The Student Room Group

Confused for A-level choices... politics or physics?

hey everyone :smile: so i'm currently in yr11 about to pick my a levels soon and i was stuck deciding between politics or physics..

- my other three choices are maths, further maths and economics
- i want to apply for business management / management science in uni

would love some input, thank you in advance :smile:)
Original post by pav_kvu
hey everyone :smile: so i'm currently in yr11 about to pick my a levels soon and i was stuck deciding between politics or physics..

- my other three choices are maths, further maths and economics
- i want to apply for business management / management science in uni

would love some input, thank you in advance :smile:)


Hi! I do maths a level and I think physics links pretty closely, especially with the mechanics modules. Don't worry about it too much yet, since I know many people who did a few weeks trial of 4-5 a levels at the beginning of year 12 before deciding, and I personally picked my 3 courses then chose to change one after a few weeks since I didn't enjoy it. There's no way to really know what you'll like without the first-hand experience. Good luck with your GCSEs :smile:
Original post by pav_kvu
hey everyone :smile: so i'm currently in yr11 about to pick my a levels soon and i was stuck deciding between politics or physics..

- my other three choices are maths, further maths and economics
- i want to apply for business management / management science in uni

would love some input, thank you in advance :smile:)


When I read the above, I almost fell off my chair.

I have a few questions:

1.

Why do you want to do a management degree?

2.

What do you intend to do after your degree?

3.

Why did you choose maths, further maths, economics?

4.

What do you like in politics and physics?

5.

Which fo the 2 subjects do you think you will get the higher grade in?

6.

Have you watched/read the reviews on management degrees from specific universities?



Things you should really know:
1. Management degrees are in no way in any shape or form quantiative. The maths involved is barely anywhere near higher tier GCSE level. If your mathematical ability is Further Maths or above, you will likely be bored out of your mind.
It's really more of an essay based degree with the odd basic maths problem.
2. Management degrees only ask for 3 random A Levels with high grades. The subjects don't matter.
3. Management degrees don't offer you an advantage when it comes to applying for business related jobs.
4. Masters' in management (if you ever want to do them) ask for undergrads in any subject other than business management because the syllabi are too similar
5. A degree in management makes sense if you want to go into business related research
6. In my opinion, a management degree more or less repeat a lot of what you would have learned in business studies A Level (if you want an alternative source of theoretical business knowledge, let me know).
7. With your A Level choices (should you pick physics), you get to pick degrees in economics, physics, maths, data science and analytics, financial mathematics and actuarial science, computer science and software engineering, anything in engineering (except for biotech, bioengineering, and chemical engineering for obvious reasons), radiography, optometry, geology, paramedic science, or any degree that asks for any subjects including: anything in business (and management), law, politics, journalism, hospitality, agriculture, media, social work, anthropology, film, game design, criminology and sociology, psychology, some art and design, architecture, nursing, education, threatre, theology, most geography degrees
If you chose politics instead, you won't be able to do physics (except for one particular university that only require maths), most of engineering (except for the odd civil engineering degree from the odd university), radiography, optometry, geology, paramedic science, but anything else listed above is fair game.
8. Politics is not a required subject, not even for politics degrees
9. Physics goes very well with maths because it uses quite a bit of maths. There would be little point in doing physics without doing maths.
10. Economics is not a required subject, not even for economics degrees. The quantiative economics degrees will ask for maths (and further maths for top end universities).
11. Should you decide to throw everything out of the window, you can do A levels privately in a gap year or something.
12. Physics A Level is a pain to do after college, especially if you intend to do the practical assessment. Politics A Level isn't a complete pain after college, depending on your interest in the subject (no practical assessment though).

I have done A Level maths, and going to do further maths and physics. I have knowledge in economics and management.
I have a strong bias against anything related to politics and law, just as a disclaimer.
Wow.. thank you so much for the detailed response, i'm going to try my best to answer your questions

First of all, my passion lies in entrepreneurship, I have ran a successful shopify store in the past and I really want to expand my knowledge in entrepreneurship in the future, I feel like the best way I can do that is through a business management degree.

Honestly, I'm not the best in maths, but I enjoy it - as for politics and physics, I'm good with both essay writing and more mathmatical subjects, I was thinking if I take physics, I have more room to change my degree.

