in the course, there is a lot of overlap with the GCSE, but with far more mathematics involved and more in-depth detail, which is always a plus for me.

I have heard that you don't actually need CS a level for CS at uni or any of my other options apart from accel. maths, but in terms of a "useful knowledge" standpoint, would you say that there would be some benefit in the future to having studied it?

Lastly, I would like to admit, my career path is influenced by earnings, what isn't?
This doesn't mean I don't enjoy CS or any of its complementary subjects, I have liked CS since late primary school and have always tried to pursue it since. Coding is practically my main hobby and all I do in my spare time XD! But, I would like to ask whether what you are saying about oversaturation in the software engineering market really being as big of an issue it is at the moment. In the UK, the average software engineer salary has been low, however, I would have always liked to work at really big companies, such as FAANG, in which earnings can be far higher. In particular, Google, because of the atmosphere they provide to workers, and the freedom they give, which I like. I've also considered working at a fast-paced startup, but I think by now we're getting too far into careers, which is out of topic. What about working in the US, silicon valley, e.g the google headquarters? They pay a lot there, and I've been trying to build up a resume of things since y10 now I think.

All in all, I am a bit confuzzled XD
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gapb
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#19
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#19
(Original post by ron0studios)
Thank you for your comments! At the end of the day I tried taking subjects that I found interesting and wanted to look into in depth. I very well understand that economics isn't going to help with becoming entrepreneurial and that physics isn't necessary for a CS degree. However, I have found the two subjects very interesting over the gcse course and I have tried going out of syllabus, e.g reading books on economics every now and again. Would you say that the extra effort is not worthwhile if I would find it interesting? If I were to remove economics and physics from my options, and even drop down accelerated further maths, I would still have a 4th option left. In this case would I just pick a subject I like and then drop it after a year?

I must say I am very confused now, since I was previously fixated on those options and am now not as sure. I intend to pick these subjects based on interest mainly (apart from physics, which I thought was a good pair with maths and CS until now, it seems I was mistaken). The main reason I picked economics, knowing that it is the most anomalous out of the 5, was because I liked the books that I read on it, and I have enjoyed the GCSE so far. As far as I've seen in the course, there is a lot of overlap with the GCSE, but with far more mathematics involved and more in-depth detail, which is always a plus for me.

I have heard that you don't actually need CS a level for CS at uni or any of my other options apart from accel. maths, but in terms of a "useful knowledge" standpoint, would you say that there would be some benefit in the future to having studied it?

Lastly, I would like to admit, my career path is influenced by earnings, what isn't?
This doesn't mean I don't enjoy CS or any of its complementary subjects, I have liked CS since late primary school and have always tried to pursue it since. Coding is practically my main hobby and all I do in my spare time XD! But, I would like to ask whether what you are saying about oversaturation in the software engineering market really being as big of an issue it is at the moment. In the UK, the average software engineer salary has been low, however, I would have always liked to work at really big companies, such as FAANG, in which earnings can be far higher. In particular, Google, because of the atmosphere they provide to workers, and the freedom they give, which I like. I've also considered working at a fast-paced startup, but I think by now we're getting too far into careers, which is out of topic. What about working in the US, silicon valley, e.g the google headquarters? They pay a lot there, and I've been trying to build up a resume of things since y10 now I think.

All in all, I am a bit confuzzled XD
I'd say I'm in a similar boat to you, I'm stick in the midst of picking my alevel options out of: maths, further maths, computing, economics and physics. I'm currently doing fsmq as well.
Career wise, I'd like to go into programming, artificial intelligence or maybe cybersecurity.
I guess the best way to choose alevels is based on what alevels you need for whatever degree you want to do. Consider like 3 courses you would like to do and see what they would require.

After reading through this thread, I've got a question, based on what I want to do as a career, is a computing degree really the best idea? Or would it be better to go into another degree but still end up working in computing.
The current courses I'm interested in at uni, is Computing with AI/ Machine Learning at Imperial, or Computer Science Degree at Warick.
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skylark2
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#20
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I'm a scientific computer programmer. None of my colleagues have computer science first degrees - we are all physics or maths graduates. You might want to look at what the requirements are for the sort of programming jobs that you might be interested in.
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