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Want to study Chem. Eng in Uni. Is 4 A levels, Chemistry, Maths, FM, Physics too much

My son wants to do Chemical Engineering in Uni, preferably at one of the top universities.
He has just started A levels.
In GCSE's he got 9's in all the triple science subjects and maths.

He has started studying 4 A levels, ie Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths & Physics.
Some teachers have told him to do these 4 A levels, some have said he should stick to 3, ie dropping further maths.
I know the minimum entry requirements for Cambridge are A*,A*,A but he says that 84% of those that get in have 3 A*.
I'm only using Cambridge as an example as it's very competitive and there's no guarantee he'll do well at the interview stage.

I guess I'm worried that by doing 4 A levels he might end up getting lower results overall, eg 4 A'S instead of doing 3 and maybe ending up with A*,A*,A .

Is there really much benefit in doing the 4th A level?
I have read somewhere that even though it's not listed as a pre-requisite, most students at the top unis chem. eng. degree courses will have done 4 A levels including maths.

Any advice would be appreciated.
having four A levels is rarely a competitive pro since most offers are for 3 grades, additionally its an undoubtable trade off between time and performance (and whatever you enjoy with your life) so unless he wants the breadth of academic study its probably not worth it overall

but breadth of academic study is certainly good for some academic people so...personal choice
Original post by HoldThisL
having four A levels is rarely a competitive pro since most offers are for 3 grades, additionally its an undoubtable trade off between time and performance (and whatever you enjoy with your life) so unless he wants the breadth of academic study its probably not worth it overall

but breadth of academic study is certainly good for some academic people so...personal choice


most offers are for 3 grades *but there are exceptions. i think imperial might well give lower offers grade by grade for 4 A levels. maybe. look around
Original post by Johnbuoy
My son wants to do Chemical Engineering in Uni, preferably at one of the top universities.
He has just started A levels.
In GCSE's he got 9's in all the triple science subjects and maths.

He has started studying 4 A levels, ie Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths & Physics.
Some teachers have told him to do these 4 A levels, some have said he should stick to 3, ie dropping further maths.
I know the minimum entry requirements for Cambridge are A*,A*,A but he says that 84% of those that get in have 3 A*.
I'm only using Cambridge as an example as it's very competitive and there's no guarantee he'll do well at the interview stage.

I guess I'm worried that by doing 4 A levels he might end up getting lower results overall, eg 4 A'S instead of doing 3 and maybe ending up with A*,A*,A .

Is there really much benefit in doing the 4th A level?
I have read somewhere that even though it's not listed as a pre-requisite, most students at the top unis chem. eng. degree courses will have done 4 A levels including maths.

Any advice would be appreciated.


These four A levels are a (fairly) common combination for subjects like chem.eng. It's usually not advisable to do four A levels, but the maths/FM combination does help here, and will make his application more competitive. It's obviously a lot of work though, and he needs to be fairly confident that he will be able to keep up. If he can't, and A*A*A or higher is threatened by the fourth, then FM is the obvious one to drop.

In the end, his offer will be for three A levels, and it's unlikely that FM would be a named required subject. The important thing, therefore, is for him to meet the 3 A level offer requirement, rather than accumulate extra A levels (even useful ones like FM) and risk missing the boat entirely.
(edited 1 year ago)
Is there any reason the teachers are recommending not to do 4? Its generally not recommended until two of the subjects are maths and further maths, especially in conjunction with physics.

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