The course in business management really interests me, as its a mix between marketing and finance aspects and I feel like it would make me a more well rounded individual.

The point you said about any 3 a levels being fine, I have heard this before, but looking at the website for russell group uni's the candidates that get picked most often take maths, economics and physics.

so do you think a management degree is worth doing?
Original post by pav_kvu
Wow.. thank you so much for the detailed response, i'm going to try my best to answer your questions

First of all, my passion lies in entrepreneurship, I have ran a successful shopify store in the past and I really want to expand my knowledge in entrepreneurship in the future, I feel like the best way I can do that is through a business management degree.

Honestly, I'm not the best in maths, but I enjoy it - as for politics and physics, I'm good with both essay writing and more mathmatical subjects, I was thinking if I take physics, I have more room to change my degree.

The course in business management really interests me, as its a mix between marketing and finance aspects and I feel like it would make me a more well rounded individual.

The point you said about any 3 a levels being fine, I have heard this before, but looking at the website for russell group uni's the candidates that get picked most often take maths, economics and physics.

so do you think a management degree is worth doing?


First of all, my passion lies in entrepreneurship, I have ran a successful shopify store in the past and I really want to expand my knowledge in entrepreneurship in the future,
Congrats. Many people who have done a management degree have not even come close to how much you have achieved. This alone would make you stand out for any business related jobs or go into other business ventures in the future. Investors and employers look more for relevant experience as opposed to the excessive number of qualifications.

I feel like the best way I can do that is through a business management degree.
I would disagree but should you wish to go with a business management degree, so be it.
The alternative ways of getting more knowledge in the subject area other than doing a business degree include:

Doing Business Studies A Level

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

Other professional business related qualifications e.g. CIM, IDM, IIBA, CIPD

Mentorship under a proven and established business owner (most ideal)

Online business courses (which I suspect you have already sampled if you have ran a Shopify Store)

Read certain business related books (if you want suggestions, let me know)

The practical knowledge would probably worth a lot more than the theoretical knowledge, but some theory is necessary.

I'm not the best in maths, but I enjoy it - as for politics and physics, I'm good with both essay writing and more mathmatical subjects
If you're not the best at maths, then you might want to give further maths a skip unless you're confident that you can get a high grade in it. As previously mentioned, there are only a handful of degree subjects where further maths would be of benefit, and none of them are really in business (unless you might consider financial mathematics or economics).
If you're also equally good in both essay writing and mathematical subjects, then I would suggest going for the subject you have more interest in.

I am personally a fan of maths, so I would give a bias answer.

I was thinking if I take physics, I have more room to change my degree.

You definitely have more room to change with a physics A Level than you do with one in politics. However, the extra choices you have are restricted to physics, engineering, geology, and a few life science degrees. If you have no interest in these areas, then it wouldn't matter whether you do the A Level or not.

Having said that, I also am a fan of STEM, so I am biased.

The course in business management really interests me, as its a mix between marketing and finance aspects and I feel like it would make me a more well rounded individual.
I agree, you will need to be well rounded in order to get by in business, and the some of the key areas are in marketing and finance. The other areas include operations, sales, and HR. The minor areas include business law, logistics, supply chain management, research and development, business information systems, business economics, business strategy, public relations, and business analytics (I say minor, but they can have pivotal impacts on your business).
A manager would need to know various aspects of the business and cannot be a specialist. In practice, it can often feel like a balancing act and it's very much an art form with multiple valid answers (they just aren't always accepted).

The point you said about any 3 a levels being fine, I have heard this before, but looking at the website for russell group uni's the candidates that get picked most often take maths, economics and physics.
Then I have no comment. I don't work in admissions at any university, just what they have listed on the course pages. If you feel those subjects would help you get selected, then so be it (I would still recommend getting a second opinion though).

so do you think a management degree is worth doing?
I am going to be biased with this answer: No. The reasons include:

You can easily get the same information from other sources at a fraction of the price (we are talking about roughly £1000 on average, but you can go as low as £400 for a Business A Level course/£50 for a Business A Level textbook) and in a fraction of the time

The information from other sources tend to be more practical than theoretical

You are being taught by business researchers and not business practitioners or business moguls

Whiilst business research can be valid in a number of areas, they are often out of date when it comes to methods and startegies that are practiced in the industries/markets

