The Student Room Group

Choosing a course at university


I am a Year 12 student doing A-Levels in Maths, Economics, Chemistry and Biology.

From Christmas of Year 11, I thought I wanted to pursue Medicine, until I started questioning my interest in the subject at the beginning of this year. I realised that I had been romanticising the career and forcing an enthusiasm in Biology, which I had chosen for the sake of doing Medicine and my interest was rapidly waning. After doing a small portion of a Medicine MOOC for two hours, I was bored by the scientific detail and did not return to finish. I regret some of my A-Level choices, and if I could re-choose my A-Levels, I wouldn’t choose Biology, but now that I have, I don’t know if I should just persist with Medicine, or dedicate myself to something else - is it too late?

I do not enjoy Biology (other than for the first term), as I find that much of it is memorisation and rote learning, since it is loaded with content, and also contains very hard exam technique, so it takes me a long time to revise. Subjects that I prefer involve relatively small amounts of content and problem-solving using knowledge. It is difficult for me to bring myself to revise Biology at all. I would like to drop it, but have no qualifications to prove that I have done it for a year, so it seems like quite a large sunk cost to me.

My favourite subject and best subject is currently Maths (achieved A* in the last three big tests), but without Further Maths, I am sceptical of my chances of getting into a Maths-related course - perhaps Maths, Economics or Computer Science. Regarding CS, I greatly enjoy coding, having learnt a bit of JavaScript in my spare time, and loved Computer Science GCSE - my favourite subject back then. My school doesn’t offer Computer Science A-Level, but I would have done it if they did.

The reason why I didn’t choose Further Maths before is because I thought I was set on Medicine. Also, doing A-Level Maths was how I developed an interest in the subject because of topics like calculus, trigonometry and logarithms, were the fun truly began for me. In class, we have moved onto A2 content, and I enjoy it so much. Revising Maths doesn’t feel like revision to me and is something I actively look forward to, in terms of both practice questions and the lessons.

Would it be possible for me to do the Further Maths A-Level in a year and get a very good grade (if I go ahead with this, I will drop Biology)? (I aspire to go to the top universities in the UK.) If so, would it be possible to cover all the AS Further Maths content and finish Maths A2 in the summer?

I consider choosing a different course from Medicine, but is it too late to switch? I know that universities look for passion in applications, but would they favour candidates who have decided on the course earlier on?

Which factors should be taken into account when choosing a course? Any advice would be much appreciated, and thank you for taking the time to read this :smile:
Reply 1
im only a gcse student doing my gcses right now, not sure if any of this is helpful but im in the same exact situation as you were in year 11 right now, following the exact same timeline from taking a great interest in medicine last christmas and having the exact same a level subject choices to now reconsidering to swap, except for me it's biology to computer science. feels a bit too coincidental i must say

ive some some research on this. you can get into medicine with just chemistry only, and i plan on keeping that because i quite like it and as a side effect also keeps my options open in case i decide that i do want to actually do medicine. though it's only like 2 or 3 med schools that make chemistry required and biology not required. buckingham is one of them i think.

judging by your love for maths, im think probably land an easy A or A* in further maths given you dont seem to find it mundane at all, ive experienced the link between enthusiasm and grades first hand with physics first hand. im not sure how swapping to further maths midway would look from the universities' standpoint pessimistically, but optimistically i think it would look quite good since you'd have realised what you really want, and also you would have obliterated the course which also happens to be one of the hardest at a level. it proves your enthusiasm and your skill. do you have a careers advisor at your school? they might be able to help you understand what unis might think.

you might also want to learn some further maths in your spare time to see if you can do it and land top grades, though im sure if you can if you're doing A*s in maths now (don't take my word though, i only think so based off the limited knowledge i have about the course difficulties).

you should also ask your school if you actually can swap though. I'd guess they'd be reluctant to an extent, but if they are you should really plead. maybe cut a deal if you have to

also, if you're interested you can still do computer science at university with your maths a levels. maths is the only required subject in most unis as far as ive seen. im only swapping for computer science because i have access to it and im really interested in the nea work (and also the course content of course but the nea is the USP for me), though there's no strict need for me to do so in order to do CS at uni. i reckon you'd be very into data science and ML which is just fancy statistics
Reply 2
If you want to take economics at degree level then A levels in Maths, Economics and Chemistry are all you need - no need to do further maths. Indeed, Loughborough will allow students without maths A level to apply for Economics. A typical offer is AAA.

Similarly for computer science - you need maths A level, no further maths is required. e.g. York

Drop biology and focus on the remaining 3 A levels.
Original post by ShadesOfAcademia


Drop Biology. Unis only require three A levels and AAA will always look better than AABB. It is not too late to switch uni courses as you haven't started applying yet. Medicine is very competitive and if your not 100% committed to it then you are unlikely to be able to convince anyone that interviews you that you are.

I recommend that you book yourself into some uni open days this term and attend the talks for lots of different subjects to work out what truly interests you.

It is possible to study a degree in maths without taking further maths. Some options:

However, if you really do want to try to take FM, talk to your school now to see if it is possible so that you can do some work over the summer holidays.

Quick Reply