What should I do about my A level courses?

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sylkiebot
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#1
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#1
So Year 12 just finished, and I still know absolutely NOTHING about A level Maths. Our entire class has been failing this subject because our teachers are so kriffing bad, they don't know how to explain anything, which is why next year we're gonna be getting a different teacher. Its summer right now, and I am considering dropping the course simply because I don't feel confident that I can achieve a high grade next year since all this time has already been wasted and no amount of work can ever restore that. Next year, I wanna totally shift my focus more onto Chemistry and Biology since I wanna be a doctor and they are only whats essentially required for medicine. There are 19 chapters I have to catch up on, and past papers to do and Id think its a good idea just to cram them all during the summer. The only reason I chose Maths in the first place is that so it can open up more options for me in case the whole medicine route doesn't work out, like: (engineering) for example. If I drop Maths, I want to take AS psychology, I have always been very passionate about it but I don't think any university will be fine with just two A levels, which means I have to take another AS so that they could both somehow qualify as an A level, and in that case I might take Physics. I found out today that to do AS Physics you have to have studied AS Maths because the content is very much related, which causes a bigger problem right now because I am left more discombobulated than ever. If I decide to take A level Psychology however, than that means I won't have any options left for engineering, but if I continue taking A level Maths than I am pretty sure I am going to fail. Idk wt to do. I need help. My dad is telling me I should continue taking Maths but I don't think that's a good idea, because that means I have to spend this entire summer killing myself and practicing like 3 or more past papers a day and learning Statistics and Mechanics too. ITS TOO MUCH, and I know I am gonna procrastinate. Taking AS Physics could tend to be a problem later and I don't think its wise to take two AS instead of an A level. Idk I need advice on what to do please...
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crashcody
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#2
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#2
I would continue with Maths. Unless you REALLY despise it as a subject, it definitely is not too bad to catch up on. Year 1 is very easy to catch up on. Imo maths is the best subject to self-teach too. If you don’t have them already, buy the textbooks. Just make notes on the beginning of each chapter, and do the questions. If you get a question wrong, look at a solution, mark it down and return at a later date. Just do this until you finish all chapters.

I can emphasise with your situation. I didn’t complete any homework in year 1 and skipped multiple lessons. I did terribly in the PPEs. I caught up during the summer holidays for both Maths and Further Maths, and am now pretty confident I got
2A*s in my recent exams.

Just be advised if you do continue, you really do want to catch up. Year 2 isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly more than year 1. You do not want to be learning Y2 while catching up.

Best of luck!
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sylkiebot
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#3
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#3
(Original post by crashcody)
I would continue with Maths. Unless you REALLY despise it as a subject, it definitely is not too bad to catch up on. Year 1 is very easy to catch up on. Imo maths is the best subject to self-teach too. If you don’t have them already, buy the textbooks. Just make notes on the beginning of each chapter, and do the questions. If you get a question wrong, look at a solution, mark it down and return at a later date. Just do this until you finish all chapters.

I can emphasise with your situation. I didn’t complete any homework in year 1 and skipped multiple lessons. I did terribly in the PPEs. I caught up during the summer holidays for both Maths and Further Maths, and am now pretty confident I got
2A*s in my recent exams.

Just be advised if you do continue, you really do want to catch up. Year 2 isn’t terrible, but it’s certainly more than year 1. You do not want to be learning Y2 while catching up.

Best of luck!
I definitely hate Maths, always been my worst subject. You're right tho, I'm sure if I put in actual effort this summer than its not gonna be as bad. But then again its alot of content, and Id wanna pour all that hard work into Maths and completely neglect Chemistry and Bio which are far more important.
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_gcx
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#4
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#4
You won't be able to get into medicine with 2 A-levels, (at least not through any conventional routes) you would have to complete another A-level in a year (which is possible if you do a lot of work over the summer, I know someone who switched to chemistry at the end of year 12 and caught up with summer work) if you drop maths. Some universities (not medicine) take people on with 2 A-levels, or 2 A-levels and an AS etc., but your options would be very restricted, and if you're aiming for medicine then these will be a considerable step down from the universities you'd now be looking at. Two AS levels wouldn't add to an A-level.

