The Student Room Group

need a level help!!!!! urgent

Hi everyone , here is some context: i'm in year 12 and for my a levels I have chose Biology, Chemistry and Maths (i know its the typical medicine a levels ). I got a 9 in Bio and Chem and an 8 in Maths at IGCSE. I really want to go into medicine at university (not sure whichone yet) so that is also a factor into the decision.
I chose Chem and Bio because they are subjects I enjoy A LOT and so far I love them!! But Maths...is a bit of a problem.
You see, I only got a grade 8 at igcse because of VERY hard work - went from a grade 5 to a grade 8 - but I did not enjoy it much at gcse.
But, I still took it to a level because it was well respected and would make my application more competitive for medicine.
I like it more now but we haven't even started the a level content yet (still doing recap kind of ), so I don't know how well i would cope with the work and content of the a level. Maths was my weakest subject at GCSE as I got all 9s and 8s in ever other subject consistently apart from maths.
I know it gets a lot harder, right now we are doing gcse recap but i just don't want to make the wrong choice in dropping it for a 'softer' subject. I think I would take either French or Computer Science instead of Maths if I dropped is as I got 9s in both of them.
As i've said before i don't know if i'm confident i will get the A i need in Maths, so far i've been watching TL Maths videos and doing madasmaths questions but I don't know how i will cope with actual A Level content. Also my GCSE French teacher loved me - and i loved french too (but not like the sciences) and I spoke to her about the class sots in the timetable and my classes in bio and chem would not be changed if i dropped maths. So, What should I do?
TLDR: I'm in year 12 doing Bio Chem and Maths but don't know if I want to drop maths for a 'softer' subject like french - don't know if i cant get the A grade that I need in Maths. See above for more details tho as this is a very simplified version :smile:
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by oort.cloud
Hi everyone , here is some context: i'm in year 12 and for my a levels I have chose Biology, Chemistry and Maths (i know its the typical medicine a levels ). I got a 9 in Bio and Chem and an 8 in Maths at IGCSE. I really want to go into medicine at university (not sure whichone yet) so that is also a factor into the decision.
I chose Chem and Bio because they are subjects I enjoy A LOT and so far I love them!! But Maths...is a bit of a problem.
You see, I only got a grade 8 at igcse because of VERY hard work - went from a grade 5 to a grade 8 - but I did not enjoy it much at gcse.
But, I still took it to a level because it was well respected and would make my application more competitive for medicine.
I like it more now but we haven't even started the a level content yet (still doing recap kind of ), so I don't know how well i would cope with the work and content of the a level. Maths was my weakest subject at GCSE as I got all 9s and 8s in ever other subject consistently apart from maths.
I know it gets a lot harder, right now we are doing gcse recap but i just don't want to make the wrong choice in dropping it for a 'softer' subject. I think I would take either French or Computer Science instead of Maths if I dropped is as I got 9s in both of them.
As i've said before i don't know if i'm confident i will get the A i need in Maths, so far i've been watching TL Maths videos and doing madasmaths questions but I don't know how i will cope with actual A Level content. Also my GCSE French teacher loved me - and i loved french too (but not like the sciences) and I spoke to her about the class sots in the timetable and my classes in bio and chem would not be changed if i dropped maths. So, What should I do?
TLDR: I'm in year 12 doing Bio Chem and Maths but don't know if I want to drop maths for a 'softer' subject like french - don't know if i cant get the A grade that I need in Maths. See above for more details tho as this is a very simplified version :smile:

Look for medicine course entry requirements, chances are there are some that don't need maths but they'll choose you much more strongly over someone else who doesn't have maths - most people applying for it will have bio, chem and maths so I'd recommend doing those three and then whatever else extra-curricular to make yourself stand out when you're doing your personal statement. Doing unrelated subjects might mean you get better grades but the uni might not care if they aren't relevant to that specific course, if that makes sense.
Reply 2
Hey, of course am not a teacher (so disclaimer).

MY main point: YOU REALLYYYY DONT NEED TO DO MATHS. Trust me, and more importantly trust the university course overview pages!! They all say very clearly that they *require* biology and chemistry, and anything for a third subject (maybe some want maths, idk, but check what their exact criteria). You're only job is to follow their exact criteria when doing your A levels. Doing Maths and getting a B (as this year showed; people who were getting As all year suddenly, unexpectedly got Bs/C's because of how ridiculously high the grade boundaries were) means no medical schools (near none) will accept you and reduces your chances of getting in. On the other hand, doing a subject you enjoy and that comes to you more easily, and getting an A* (whilst getting an A in bio and chem) makes you SO much more desirable to admissions team. Like, SO much more.

