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4th A Level option to study Economics at uni

Hi, my dream unis are LSE/Cambridge to study Ecomonics, so I’m well aware that the most competitive applicants achieve 4 A*s at A Level. I’m a Year 11 student planning on picking Maths, FM, economics and a 4th subject (+ the Welsh Advanced Skills Bacc). I really love geography and English equally and have seen that some unis prefer/require an “essay subject” alongside the STEM subjects. Would they accept geog? I really can’t choose (deadline is soon) - would either subject be preferred?

Also, if anyone did 4 A levels/similar subjects/an econ degree, advice about the workload/subjects/extracurriculars would be immensely appreciated as I’m a bit overwhelmed atm. Thank you in advance! :smile:
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 1
I think they would be considered equal in admissions - both essay subjects, both traditional subjects. I'd say go for the one you like more and would be willing to spend time on, and the one that you find more confident getting an A* in
Reply 2
Original post by swaggiekaty
I think they would be considered equal in admissions - both essay subjects, both traditional subjects. I'd say go for the one you like more and would be willing to spend time on, and the one that you find more confident getting an A* in

Thank you, I’m glad they won’t impact my chances but I guess I’ll have to do some more thinking 😅
Original post by bookw0rmm
Hi, my dream unis are LSE/Cambridge to study Ecomonics, so I’m well aware that the most competitive applicants achieve 4 A*s at A Level. I’m a Year 11 student planning on picking Maths, FM, economics and a 4th subject (+ the Welsh Advanced Skills Bacc). I really love geography and English equally and have seen that some unis prefer/require an “essay subject” alongside the STEM subjects. Would they accept geog? I really can’t choose (deadline is soon) - would either subject be preferred?

Also, if anyone did 4 A levels/similar subjects/an econ degree, advice about the workload/subjects/extracurriculars would be immensely appreciated as I’m a bit overwhelmed atm. Thank you in advance! :smile:


I'd go for whichever one you enjoy more and see likely to get the best grade in. Both are equally good subjects.
Reply 4
Echo the above- son second year at Cambridge but had LSE offers too. He took FM, Maths, Econ and History. He reckons most common combo is FM, Maths, Econ and Physics or Chem, but others have Music,Geography, Spanish etc as fourth. Just go for whatever you enjoy and don’t worry about the ‘type’ of subject it is. . Best of luck.
Reply 5
Original post by Cbt33
Echo the above- son second year at Cambridge but had LSE offers too. He took FM, Maths, Econ and History. He reckons most common combo is FM, Maths, Econ and Physics or Chem, but others have Music,Geography, Spanish etc as fourth. Just go for whatever you enjoy and don’t worry about the ‘type’ of subject it is. . Best of luck.


Also, try not to worry too much about extra curricular right now. In the summer read, read, and more reading! That is the cheapest and the best way to start and find what in particular piques your interest. Son began this way to research his EPQ. Cambridge and LSE want to teach people who really really love their (mathsy) Econ courses. You will have then have material for your personal statement, and it will also help you determine whether you really love that kind of course to put yourself through the arduous (and sometimes tedious I am told!) courses at these unis!!
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 6
Thank you so much everyone - I’m leaning towards Geography atm since I’d be more likely to get a job related to it, but I’ll be sad to end my English studies 🥲
@Cbt33, if you don’t mind me asking, what types of extra/super curricula activities did your son do to get such impressive offers?
Reply 7
Original post by Cbt33
Also, try not to worry too much about extra curricular a right now. In the summer read, read, and more reading! That is the cheapest and the best way to start and find what in particular piques your interest. Son began this way to research his EPQ. Cambridge and LSE who want to teach people who really really love their (mathsy) Econ courses. You will have then have for your personal statement and it will also help you determine whether you really love that kind of course to put yourself through the arduous (and sometimes tedious I am told!) courses at these unis!!

Oooh I can certainly read up on the topic - thank you for the advice! I do hope I’m cut out for FM though… 🫣
Reply 8
Original post by bookw0rmm
Thank you so much everyone - I’m leaning towards Geography atm since I’d be more likely to get a job related to it, but I’ll be sad to end my English studies 🥲
@Cbt33, if you don’t mind me asking, what types of extra/super curricula activities did your son do to get such impressive offers?


Think posts overlapped!

He read a lot. He is good at maths but not ‘gifted’ in that way some mathematicians are, so he worked very hard to make sure he got an A* in FM. He still had slightly Covidy restrictions, but he did a summer online internship with the Institute of Economic Affairs (free and open to all I think) and a slightly obscure one in post Kensyian Economics which I think was hosted by Greenwich Uni. Nothing you needed to pay for. But he read loads for his EPQ and I think developed his passion through this. I think Cambridge and LSE try to find the people who love some aspect of their subject.

He did, incidentally, get rejected from Durham, much to the amusement of his friends. It really is all a bit of a lottery!
Reply 9
Original post by Cbt33
Think posts overlapped!

He read a lot. He is good at maths but not ‘gifted’ in that way some mathematicians are, so he worked very hard to make sure he got an A* in FM. He still had slightly Covidy restrictions, but he did a summer online internship with the Institute of Economic Affairs (free and open to all I think) and a slightly obscure one in post Kensyian Economics which I think was hosted by Greenwich Uni. Nothing you needed to pay for. But he read loads for his EPQ and I think developed his passion through this. I think Cambridge and LSE try to find the people who love some aspect of their subject.

He did, incidentally, get rejected from Durham, much to the amusement of his friends. It really is all a bit of a lottery!