You don't need AS-level maths for AS physics. I don't know why teachers keep on repeating this - it's never been a requirement (the qualifications are specifically designed for this not to be the case) and AS-level physics requires no more than a good handle on GCSE maths. It helps to know calculus at a few points (understanding one or two derivations and SHM) but it is not a requirement. Perhaps it's a correlation != causation thing, the people who didn't do A-level maths may have avoided doing it because they weren't strong at GCSE and so struggle for that reason. Effectively if you can confidently play around with formulas (rearranging etc.), and can do basic trigonometry you know about as much as you need to.

Doing A-level Psychology isn't a bad idea if your school is game in you joining a year late.

Also A-level maths is a pretty good one to just learn out of the textbook, it wouldn't be impossible to catch up over the summer provided you have a strong footing on your GCSE maths.
Last edited by _gcx; 1 month ago
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sylkiebot
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#5
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#5
(Original post by _gcx)
You won't be able to get into medicine with 2 A-levels, (at least not through any conventional routes) you would have to complete another A-level in a year (which is possible if you do a lot of work over the summer, I know someone who switched to chemistry at the end of year 12 and caught up with summer work) if you drop maths. Two AS levels wouldn't add to an A-level. You don't need AS-level maths for AS physics. I don't know why teachers keep on repeating this - it's never been a requirement and AS-level physics requires no more than a good handle on GCSE maths. It helps to know calculus at a few points (understanding one or two derivations and SHM) but it is not a requirement. Perhaps it's a correlation != causation thing, the people who didn't do A-level maths may have avoided doing it because they weren't strong at GCSE and so struggle for that reason.

Doing A-level Psychology isn't a bad idea if your school is game.

Also A-level maths is a pretty good one to just learn out of the textbook, it wouldn't be impossible to catch up over the summer provided you have a strong footing on your GCSE maths.
I am not sure about that tbh, I got a 7 in GCSE Maths and I am failing, we have pupils who got 9's in GCSE and now their failing too.
Well since you informed me that two AS don't add up to an A level, that means if if I ever consider dropping maths than I might have to opt for A level Psychology, but I don't think my dad will be on board with that because that means I've cancelled every other option besides medicine.
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_gcx
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#6
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#6
(Original post by sylkiebot)
I am not sure about that tbh, I got a 7 in GCSE Maths and I am failing, we have pupils who got 9's in GCSE and now their failing too.
Well since you informed me that two AS don't add up to an A level, that means if if I ever consider dropping maths than I might have to opt for A level Psychology, but I don't think my dad will be on board with that because that means I've cancelled every other option besides medicine.
I'm not sure what your first sentence is replying to, sorry. If you could point me to it I could clarify.

You won't have, you'd leave open doors in biological sciences and psychology at the least (stating the obvious) and other courses that may not require specific A-levels. Maths in itself doesn't open that many more doors, (though it is required for some courses in the life sciences, you're not setting yourself one specific path without it) it's more a "good one to have".
Last edited by _gcx; 1 month ago
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sylkiebot
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#7
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#7
(Original post by _gcx)
I'm not sure what your first sentence is replying to, sorry. If you could point me to it I could clarify.

