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Overall tips for my a level choices

So I do English language, Applied Science Ext. Certificate, Fine Art, Core Math lvl3, EPQ lvl 3.
Any disadvantages/advantages with these picks? Please suggest what courses I can advance on in uni and if the career path can expand with all of these subjects, thank you!
Original post by blacada
So I do English language, Applied Science Ext. Certificate, Fine Art, Core Math lvl3, EPQ lvl 3.
Any disadvantages/advantages with these picks? Please suggest what courses I can advance on in uni and if the career path can expand with all of these subjects, thank you!


I would have started off with the career choice as opposed to picking random subjects. This would make picking degrees difficult, especially with a BTEC without biology/chemistry A Level then with Core Maths.

Technically, you can have a choice of 600+ different careers (I'm not listing them all) with A Levels in any random subjects, but if you want something specific, your options would be severely limited.

For one, other than Applied Science (which isn't an extended diploma) and Core Maths (only required by some unis), your other subjects aren't required subjects i.e. you can only apply for degrees that asks for Applied Science (extended cert, if any ask for it), those that ask for Core Maths (I know of only one), or degrees that asks for any subjects at A Level or equivalent. Whilst that doesn't mean you can't get onto a degree or you're restricted to one choice (you have about 15-20 different subjects to otherwise choose from), you will be limiting yourself to a lot of subjects that require specific subjects, particularly in STEM where they are pickier with what you have.

Personally, I can't see the advantages due to them not being required subjects and they're not easy by any definition.
The disadvantages are:

You're very unlikely to get onto a life science degree (no biology/chemistry A Level, and your applied science is an extended cert, not an extended diploma)

You're unlikely to get onto a quantitative degree (unless they regard core maths as being adequate)

Fine Arts is a time consuming subject, and it's often requested for in a small number of art/design degrees, where they prefer Art and Design A level



The sort of careers that combines art and science would be medical illustration, but it's very niched and has high competition (but then what grad job doesn't?). See: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/medical-illustrator
If you want something mathematical that combines with life sciences, then consider bioinformatics (heath informatics/physical sciences) or biological mathematics.
If you really want, you can consider medical imagery i.e. diagnostic radiographer.
Becoming the author of medical or biological books does not require English Lang at A Level, even if it's nice to have.

If I was you, I would opt for a different set of options:

A Level Maths instead of Core Maths

A Level Biology instead of Applied Science (with Chemistry ideally)

Art and Design instead of Fine Art, but that's if you really want to do art for some reason


The required subjects would be maths, biology, and chemistry. This should allow you to go into healthcare degrees, which can then allow you to branch off into medical illustration. If you want to do an arty degree, then you can do do with the same A Levels (albeit not at all unis, which is why Art and Design is there as a back up). The 2 sciences (or one of the sciences + maths) would allo you to go into radiography, if you want to. Biological maths would require maths only. Bioinformatics in health informatics (as a career) would require a quantitative degree (something in maths, physics, engineering, etc.), but you can also get genomics bioinformatics which looks more into genes (biology and chemistry would cover this for the degree).
Becoming an author would require you to be able to write, and if you're an expert at your subject (or a very creative writer), then you're usually fine.

If you want more specific advice on A Level subjects or careers, then I would need very specific detail about:

What sort of career do you want?

What do you see yourself doing day in day out?

Why you didn't pick the A Level subjects mentioned above instead of your current choices?

If you had to stick to field or do one degree, what would it be in?

Original post by MindMax2000
If you really want, you can consider medical imagery i.e. diagnostic radiographer.

I doubt diagnostic radiography would be an option for the OP as most unis will require a science A level in addition to the Extended Certificate BTEC in Applied Science.
Original post by blacada
So I do English language, Applied Science Ext. Certificate, Fine Art, Core Math lvl3, EPQ lvl 3.
Any disadvantages/advantages with these picks? Please suggest what courses I can advance on in uni and if the career path can expand with all of these subjects, thank you!


