Not sure if I should take A level maths

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jl_106
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#1
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#1
I want to do physics in uni. For like 99% of physics courses you need to take A level maths. I’m pretty average at maths, I got a 5 on my last mock but I didn’t revise for my non-calc exam so I think I could’ve gotten more.

I really don’t want to take maths but I don’t know what else I can do. I just feel like I’m going to end up looking like an idiot who has no clue what they’re doing. I asked my maths teacher about it and he pretty much said to me that it would be very hard and that even students who get 7s and 8s in GCSE maths struggle at A level. I really like physics though, I would love to do it at uni because I find it really interesting. I’m just not sure what to do.

If I do end up failing maths, I could do physics with a foundation year, but that would cost me an extra few thousand pounds. I do have another uni course in mind, medicine. I enjoy the idea of doing medicine but I just want to do physics a little bit more.

I think I’m going to see how I do in my maths GCSE and if I do really bad i’m just going to take the A levels required for medicine. It just annoys me though because I love physics and I really want to study it further, but I don’t want to waste my time with A level maths if it’s just going to be too much for me.

Edit: Forgot to mention that I have been improving in maths recently and I’ve been revising a lot. My main problem with maths is that it just doesn’t come naturally to me like it does with others. I’m very forgetful with it as well so I’m always forgetting how to do certain things.

Decided I’m just going to try and become better at maths by practicing more. I don’t hate maths, I just don’t think I’m incredible at it, and that’s what’s putting me off. I understand that physics is extremely maths based and that if I want to do it then I’m just gonna have to work my ass off til I get good at it. Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate the advice
Last edited by jl_106; 2 months ago
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Maya.kg16
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If you want to do physics at uni you will need to take maths, as even if it’s not required at certain unis it would put you at a major disadvantage not to have it. A lot of medicine courses also prefer maths as well.
Maths doesn’t come naturally to me either and it’s been a lot of work and now I’m on track for an A. When you get to A level, I’d recommend Bicen Maths and mathsmadeeasy, after each maths lesson and again when you revise to consolidate everything. Don’t settle for a course you don’t prefer just because you’re struggling now, it’s do-able and with hard work you will get there hope this helps! Feel free to ask any questions about it!
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username5706823
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#3
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(Original post by jl_106)
I want to do physics in uni. For like 99% of physics courses you need to take A level maths. I’m pretty average at maths, I got a 5 on my last mock but I didn’t revise for my non-calc exam so I think I could’ve gotten more.

I really don’t want to take maths but I don’t know what else I can do. I just feel like I’m going to end up looking like an idiot who has no clue what they’re doing. I asked my maths teacher about it and he pretty much said to me that it would be very hard and that even students who get 7s and 8s in GCSE maths struggle at A level. I really like physics though, I would love to do it at uni because I find it really interesting. I’m just not sure what to do.

If I do end up failing maths, I could do physics with a foundation year, but that would cost me an extra few thousand pounds. I do have another uni course in mind, medicine. I enjoy the idea of doing medicine but I just want to do physics a little bit more.

I think I’m going to see how I do in my maths GCSE and if I do really bad i’m just going to take the A levels required for medicine. It just annoys me though because I love physics and I really want to study it further, but I don’t want to waste my time with A level maths if it’s just going to be too much for me.

Edit: Forgot to mention that I have been improving in maths recently and I’ve been revising a lot. My main problem with maths is that it just doesn’t come naturally to me like it does with others. I’m very forgetful with it as well so I’m always forgetting how to do certain things.
Uni physics is applied maths. If you struggle with maths, you will struggle with uni physics. A-level physics on the other hand, is hardly mathematical but you still need good gcse base in maths for physics. That being said, you could improve if you practice but idk if physics is for you if you hate maths.
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hungrysalamander
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#4
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(Original post by Maya.kg16)
A lot of medicine courses also prefer maths as well.
I just want to clear up that Cambridge is the ONLY medical school that requires biology, chemistry and maths or physics. Biology, chemistry + anything else is fine for any other medical school.

