Is it worth doing 4 A-levels as well as WBACC?

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username5943587
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#1
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#1
Hi, I'm doing my A-levels next year, and I've decided on Physics, Further Maths, Maths and Chemistry. WBACC, is compulsory, is it worth it?
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artful_lounger
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#2
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You seem to have sent your thread before you finished typing, but in short - no, it's not worth it. Unis only require 3 A-levels, and normally make offers on the basis of doing 3 A-levels - you don't get "bonus points" for doing extra subjects. If the WBacc is compulsory then I'd suggest just taking 3 of the other 4 subjects alongside it, depending what you are hoping to do after 6th form.
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username5943587
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#3
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You seem to have sent your thread before you finished typing, but in short - no, it's not worth it. Unis only require 3 A-levels, and normally make offers on the basis of doing 3 A-levels - you don't get "bonus points" for doing extra subjects. If the WBacc is compulsory then I'd suggest just taking 3 of the other 4 subjects alongside it, depending what you are hoping to do after 6th form.
Ok thanks!
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ajj2000
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#4
No way out of WBACC? What are your aspirations? I can see the sense in taking the four a levels you are looking at - very different to most occasions people propose doing 4.
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strugglingsixth
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#5
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I'm just about to finish year 12 having done exactly these and I would definitely recommend only doing three A levels with Bacc. Personally I would've dropped chemistry if I could've and I would've had a lot more time. If you feel you can handle it, sure, but generally three and Bacc is plenty.
(Original post by WittyKoala)
Hi, I'm doing my A-levels next year, and I've decided on Physics, Further Maths, Maths and Chemistry. WBACC, is compulsory and
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Witty Koala
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#6
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(Original post by ajj2000)
No way out of WBACC? What are your aspirations? I can see the sense in taking the four a levels you are looking at - very different to most occasions people propose doing 4.
Hi, this is the thread starter. For my school, WBACC is required so I can't drop it. I'm going down the route of engineering - either biomedical or mechanical. And I can't drop maths as it's required for further maths.
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Witty Koala
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#7
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(Original post by strugglingsixth)
I'm just about to finish year 12 having done exactly these and I would definitely recommend only doing three A levels with Bacc. Personally I would've dropped chemistry if I could've and I would've had a lot more time. If you feel you can handle it, sure, but generally three and Bacc is plenty.
Thank you, did you struggle or was it barely manageable?
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ajj2000
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#8
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(Original post by Witty Koala)
Hi, this is the thread starter. For my school, WBACC is required so I can't drop it. I'm going down the route of engineering - either biomedical or mechanical. And I can't drop maths as it's required for further maths.
Understand. What a hassle! Seems very rough on aspiring STEM students.
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Zxphyrs
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#9
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I did four A-levels and it was pain. Also unnecessary. Do not advise.
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McGinger
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#10
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#10
As above - its usually totally pointless doing more than 3 A levels.
However, the only exception to this advice is doing FM - but only if you want to do a Uni subject that requires FM.
For those aiming at Econ and certain STEM degrees at top Unis having both Maths and FM is the normal expectation.

Do you really have to do WBac? That seems a daft addition when you don't need it, and on top of 4 subjects is definitely not a great idea as it risks all your A level grades.
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Talkative Toad
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#11
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#11
(Original post by McGinger)
As above - its usually totally pointless doing more than 3 A levels.
However, the only exception to this advice is doing FM - but only if you want to do a Uni subject that requires FM.
For those aiming at Econ and certain STEM degrees at top Unis having both Maths and FM is the normal expectation.

Do you really have to do WBac? That seems a daft addition when you don't need it, and on top of 4 subjects is definitely not a great idea as it risks all your A level grades.
OP says that it's required in their school Witty Koala ^^^
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McGinger
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#12
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#12
Anyone doing WBac - useful *free* short online course here - https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/welshbacc
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Zxphyrs
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#13
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(Original post by McGinger)
As above - its usually totally pointless doing more than 3 A levels.
However, the only exception to this advice is doing FM - but only if you want to do a Uni subject that requires FM.
For those aiming at Econ and certain STEM degrees at top Unis having both Maths and FM is the normal expectation.

Do you really have to do WBac? That seems a daft addition when you don't need it, and on top of 4 subjects is definitely not a great idea as it risks all your A level grades.
Exactly.

I only did four because I wanted to study Mathematics at university. Having further mathematics as an A level was advantageous not only in the knowledge sense but it also reduced my offer criteria. If you’re not looking to do STEM at a target uni then doing four A levels is absolutely pointless. Why would you want to add to the risk of burnout when you’re not even getting a worthwhile compensation for it?

I wouldn’t question “Is it manageable?” Instead, ask yourself if it is worth it
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_gcx
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#14
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#14
Start with 4 A-levels then if you find it hard or you don't like one drop down to 3. Don't jump the gun and drop one before you even know what the subjects are like at A-level.