Woah that’s very useful thank you - I’ll definitely do some research on summer schools and an EPQ then. It’s also reassuring to hear that I don’t necessarily need to be a natural genius to be accepted and based on what I’ve heard, the uni application process does seem to lack a bit of logic often 😂 Btw, what grades and offers did your son get?
Original post by bookw0rmm
Hi, my dream unis are LSE/Cambridge to study Ecomonics, so I’m well aware that the most competitive applicants achieve 4 A*s at A Level. I’m a Year 11 student planning on picking Maths, FM, economics and a 4th subject (+ the Welsh Advanced Skills Bacc). I really love geography and English equally and have seen that some unis prefer/require an “essay subject” alongside the STEM subjects. Would they accept geog? I really can’t choose (deadline is soon) - would either subject be preferred?

Also, if anyone did 4 A levels/similar subjects/an econ degree, advice about the workload/subjects/extracurriculars would be immensely appreciated as I’m a bit overwhelmed atm. Thank you in advance! :smile:

Doesn't A-level economics count as an essay subject???
Reply 11
Original post by ageshallnot
Doesn't A-level economics count as an essay subject???

I wasn't too sure as some unis also ask for the additional option to be a “traditional” subject which I don’t suppose economics would count as
Original post by bookw0rmm
I wasn't too sure as some unis also ask for the additional option to be a “traditional” subject which I don’t suppose economics would count as

I'd suggest some serious research into what universities (particularly LSE and Cambridge) actually want.
Reply 13
Original post by ageshallnot
I'd suggest some serious research into what universities (particularly LSE and Cambridge) actually want.

Believe me, I’ve found out as much as I can - all the FOI requests etc. but there isn’t much info on the extra subject the unis often refer to. Perhaps it really doesn’t matter too much to them, but either way I’ll probably pick geography now. (My English teacher will be gutted 😬).
Reply 14
Original post by ageshallnot
I'd suggest some serious research into what universities (particularly LSE and Cambridge) actually want.


LSE very prescriptive about personal statements (or whatever the relevant alternative will be called if there are changes in next few years. I agree, son looked very carefully at reqs.
Reply 15
Original post by bookw0rmm
Woah that’s very useful thank you - I’ll definitely do some research on summer schools and an EPQ then. It’s also reassuring to hear that I don’t necessarily need to be a natural genius to be accepted and based on what I’ve heard, the uni application process does seem to lack a bit of logic often 😂 Btw, what grades and offers did your son get?


Cambridge was A*, A*, A, and LSE was possibly same?! Notts and Bath both A*AA or AAAB I think (some unis give quite generous offers with 4 A levels) with maybe even lower accommodations with EPQ. Didn’t apply to Warwick (too close) and rejected from Durham. He actually got 4 A*s and A* EPQ from local (not London or South East grammar ) and was first cohort post Covid to sit exams, so I appreciate grade boundaries will be different now.

Just to say, re Further Maths, he started in a class of 39 and finished with a class of 15. Many dropped out along the way. That’s why although 4 A levels are not needed Iin many circs ii think its good to start with 4 when you have picked FM. Good luck 🤞
Reply 16
Original post by Cbt33
Cambridge was A*, A*, A, and LSE was possibly same?! Notts and Bath both A*AA or AAAB I think (some unis give quite generous offers with 4 A levels) with maybe even lower accommodations with EPQ. Didn’t apply to Warwick (too close) and rejected from Durham. He actually got 4 A*s and A* EPQ from local (not London or South East grammar ) and was first cohort post Covid to sit exams, so I appreciate grade boundaries will be different now.

Just to say, re Further Maths, he started in a class of 39 and finished with a class of 15. Many dropped out along the way. That’s why although 4 A levels are not needed Iin many circs ii think its good to start with 4 when you have picked FM. Good luck 🤞

Whew! That’s impressive 😮 (and rather concerning re. the FM drop out rate) I’ll definitely look more into an EPQ though, as I hadn’t come across it until now - maybe it’s more common in England 🤷*♀️ (I’m Welsh) I greatly appreciate all your advice and hope you and your son have wonderful lives :smile:
Reply 17
Original post by bookw0rmm
Whew! That’s impressive 😮 (and rather concerning re. the FM drop out rate) I’ll definitely look more into an EPQ though, as I hadn’t come across it until now - maybe it’s more common in England 🤷*♀️ (I’m Welsh) I greatly appreciate all your advice and hope you and your son have wonderful lives :smile:


That’s very sweet of you. I think with Welsh Bacc and 4 a levels you have your hands full! Best of luck with your GCSE’s- you sound organised and driven and I’m sure that you will be successful whatever you chose.

Incidentally, if you enjoy Geography, worth looking at Geog at Oxford. That’s what I did many years ago 😁! Much more fun
Original post by bookw0rmm
Believe me, I’ve found out as much as I can - all the FOI requests etc. but there isn’t much info on the extra subject the unis often refer to. Perhaps it really doesn’t matter too much to them, but either way I’ll probably pick geography now. (My English teacher will be gutted 😬).

Economics is regarded by LSE both as a "traditional" and an essay subject:
https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Undergraduate/Prospective-Students/How-to-Apply/Admissions-Information

Cambridge are less prescriptive:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/economics

Your fourth subject seems therefore to be irrelevant.
Reply 19
Original post by ageshallnot
Economics is regarded by LSE both as a "traditional" and an essay subject:
https://www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Undergraduate/Prospective-Students/How-to-Apply/Admissions-Information

Cambridge are less prescriptive:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/economics

Your fourth subject seems therefore to be irrelevant.

Oooh that’s interesting thank you! I’ll probably pick geography anyway since I enjoy it but it’s good to know that I could drop it after AS if (worst case scenario) I’m finding the workload too much and still come out with the 3 A level subject requirements :smile:

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