You won't have, you'd leave open doors in biological sciences and psychology at the least (stating the obvious) and other courses that may not require specific A-levels. Maths in itself doesn't open that many more doors, (though it is required for some courses in the life sciences, you're not setting yourself one specific path without it) it's more a "good one to have".
My first sentence was basically me saying that GCSE Maths knowledge is entirely useless when it comes to A level Maths, because me and my peers literally got all A's and A*'s in GCSES but now we're failing. My only issue with dropping Maths and taking psychology would be cancelling engineering and I don't want to do that because I want to have it as a safe backup.
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_gcx
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#8
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#8
(Original post by sylkiebot)
My first sentence was basically me saying that GCSE Maths knowledge is entirely useless when it comes to A level Maths, because me and my peers literally got all A's and A*'s in GCSES but now we're failing. My only issue with dropping Maths and taking psychology would be cancelling engineering and I don't want to do that because I want to have it as a safe backup.
I was talking about A-level physics in the second paragraph of post #4

Engineering would already be made tricky (though perhaps not completely impossible) by the lack of physics. Might depend on the type too
Last edited by _gcx; 1 month ago
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StudyMind
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#9
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(Original post by sylkiebot)
So Year 12 just finished, and I still know absolutely NOTHING about A level Maths. Our entire class has been failing this subject because our teachers are so kriffing bad, they don't know how to explain anything, which is why next year we're gonna be getting a different teacher. Its summer right now, and I am considering dropping the course simply because I don't feel confident that I can achieve a high grade next year since all this time has already been wasted and no amount of work can ever restore that. Next year, I wanna totally shift my focus more onto Chemistry and Biology since I wanna be a doctor and they are only whats essentially required for medicine. There are 19 chapters I have to catch up on, and past papers to do and Id think its a good idea just to cram them all during the summer. The only reason I chose Maths in the first place is that so it can open up more options for me in case the whole medicine route doesn't work out, like: (engineering) for example. If I drop Maths, I want to take AS psychology, I have always been very passionate about it but I don't think any university will be fine with just two A levels, which means I have to take another AS so that they could both somehow qualify as an A level, and in that case I might take Physics. I found out today that to do AS Physics you have to have studied AS Maths because the content is very much related, which causes a bigger problem right now because I am left more discombobulated than ever. If I decide to take A level Psychology however, than that means I won't have any options left for engineering, but if I continue taking A level Maths than I am pretty sure I am going to fail. Idk wt to do. I need help. My dad is telling me I should continue taking Maths but I don't think that's a good idea, because that means I have to spend this entire summer killing myself and practicing like 3 or more past papers a day and learning Statistics and Mechanics too. ITS TOO MUCH, and I know I am gonna procrastinate. Taking AS Physics could tend to be a problem later and I don't think its wise to take two AS instead of an A level. Idk I need advice on what to do please...
Heya! I am very sorry to hear whats been happening with you Like others, I would think continuing with maths would be a better option unless you really really hate it. Trying to do 2 AS level is very hard at the same time as well. Usually Medical Universities will also look at your 3rd A-Level and will consider whether you are a good canditate or not from there, this is especially the case for Russell Universities.

To begin with, take a small break from thinking about it to get your mind cleared up! Perhaps go on some walks and breathe in some fresh air before making any decisions. Regarding Maths, best revision for it is just by doing tons of past papers. I have done A-level maths and found it one of my easiest subjects (Bio,Chem,Econ) as my only revision for it was just be doing tons of past papers and seeing if there is a pattern/understanding how to answer questions (as they are usually similar). Do not overwhelm yourself with revision though! Remember its summer holidays and you need to rest. Plan out your summer with revision properly! Perhaps do 1 past paper a day and dedicate 1-2hrs every other day on revision. Here are some free resources that could help you out with your revision!

Planning out your summer with revision is the key! This way you'll be able to properly allocate your revision time and not ignore chemistry and biology revision. Here is some free past paper resources for them to help you get started with your revision plan!

Have you also considered getting an A-Level Maths Tutor over the summer? My friends would get a Maths tutor over the summer just to go over the whole syllabus with them to understand the material better through personalised approach. If you are interested, here is the link but of course you don't have to! The tutors will help you with understanding the material better and help you catch up with everything over the summer so that you are ready for the new year

I would also recommend having a chat with your teacher to see what options you have if you really hate Maths and are confident you no longer wish to do it. Perhaps they could recommend a better approach regarding your situation.

Hope this helps and good luck!
Milena G.
UCL PFE
Study Mind
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