The business degree would teach you what the tools are, but never how to apply them; the scope of application of certain tools can mean the difference betweeen success and failure. Not knowing how to apply certain tools appropriately can mean you end up having a lot more aggravation than if you didn't e.g. starting/buying a business with very little money vs getting into stupid amounts of debt to finance a business venture

The degree is not required in the field, and it's not appreciated by employers

You can go into the business field with a degree in any subject

You don't need any qualifications to go into business unlike certain fields such as architecture, medicine, nursing, economics, law, accounting

The theoretical knowledge (some of which are valid) are not not applicable in the workplace, because your employer dictates how things are done even if you know better (and can prove it)

The qualifications that are credible to employers are professional business qualifications, and most of these have little to no entry requirements

The most you can probably get with a management degree in terms of professional qualifications is an exemption for Level 6 CIPD (there's only Level 7 after that), but you would need to check on this.

If you want to go into business related academic research, you are better off doing an MBA before a DBA, and MBAs do not specify which undergrad you need to do so long you have adequate managerial experience and a high enough grade in your undergrad (MBAs are also considered significantly overpriced, and provide roughly equal prospects as a degree in management i.e. very little)

Generalists are rarely well paid in terms of jobs or getting business

To move up the corporate ladder, you are more likely required to have good people skills and great connections as opposed to business knowledge and skills (yeah, I know...)

The degree doesn't teach you anything about some of the core skills of being in business: sales, people skills, persuasion, negotiation, office politics

Half of the degree teaches you 'fluff' material, which I personally think are incredibly vague and lack any substance e.g. you have a framework for open culture; how open is open? why should open culture be suitable? when has it failed? how often is this implemented with successful result? how can you be sure an 'open culture' is present?

The 'fluff' material tend to have little to no relevance in practice (I have never practiced it or seen it in practice with effective results); some might argue certain successes can be attributed to the qualitative material. I would argue back how, and how do you go about attributing this? How can you tell whether something is successful because of this implementation?

The other half of the degree contain quantiative material and material of substance (e.g. accounting, marketing analytics, business analytics, business economics, business law), which to me make more sense and is a lot more valuable. However, it's not likely you will get the chance to use much of this unless you run your own business.

Management in practice is more of a skill that you pick up, and whether you do a good job or it is usually more subjective than objective (i.e. someone patting you on the back as opposed to going by the figures or some quantifiable measure, not that all things can be quantified).

Managerial experience would be a lot more beneficial than management theory, and you can't pick up experience via a degree (although I have been in situations where I can train people who start from scratch to having a similiar level of proficiency of someone with a higher level of experience)

The maths involved is little to none, and I based my decisions and analysis of business situations on numbers. People can fib, but numbers can't (unless someone is trying to pull something with certain statistics).



So while you do cover some useful material in (roughly half of) the degree, I wouldn't say it's worth it. This is primarily because you get to pick up better quality information and lessons elsewhere (for significantly better value for money), but more so you can't really do much with the degree afterwards (even if you want to go into research) and that you don't ever really need it.
If you are someone with aspirations in going into multiple careers or are not completely sure which career you want to go into, a degree in management can put you in a bit of a deadlock i.e. you can't really transition into a different discipline unless the other discipline won't care what you did for your undergrad or don't care what degree you have (usually the same fields that require no qualifications to go into). You can always transition into business school, but it's not that common that you can transition out. If you want to go into another field and that field requires you to have a specific degree, chances are you will likely need to do a second undergrad (which is a pain to do). For example, if you have a degree in engineering, you can go into engineering or business, but if you have a business degree you can't go into engineering and you can only go into fields that ask for any degree (I have only seen business research roles asking for business degrees).
Original post by MindMax2000
First of all, my passion lies in entrepreneurship, I have ran a successful shopify store in the past and I really want to expand my knowledge in entrepreneurship in the future,
Congrats. Many people who have done a management degree have not even come close to how much you have achieved. This alone would make you stand out for any business related jobs or go into other business ventures in the future. Investors and employers look more for relevant experience as opposed to the excessive number of qualifications.