I think you should trust what I'm saying because I kind of had the strong belief that four A levels would make me a more competitive applicant (to whatever), so I stuck with it. I got good grades, but I KNOW if I'd dropped one and focused on 3 it would've been better; if I'd just actually listened to what the actual universities advise, it would've been simpler and less stressful for me. I only really saw that I could've taken 3 and had better level of success once I'd finished my A levels/was sitting my exams.

My point is: the universities on the most part explicitly say what they need from you; if you still don't trust it, call up admissions and interrogate them until you're satisfied. Don't take maths, a subject that will require 1000x your effort for a not-so-brilliant grade, whilst you can take something you'd enjoy more and get a brilliant grade in (hopefully!)/more likely to get a brilliant grade in, and STILL be a good candidate for med. I for example got A*AAB, A* in English, AA in biology and maths, but that still made me eligible to apply for dentistry at kings because I had that A* in English.


Another note: I'm "decent" at maths; not gifted but not awful, and it still took me quite a lot of time out of all my subjects. Doing homework, marking it, understanding it, practising takes up a lot of time, especially for someone who's doing 2 other science subjects and extracurricular stuff for med.

I advise: no maths!
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 3
I started year 12 with biology, chemistry, history, maths. I ended up dropping maths in the first few weeks of term. It was because of some family problems that meant I needed more time in the school day to get my work done, not going into details.
My friends are still doing maths A Level and we have just gone into year 13. They are having to put a lot to work in to get high grades, even those doing further maths and who want to do maths at degree level.
I think some unis such as oxbridge and top Russel groups may penalise you for not doing maths a level for medicine, but most other unis will not. You have the biology and chemistry and that is important.
Why don’t you look further into the textbook and watch some videos for the maths later in the year and year 13, bear in mind you will learn things before you get to those topics that mean they make more sense, but it will give you an idea of if you will like it. At A Level you need to do lots of extra work, hence why you have frees, so if you don’t like it you won’t do it.
Computer science will be aided if you do maths A Level, but French will be fine. I would have a look at the spec for those subjects and see if you think you will be able to do it or enjoy it.
Reply 4
Original post by thomasmclaren
Look for medicine course entry requirements, chances are there are some that don't need maths but they'll choose you much more strongly over someone else who doesn't have maths - most people applying for it will have bio, chem and maths so I'd recommend doing those three and then whatever else extra-curricular to make yourself stand out when you're doing your personal statement. Doing unrelated subjects might mean you get better grades but the uni might not care if they aren't relevant to that specific course, if that makes sense.

I was thinking that as well because i'm doing a lot of extracurricular stuff like epq and a science research scheme etc but what would be the point of all of that if i get e.g AAC in my a levels?
Reply 5
Original post by blueham1
Hey, of course am not a teacher (so disclaimer).

MY main point: YOU REALLYYYY DONT NEED TO DO MATHS. Trust me, and more importantly trust the university course overview pages!! They all say very clearly that they *require* biology and chemistry, and anything for a third subject (maybe some want maths, idk, but check what their exact criteria). You're only job is to follow their exact criteria when doing your A levels. Doing Maths and getting a B (as this year showed; people who were getting As all year suddenly, unexpectedly got Bs/C's because of how ridiculously high the grade boundaries were) means no medical schools (near none) will accept you and reduces your chances of getting in. On the other hand, doing a subject you enjoy and that comes to you more easily, and getting an A* (whilst getting an A in bio and chem) makes you SO much more desirable to admissions team. Like, SO much more.

I think you should trust what I'm saying because I kind of had the strong belief that four A levels would make me a more competitive applicant (to whatever), so I stuck with it. I got good grades, but I KNOW if I'd dropped one and focused on 3 it would've been better; if I'd just actually listened to what the actual universities advise, it would've been simpler and less stressful for me. I only really saw that I could've taken 3 and had better level of success once I'd finished my A levels/was sitting my exams.

My point is: the universities on the most part explicitly say what they need from you; if you still don't trust it, call up admissions and interrogate them until you're satisfied. Don't take maths, a subject that will require 1000x your effort for a not-so-brilliant grade, whilst you can take something you'd enjoy more and get a brilliant grade in (hopefully!)/more likely to get a brilliant grade in, and STILL be a good candidate for med. I for example got A*AAB, A* in English, AA in biology and maths, but that still made me eligible to apply for dentistry at kings because I had that A* in English.