Your current subjects lend themselves to arts/humanities degrees as the Applied Science Extended Certificate won't be enough for a lot of STEM degrees. Degrees you could consider: English, linguistics, fine art and other design-based degrees, speech and language therapy, architecture, landscape architecture, liberal arts, law, teacher training, etc. Also, a lot of graduate employment schemes accept degrees in any subject, so you don't have to pick a degree with a specific career in mind.

Have a look at the following website for career inspiration:

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/

Many degrees don't have specific subject requirements, so pick a couple of unis, scroll through the undegraduate course list and click on courses that pique your interest. Check the Entry Requirements section to check if your subjects are fine. For example:

https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/2024/

https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/
Original post by MindMax2000
I would have started off with the career choice as opposed to picking random subjects. This would make picking degrees difficult, especially with a BTEC without biology/chemistry A Level then with Core Maths.

Technically, you can have a choice of 600+ different careers (I'm not listing them all) with A Levels in any random subjects, but if you want something specific, your options would be severely limited.

For one, other than Applied Science (which isn't an extended diploma) and Core Maths (only required by some unis), your other subjects aren't required subjects i.e. you can only apply for degrees that asks for Applied Science (extended cert, if any ask for it), those that ask for Core Maths (I know of only one), or degrees that asks for any subjects at A Level or equivalent. Whilst that doesn't mean you can't get onto a degree or you're restricted to one choice (you have about 15-20 different subjects to otherwise choose from), you will be limiting yourself to a lot of subjects that require specific subjects, particularly in STEM where they are pickier with what you have.

Personally, I can't see the advantages due to them not being required subjects and they're not easy by any definition.
The disadvantages are:

You're very unlikely to get onto a life science degree (no biology/chemistry A Level, and your applied science is an extended cert, not an extended diploma)

You're unlikely to get onto a quantitative degree (unless they regard core maths as being adequate)

Fine Arts is a time consuming subject, and it's often requested for in a small number of art/design degrees, where they prefer Art and Design A level



The sort of careers that combines art and science would be medical illustration, but it's very niched and has high competition (but then what grad job doesn't?). See: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/medical-illustrator
If you want something mathematical that combines with life sciences, then consider bioinformatics (heath informatics/physical sciences) or biological mathematics.
If you really want, you can consider medical imagery i.e. diagnostic radiographer.
Becoming the author of medical or biological books does not require English Lang at A Level, even if it's nice to have.

If I was you, I would opt for a different set of options:

A Level Maths instead of Core Maths

A Level Biology instead of Applied Science (with Chemistry ideally)

Art and Design instead of Fine Art, but that's if you really want to do art for some reason


The required subjects would be maths, biology, and chemistry. This should allow you to go into healthcare degrees, which can then allow you to branch off into medical illustration. If you want to do an arty degree, then you can do do with the same A Levels (albeit not at all unis, which is why Art and Design is there as a back up). The 2 sciences (or one of the sciences + maths) would allo you to go into radiography, if you want to. Biological maths would require maths only. Bioinformatics in health informatics (as a career) would require a quantitative degree (something in maths, physics, engineering, etc.), but you can also get genomics bioinformatics which looks more into genes (biology and chemistry would cover this for the degree).
Becoming an author would require you to be able to write, and if you're an expert at your subject (or a very creative writer), then you're usually fine.

If you want more specific advice on A Level subjects or careers, then I would need very specific detail about:

What sort of career do you want?

What do you see yourself doing day in day out?

Why you didn't pick the A Level subjects mentioned above instead of your current choices?

If you had to stick to field or do one degree, what would it be in?


Why you didn't pick the A Level subjects mentioned above instead of your current choices?

Hi, this is a great amount of info, thank you!
I originally wanted to do Pyschology, Biology and Art but my GCSE grades heavily pushed that down. I have appealed but it is taking longer than expected and a lot of the courses are filled up so i am relatively “stuck” with these ones. I would like to still do Psych and Bio but it seems like I can’t in this current time.