I feel like the best way I can do that is through a business management degree.
I would disagree but should you wish to go with a business management degree, so be it.
The alternative ways of getting more knowledge in the subject area other than doing a business degree include:

Doing Business Studies A Level

CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting

Other professional business related qualifications e.g. CIM, IDM, IIBA, CIPD

Mentorship under a proven and established business owner (most ideal)

Online business courses (which I suspect you have already sampled if you have ran a Shopify Store)

Read certain business related books (if you want suggestions, let me know)

The practical knowledge would probably worth a lot more than the theoretical knowledge, but some theory is necessary.

I'm not the best in maths, but I enjoy it - as for politics and physics, I'm good with both essay writing and more mathmatical subjects
If you're not the best at maths, then you might want to give further maths a skip unless you're confident that you can get a high grade in it. As previously mentioned, there are only a handful of degree subjects where further maths would be of benefit, and none of them are really in business (unless you might consider financial mathematics or economics).
If you're also equally good in both essay writing and mathematical subjects, then I would suggest going for the subject you have more interest in.

I am personally a fan of maths, so I would give a bias answer.

I was thinking if I take physics, I have more room to change my degree.

You definitely have more room to change with a physics A Level than you do with one in politics. However, the extra choices you have are restricted to physics, engineering, geology, and a few life science degrees. If you have no interest in these areas, then it wouldn't matter whether you do the A Level or not.

Having said that, I also am a fan of STEM, so I am biased.

The course in business management really interests me, as its a mix between marketing and finance aspects and I feel like it would make me a more well rounded individual.
I agree, you will need to be well rounded in order to get by in business, and the some of the key areas are in marketing and finance. The other areas include operations, sales, and HR. The minor areas include business law, logistics, supply chain management, research and development, business information systems, business economics, business strategy, public relations, and business analytics (I say minor, but they can have pivotal impacts on your business).
A manager would need to know various aspects of the business and cannot be a specialist. In practice, it can often feel like a balancing act and it's very much an art form with multiple valid answers (they just aren't always accepted).

The point you said about any 3 a levels being fine, I have heard this before, but looking at the website for russell group uni's the candidates that get picked most often take maths, economics and physics.
Then I have no comment. I don't work in admissions at any university, just what they have listed on the course pages. If you feel those subjects would help you get selected, then so be it (I would still recommend getting a second opinion though).

so do you think a management degree is worth doing?
I am going to be biased with this answer: No. The reasons include:

You can easily get the same information from other sources at a fraction of the price (we are talking about roughly £1000 on average, but you can go as low as £400 for a Business A Level course/£50 for a Business A Level textbook) and in a fraction of the time

The information from other sources tend to be more practical than theoretical

You are being taught by business researchers and not business practitioners or business moguls

Whiilst business research can be valid in a number of areas, they are often out of date when it comes to methods and startegies that are practiced in the industries/markets

The business degree would teach you what the tools are, but never how to apply them; the scope of application of certain tools can mean the difference betweeen success and failure. Not knowing how to apply certain tools appropriately can mean you end up having a lot more aggravation than if you didn't e.g. starting/buying a business with very little money vs getting into stupid amounts of debt to finance a business venture

The degree is not required in the field, and it's not appreciated by employers

You can go into the business field with a degree in any subject

You don't need any qualifications to go into business unlike certain fields such as architecture, medicine, nursing, economics, law, accounting

The theoretical knowledge (some of which are valid) are not not applicable in the workplace, because your employer dictates how things are done even if you know better (and can prove it)

The qualifications that are credible to employers are professional business qualifications, and most of these have little to no entry requirements

The most you can probably get with a management degree in terms of professional qualifications is an exemption for Level 6 CIPD (there's only Level 7 after that), but you would need to check on this.

If you want to go into business related academic research, you are better off doing an MBA before a DBA, and MBAs do not specify which undergrad you need to do so long you have adequate managerial experience and a high enough grade in your undergrad (MBAs are also considered significantly overpriced, and provide roughly equal prospects as a degree in management i.e. very little)

Generalists are rarely well paid in terms of jobs or getting business

To move up the corporate ladder, you are more likely required to have good people skills and great connections as opposed to business knowledge and skills (yeah, I know...)

