A Level Maths or Computer Science... but halfway through Year 12

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NightCap
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#1
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#1
I am in Year 12 doing Computer Science A-level and not sure if I should switch to Maths. My main concern was the difficulty. Maybe this was dumb but I felt that an A was off the table as I averaged a 8/7 in GCSE and struggled to get 9s although that did happen a few times in Year 11. But the really dumb part is I was worried about getting a B as well, especially due to the terrible maths teacher and comparatively better Computing teacher. The heads of department weren't budging on changing the teachers even though now that has happened and the new maths teacher is pretty solid.

I figured some of the unis that accept a B in maths would also accept Computer Science so it's not a terrible idea. Well a few months passed and I have done so little for CS, especially the programming and coursework side. Feel like a fool for not working harder in the last few months to see if I was good enough at the subject and I'd say it's too late to do that now, I basically have to pick one and stick with it. Now my only priority really is just being able to get the B/A, enjoyment of the subjects is similar (but who knows maybe I will want to do something post-18 that requires a B in Maths)So is my thinking correct in that there's no point in switching back to Maths because I'm scared of the difficulty for both subjects and so it wouldn't change much? I've seen a lot online about people struggling but I've also now seen a lot of success stories of people working hard and getting their desired grades. And is it the same kind of thing with Computer Science too? That it isn't too difficult and I'm probably capable of doing good in the papers and NEA as long as I put the work in? Is it easier or harder than maths? I at least have my 8 at GCSE to give some if any reassurance but nothing for Computing.

As for concerns about me not working hard enough, they make sense since I procrastinated a lot and had a terrible work ethic but in the last month I'd say I've fixed up and have revised all of the content for my other two subjects, geography and psychology (I am not struggling with the workload for these atm) and I've also gone through most of the future Year 12 content too, although spending that time on CS probably would've been smarter. Anyway I can pretty much dedicate the next 6 months (if you include the summer holiday) to AS Maths or Computer Science. That said I'm still worried for the future as I plan to take a gap year but the school wants us to do lots of extra-curricular stuff and more importantly work experience and UCAS stuff which could take my precious time away so maybe I should just say no to them.Sorry for this messy ramble but yeah that's my situation. What should be the plan from now?
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2022 g
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#2
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#2
(Original post by NightCap)
I am in Year 12 doing Computer Science A-level and not sure if I should switch to Maths. My main concern was the difficulty. Maybe this was dumb but I felt that an A was off the table as I averaged a 8/7 in GCSE and struggled to get 9s although that did happen a few times in Year 11. But the really dumb part is I was worried about getting a B as well, especially due to the terrible maths teacher and comparatively better Computing teacher. The heads of department weren't budging on changing the teachers even though now that has happened and the new maths teacher is pretty solid.

I figured some of the unis that accept a B in maths would also accept Computer Science so it's not a terrible idea. Well a few months passed and I have done so little for CS, especially the programming and coursework side. Feel like a fool for not working harder in the last few months to see if I was good enough at the subject and I'd say it's too late to do that now, I basically have to pick one and stick with it. Now my only priority really is just being able to get the B/A, enjoyment of the subjects is similar (but who knows maybe I will want to do something post-18 that requires a B in Maths)So is my thinking correct in that there's no point in switching back to Maths because I'm scared of the difficulty for both subjects and so it wouldn't change much? I've seen a lot online about people struggling but I've also now seen a lot of success stories of people working hard and getting their desired grades. And is it the same kind of thing with Computer Science too? That it isn't too difficult and I'm probably capable of doing good in the papers and NEA as long as I put the work in? Is it easier or harder than maths? I at least have my 8 at GCSE to give some if any reassurance but nothing for Computing.

As for concerns about me not working hard enough, they make sense since I procrastinated a lot and had a terrible work ethic but in the last month I'd say I've fixed up and have revised all of the content for my other two subjects, geography and psychology (I am not struggling with the workload for these atm) and I've also gone through most of the future Year 12 content too, although spending that time on CS probably would've been smarter. Anyway I can pretty much dedicate the next 6 months (if you include the summer holiday) to AS Maths or Computer Science. That said I'm still worried for the future as I plan to take a gap year but the school wants us to do lots of extra-curricular stuff and more importantly work experience and UCAS stuff which could take my precious time away so maybe I should just say no to them.Sorry for this messy ramble but yeah that's my situation. What should be the plan from now?
What unis are you looking into? Some unis don’t use ucas tariff points.
Last edited by 2022 g; 4 months ago
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vapordave
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#3
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Computer Science is significantly easier than Maths.
What do you want to do after A-levels?
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NightCap
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#4
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(Original post by vapordave)
Computer Science is significantly easier than Maths.
What do you want to do after A-levels?
I'm not sure yet. But I want Computer Science as an option, although I don't think I'd be able to get an A in Maths and at the current moment am not interested in any degrees that require maths. But now I'm thinking maybe I should switch back although I'm worried of difficulty (and 4 semesters including summer holiday is probably not enough time).