What do you see yourself doing day in day out?

I honestly don’t know that is why i tried to pick a range of subjects to give myself a chance to a lot lf fields.

What sort of career do you want?
Same here, no idea yet but potentially STEM or psychology, something like that?

If you had to stick to field or do one degree, what would it be in?
I don’t know because i dont know the competition or the actual financial benefit of stepping into some degrees ie. Psychology.
Original post by blacada
Why you didn't pick the A Level subjects mentioned above instead of your current choices?

Hi, this is a great amount of info, thank you!
I originally wanted to do Pyschology, Biology and Art but my GCSE grades heavily pushed that down. I have appealed but it is taking longer than expected and a lot of the courses are filled up so i am relatively “stuck” with these ones. I would like to still do Psych and Bio but it seems like I can’t in this current time.

What do you see yourself doing day in day out?

I honestly don’t know that is why i tried to pick a range of subjects to give myself a chance to a lot lf fields.

What sort of career do you want?
Same here, no idea yet but potentially STEM or psychology, something like that?

If you had to stick to field or do one degree, what would it be in?
I don’t know because i dont know the competition or the actual financial benefit of stepping into some degrees ie. Psychology.

I originally wanted to do Pyschology, Biology and Art but my GCSE grades heavily pushed that down. I have appealed but it is taking longer than expected and a lot of the courses are filled up so i am relatively “stuck” with these ones.
Doing biology + psychology is a little redundant if you're picking subjects to maximise your options, but that's just me. This is because psychology degrees generally don't require specific A Levels, and the ones that do tend to ask for biology or psychology. I would still go for chemistry instead of psychology, because the chemistry + biology combo pretty opens almost all doors in life sciences and healthcare.

If you hate chem with a passion, then you would still be eligible for a number of life science and healthcare degrees, but you still be missing out on at least half of them especially the competitive ones.

If you do want to do science and art A Levels at college, then you should want to do them at college where possible, because practical assessments outside of college is somewhat prohibitively expensive.

I honestly don’t know that is why i tried to pick a range of subjects to give myself a chance to a lot lf fields/Same here, no idea yet but potentially STEM or psychology, something like that?
The subjects that would max out the most fields would be maths + 3 sciences. However, if you don't intend to go into STEM or into a quantitative degree, these subjects won't help. If life science is a priority for you, then I would still go for the biology + chem combo.

I don’t know because i dont know the competition or the actual financial benefit of stepping into some degrees ie. Psychology.
These are probably almost impossible to tell. This applies the same for pretty much any degree. You can't really tell what people would do with the degree or where they would end up i.e. we don't use crystal balls. Some go into academia, some go into teaching, some go into the profession that they study for, some go do something completely different (either by choice or not). Also, just because you have the degree to do a certain job, it doesn't necessarily mean you would enjoy it or it's something you ultimately want.
I think the more appropriate approach is ask yourself what you really want to do and try to work towards getting that instead of anything that pays or is easy to get. With any random degree, you can often get into 600+ different careers (and no I am not listing all of them out), a number of them would be high paying i.e. you would be safe on some level. The remaining 200+ careers would require specific degrees or qualifications.

Having said that Emolument tends to publish various articles on the salaries on the degrees (not that I am saying you shouldn't take it with a pinch of salt):
https://www.emolument.com/career_advice/phd_and_doctorate_impact_salary#gsc.tab=0
https://www.businessinsider.com/emolument-humanities-phd-cost-2016-5
https://www.cityam.com/mba-vs-phd-which-postgraduate-degree-will-push-up-your-salary-more/

You can also look at the job profiles on national databases for further information.
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/sectors
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/explore-roles (if working for NHS)

With any job that has a high salary attached to it, there is often a lot of competition; if it doesn't, then you need to ask yourself what the drawbacks of them are. Sometimes there is competition even if the drawbacks are terrible e.g. always on the road, working 100+ hour weeks, boring, etc.
Anything that is grad level is never easy to get (even anything at college level is not easy to get). It depends on how far you're willing to go for it.
(edited 8 months ago)
Reply 6
Original post by MindMax2000
I would have started off with the career choice as opposed to picking random subjects. This would make picking degrees difficult, especially with a BTEC without biology/chemistry A Level then with Core Maths.