The degree doesn't teach you anything about some of the core skills of being in business: sales, people skills, persuasion, negotiation, office politics

Half of the degree teaches you 'fluff' material, which I personally think are incredibly vague and lack any substance e.g. you have a framework for open culture; how open is open? why should open culture be suitable? when has it failed? how often is this implemented with successful result? how can you be sure an 'open culture' is present?

The 'fluff' material tend to have little to no relevance in practice (I have never practiced it or seen it in practice with effective results); some might argue certain successes can be attributed to the qualitative material. I would argue back how, and how do you go about attributing this? How can you tell whether something is successful because of this implementation?

The other half of the degree contain quantiative material and material of substance (e.g. accounting, marketing analytics, business analytics, business economics, business law), which to me make more sense and is a lot more valuable. However, it's not likely you will get the chance to use much of this unless you run your own business.

Management in practice is more of a skill that you pick up, and whether you do a good job or it is usually more subjective than objective (i.e. someone patting you on the back as opposed to going by the figures or some quantifiable measure, not that all things can be quantified).

Managerial experience would be a lot more beneficial than management theory, and you can't pick up experience via a degree (although I have been in situations where I can train people who start from scratch to having a similiar level of proficiency of someone with a higher level of experience)

The maths involved is little to none, and I based my decisions and analysis of business situations on numbers. People can fib, but numbers can't (unless someone is trying to pull something with certain statistics).



So while you do cover some useful material in (roughly half of) the degree, I wouldn't say it's worth it. This is primarily because you get to pick up better quality information and lessons elsewhere (for significantly better value for money), but more so you can't really do much with the degree afterwards (even if you want to go into research) and that you don't ever really need it.
If you are someone with aspirations in going into multiple careers or are not completely sure which career you want to go into, a degree in management can put you in a bit of a deadlock i.e. you can't really transition into a different discipline unless the other discipline won't care what you did for your undergrad or don't care what degree you have (usually the same fields that require no qualifications to go into). You can always transition into business school, but it's not that common that you can transition out. If you want to go into another field and that field requires you to have a specific degree, chances are you will likely need to do a second undergrad (which is a pain to do). For example, if you have a degree in engineering, you can go into engineering or business, but if you have a business degree you can't go into engineering and you can only go into fields that ask for any degree (I have only seen business research roles asking for business degrees).


I see... thank you so much for taking the time to give me a detailed + quality response

in an ideal world, i wouldn't put so much focus into uni and degrees, instead just focusing on scaling up my business. but for my parents sake i have to go to uni and i guess i just want that experience. i don't think its worth doing any stressful or strenous degrees when i don't really want to go into that career path, and i think just doing a buisness management degree will give me that safety net aswell
Original post by pav_kvu
hey everyone :smile: so i'm currently in yr11 about to pick my a levels soon and i was stuck deciding between politics or physics..

- my other three choices are maths, further maths and economics
- i want to apply for business management / management science in uni

would love some input, thank you in advance :smile:)


hiya, oo those look like good choices!
id recommend politics because of your other options, i know a few people a year above me (yr 12) who say economics and politics are a good choice together, if you wanted to do something STEM based, id say go for physics but as maths and FM count as 2 of those you have a good range of subjects
id say pick what you enjoy more, and maybe look at what courses want for alevels at uni
Original post by pav_kvu
hey everyone :smile: so i'm currently in yr11 about to pick my a levels soon and i was stuck deciding between politics or physics..

- my other three choices are maths, further maths and economics
- i want to apply for business management / management science in uni

would love some input, thank you in advance :smile:)

Heya!
I would recommend looking at the entry requirements first, especially for management science as it may require a science but I'm not sure! You can use unicompare as a start :h: Maths and physics go along well together but so do economics and politics. Do you want another essay subject? If so choose politics, if not then physics would be good! If you take physics you'll have more course options as well. Which one would you enjoy more you think? Could also make a pros and cons list to help yourself out!

