The Student Room Group

What third A-level should I take with Maths and Physics?

Hi. Recently completed my gcses and have been wondering about my A-level choices. the sixth forms I applied too allow me to change my options on results day so I'm still unsure about what I want to do.

I know for sure I want to do maths and physics as my first 2 choices. However I'm stuck on the third. My future carrier choice is to hopefully join the aviation industry and become a pilot. Most likely not going to university.

For the third, I put down chemistry. I enjoy chemistry alot, and am really good at it. but I'm regretting it now learning about the amount of stress and content in it that you have to know, when my career won't really benefit from it since I want to join a mainly physics carrier. Then again, worst comes to worst, chemistry offers many other job choices if I change my mind.

My second option is History. It seems very interesting and I quite enjoyed it at gcse aswell. Also might be good to have a diverse set of skills at A levels with a writing subject mixed with the others. However I don't see any future careers in history that I'd be doing, which has me hesitant.

A final choice was economics but I changed my mind on that when I realised that it didn't have much use outside of A level with specific jobs, and wasn't a demanded A level.

Please help me with advice on what you guys think I should take as a third A level. thank you
Reply 1
Original post by Anonymous
Hi. Recently completed my gcses and have been wondering about my A-level choices. the sixth forms I applied too allow me to change my options on results day so I'm still unsure about what I want to do.

I know for sure I want to do maths and physics as my first 2 choices. However I'm stuck on the third. My future carrier choice is to hopefully join the aviation industry and become a pilot. Most likely not going to university.

For the third, I put down chemistry. I enjoy chemistry alot, and am really good at it. but I'm regretting it now learning about the amount of stress and content in it that you have to know, when my career won't really benefit from it since I want to join a mainly physics carrier. Then again, worst comes to worst, chemistry offers many other job choices if I change my mind.

My second option is History. It seems very interesting and I quite enjoyed it at gcse aswell. Also might be good to have a diverse set of skills at A levels with a writing subject mixed with the others. However I don't see any future careers in history that I'd be doing, which has me hesitant.

A final choice was economics but I changed my mind on that when I realised that it didn't have much use outside of A level with specific jobs, and wasn't a demanded A level.

Please help me with advice on what you guys think I should take as a third A level. thank you

computer science could be useful and enjoyable. further maths if you change your mind about university and want to pursue maths at a higher level. follow your heart. i think it’s okay to choose your subjects with no greater purpose than enjoyment. you never know where it may take you!
Original post by Anonymous
Hi. Recently completed my gcses and have been wondering about my A-level choices. the sixth forms I applied too allow me to change my options on results day so I'm still unsure about what I want to do.

I know for sure I want to do maths and physics as my first 2 choices. However I'm stuck on the third. My future carrier choice is to hopefully join the aviation industry and become a pilot. Most likely not going to university.

For the third, I put down chemistry. I enjoy chemistry alot, and am really good at it. but I'm regretting it now learning about the amount of stress and content in it that you have to know, when my career won't really benefit from it since I want to join a mainly physics carrier. Then again, worst comes to worst, chemistry offers many other job choices if I change my mind.

My second option is History. It seems very interesting and I quite enjoyed it at gcse aswell. Also might be good to have a diverse set of skills at A levels with a writing subject mixed with the others. However I don't see any future careers in history that I'd be doing, which has me hesitant.

A final choice was economics but I changed my mind on that when I realised that it didn't have much use outside of A level with specific jobs, and wasn't a demanded A level.

Please help me with advice on what you guys think I should take as a third A level. thank you

I think you should choose what you’ve enjoyed the most or what you think you’ll be best at - that way you’ll have a better A level experience and be more likely to get better grades. I’ve just finished my A levels and I really enjoyed chemistry and didn’t find there to be huge amounts of content really so don’t let that put you off if you liked it at GCSE, especially because it’ll go well with your other two subjects. But again, if you want to do history then do that. I think you should choose what you like best
Original post by Anonymous
Hi. Recently completed my gcses and have been wondering about my A-level choices. the sixth forms I applied too allow me to change my options on results day so I'm still unsure about what I want to do.

I know for sure I want to do maths and physics as my first 2 choices. However I'm stuck on the third. My future carrier choice is to hopefully join the aviation industry and become a pilot. Most likely not going to university.