This sounds like a vaguely prattish thing to say but I think the difficulty of studying 4 A-levels is often overplayed on here. (as in, it's a fair amount of work but it's not an absolutely herculean task for a lot of strong students) Plenty manage it, particularly when one of them is further maths, and the 4th subject might provide appreciable breadth or a safety net. Since the way admissions are set up in this country means that if your offer is A*AA and you get A*A*B because of a bad exam, you might be stuffed, and this situation could be possibly be avoided with an extra A-level. Just something to add into your consideration.

I don't know anything about the welsh bacc though.
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Zxphyrs
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#15
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#15
(Original post by _gcx)
Start with 4 A-levels then if you find it hard or you don't like one drop down to 3. Don't jump the gun and drop one before you even know what the subjects are like at A-level.

This sounds like a vaguely prattish thing to say but I think the difficulty of studying 4 A-levels is often overplayed on here. (as in, it's a fair amount of work but it's not an absolutely herculean task for a lot of strong students) Plenty manage it, particularly when one of them is further maths, and the 4th subject might provide appreciable breadth or a safety net. Since the way admissions are set up in this country means that if your offer is A*AA and you get A*A*B because of a bad exam, you might be stuffed, and this situation could be possibly be avoided with an extra A-level. Just something to add into your consideration.

I don't know anything about the welsh bacc though.
You raise some fair points.

I’d argue the opposite regarding your ‘safety net’ argument, though. I’ve seen a lot of people who’ve missed on their offers owing to the struggle of spreading workload across subjects. More time invested across 3 subjects would likely help to better avoid this problem of missing grades.

With that being said, of course you can start with four, but be aware that often depth and bread within subjects can heighten quite erratically between Year 12 and Year 13; especially in subjects like Further Maths and Physics - and this is coming from someone who received multiple 100 UMS results.

You are correct - it is not a ‘Herculean’ task to study four but there’s a reason why three is the standard. Also, if you have extra hobbies outside of your studies, and in general value your free time as well, this is a hugely important consideration you’re going to have to make as well. I didn’t go out clubbing or to parties nearly half as often as my friends at the time did . Didn’t bother me too much, but it might you!
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_gcx
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#16
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#16
(Original post by Zxphyrs)
You raise some fair points.

I’d argue the opposite regarding your ‘safety net’ argument, though. I’ve seen a lot of people who’ve missed on their offers owing to the struggle of spreading workload across subjects. More time invested across 3 subjects would likely help to better avoid this problem of missing grades.

With that being said, of course you can start with four, but be aware that often depth and bread within subjects can heighten quite erratically between Year 12 and Year 13; especially in subjects like Further Maths and Physics - and this is coming from someone who received multiple 100 UMS results.

You are correct - it is not a ‘Herculean’ task to study four but there’s a reason why three is the standard. Also, if you have extra hobbies outside of your studies, and in general value your free time as well, this is a hugely important consideration you’re going to have to make as well. I didn’t go out clubbing or to parties nearly half as often as my friends at the time did . Didn’t bother me too much, but it might you!
The advice here is usually "don't even try to do 4" which I've always found odd considering TSR attracts strong students. People should be able to recognise if they're spread too thin far from the exams at the end of Year 13, it was pretty common for people to drop subjects after year 12 exams and reasonably far into year 13 as well. You see threads on people who started with 3 A-levels but didn't like one, or dropped the wrong subject, etc. and I feel starting with 4 A-levels is a far safer play if the school's policies are fine with it. (my old school wanted all students, except those with weaker GCSEs, start on 4 for this sort of reason, always thought it was fairly sensible. not exactly a high-flying school either)

Only problem comes if the school has awkward internal policies which might stop someone from doing this or put awkward deadlines on, or if the school does maths y12 and fm y13 since some universities get funny about taking only 2 a-levels in y13.
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Witty Koala
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#17
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#17
(Original post by _gcx)
Start with 4 A-levels then if you find it hard or you don't like one drop down to 3. Don't jump the gun and drop one before you even know what the subjects are like at A-level.

This sounds like a vaguely prattish thing to say but I think the difficulty of studying 4 A-levels is often overplayed on here. (as in, it's a fair amount of work but it's not an absolutely herculean task for a lot of strong students) Plenty manage it, particularly when one of them is further maths, and the 4th subject might provide appreciable breadth or a safety net. Since the way admissions are set up in this country means that if your offer is A*AA and you get A*A*B because of a bad exam, you might be stuffed, and this situation could be possibly be avoided with an extra A-level. Just something to add into your consideration.

I don't know anything about the welsh bacc though.
That’s what Im going to do, I’m going to stick with the 4 options and drop one in year 13 if it’s too hard to balance the workload. Thanks
My school makes everyone take 4 A-levels, and let you drop one if it’s too much.
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