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind
Original post by pav_kvu
I see... thank you so much for taking the time to give me a detailed + quality response

in an ideal world, i wouldn't put so much focus into uni and degrees, instead just focusing on scaling up my business. but for my parents sake i have to go to uni and i guess i just want that experience. i don't think its worth doing any stressful or strenous degrees when i don't really want to go into that career path, and i think just doing a buisness management degree will give me that safety net aswell


in an ideal world, i wouldn't put so much focus into uni and degrees, instead just focusing on scaling up my business. but for my parents sake i have to go to uni and i guess i just want that experience
I don't think I need to say that going to uni for your parents or for the experience are going to be for the wrong reasons. Whilst I understand certain cultures and family backgrounds would often pressure their kids into doing certain things, but at the end of the day it's still your life as opposed to theirs.

i don't think its worth doing any stressful or strenous degrees when i don't really want to go into that career path, and i think just doing a buisness management degree will give me that safety net aswell
No, management degrees aren't usually stressful but I don't think it's much of a safety net.
There are degrees that I think are worth doing should you wish to go into industry (as opposed to going into research). These are the "safety nets", and they include:

Economics (quantiative degrees)

Engineering (except for computer science and software engineering)

Education (BEd, MEd, PGCE, PGDE, etc.)

Pretty much anything in healthcare (not necessarily life sciences unless you want to do the STP programme with the NHS)

Architecture

Actuarial science (possibly)



I don't know how strenuous is "strenuous" for you, considering you are going to do 2 Maths A Levels + physics/economics. These are considered some of the most difficult A Levels out there that require quite a bit of time.

In terms of useful content that is applicable in either business or is practical, I am somewhat opinionated in this. I would say the following degrees might be of use:

Accounting

Marketing

Corporate Law and law in general

Data Science and Data analysis

Computer Science and Software Engineering

Business management

Anything in engineering (you can do degree apprenticeships in engineering, but you still need a degree level certification for certain roles in engineering)

Actuarial science (you can go into an apprenticeship and skip the degree altogether)

Mathematics

Physics

Business Mathematics and Business analysis

Anything related to healthcare (you can go and do certain apprenticeships without doing a degree e.g. degree apprenticeship in medicine)

Life sciences related to healthcare (but you can often go into apprenticeships for these)

Hospitality

Game design

Journalism/media

Education

Languages

Social Work

Agriculture

Architecture (you can go into an apprenticeship and skip the degree altogether)

Economics (you can go into an apprenticeship and skip the degree altogether)


I say "useful" because the material you learn in these degrees can help you in the workplace. I didn't include the vast majority of these in the prior list because I don't consider the degrees to be of value for money (just as I do with business management degrees), and you can often get into a number of these fields without having to do a degree in it Some of the degrees would provide exemptions for certain professional qualifications (e.g. accounting, marketing, law, management), and for a number of them it's a better idea to just jump straight into the professional qualification. Some of these degrees are respected outside of their fields (e.g. maths, physics, engineering), so you will have versatility in how you use them.


I don't know how stress free you want your degree, but I wouldn't want to do a degree that has zero use outside of education and academia. If you want a degree because of your interest in the subject, doing any degree of your choice is just as well as any of the subjects listed above in my opinion.
thank you so much everyone for the insights, this has been really helpful :smile:
I also forgot to mention, I'll be likely dropping physics/politics at A-levels so i can focus on my three other a levels.. so would my 4th a level choice hold much importance?
Original post by pav_kvu
I also forgot to mention, I'll be likely dropping physics/politics at A-levels so i can focus on my three other a levels.. so would my 4th a level choice hold much importance?

Universities would focus on 3 A Levels as opposed to 4, so not particularly. However, I would likely recommend keeping physics because it's a required subject. Also some universities consider further maths as an extension of maths, so you can end up with having 2 A Level subjects instead of the 3 for application for certain courses (this shouldn't be the case for business school related courses) - these universities care more about variety of subjects than the types of subjects that you did (check the individual entry requirements for specific courses to check).

If you finish A Level Maths early (which you should because you need time to revise for the exams) e.g. 4 or so months ahead of time, then you would have more time to focus on further maths (which you really need to do considering the content and the amount of practice you will need).
I do politics a level, it’s not that bad tbh. All you need is to learn how to link all the topic together + memorise them and you’re set. I think either politics and physics are both good choices for your career so it’s up to u really
alrightt tyty :biggrin:
Original post by username5989765
hey everyone :smile: so i'm currently in yr11 about to pick my a levels soon and i was stuck deciding between politics or physics..
- my other three choices are maths, further maths and economics
- i want to apply for business management / management science in uni
would love some input, thank you in advance :smile:)
I’ve just entered the exact same situation right now,can anyone let me know the best advice?

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