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Should I do A-level maths?

On results day yesterday, I went to enroll at my school's sixth form and found out that due to staffing issues they are no longer offering A-level Law which I had originally applied for alongside history and sociology. My school sixth form is small which never originally bothered me as it is one of the best in a relatively deprived area. However, this means that they can't offer many subjects and so my only options are to either do Spanish or maths. There are others but they are BTECS and I have been told by teachers that I should avoid doing a BTEC.
I don't have a passion for Spanish or maths however I would argue that I am better at maths.
I achieved 7 grade 9s and 2 grade 8s yesterday, both the 8s were in Spanish and maths with me being 4 marks off of a grade 9 in maths. I was told I was the top achiever in the year group.
Through the mocks, I was always stuck at a 7 in Spanish and am honestly shocked I managed to improve it to an 8. For maths, I have been achieving a 9c all year and although it is unfortunate that I came out with an 8 I'm not upset.
So what I'm asking is, should I do A-level maths? Would I be able to succeed in it? Is it too hard to be enjoyable?
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 1
For me - maths. I think trying to take a language without a real interest in it can be very tough.
Reply 2
Original post by Xrffyuhstyhbf
On results day yesterday, I went to enroll at my school's sixth form and found out that due to staffing issues they are no longer offering A-level Law which I had originally applied for alongside history and sociology. My school sixth form is small which never originally bothered me as it is one of the best in a relatively deprived area. However, this means that they can't offer many subjects and so my only options are to either do Spanish or maths. There are others but they are BTECS and I have been told by teachers that I should avoid doing a BTEC.
I don't have a passion for Spanish or maths however I would argue that I am better at maths.
I achieved 7 grade 9s and 2 grade 8s yesterday, both the 8s were in Spanish and maths with me being 4 marks off of a grade 9 in maths. I was told I was the top achiever in the year group.
Through the mocks, I was always stuck at a 7 in Spanish and am honestly shocked I managed to improve it to an 8. For maths, I have been achieving a 9c all year and although it is unfortunate that I came out with an 8 I'm not upset.
So what I'm asking is, should I do A-level maths? Would I be able to succeed in it? Is it too hard to be enjoyable?

Answers on a maths forum are likely to be biased but I'd also say maths is a better bet than a language you're not inspired by.

That said, some questions:

Were you the highest achiever in maths or overall?
What grade at A-level would you be aiming for, and does your school seem capable of getting students to that level?

Also (and I'm sure you've done this) do make sure maths / Spanish are your only options - it feels a bit surprising there's nothing else.
You could get a pretty safe A in maths if you worked hard imo.
definitely biased as i’m doing maths and hate languages, however i would almost 100% say go for maths. languages in general tend to be prolific if you do not have a passion for them or even the culture of the place that language is spoken. i also think maths would be much more useful with your law application rather than spanish (that is unless you want to do a year abroad or end up in a spanish speaking country). i think even if you aren’t a fan of maths it’s still relatively easy to get good grades as long as you have consistency and make sure you understand content even if at first it’s confusing. also if you happen to change your mind about career/uni options maths would definitely open a lot more doors for you. the only downside i would say is i guess it would probably feel like maths is a little more intense that spanish would be, and also maths requires a differen ‘mindset’ compared to your other humanities subjects.
Reply 5
Original post by DFranklin
Answers on a maths forum are likely to be biased but I'd also say maths is a better bet than a language you're not inspired by.

That said, some questions:

Were you the highest achiever in maths or overall?
What grade at A-level would you be aiming for, and does your school seem capable of getting students to that level?

Also (and I'm sure you've done this) do make sure maths / Spanish are your only options - it feels a bit surprising there's nothing else.


Highest achiever overall. I'd hope to get a top grade at A-level, either an A or an A*. I do know that the teacher for A-level maths in my school is probably one of the best teachers in the school so I'd feel confident that the school could get students to that level.
Also, in terms of my other options, I was given a blank sheet of the option blocks and the only subjects that are available that aren't btecs (like criminology and health and social etc) are chemistry, maths and Spanish. There is absolutely no way I'm taking chemistry, I loathe it with my entire being, it isn't even a consideration.
So far, I'm leaning towards maths. I think I could be successful in it if I tried hard enough.
To Maths to be successful you just need to practice doing maths problem solving. I would recommend doing a maths question each day or every other day outside of school if you want to be completely solid. Isaac Physics has a lot good maths questions and there is heaps of things on YouTube from TL Maths, Bicen Maths and others. Your course textbook will also have many exam questions so keep on top of those.
Reply 7
Original post by Xrffyuhstyhbf
I do know that the teacher for A-level maths in my school is probably one of the best teachers in the school so I'd feel confident that the school could get students to that level.


