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A Levels

Hi, i need help picking my A-levels. do you think i should pick maths, physics and computer science OR Maths, biology and chemistry. when i am older, i am looking to get into a field of either medicine or computer science which i have not decided yet. which one of these combinations do you think are easier? and would you know which combination would allow me broaden my career choices and allow me to choose either medicine or computer science when i am older. Many thanks
Reply 1
Personally, as someone who is applying for medicine, I would of course say the latter. It is such a personal choice though, and totally dependent on what you want your future career to be!

Maths, chem and bio are what you need for medicine. Keep in mind that applying to comp sci, the ideal subjects are maths, further maths and physics. In my opinion you will have to make a choice between the two routes now. Doing some work experience/volunteering in medicine or computer science areas could help this decision, and i assume that you have the whole summer to do that ahead of you! Work experience is also important when applying for medicine, so, 2 birds with 1 stone. Read, learn, watch things about the two areas, talk to people in them as well. These actions could all aid in making your decision.

Completing a either a comp sci or medicine degree both allow you do do a lot with your future, so the fact that you are in a position where you are choosing between the two, is brilliant!
Original post by Anonymous48
Hi, i need help picking my A-levels. do you think i should pick maths, physics and computer science OR Maths, biology and chemistry. when i am older, i am looking to get into a field of either medicine or computer science which i have not decided yet. which one of these combinations do you think are easier? and would you know which combination would allow me broaden my career choices and allow me to choose either medicine or computer science when i am older. Many thanks


A Level subjects required for Medicine: chemistry and biology
A Level subjects required for Computer Science: Maths only (Further Maths ideal for top end universities)

Computer science and physics are not necessary for computer science degrees. Computer science is a recommended subject by certain universities, but by no means is it necessary. Physics is a subject that would more or less open you to engineering and physics, which are irrelevant if you are only interested in computer science and software engineering.

It's also not a matter of which combination is easier, but which combination is necessary. As you want your subjects to allow you to go into both computer science and medicine, you can only choose Maths, Biology, and Chemistry.

You cannot do medicine witout chemistry and biology. It's a ridiculously competitive field, and getting on a medical degree at undergrad level (especially in the UK) is notoriously difficult. You would be lucky to secure a place. Dropping out can mean you're blacklisted by all other medical schools (according to rumours). It's harsh with its own issues.
The unfortunate thing is you can't go into medicine without a degree (it's a legal requirement), whereas you don't need a degree to go into tech (you will need one to go into computer science research). There is no other way around it (I have seen degree apprenticeships for medicine, but it still requires you to do a degree).

Whilst you can do postgrad conversions or degrees to get into the other fields generally, graduate entry for medicine require you to have a life science degree for an undergrad, whereas there are numerous MSc for Computer Science that accept undergrads in any subjects. In other words you can do a degree in medicine and later do an MSc in Computer Science, but you cannot do an undergrad in computer science then expect to go into medicine without doing it at undergrad. This is the same with a lot of life science degrees at postgrad level; they want a life science undergrad.

The biggest conundrum when it comes to broadening your options of degrees in case you don't want to go into computer science or medicine, is that Biology and Chemistry are more or less required subjects for anything related to life sciences. Physics and Maths on the other hand are subjects required in engineering and physics. Maths by itself gives you the most options anyway, but it depends on which route you want to go into.
The postgrad degrees for physics and engineering subjects (in case you want to switch fields) will require something similar at undergrad level i.e. mathematical, engineering, physics.

A more comprehensive list of degree subjects that you can go into with biology and chemistry include:

Anything in life sciences: medicine, vetinary science, dentistry, biological sciences, zoology, ecology, biomedicine, biochemistry, midwifery, biology, biotechnology, food science, sports science, environmental science, pharmacy, pharmacology, toixcology, paramedic, optometry, nurtrition, dietics, some psychology degrees, physiotherapy, physiology, pathology

Chemistry



List of subjects that you can do with maths alone include:

Maths

Computer science and software engineering

Industrial engineering

Data science and data analytics

Economics (all courses)

Financail mathematics and actuarial science

One particular physics course, and a handful of civil engineering courses



When you look at other subjects you can do with biology, chemistry, and maths together:

Bioengineering

Chemical engineering

Geology

Radiography

Material science



You can then apply for any degree that ask for 3 random subjects, which can include:

Anything in business school, excluding financial mathematics and actuarial science (which you should be eligible for if you have maths)

Law

Sociology and criminology

Anthropology

FIlm

Game design

Hospitality

Media

Journalism

Nursing

Education

Anything creative except for music: art, theatre, design, drama

Most architecture degrees (with maths, pretty much any except the odd one that asks for English Literature as an entry requirement) and anything building related other than civil and structural engineering

Social studies

Most psychology degrees

Theology

Education

Most human geography (or a majority of geography) degrees

Philosophy

Archaeology

Politics

Agriculture

Non quantitative economics degrees



On the flip side, if you go with physics and maths (because physics alone rarely is sufficient), you can do the following:

All areas in engineering except for chemical engineering and biotechnology, but includes: aerospace, mechanical, electronic, civil, electrical, software, biomedical, nuclear, automotive, mechatronics/robotics

Physics

Geology

Radiography

Optometry

Most radiography degrees

Material Science



The only subject areas you would not be eligible for at degree level include:

History

Some geography degrees

English Literature

Classics

Modern Languages or any joint language degree

Music

Note that these are in the liberal arts and humanities.

For some degree subjects, they are extremely unnecessary because you can go into the field without the degree. For other areas, you would be wondering why people want to do the degree if they don't want to go into academia or teaching.

In an ideal scenario, I would do all 3 sciences and maths on top. If I can't do all 4 subjects, I would do the 3 sciences, then do maths and further maths in a gap year. This is because all 3 sciences come with practical assessments, and it's notoriously difficult and relatively expensive (roughly £1000 for each subject) to get those done outside of college if your degree course requires you to have them - this does not include the exam fees, equipment, and possible course fees that you need to pay for. (There are also a number of liberal art subjects that you can't do a as a private candidate because of the practical elements, but they won't really apply to you.)

So yeah, if you want to broaden your horizons, it's up to you. I don't know what your interests outside of medicine and computer science are, so it's a bit more difficult to say.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by MindMax2000

When you look at other subjects you can do with biology, chemistry, and maths together:

Bioengineering

Chemical engineering

Geology

Radiography

Material science



The majority of radiography courses (both diagnostic and therapeutic) require only one science at A level, usually from biology, chemistry or physics (or sometimes maths).
Original post by Anonymous48
Hi, i need help picking my A-levels. do you think i should pick maths, physics and computer science OR Maths, biology and chemistry. when i am older, i am looking to get into a field of either medicine or computer science which i have not decided yet. which one of these combinations do you think are easier? and would you know which combination would allow me broaden my career choices and allow me to choose either medicine or computer science when i am older. Many thanks

Heya!
For CS you don't actually need to do CS (in most cases) but you would need maths and possibly further maths :h: Medicine can be tricky as most do prefer if you have chem and bio combo, so chem bio and maths would be a good choice if you want to go into medicine and CS. If it helps, you can check out different medicine requirements using this comparison tool. If you need any help with chem and bio, check out Study mind for free resources!

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind

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