The Student Room Group

Do you require 4 A levels or 3 A levels to get into Cambridge for Economics

In my GCSE’s I got all 9s and one 8. After my A levels I want to take Economics. The School I currently go to only offers 3 a levels. It’s an outstanding school with great teachers and provides excellent results. The subjects I’m taking are: Economics, Maths and Further Maths.

Is it worth going to another school and taking 4 A levels (where my fourth option would be history) or would it be better to get A*A*A* at my current school. Will taking only 3 subjects affect my chances of getting into Cambridge?
Original post by Alisa.A
In my GCSE’s I got all 9s and one 8. After my A levels I want to take Economics. The School I currently go to only offers 3 a levels. It’s an outstanding school with great teachers and provides excellent results. The subjects I’m taking are: Economics, Maths and Further Maths.

Is it worth going to another school and taking 4 A levels (where my fourth option would be history) or would it be better to get A*A*A* at my current school. Will taking only 3 subjects affect my chances of getting into Cambridge?


that should be fine but bear in mind most people will probably be applying with 4 a levels and A*A*AA is a lot more doable than A*A*A* (if you only do 3 a levels you'll probably have to get that)
(edited 1 year ago)
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Alisa.A
In my GCSE’s I got all 9s and one 8. After my A levels I want to take Economics. The School I currently go to only offers 3 a levels. It’s an outstanding school with great teachers and provides excellent results. The subjects I’m taking are: Economics, Maths and Further Maths.

Is it worth going to another school and taking 4 A levels (where my fourth option would be history) or would it be better to get A*A*A* at my current school. Will taking only 3 subjects affect my chances of getting into Cambridge?


Absolutely not. Cambridge recognizes that some students can only take a maximum of three A levels, and thus there is no advantage given to students taking four over three. Furthermore, it is much better to be taking three and excelling in them than merely accumulating extra A levels. In other words, A*A*A*>>A*AAA or A*A*AA.
Original post by lesgo21
that should be fine but bear in mind most people will probably be applying with 4 a levels and A*A*AA is a lot more doable than A*A*A* (if you only do 3 a levels you'll probably have to get that)

See above with regards to grades vs. number of A levels and how they are viewed.
Original post by Alisa.A
In my GCSE’s I got all 9s and one 8. After my A levels I want to take Economics. The School I currently go to only offers 3 a levels. It’s an outstanding school with great teachers and provides excellent results. The subjects I’m taking are: Economics, Maths and Further Maths.

Is it worth going to another school and taking 4 A levels (where my fourth option would be history) or would it be better to get A*A*A* at my current school. Will taking only 3 subjects affect my chances of getting into Cambridge?

Turn to page 18 of the Admissions Statistics for Cambridge University in 2021.

https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/files/publications/ug_admissions_statistics_2021_cycle.pdf

It shows that the vast majority of applicants had A*A*A* or A*A*A and quite a number had more than 3 A-Levels.

So it would be advantageous to offer Maths, Further Maths, Economics and History if you can get A*A*A*A and above!!! :smile:
yes I would say start with 4 and if you really don't like history just drop it early
As note, 3 are sufficient and you're taking the two essential subjects (maths and FM) and another relevant one (economics) so you are fine. Maths/FM/economics is a very common combination for applicants there :smile:
Original post by artful_lounger
As note, 3 are sufficient and you're taking the two essential subjects (maths and FM) and another relevant one (economics) so you are fine. Maths/FM/economics is a very common combination for applicants there :smile:

A lot of LSE applicants also have Maths, Further Maths and Economics. Also, my cousin got an offer from LSE for BSc Economics 3 years ago but missed it with a B in A-Level Maths instead of the required A grade. So he was accepted by UCL BSc Economics with A*A*Ba in Biology, Chemistry, Maths and AS-Level Economics. So if you have a 4th AS-Level or A-Level you might be at an advantage, especially if you narrowly miss your offers.
Original post by Alisa.A
In my GCSE’s I got all 9s and one 8. After my A levels I want to take Economics. The School I currently go to only offers 3 a levels. It’s an outstanding school with great teachers and provides excellent results. The subjects I’m taking are: Economics, Maths and Further Maths.

Is it worth going to another school and taking 4 A levels (where my fourth option would be history) or would it be better to get A*A*A* at my current school. Will taking only 3 subjects affect my chances of getting into Cambridge?

My cousin from Brampton Manor Academy, got into Economics at Cambridge University with A*A*A in Maths, Further Maths and Economics and an AS in Physics. So it might be worthwhile doing an extra AS-Level.
Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this - I've been on leave.

@Reality Check's advice is spot on here: we prefer to see students do better in 3 A Levels than less well in 4. We know some schools won't allow students to take more than 3, so we don't expect it. The subjects you've chosen will prepare you well, so unless you are interested in History for its own sake, I wouldn't recommend changing schools.

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