For the third, I put down chemistry. I enjoy chemistry alot, and am really good at it. but I'm regretting it now learning about the amount of stress and content in it that you have to know, when my career won't really benefit from it since I want to join a mainly physics carrier. Then again, worst comes to worst, chemistry offers many other job choices if I change my mind.

My second option is History. It seems very interesting and I quite enjoyed it at gcse aswell. Also might be good to have a diverse set of skills at A levels with a writing subject mixed with the others. However I don't see any future careers in history that I'd be doing, which has me hesitant.

A final choice was economics but I changed my mind on that when I realised that it didn't have much use outside of A level with specific jobs, and wasn't a demanded A level.

Please help me with advice on what you guys think I should take as a third A level. thank you

Pick something you think you’d enjoy and be good at. After all, that way, you have the best chances possible of getting higher grades.

I’d say aside from maths and physics, objectively further maths and computer science are the best two A levels for anything related to aviation. But if neither appeal, then perhaps it is safer to stick with either chemistry, history or economics,

Chemistry has many good resources available for it, so whilst there is a lot to memorise, there are plenty of resources to help you out there. History is probably more difficult to find useful resources for, given how many options there are for it and economics I wouldn’t know anything about.
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 4
Original post by Mumb13s
computer science could be useful and enjoyable. further maths if you change your mind about university and want to pursue maths at a higher level. follow your heart. i think it’s okay to choose your subjects with no greater purpose than enjoyment. you never know where it may take you!

Hi. sorry I just realised I posted this in the wrong place, but appreciate your message.

I did consider CS but I never done it at gcse, and I also just never found the content we learnt before year 9 interesting. I enjoy stuff about technology but software and coding never really appeals to me.

in regards to FM, I'd choose it but all 3 of my sixth form choices require it to be taken as a fourth extra subject rather than a third, which just leaves the gap of the third a level alot more confusing for me lol.

but yeah I think its best to consider my enjoyment. I just cant bring myself to accept in my mind that I'll spend 2 years on a subject I'll never use
Reply 5
Original post by Teribblestudent
I think you should choose what you’ve enjoyed the most or what you think you’ll be best at - that way you’ll have a better A level experience and be more likely to get better grades. I’ve just finished my A levels and I really enjoyed chemistry and didn’t find there to be huge amounts of content really so don’t let that put you off if you liked it at GCSE, especially because it’ll go well with your other two subjects. But again, if you want to do history then do that. I think you should choose what you like best


Honestly I really loved Chem at gcse. but alot of that was because of what an awesome teacher I had at gcse. when i came to the nights before the exam, i wasnt really feeling rhe content while doing my revision.

But when i look at the a level content it intrigues me so much for some reason. so now I'm just not certain whether i really enjoy it, and if it's worth doing it and if I'll find it difficult alongside maths and physics.

By the way, what a levels did you do alongside chem? and what are you predicted in terms of results? just curious as to if you chose big stem subjects with chem
Reply 6
Original post by TypicalNerd
Pick something you think you’d enjoy and be good at. After all, that way, you have the best chances possible of getting higher grades.

I’d say aside from maths and physics, objectively further maths and computer science are the best two A levels for anything related to aviation. But if neither appeal, then perhaps it is safer to stick with either chemistry, history or economics,

Chemistry has many good resources available for it, so whilst there is a lot to memorise, there are plenty of resources to help you out there. History is probably more difficult to find useful resources for, given how many options there are for it and economics I wouldn’t know anything about.

That's a really fair point I didn't consider.

I guess internally I'm just worried about juggling the workload between 3 huge and tolling subjects like physics maths and chem.

I'd do FM but in all my sixth form choices they require it to be done as a 4th a level rather than a third. and CS just doesn't really appeal to me. I can't get my mind off my A level options and it's been eating at me for all of the start of my time off 😭
Original post by Anonymous
Honestly I really loved Chem at gcse. but alot of that was because of what an awesome teacher I had at gcse. when i came to the nights before the exam, i wasnt really feeling rhe content while doing my revision.

But when i look at the a level content it intrigues me so much for some reason. so now I'm just not certain whether i really enjoy it, and if it's worth doing it and if I'll find it difficult alongside maths and physics.

By the way, what a levels did you do alongside chem? and what are you predicted in terms of results? just curious as to if you chose big stem subjects with chem

I did bio, chem and maths. And my predicted grades are A*A*A
Original post by Anonymous
That's a really fair point I didn't consider.

I guess internally I'm just worried about juggling the workload between 3 huge and tolling subjects like physics maths and chem.