As for OP, maths is required for physics and further maths could be helpful as well.
Last edited by hungrysalamander; 2 months ago
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Maya.kg16
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I said prefer, rather than require- my friends applying for medicine more often got in with maths than an unrelated subject so it’s just based off of experience it’s not unheard of by any means to get an offer without maths however, it’s just the most common combination
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hungrysalamander
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Maya.kg16)
I said prefer, rather than require- my friends applying for medicine more often got in with maths than an unrelated subject so it’s just based off of experience it’s not unheard of by any means to get an offer without maths however, it’s just the most common combination
They don't prefer maths. Medical schools select by A-level predicted grades, GCSE's and UCAT/BMAT. An A in a third subject that you enjoy will always be better than a B in maths. BSMS even states that "We actively welcome applicants who study subjects outside of the mathematical and physical sciences, as we recognise their value in broadening academic horizons." I know plenty of people in my cohort who didn't take maths at A-level, if you want to use anecdotes.
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mozzie810
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I wasn't very good at maths in school (bottom set), but I'm currently studying maths and further maths at college now, predicted all A's. It's quite enjoyable. Yes it can be difficult but don't let that put you off.

I will say I study about 4-6 hours a day. I get stuck loads but that's how I learn, from failing lol.
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mnot
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#8
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#8
(Original post by jl_106)
I want to do physics in uni. For like 99% of physics courses you need to take A level maths. I’m pretty average at maths, I got a 5 on my last mock but I didn’t revise for my non-calc exam so I think I could’ve gotten more.

I really don’t want to take maths but I don’t know what else I can do. I just feel like I’m going to end up looking like an idiot who has no clue what they’re doing. I asked my maths teacher about it and he pretty much said to me that it would be very hard and that even students who get 7s and 8s in GCSE maths struggle at A level. I really like physics though, I would love to do it at uni because I find it really interesting. I’m just not sure what to do.

If I do end up failing maths, I could do physics with a foundation year, but that would cost me an extra few thousand pounds. I do have another uni course in mind, medicine. I enjoy the idea of doing medicine but I just want to do physics a little bit more.

I think I’m going to see how I do in my maths GCSE and if I do really bad i’m just going to take the A levels required for medicine. It just annoys me though because I love physics and I really want to study it further, but I don’t want to waste my time with A level maths if it’s just going to be too much for me.

Edit: Forgot to mention that I have been improving in maths recently and I’ve been revising a lot. My main problem with maths is that it just doesn’t come naturally to me like it does with others. I’m very forgetful with it as well so I’m always forgetting how to do certain things.

Decided I’m just going to try and become better at maths by practicing more. I don’t hate maths, I just don’t think I’m incredible at it, and that’s what’s putting me off. I understand that physics is extremely maths based and that if I want to do it then I’m just gonna have to work my ass off til I get good at it. Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate the advice
The language of physics is mathematics, if you want to study physics at degree level you will have to be pretty fluent at higher level mathematics. A-level mathematics is really a minimum imo, ideally further maths would help prepare someone for a physics degree.

But ill also say GCSE mathematics is pretty trivial compared to A-level maths, their is a significant jump.
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artful_lounger
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#9
Something that's worth bearing in mind is physics at degree level involves maths constantly, and is more like A-level Maths than A-level Physics. So the requirement isn't arbitrary and if you want to do physics at degree level you need to be prepared to do a lot of advanced maths every day.
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z-u-l-u
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#10
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#10
i'd normally say under no circumstances do maths A Level because it is hell but if you need it, I think you should persevere. just make sure to pick an easier 3rd A Level.
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Telomere
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#11
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#11
I would say take Maths to keep your options open even if it is a slog (as it was for me) - you will need it for Physics and its fine as the third A-level for medicine too.

My brother did graduate entry medicine after a physics degree and is now a neuroradiologist.
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