Another note: I'm "decent" at maths; not gifted but not awful, and it still took me quite a lot of time out of all my subjects. Doing homework, marking it, understanding it, practising takes up a lot of time, especially for someone who's doing 2 other science subjects and extracurricular stuff for med.

I advise: no maths!

thank you :smile: i am similar to you i think in my ability in maths and i've researched A LOT into this even went to open days at unis and stuff already! but you yourself said that you were"decent" at maths and it was only because of your hard work and everything that got you an A, so maybe if I can work hard then maybe I can get an A too?
Reply 6
Original post by CatLover1
I started year 12 with biology, chemistry, history, maths. I ended up dropping maths in the first few weeks of term. It was because of some family problems that meant I needed more time in the school day to get my work done, not going into details.
My friends are still doing maths A Level and we have just gone into year 13. They are having to put a lot to work in to get high grades, even those doing further maths and who want to do maths at degree level.
I think some unis such as oxbridge and top Russel groups may penalise you for not doing maths a level for medicine, but most other unis will not. You have the biology and chemistry and that is important.
Why don’t you look further into the textbook and watch some videos for the maths later in the year and year 13, bear in mind you will learn things before you get to those topics that mean they make more sense, but it will give you an idea of if you will like it. At A Level you need to do lots of extra work, hence why you have frees, so if you don’t like it you won’t do it.
Computer science will be aided if you do maths A Level, but French will be fine. I would have a look at the spec for those subjects and see if you think you will be able to do it or enjoy it.

I have researched into a level french syllabus before and it seems...okay? there is quite a lot on essays on the culture and films and books from France which is understandable, and I think I'd be able to do it. the research project seems a bit hard, but compared to maths i think i'd enjoy it more, but obviously i will look into and watch a few videos on y13 maths to confirm my decision. although I am aiming to apply to oxford uni for medicine but you did say that maths is more competitive for them so i will decide by the end of this weekend. THANK YOU!!
(edited 8 months ago)
Original post by oort.cloud
Hi everyone , here is some context: i'm in year 12 and for my a levels I have chose Biology, Chemistry and Maths (i know its the typical medicine a levels ). I got a 9 in Bio and Chem and an 8 in Maths at IGCSE. I really want to go into medicine at university (not sure whichone yet) so that is also a factor into the decision.
I chose Chem and Bio because they are subjects I enjoy A LOT and so far I love them!! But Maths...is a bit of a problem.
You see, I only got a grade 8 at igcse because of VERY hard work - went from a grade 5 to a grade 8 - but I did not enjoy it much at gcse.
But, I still took it to a level because it was well respected and would make my application more competitive for medicine.
I like it more now but we haven't even started the a level content yet (still doing recap kind of ), so I don't know how well i would cope with the work and content of the a level. Maths was my weakest subject at GCSE as I got all 9s and 8s in ever other subject consistently apart from maths.
I know it gets a lot harder, right now we are doing gcse recap but i just don't want to make the wrong choice in dropping it for a 'softer' subject. I think I would take either French or Computer Science instead of Maths if I dropped is as I got 9s in both of them.
As i've said before i don't know if i'm confident i will get the A i need in Maths, so far i've been watching TL Maths videos and doing madasmaths questions but I don't know how i will cope with actual A Level content. Also my GCSE French teacher loved me - and i loved french too (but not like the sciences) and I spoke to her about the class sots in the timetable and my classes in bio and chem would not be changed if i dropped maths. So, What should I do?
TLDR: I'm in year 12 doing Bio Chem and Maths but don't know if I want to drop maths for a 'softer' subject like french - don't know if i cant get the A grade that I need in Maths. See above for more details tho as this is a very simplified version :smile:


Hiya! I have lots of friends, (im in year 13) that are applying for medicine and dont do maths. Some of the do music, classics etc. I'm not a teacher but usually unis like it if you have other interests as well so I doubt it will affect your application.
On a personal level, all three of your subjects are very hard, and if you struggle with maths that will take up a lot of time at a-level, when you could so much more easily do a subject that you enjoy, are more likely to revise and work hard in. It is better to have an A/A* in a different subject, that you know you can achieve as it will be much much less stressful.

