I completely understand what you are suggesting, and while your points are valid that the international stats are not separated, which affects the correlation, while also mentioning modular and linear A-levels affect the number of A-levels taken and hence the correlation, there is a common flaw within your conclusion.
While it is reasonable to consider taking A-level maths as a third A-level for medicine, especially for Cambridge, this might be because:
1. Analytical skills. A-level maths fosters analytical and problem solving skills that are beneficial for medicine, especially in research, pharmacology and diagnostics.
2. It provides a foundation to medical concepts in more specialised fields that require quantitative skills.
3. Data interpretation is a huge part of medical research, understanding patient statistics, and making informed decisions. It happens with doctors all the time.
However, this high correlation might not be caused by A-level maths specifically, but rather the implicit skills the person learns as a result, which could be causing the high correlation, rather than the knowledge you obtain from the qualification its self. In other words, if someone didn't take A-level maths, but demonstrated similar levels of analytical, problem solving and data interpretation skills in other ways, they wouldn't need A-level maths. It might be that students who take A-level maths demonstrate those essential skills more than students without A-level maths. This doesn't necessarily show that A-level maths is causing the higher offer rate, but rather it could be the implicit skills obtained from the qualification.
So, what is my point with this:
If the sole reason someone is taking A-level maths as their third A-level is because of an observed high correlation for Medicine applications, then I do not recommend purely on the basis of a correlation. It's possible A-level maths students have other skills and qualities that contribute to their applications.
- By choosing a subject purely on a statistical correlation will lead students away from a subject they are genuinely interested and passionate about.
- While it is an interesting and valid data, I wouldn't base a significant academic decision purely on an observed correlation. If a student hates A-level maths, and they choose it purely because of a correlation, then that may not align with their interest or strengths, which could be detrimental to their academic performance.
Finally, the remaining point:
- Choosing A-level maths, based solely on a correlation, is conceptually similar to choosing more than 3 A-levels based solely on a correlation. In both cases, the decision is driven by a statistical relationship without considering the broader context. In both scenarios, the principle remains: basing a significant decision on correlation alone can be misleading and may lead to the wrong outcome.
My conclusion from this:
- If the student is interested in A-level Maths, brilliant, I would encourage them to take it.
- If the student is not interested in A-level Maths, has a dislike for it, or disinterest, then:
rather than recommending students taking A-level maths to increase their chance to obtain an offer at Cambridge, instead I would encourage students to take on activities or extra-curricular events that promote and develop skills related to A-level maths, such as problem-solving, analytical skills and data interpretation skills, or equivalent skills that match those that are obtained from A-level maths.