I'd do FM but in all my sixth form choices they require it to be done as a 4th a level rather than a third. and CS just doesn't really appeal to me. I can't get my mind off my A level options and it's been eating at me for all of the start of my time off 😭


I actually did chemistry, maths and physics. Chemistry was by far the easiest subject of those three.

A summary of my revision and self-teaching methods can be found here:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7253201&page=2#post97549790
Reply 9
Original post by Teribblestudent
I did bio, chem and maths. And my predicted grades are A*A*A


wow those are some amazing grades. Well in!
Reply 10
Original post by TypicalNerd
I actually did chemistry, maths and physics. Chemistry was by far the easiest subject of those three.

A summary of my revision and self-teaching methods can be found here:

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=7253201&page=2#post97549790

thank you for that. what exam board did you do?

do you think I'll be overwhelmed if I put chem as my third one? since I know that they're all quite difficult subjects and I want to focus on physics and maths for my future career
Reply 11
I'd suggest further maths or chemistry. They're both very difficult but with very different pathways. Further Maths would help you with both maths and physics because of the additional mechanics content. Chemistry is really interesting but a lot of the practicals and theory can be extremely overwhelming. It depends on the pathway you choose to pursue, though for aviation it doesn't really matter. Chemistry allows you to study medicine and pharmacy, but it won't be of much use elsewhere but further maths would open up engineering and maths-based pathways. Up to you really.
Reply 12
Original post by Anonymous
thank you for that. what exam board did you do?

do you think I'll be overwhelmed if I put chem as my third one? since I know that they're all quite difficult subjects and I want to focus on physics and maths for my future career

I did chemistry in Y12, and yes it was mind-blowingly overwhelming in my opinion. Further maths is also quite hard, but it would be far more beneficial if you plan on focusing on maths and physics for your future career.
Original post by Anonymous
thank you for that. what exam board did you do?

do you think I'll be overwhelmed if I put chem as my third one? since I know that they're all quite difficult subjects and I want to focus on physics and maths for my future career

For chemistry and maths, I did Edexcel. For Physics, I did OCR B (which is known to be a bad course generally, which is probably why it was way worse than my other two subjects).

I don’t know whether you’d be overwhelmed or not, since I don’t know you in person or have an objective view of how good your chemistry is. If you are doing well in chemistry now, it’s possibly because you have a natural aptitude for the subject and will therefore do exceptionally well.
Reply 14
Original post by Abz3900
I did chemistry in Y12, and yes it was mind-blowingly overwhelming in my opinion. Further maths is also quite hard, but it would be far more beneficial if you plan on focusing on maths and physics for your future career.

Tbh I'd much rather love to do further maths as a third subject. the problem is, all 3 of my sixth form choices require you to do FM as a fourth subject rather than a 3rd. I don't know why but that's the problem for me. I don't want to do 4 A levels
Reply 15
Original post by Anonymous
Tbh I'd much rather love to do further maths as a third subject. the problem is, all 3 of my sixth form choices require you to do FM as a fourth subject rather than a 3rd. I don't know why but that's the problem for me. I don't want to do 4 A levels

Not wanting to do 4 A-levels is perfectly fine. However something to bear in mind is that the maths/further maths combo isnt really 2 subjects worth of content. I did maths fm and physics and for most of the 2 years it felt like i was only doing two A-levels.

If you're really against doing 4 then just pick whatever you feel will be most interesting. From the sounds of it history or chemistry. Is there any possibility of you taking 4 to begin with and then dropping the one you least enjoy?
Reply 16
Original post by Skiwi
Not wanting to do 4 A-levels is perfectly fine. However something to bear in mind is that the maths/further maths combo isnt really 2 subjects worth of content. I did maths fm and physics and for most of the 2 years it felt like i was only doing two A-levels.

If you're really against doing 4 then just pick whatever you feel will be most interesting. From the sounds of it history or chemistry. Is there any possibility of you taking 4 to begin with and then dropping the one you least enjoy?

I was thinking about that. I got a friend that goes to my main choice of sixth form. I'll see him on Friday so I'll ask him about that possibility and if he knows. if that's possible I'll probably do that for the first week since it let's me understand what each subject is like at Alevel.

I know maths and FM are very similar. but ideally I don't want to spend an extra 5 hours a week on a fourth A level. If my school allows me to take FM as a third I'll definitely do it. but I'm not really looking to do 4

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