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Computer Science at Uni without taking Computer Science or Maths for A-levels?

I've got into the University of Exeter to study BA Communications for September 2023.

I was a naughty little fella in Year 7-11 with undiagnosed ADHD and got poor GCSE grades (Teacher Assessed too because of COVID). Literally 3s, 4s & 5s which limited my A-level options.

In Year 12 I got E,E,D during mocks and some of those grades carried over to Year 13, but after getting diagnosed with ADHD & thanks to a re-take in IT I finished Year 13 with A*AC.

I have a confirmed place at Exeter, however, in my Gap Year I have found a passion for Computer Science. I think this would be something I would prefer to study, not to mention the better career options in the future. I've been learning more throughout my gap year and learning more about coding.

Realistically, would I be able to keep up if I were to study Computer Science at Exeter?

I studied Computer Science at GCSE and got an A* in Information Technology so some information would carry over from there.
I have a friend who studies Computer Science at a different Uni and their modules are things I would ACTUALLY be interested in rather than forcing myself to study something I'm not as interested in which is huge for ADHD. Plus my friend who does Software Engineering has talked me through some related stuff. Finally, my sibling has studied Mathematics at Exeter and reckons I would be able to complete the modules with enough work.

On the other hand, I would be going up against those who already have A*/As in Computer Science, Maths & Further Maths from A-level since it's a Russel Group Uni who would have a massive headstart on me.
I'd like to think that I have the capabilities to catch up with enough hard work, but at the same time, it's important I stay realistic.

Please could I get some honest opinions about my situation?

Sorry for any formatting or layout issues, I wrote this from my phone lol
Reply 1
I can't say how well you'd theoretically keep up, but from a pure grades perspective, you don't meet the requirements for computer science at Exeter: you need AAA-AAB and a B in A level maths, neither of which you have. While your grades could potentially be accepted despite your C (although that isn't guaranteed and I don't know how likely it is), the lack of A level maths is likely a complete block. What was your plan for getting around this?

That's not to say you can't do CS elsewhere with your A level subjects and results, you'd just have to shop around a bit. It's always good to do a degree you actually care about and have an interest in, you'll have a much happier 3 years! Any course that doesn't require CS or maths A levels won't assume any knowledge from them, so you wouldn't be at a disadvantage in terms of keeping up. (Note: in any examples below I've ignored the grades required, as I can't speak for whether each uni would accept your A*AC in place of, say, BBB.)

You'd need to check any GCSE requirements as well as A level ones. Some, such as Leicester, don't require A level maths but ask for a 5 in GCSE maths, while others will have a minimum number of GCSE passes. You also often need a 4 in English Language GCSE, but I assume you have this as your current course also required that. Some unis accept a broader range of A level subjects to meet requirements (e.g. UEA just want one of Mathematics, Computing Science, Digital Technology, Chemistry, Physics, Electronics or Economics). Some of them will have foundation year options for those with the wrong subjects (e.g. Loughborough, though they require a 6 in maths GCSE). It'll take a bit of research to search through all the options to find realistic choices for your circumstances, but you'd have to weigh that up against the benefit of potentially doing a degree you enjoy more :smile:
Reply 2
Congratulations on your confirmed place at Exeter :biggrin:

As for wanting to switch to Computer Science, it may be tricky. I did Maths and Computer Science at A level, and though I can say A level CS is really helpful but not a requirement, unfortunately, I cannot say that for Maths. Exeter and most unis will have a hard Maths requirement. While it may help that you have already been accepted at Exeter, as it is for a different course run from a different department, they will likely still require that you meet the original requirements (Maths).

My advice would be to have a look at universities which do not require Maths. This will ensure that there are no A level maths prereqs and so everything will be taught from the ground up, improving your chance at success on the course. I am not too familiar with these myself as I have applied for a different subject, but do have a look

I wish you all the best :smile:

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