Advice needed on A-Level options

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qwertyosc123
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#1
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#1
Hi,

I have just finished my GCSEs and yesterday went to my colleges Moving on Event. Currently, I have chosen to do Modern History, Economics, Maths + Further Maths, but after attending the college day courses I am seriously reconsidering doing Further Maths. I am worried that since I’ll be doing the whole single Maths content in year 1 and Further in year 2, having half the time for single Maths, I will struggle massively with the workload and time constraints. I wish to do something related to Economics/Financing/Maths at University so Further Maths could be essential for my application, but I run the risk of achieving lower grades for my subjects. I have heard that 3 straight A*s are better than a mix of As and A*s between 4 subjects, so I am really conflicted on what to do. In terms of GCSEs, although much different, I am confident I have achieved a grade 9 in Maths and 8/9 in Further Maths GCSE, if that means anything.

I was considering learning the single Maths course throughout the long summer break, or rather just get an introductory into the content of my course, which will help me a lot in preparation, so any advice on how to get started in learning this course (Pearson’s A Level Maths) would be greatly appreciated.

I come from an Asian family where my family expects highly of me, so it is pressuring knowing these choices could affect me massively.
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Just bliss
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#2
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Hey! I’m doing maths, fm, econ & french and at the end of year 12. Doing single maths in the first year is pretty much the best way for schools to teach it (in my opinion) because you need a lot of y13 normal maths to do y12 further maths. It all comes down to time management honestly. Have an organisation structure (can be as loose or as detailed as you want) so you’ve got a smooth system of consolidating every topic as it comes. The only hard thing about doing maths in year 12 is the pace, but the key to maths is nailing the concept and getting faster with practice. (Use your teachers and online resources —examsolutions is my fav for maths & fm) If you want to apply for top universities, this kinda reflects the pace you’ll have to handle there(it’s probably a bit more than this still) . I understand your worry as I was always conscious as to not let one of my subjects fall behind while I paid loads of attention to maths. What helped me was making a general plan of what I would study in my frees and at home. (I planned this to align well with my timetabled lessons). Eg I’ve got double econ on a Wednesday morning, then a free period. I use that free to revise economics because I know if I leave it loosely, I’ll likely work on maths because for me that takes the most active work to keep up high grades. So organisation and discipline are key to keeping up your a levels and still maintaining high grades. Doing it at a level means you don’t have to learn that kind of organisation from scratch at uni.


This is super long sorry lol
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Just bliss
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I’m African so I get your worry about pressure, at the start you’ll probably have to cut yourself some slack, even though you’re getting 8s and 9s at GCSE. Some people just need a little time getting over the ‘jump’ from GCSE to a level (some people feel the jump heavily and for some, it doesn’t exist. Everyone’s different). So if you get a B or C at the start of the year, don’t let that force you to think you’ll not do well in the course, you just need time to find a system of learning hard concepts that work for you. So you may need to completely ignore external expectations for a while just to find your feet. Goodluck!
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qwertyosc123
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#4
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(Original post by Just bliss <3)
I’m African so I get your worry about pressure, at the start you’ll probably have to cut yourself some slack, even though you’re getting 8s and 9s at GCSE. Some people just need a little time getting over the ‘jump’ from GCSE to a level (some people feel the jump heavily and for some, it doesn’t exist. Everyone’s different). So if you get a B or C at the start of the year, don’t let that force you to think you’ll not do well in the course, you just need time to find a system of learning hard concepts that work for you. So you may need to completely ignore external expectations for a while just to find your feet. Goodluck!
Thank you for your reassuring words . I live quite far away from my college so time will be tight. However I am keen to do well so I should be constantly motivated (hopefully) which will help in during revision.
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Ira Acedia
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Some sixth forms/colleges go through the pacing slightly differently, for example in Year 12 at mine we complete all of normal maths as well as first year pure further maths, and having partially completed some of Further Mechanics and Further Y2 Pure. Granted, I assume the specific college/sixth form you intend to go to do only normal maths (which I believe is what is most common?) Though there are other places available with a different pacing that you could potentially look into, if interested.

I did OCR Additional Maths at GCSE and it, + GCSE Physics, pretty much covered all of Year 1 Normal Maths, and also parts of Year 2 (e.g. Numerical Methods), granted doing OCR MEI B not Pearson as an exam board, though I would assume it's similar for Pearson.

It's worth noting that if you like and are good at Physics, you could replace Modern History with that if you really want to take Further Maths and make the workload significantly easier. A-level Physics covers all of Normal Maths Mechanics and a lot of the Further Maths Mechanics topics, and I find that they do a good job in helping each other, as you look at the problems from slightly different angles. Granted there are of course other topics in Physics outside of Mechanics and Further Mechanics, e.g. Electricity, Particle Physics, Waves, but it might still be worth the consideration.

In terms of whether you should drop Further Maths -- I think at least give it a go for a half term, it's easier to drop a subject than it is to take a new one and catch up. See how it goes before deciding. Across our further math classes I know plenty of people that did well on Normal Maths but bad on Further Maths, and stuck with it purposefully so that they could get through all of Normal Maths within 1 year, drop Further Maths now that they fully know their predicted grade for it isn't as desired (granted they already thought that would happen) and then be much more relaxed in Year 13 as they've effectively only have 2 A-levels (excluding Normal Maths revision and making sure they don't forget anything).
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qwertyosc123
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#6
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(Original post by Ira Acedia)
Some sixth forms/colleges go through the pacing slightly differently, for example in Year 12 at mine we complete all of normal maths as well as first year pure further maths, and having partially completed some of Further Mechanics and Further Y2 Pure. Granted, I assume the specific college/sixth form you intend to go to do only normal maths (which I believe is what is most common?) Though there are other places available with a different pacing that you could potentially look into, if interested.

I did OCR Additional Maths at GCSE and it, + GCSE Physics, pretty much covered all of Year 1 Normal Maths, and also parts of Year 2 (e.g. Numerical Methods), granted doing OCR MEI B not Pearson as an exam board, though I would assume it's similar for Pearson.

It's worth noting that if you like and are good at Physics, you could replace Modern History with that if you really want to take Further Maths and make the workload significantly easier. A-level Physics covers all of Normal Maths Mechanics and a lot of the Further Maths Mechanics topics, and I find that they do a good job in helping each other, as you look at the problems from slightly different angles. Granted there are of course other topics in Physics outside of Mechanics and Further Mechanics, e.g. Electricity, Particle Physics, Waves, but it might still be worth the consideration.

In terms of whether you should drop Further Maths -- I think at least give it a go for a half term, it's easier to drop a subject than it is to take a new one and catch up. See how it goes before deciding. Across our further math classes I know plenty of people that did well on Normal Maths but bad on Further Maths, and stuck with it purposefully so that they could get through all of Normal Maths within 1 year, drop Further Maths now that they fully know their predicted grade for it isn't as desired (granted they already thought that would happen) and then be much more relaxed in Year 13 as they've effectively only have 2 A-levels (excluding Normal Maths revision and making sure they don't forget anything).
Yeah my main concern was doing badly on Further Maths which would affect my results in general but worst comes worst I will just drop it in the second year if it really goes badly I suppose. As for Physics I have considered it before since it is a helpful subject but I really did not enjoy it during GCSEs and was probably the one of the worst subjects I did so I highly doubt I would be capable of getting a good grade in that
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