Technically, you can have a choice of 600+ different careers (I'm not listing them all) with A Levels in any random subjects, but if you want something specific, your options would be severely limited.

For one, other than Applied Science (which isn't an extended diploma) and Core Maths (only required by some unis), your other subjects aren't required subjects i.e. you can only apply for degrees that asks for Applied Science (extended cert, if any ask for it), those that ask for Core Maths (I know of only one), or degrees that asks for any subjects at A Level or equivalent. Whilst that doesn't mean you can't get onto a degree or you're restricted to one choice (you have about 15-20 different subjects to otherwise choose from), you will be limiting yourself to a lot of subjects that require specific subjects, particularly in STEM where they are pickier with what you have.

Personally, I can't see the advantages due to them not being required subjects and they're not easy by any definition.
The disadvantages are:

You're very unlikely to get onto a life science degree (no biology/chemistry A Level, and your applied science is an extended cert, not an extended diploma)

You're unlikely to get onto a quantitative degree (unless they regard core maths as being adequate)

Fine Arts is a time consuming subject, and it's often requested for in a small number of art/design degrees, where they prefer Art and Design A level



The sort of careers that combines art and science would be medical illustration, but it's very niched and has high competition (but then what grad job doesn't?). See: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/medical-illustrator
If you want something mathematical that combines with life sciences, then consider bioinformatics (heath informatics/physical sciences) or biological mathematics.
If you really want, you can consider medical imagery i.e. diagnostic radiographer.
Becoming the author of medical or biological books does not require English Lang at A Level, even if it's nice to have.

If I was you, I would opt for a different set of options:

A Level Maths instead of Core Maths

A Level Biology instead of Applied Science (with Chemistry ideally)

Art and Design instead of Fine Art, but that's if you really want to do art for some reason


The required subjects would be maths, biology, and chemistry. This should allow you to go into healthcare degrees, which can then allow you to branch off into medical illustration. If you want to do an arty degree, then you can do do with the same A Levels (albeit not at all unis, which is why Art and Design is there as a back up). The 2 sciences (or one of the sciences + maths) would allo you to go into radiography, if you want to. Biological maths would require maths only. Bioinformatics in health informatics (as a career) would require a quantitative degree (something in maths, physics, engineering, etc.), but you can also get genomics bioinformatics which looks more into genes (biology and chemistry would cover this for the degree).
Becoming an author would require you to be able to write, and if you're an expert at your subject (or a very creative writer), then you're usually fine.

If you want more specific advice on A Level subjects or careers, then I would need very specific detail about:

What sort of career do you want?

What do you see yourself doing day in day out?

Why you didn't pick the A Level subjects mentioned above instead of your current choices?

If you had to stick to field or do one degree, what would it be in?


Hi there, i take psychology, photography and BTEC level 3 applied science ext. Certificate. Would i be able to do a forensics science degree with a foundation year ?
Original post by aali2006
Hi there, i take psychology, photography and BTEC level 3 applied science ext. Certificate. Would i be able to do a forensics science degree with a foundation year ?