It's your decision, and I personally would talk to your head of sixth form, but don't force yourself to do something you won't enjoy. This is two years of your life, and bio and chem will only get harder too.
Reply 8
Original post by oort.cloud
Hi everyone , here is some context: i'm in year 12 and for my a levels I have chose Biology, Chemistry and Maths (i know its the typical medicine a levels ). I got a 9 in Bio and Chem and an 8 in Maths at IGCSE. I really want to go into medicine at university (not sure whichone yet) so that is also a factor into the decision.
I chose Chem and Bio because they are subjects I enjoy A LOT and so far I love them!! But Maths...is a bit of a problem.
You see, I only got a grade 8 at igcse because of VERY hard work - went from a grade 5 to a grade 8 - but I did not enjoy it much at gcse.
But, I still took it to a level because it was well respected and would make my application more competitive for medicine.
I like it more now but we haven't even started the a level content yet (still doing recap kind of ), so I don't know how well i would cope with the work and content of the a level. Maths was my weakest subject at GCSE as I got all 9s and 8s in ever other subject consistently apart from maths.
I know it gets a lot harder, right now we are doing gcse recap but i just don't want to make the wrong choice in dropping it for a 'softer' subject. I think I would take either French or Computer Science instead of Maths if I dropped is as I got 9s in both of them.
As i've said before i don't know if i'm confident i will get the A i need in Maths, so far i've been watching TL Maths videos and doing madasmaths questions but I don't know how i will cope with actual A Level content. Also my GCSE French teacher loved me - and i loved french too (but not like the sciences) and I spoke to her about the class sots in the timetable and my classes in bio and chem would not be changed if i dropped maths. So, What should I do?
TLDR: I'm in year 12 doing Bio Chem and Maths but don't know if I want to drop maths for a 'softer' subject like french - don't know if i cant get the A grade that I need in Maths. See above for more details tho as this is a very simplified version :smile:

If Maths was your weakest subject, it makes zero sense to do it at A-level. Some Cambridge colleges for medicine ask for 3 sciences or Maths, but that is about it. Doing maths will not make your applicant stronger elsewhere. It will negatively impact your applicant as you are less likely to get an A/A*, and you will have to dedicate so much time to it that it might impact your other subjects or all your other work like volunteering, super curriculars, UCAT prep etc.

Do French, a social science, humanities, or whatever you are good at. Having an essay based subject with your sciences could also be beneficial.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 9
Original post by measley_weasley
Hiya! I have lots of friends, (im in year 13) that are applying for medicine and dont do maths. Some of the do music, classics etc. I'm not a teacher but usually unis like it if you have other interests as well so I doubt it will affect your application.
On a personal level, all three of your subjects are very hard, and if you struggle with maths that will take up a lot of time at a-level, when you could so much more easily do a subject that you enjoy, are more likely to revise and work hard in. It is better to have an A/A* in a different subject, that you know you can achieve as it will be much much less stressful.

It's your decision, and I personally would talk to your head of sixth form, but don't force yourself to do something you won't enjoy. This is two years of your life, and bio and chem will only get harder too.

I already have lots of other interests like drama (LAMDA grade 8) and music (i play piano on grade 8 too) that i can put on my application, but i get where you're coming from :smile: i agree that it will take up lots of time to get A/A* when i'm not strong in maths, but i could be dismissed/passed up if i do bio chem and french with e.g A*AA, for someone with A*AA but with bio chem and maths for instance...but yeah as you say its my decision but i just hope i make the right one!
Reply 10
Original post by lalexm
If Maths was your weakest subject, it makes zero sense to do it at A-level. Some Cambridge colleges for medicine ask for 3 sciences or Maths, but that is about it. Doing maths will not make your applicant stronger elsewhere. It will negatively impact your applicant as you are less likely to get an A/A*, and you will have to dedicate so much time to it that it might impact your other subjects or all your other work like volunteering, super curriculars, UCAT prep etc.

Do French, a social science, humanities, or whatever you are good at. Having an essay based subject with your sciences could also be beneficial.

But the thing is i've already arranged volunteering and am doing several supercurricular activities now as well so i think i will have plenty of time in the summer to get at the A grade level of maths and to do ucat prep
Reply 11
Original post by oort.cloud
But the thing is i've already arranged volunteering and am doing several supercurricular activities now as well so i think i will have plenty of time in the summer to get at the A grade level of maths and to do ucat prep

It’s up to you, but don’t see the point of doing maths if it’s not one of your strongest subjects.

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