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A-level choices - help appreciated!

I'll be in Sixth Form next year, taking Maths, History, Economics and one other.

My aim beyond A-level is to read PPE, ideally at Oxford.

For my fourth A-level, I'm torn between Politics (which sounds like it would be relevant to PPE but from what I have heard from some does not develop one's understanding or better one's application much) and Biology, which I have an intense desire to take but have been warned is perhaps too unrelated.

I love both Politics and Biology and have interests in both that go beyond the school environment. However, looking at Politics past papers most of it seems pretty obvious to someone who's enjoyed it as a hobby since childhood. Biology would offer new information and learning but I've been told taking Politics A-level would keep me fresher in the minds of those offering PPE places. At the same time, a broad range of A-levels has also been recommended to me, and Biology would expand my options post-Sixth Form as a core science.

I note that Oxford explicitly state that neither Philosophy, Politics or Economics A-levels are necessary for the PPE course. They are not even suggested as potentially useful, but I have heard contrasting comments on this issue.

I would appreciate your help: Politics or Biology?

Thank you!
Reply 1
do you have to take 4 a levels? if not, don't take 4 a levels - its not asked for by any uni and 3 A*s is better than AABB
This is a tough one. My vote is for biology, because it broadens your abilities and could open up more career options, worth exploring what careers you might be interested in, and Masters programmes that allow you to convert to other tracks if you want to later, Most people who read PPE would not actually work in Politics or Philosophy, so worth thinking around what you could work on. Besides, Politics is also something you could study via a part time masters later if you really decided you wanted to learn about it.
Original post by izzy4509x
do you have to take 4 a levels? if not, don't take 4 a levels - its not asked for by any uni and 3 A*s is better than AABB

Yes, at my school it's 4 - but I always wanted to do 4 anyway.
Reply 5
I'm in the same boat as you currently, will be taking Maths, Economics and Geography; also to aiming for PPE at Oxford. Looking to take politics A-level additionally, although I do too enjoy biology outside of school limitations I'd rather have the contextual knowledge politics will provide me with for PPE. Would help especially during interview processes at Oxford that are known to be quite challenging and require prior comprehension of politics!

Original post by Student20070000
I'll be in Sixth Form next year, taking Maths, History, Economics and one other.

My aim beyond A-level is to read PPE, ideally at Oxford.

For my fourth A-level, I'm torn between Politics (which sounds like it would be relevant to PPE but from what I have heard from some does not develop one's understanding or better one's application much) and Biology, which I have an intense desire to take but have been warned is perhaps too unrelated.

I love both Politics and Biology and have interests in both that go beyond the school environment. However, looking at Politics past papers most of it seems pretty obvious to someone who's enjoyed it as a hobby since childhood. Biology would offer new information and learning but I've been told taking Politics A-level would keep me fresher in the minds of those offering PPE places. At the same time, a broad range of A-levels has also been recommended to me, and Biology would expand my options post-Sixth Form as a core science.

I note that Oxford explicitly state that neither Philosophy, Politics or Economics A-levels are necessary for the PPE course. They are not even suggested as potentially useful, but I have heard contrasting comments on this issue.

I would appreciate your help: Politics or Biology?

Thank you!
Reply 6
Original post by Student20070000
I'll be in Sixth Form next year, taking Maths, History, Economics and one other.

My aim beyond A-level is to read PPE, ideally at Oxford.

For my fourth A-level, I'm torn between Politics (which sounds like it would be relevant to PPE but from what I have heard from some does not develop one's understanding or better one's application much) and Biology, which I have an intense desire to take but have been warned is perhaps too unrelated.

I love both Politics and Biology and have interests in both that go beyond the school environment. However, looking at Politics past papers most of it seems pretty obvious to someone who's enjoyed it as a hobby since childhood. Biology would offer new information and learning but I've been told taking Politics A-level would keep me fresher in the minds of those offering PPE places. At the same time, a broad range of A-levels has also been recommended to me, and Biology would expand my options post-Sixth Form as a core science.

I note that Oxford explicitly state that neither Philosophy, Politics or Economics A-levels are necessary for the PPE course. They are not even suggested as potentially useful, but I have heard contrasting comments on this issue.

I would appreciate your help: Politics or Biology?

Thank you!

Heya!
Have you done GCSE politics or biology? How did you find them? Oxford is very competitive, so perhaps going with the subject you enjoy + will do well it would be better :h: If you really want to have your options for sciences open in the future then biology is a way to go!

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind
Reply 7
Original post by Student20070000
I'll be in Sixth Form next year, taking Maths, History, Economics and one other.

My aim beyond A-level is to read PPE, ideally at Oxford.

For my fourth A-level, I'm torn between Politics (which sounds like it would be relevant to PPE but from what I have heard from some does not develop one's understanding or better one's application much) and Biology, which I have an intense desire to take but have been warned is perhaps too unrelated.

I love both Politics and Biology and have interests in both that go beyond the school environment. However, looking at Politics past papers most of it seems pretty obvious to someone who's enjoyed it as a hobby since childhood. Biology would offer new information and learning but I've been told taking Politics A-level would keep me fresher in the minds of those offering PPE places. At the same time, a broad range of A-levels has also been recommended to me, and Biology would expand my options post-Sixth Form as a core science.

I note that Oxford explicitly state that neither Philosophy, Politics or Economics A-levels are necessary for the PPE course. They are not even suggested as potentially useful, but I have heard contrasting comments on this issue.