That is hugely important and should swing any close decision.
Original post by Xrffyuhstyhbf
On results day yesterday, I went to enroll at my school's sixth form and found out that due to staffing issues they are no longer offering A-level Law which I had originally applied for alongside history and sociology. My school sixth form is small which never originally bothered me as it is one of the best in a relatively deprived area. However, this means that they can't offer many subjects and so my only options are to either do Spanish or maths. There are others but they are BTECS and I have been told by teachers that I should avoid doing a BTEC.
I don't have a passion for Spanish or maths however I would argue that I am better at maths.
I achieved 7 grade 9s and 2 grade 8s yesterday, both the 8s were in Spanish and maths with me being 4 marks off of a grade 9 in maths. I was told I was the top achiever in the year group.
Through the mocks, I was always stuck at a 7 in Spanish and am honestly shocked I managed to improve it to an 8. For maths, I have been achieving a 9c all year and although it is unfortunate that I came out with an 8 I'm not upset.
So what I'm asking is, should I do A-level maths? Would I be able to succeed in it? Is it too hard to be enjoyable?


Hi there, congratulations on your grades, they are really good! :smile: When considering your A level options there are several things you can consider:

1. Your career options, if you know what career you wish to pursue, you can look at the entry requirements for University and what subjects would help you out.

2. You can also consider which A levels you may achieve higher grades. This is also a factor that will be important when it comes to University applications.

For GCSEs I achieved 8s for Mathematics throughout the year and I did not find A level Mathematics too bad. Whilst being challenging, it can also be an enjoyable subject. I think if you have been achieving 9s all year then A-level Maths is quite a good option for you. If you work hard, then you should be able to achieve a A or A*.

Unfortunately, I did not take French so I'm not in a position to comment on it. Though, if you have a passion for French, it can also be a good route to pursue.

I hope this helps!
All the best :smile:

Chloe
-University of Kent Student Rep
Question - if you want to do law, and your sixth form no longer offers it as an option, have you considered switching providers to one that offers exactly what you want? In my personal experience, it's better to choose the A levels you want to study. If you're asking whether you should do maths, that tells me you actually don't want to do it and you are hoping someone will talk you into it.

Is maths a good subject to study? Absolutely. I think most people will agree maths is generally a good subject to have, and well regarded by any university admissions, but only strictly necessary beyond GCSE for a STEM subject or accounting type subjects. For everything else it's just a plus. So, is maths right for you? Only you can answer that, but I'd say to only do it if you really want to. Don't feel like you have to settle when it comes to your education.

That said, if you start the year and realise you want to do something different, that's also OK. So you can try maths if you're not sure and then if it doesn't work for you you can drop it next year. I studied maths at college and failed it because I didn't work hard and only took it because I thought it'd look good on my CV. Came out of college with 2 a levels grades D and E in French and Physics. Somehow managed to scrape into university through clearing with a place in Philosophy. Then somehow ended up doing linguistics (in first year they let us pick modules from any subject within the school of humanities and that's what I ended up loving). Did a study abroad year and graduated in 2012 with a 2.1 (just narrowly missed getting a 1st - I got an average of 69 and a 1st is 70) Then I spent 10 years wishing I had done Medicine but figured I would have never got into a medicine degree. Then last year at the age of 32 I decided to go for it, went back to college to get my Scottish Highers (same as A levels) in Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Physics and applied for uni places in medicine. I got AAAB (B in Physics), scored very well in the admissions test (UCAT, top 7% score in the country) and now I'm starting in Medicine at Aberdeen in 2 weeks. I'm not saying any of this to brag, I'm saying even 15 years after I failed maths, it's not too late. The decisions you make now are important because it can decide the direction you take in life, but if you make the wrong decision it's not that bad and can be fixed.

Not sure if this helps at all, but whatever you to I wish you the best of luck.

Edited to add: I was also a super high achiever at GCSEs. The kind of high achiever that didn't even have to put any effort in. You can achieve your A*/A in A level Maths, so long as you put the work in. It's easier to put the work in if you like what you study.
(edited 10 months ago)

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