Why do you say Computer Science is significantly easier than Maths (to get an A/B in)? Do you have any tips for getting good at Paper 2 OCR and the coursework? I'm a bit scared right now as I haven't done enough for the subject.
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Skiwi
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#5
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In terms of difficulty maths seems to be significantly harder, everyone in my school who takes both cruises through CS with an A/A* whilst maths grades vary from C-A*. I only take maths out of the two so i say this from what i've seen at school and not from personal experience. In terms of what's more useful, maths by a long shot. Most computer science degrees require it as well as engineering/physics/maths. If you averaged an 8 at gcse you're more than capable of an A at A-level.
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2022 g
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#6
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#6
(Original post by NightCap)
I'm not sure yet. But I want Computer Science as an option, although I don't think I'd be able to get an A in Maths and at the current moment am not interested in any degrees that require maths. But now I'm thinking maybe I should switch back although I'm worried of difficulty (and 4 semesters including summer holiday is probably not enough time).

Why do you say Computer Science is significantly easier than Maths (to get an A/B in)? Do you have any tips for getting good at Paper 2 OCR and the coursework? I'm a bit scared right now as I haven't done enough for the subject.
If you really don’t think you can achieve like an A/B, just take a gap year and resit the exam then. Honestly taking a year off isn’t bad at all. You’d be surprised how many people do it.
You say you want to do a degree that doesn’t require maths. Yet you’re wanting to take physics maths and computer science alevels?
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NightCap
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#7
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(Original post by Skiwi)
In terms of difficulty maths seems to be significantly harder, everyone in my school who takes both cruises through CS with an A/A* whilst maths grades vary from C-A*. I only take maths out of the two so i say this from what i've seen at school and not from personal experience. In terms of what's more useful, maths by a long shot. Most computer science degrees require it as well as engineering/physics/maths. If you averaged an 8 at gcse you're more than capable of an A at A-level.
Yeah I averaged an 8 at GCSE with the occasional 9. Thing is if I wasn't confident in my A-level abilities back in October then I'm definitely not with only 5-6 months until Year 13 and A2 begins. Should I just convince teachers to let me switch to it, just in case I do end up doing good and if not then I can just resit or take a gap year to get the B/A?
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NightCap
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#8
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#8
(Original post by 2022 g)
If you really don’t think you can achieve like an A/B, just take a gap year and resit the exam then. Honestly taking a year off isn’t bad at all. You’d be surprised how many people do it.
You say you want to do a degree that doesn’t require maths. Yet you’re wanting to take physics maths and computer science alevels?
Not Physics, just Computer Science. Although I should've stuck with Maths I think. When you say take a gap year and resit do you mean I should switch to maths half-way through Year 12 and work really hard and then if my grades are lacking I can resit the exam with an extra year of hard work?
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Muttley79
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#9
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(Original post by NightCap)
Yeah I averaged an 8 at GCSE with the occasional 9. Thing is if I wasn't confident in my A-level abilities back in October then I'm definitely not with only 5-6 months until Year 13 and A2 begins. Should I just convince teachers to let me switch to it, just in case I do end up doing good and if not then I can just resit or take a gap year to get the B/A?
It's far to late to switch A levels - you've missed far too much content.
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username5886462
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#10
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#10
(Original post by NightCap)
Not Physics, just Computer Science. Although I should've stuck with Maths I think. When you say take a gap year and resit do you mean I should switch to maths half-way through Year 12 and work really hard and then if my grades are lacking I can resit the exam with an extra year of hard work?
computer science at degree level requires extensive maths too
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2022 g
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#11
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#11
(Original post by NightCap)
Not Physics, just Computer Science. Although I should've stuck with Maths I think. When you say take a gap year and resit do you mean I should switch to maths half-way through Year 12 and work really hard and then if my grades are lacking I can resit the exam with an extra year of hard work?
You could do that. But then it will be compulsory for you to take a gap year. To spend that extra year of revising hard. But talk with your school first. Tell them what you would feel is right for you. When resitting, you have to be aware that exam you do in your resit year will by quite expensive. As you will have to pay for the papers. Do your research and talk with your school and parents.
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NightCap
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Muttley79)
It's far to late to switch A levels - you've missed far too much content.
Further Maths students do it in half the time that I have, and I could self-study with some help from students and teachers. Plus I won't have much more work for my other two subjects in Year 12. Although you're right it's too risky. Generally people say they if you work hard throughout 6th form then you will get your desired grade but it's harder for them to recommend it when you've only got around two thirds of the time.
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