I would appreciate your help: Politics or Biology?

Thank you!

Hiya,

As someone that is preparing to take my history, politics and economics a-levels in the coming weeks, and has an offer to read history at oxford this oct, I thought I'd be pretty well placed to offer my view on this.

I was very similar to you when choosing my a levels in choosing between chem and politics, but ultimately I would recommend politics, if you're planning to read PPE.

A science is a huge level of content (that isn't as 'common sense-y' as politics may seem) that although may offer you a broader range of content in your studies, doesn't overlap much conceptually with your other subjects, and PPE, and so therefore isn't as helpful as it may seem imo. I would argue that the three subjects I take offer me plenty of range within a certain area that I am interested in, giving me different perspectives and methods of thinking when looking at a problem, without the need for a science. Sciences are generally useful in conjunction with a humanity like geography, where there is a definite overlap, but otherwise.. make life easy for yourself, pick a subject that isn't as content heavy and as stressful.

I have a couple of friends that interviewed for PPE at oxford, from what they told me they had two interviews, one more focused on politics/philosophy and the other focused on economics, so I would further recommend politics over bio as it will be super useful to have a year and a bit of learning to think in a way that a politics debates are structured, especially if your class does frequent debates as mine did. However interested in politics you are right now, you will undoubtedly be forced to have a wider understanding of not just current events but complex political concepts and ideologies, far from what you would if you took bio (especially if you take four subjects lol, no time). That will always be helpful in boosting your confidence, enthusiasm and range of examples you can reference going into an interview, which is already half of what they want in a prospective student.

Either way, as far as I am aware, a single science at A-level does very little to expand your actual options post sixth-form, as most things requiring or recommending a science will usually want another too.

I apologise for the long, incredibly biased answer, but I hope this helps!
Original post by Student20070000
I'll be in Sixth Form next year, taking Maths, History, Economics and one other.

My aim beyond A-level is to read PPE, ideally at Oxford.

For my fourth A-level, I'm torn between Politics (which sounds like it would be relevant to PPE but from what I have heard from some does not develop one's understanding or better one's application much) and Biology, which I have an intense desire to take but have been warned is perhaps too unrelated.

I love both Politics and Biology and have interests in both that go beyond the school environment. However, looking at Politics past papers most of it seems pretty obvious to someone who's enjoyed it as a hobby since childhood. Biology would offer new information and learning but I've been told taking Politics A-level would keep me fresher in the minds of those offering PPE places. At the same time, a broad range of A-levels has also been recommended to me, and Biology would expand my options post-Sixth Form as a core science.

I note that Oxford explicitly state that neither Philosophy, Politics or Economics A-levels are necessary for the PPE course. They are not even suggested as potentially useful, but I have heard contrasting comments on this issue.

I would appreciate your help: Politics or Biology?

Thank you!


My advice is that you should pick a subject that would give you an easy A or A*. To me, you have the right subjects in Maths, Econ and History to provide sufficient preparation. Your fourth subject should be a boost rather than a potential drag.

If you press me for an answer and you can do it, go for Geography
Original post by aievo
Hiya,

As someone that is preparing to take my history, politics and economics a-levels in the coming weeks, and has an offer to read history at oxford this oct, I thought I'd be pretty well placed to offer my view on this.

I was very similar to you when choosing my a levels in choosing between chem and politics, but ultimately I would recommend politics, if you're planning to read PPE.

A science is a huge level of content (that isn't as 'common sense-y' as politics may seem) that although may offer you a broader range of content in your studies, doesn't overlap much conceptually with your other subjects, and PPE, and so therefore isn't as helpful as it may seem imo. I would argue that the three subjects I take offer me plenty of range within a certain area that I am interested in, giving me different perspectives and methods of thinking when looking at a problem, without the need for a science. Sciences are generally useful in conjunction with a humanity like geography, where there is a definite overlap, but otherwise.. make life easy for yourself, pick a subject that isn't as content heavy and as stressful.

I have a couple of friends that interviewed for PPE at oxford, from what they told me they had two interviews, one more focused on politics/philosophy and the other focused on economics, so I would further recommend politics over bio as it will be super useful to have a year and a bit of learning to think in a way that a politics debates are structured, especially if your class does frequent debates as mine did. However interested in politics you are right now, you will undoubtedly be forced to have a wider understanding of not just current events but complex political concepts and ideologies, far from what you would if you took bio (especially if you take four subjects lol, no time). That will always be helpful in boosting your confidence, enthusiasm and range of examples you can reference going into an interview, which is already half of what they want in a prospective student.

Either way, as far as I am aware, a single science at A-level does very little to expand your actual options post sixth-form, as most things requiring or recommending a science will usually want another too.

I apologise for the long, incredibly biased answer, but I hope this helps!


Hi, thanks so much for your advice and congrats on your offer at Oxford. Good luck with your exams!
Original post by StudyMind
Heya!
Have you done GCSE politics or biology? How did you find them? Oxford is very competitive, so perhaps going with the subject you enjoy + will do well it would be better :h: If you really want to have your options for sciences open in the future then biology is a way to go!

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind

Hi, thanks for your response. We don't have GCSE Politics at my school but in Biology I am predicted a 9 (I sat Paper 1 today as it happens) - for that reason I don't really know if one is the obvious advantage to take.

From what I've heard from some, PPE doesn't rely on A-level information in politics so much as your own understanding, but from others I've heard it's useful. So I don't really know where to go from here.

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