I would presume that you want to do forensic science to go into CSI. In which case if you look at the following job proiles for the role you would know the degree needs to be accredited by the The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences:
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/science/job-profile/forensic-scientist
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/forensic-scientist

If you go to the CSFS website, you would see the following page/list of degrees:
http://www.csofs.org/Accredited-course-search

From that list, there are 23 accredited degrees with foundation years. From the list, I have found some that you should be eligible for:
https://www.aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/crime-and-investigative-studies#entry_requirements
https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduates/2023/42330-forensic-anthropology-bsc-hons-fnd - in clearing, so cannot confirm details
https://www.staffs.ac.uk/course/forensic-investigation-bsc#entry
https://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/bsc-hons-forensic-investigation-including-foundation-year/
https://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/bsc-hons-forensic-science-including-foundation-year/ - debatable because it asks for a relevant science subject at A Level (not sure if psychology counts) and it accepts BTEC diplomas, not certificates
*https://www.staffs.ac.uk/course/forensic-science-bsc-msci?a=msci&m=msci-full-time-stoke-on-trent-campus#entry
*https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/F41F/forensic-science-with-foundation-year#entry
*https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/F4MF/forensic-science-with-foundation-year#entry
https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduates/2023/41440-forensic-science-bsc-hons-fnd - in clearing so not sure
*https://www.aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/forensic-science#entry_requirements
The links with asterisk next to them are strictly forensic science as opposed to investigation, anthropologu, etc.
I've been through the first 10. You should be able to do the rest.

In short, yes you can do forensic science with your current options, although they aren't ideal.

A better option would be to do either biology or chemistry as one of the subjects instead. If you can't do this, then you can consider Access to HE in science during a gap year or do one of the science A Levels privately.
Reply 8
Original post by MindMax2000
I would presume that you want to do forensic science to go into CSI. In which case if you look at the following job proiles for the role you would know the degree needs to be accredited by the The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences:
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/science/job-profile/forensic-scientist
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/forensic-scientist

If you go to the CSFS website, you would see the following page/list of degrees:
http://www.csofs.org/Accredited-course-search

From that list, there are 23 accredited degrees with foundation years. From the list, I have found some that you should be eligible for:
https://www.aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/crime-and-investigative-studies#entry_requirements
https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduates/2023/42330-forensic-anthropology-bsc-hons-fnd - in clearing, so cannot confirm details
https://www.staffs.ac.uk/course/forensic-investigation-bsc#entry
https://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/bsc-hons-forensic-investigation-including-foundation-year/
https://www.southwales.ac.uk/courses/bsc-hons-forensic-science-including-foundation-year/ - debatable because it asks for a relevant science subject at A Level (not sure if psychology counts) and it accepts BTEC diplomas, not certificates
*https://www.staffs.ac.uk/course/forensic-science-bsc-msci?a=msci&m=msci-full-time-stoke-on-trent-campus#entry
*https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/F41F/forensic-science-with-foundation-year#entry
*https://courses.uwe.ac.uk/F4MF/forensic-science-with-foundation-year#entry
https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/study/courses/undergraduates/2023/41440-forensic-science-bsc-hons-fnd - in clearing so not sure
*https://www.aru.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/forensic-science#entry_requirements
The links with asterisk next to them are strictly forensic science as opposed to investigation, anthropologu, etc.
I've been through the first 10. You should be able to do the rest.

In short, yes you can do forensic science with your current options, although they aren't ideal.

A better option would be to do either biology or chemistry as one of the subjects instead. If you can't do this, then you can consider Access to HE in science during a gap year or do one of the science A Levels privately.

thank you for replying and i'll have a look into it as well as you know I currently do psychology, photography, BTEC science... do you think i should stick with science or change to criminology diploma as they've offered it to me. Which subject do you think would be better
(edited 7 months ago)
Original post by aali2006
I currently do psychology, photography, BTEC science... do you think i should stick with science or change to criminology diploma as they've offered it to me. Which subject do you think would be better


The criminology diploma doesn't make a difference to your options. I am just concerned that some unis might not accept it (I haven't checked with each one). I would still stick with the BTEC, even though I would prefer if you did a science A Level instead (Biology or Chemistry preferred).

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