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A Level subjects for Biological Sciences: advice thread

I take math, further math, bio, chem. My plan has been to do biological science at cambridge and then go to research afterwards. However recently I have had second thoughts and have rediscovered a passion for physics. As such, I am thinking of switching from chemistry to physics, meaning I have math, further math, physics, bio. Despite this, I don’t want to rule out my original plan of doing biological science because I still might want to do this. My question is - can i still do biological science at cambridge without chemistry (given that 96% applicants have it). I am just wondering because I have a friend in year 13 who is applying with math, fm, physics bio for biological science, so I basically want to do what he is doing, but I dont know if cambridge will admit me without chemistry. Can someone pls tell me? Thanks :smile:

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Reply 1
Looking at these entry requirements:
Natural Sciences (Biological): Subject Requirements and Typical Offers (cam.ac.uk)

All colleges seem to only indicate they require you to take maths and two other science subjects for biological natural sciences. Chemistry would definitely increase your chances as indicated by the 96%, but I don't think a lack of it rules you out - especially as you are taking another science, which is still in line with their entry requirements, and further maths, which is quite impressive and speaks for your academic calibre regardless.

Best of luck!
Reply 2
Hi everyone. I might switch from chemistry to to physics, meaning I will have bio, physics, math, further maths. I have looked into top unis like imperial and Cambridge, and none of them say that they need chemistry to do biological sciences, however would they be more likely to take me for biological sciences if I had chemistry?
Original post by Fermat42647
Hi everyone. I might switch from chemistry to to physics, meaning I will have bio, physics, math, further maths. I have looked into top unis like imperial and Cambridge, and none of them say that they need chemistry to do biological sciences, however would they be more likely to take me for biological sciences if I had chemistry?

I think your grades, personal statement, entrance exam results etc. are more important than whether you take physics or chemistry so I wouldn't stress about it, as long as you can do well.
Reply 4
Original post by flowersinmyhair
I think your grades, personal statement, entrance exam results etc. are more important than whether you take physics or chemistry so I wouldn't stress about it, as long as you can do well.

Im quite worried about that though because 96% of applicants to the course have chemistry
Original post by Fermat42647
Im quite worried about that though because 96% of applicants to the course have chemistry

Chemistry would be preferred over Biology.
Original post by thegeek888

Chemistry would be preferred over Biology.


not for biological sciences, you need biology for it
Original post by Fermat42647

Im quite worried about that though because 96% of applicants to the course have chemistry


I would do whatever you're likely to do better at and not worry about what everyone else is doing
Original post by flowersinmyhair
not for biological sciences, you need biology for it

Please take a look at the entry requirements:

Natural Sciences (Biological): Subject Requirements and Typical Offers (cam.ac.uk)

It only asks for MATHS and any TWO Science A-Levels. 🙂
Original post by thegeek888
Please take a look at the entry requirements:

Natural Sciences (Biological): Subject Requirements and Typical Offers (cam.ac.uk)

It only asks for MATHS and any TWO Science A-Levels. 🙂

It would still be advisable to do biology
Original post by flowersinmyhair
It would still be advisable to do biology

Biology is very easy to master but the OP might struggle without A-Level Chemistry as a foundation for Biological Sciences?! 🙂
Reply 11
You clearly have not looked that closely.
Biological Sciences :
Durham - AAA including one of Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology plus another science subject.
Imperial - AAA - A in Biology, A in one of Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics, A in a third subject
UCL - AAA including Biology plus one from Chemistry, Life and Health Sciences, Mathematics or Physics.
Birmingham - AAB including Biology/Human Biology and a second science
Leeds - AAB Including Biology or Chemistry plus another science or science-related subject
Reply 12
Original post by McGinger
You clearly have not looked that closely.
Biological Sciences :
Durham - AAA including one of Biology or Chemistry or Human Biology plus another science subject.
Imperial - AAA - A in Biology, A in one of Chemistry, Mathematics or Physics, A in a third subject
UCL - AAA including Biology plus one from Chemistry, Life and Health Sciences, Mathematics or Physics.
Birmingham - AAB including Biology/Human Biology and a second science
Leeds - AAB Including Biology or Chemistry plus another science or science-related subject

I have looked extremely closely , but they put these subjects as a requirement. At Cambridge for example (my ideal uni) 96% have chem and 98% have bio for the course. I know it is not a requirement, but surely not having it would disadvantage me? That’s all I’m wondering - wether I am less likely to get in without it.
Reply 13
Original post by Fermat42647
I have looked extremely closely , but they put these subjects as a requirement. At Cambridge for example (my ideal uni) 96% have chem and 98% have bio for the course. I know it is not a requirement, but surely not having it would disadvantage me? That’s all I’m wondering - wether I am less likely to get in without it.

It doesnt mean you have to have these subjects or that there is any advantage to having those subjects.

Correlation is not the same as causation - that one thing was a direct result of the other - it is purely an interesting coincidence that many of these people had those subjects.
Reply 14
Original post by McGinger
It doesnt mean you have to have these subjects or that there is any advantage to having those subjects.

Correlation is not the same as causation - that one thing was a direct result of the other - it is purely an interesting coincidence that many of these people had those subjects.

thanks, last question though - on the natural science page for biology of cells - a module which is part of the biological science side, it lists chemistry as ‘highly desirable’. In this case, would I in fact be disadvantaged as an applicant as i dont have subject that they want me to have.
Reply 15
Hi everyone. I currently take math, further and bio, and have want to decide between chemistry or physics for the last option. I ideally want to do biological natural sciences at Cambridge. My friend who does Math,Fm, Phys,bio and is applying to cambridge (he’s in y13), says that because you only need two science subjects on the admissions page, between chemistry and physics there is no difference. However, 96% of applicants have chemistry for this course. I know correlation doesn’t mean that there is causation, but does it matter if I do physics instead?
Reply 16
related is important but sometimes diversity also matters in the cohort
Hi everyone, I do math, further math, biology , chemistry but I want to switch chemistry to physics. I want to do biological natural sciences at cambridge. I know chemistry is not a requirement, however I am a bit concerned about wether I will get into cambridge for this course if i switch to physics. This is because I would Ideally like to take (in my first year) two biology modules, and the physics module. From what I have heard people are expected to either go into physical or biological sciences, so would I be disadvantaged at all in my application if i want to do both? Will cambridge be less likely to accept me for the course given I had the option to take chemistry but didnt? Even though its not a required course they would surely prefer chemistry, so will I be less likely to get in without it ?
Reply 18
Original post by Fermat42647
Hi everyone, I do math, further math, biology , chemistry but I want to switch chemistry to physics. I want to do biological natural sciences at cambridge. I know chemistry is not a requirement, however I am a bit concerned about wether I will get into cambridge for this course if i switch to physics. This is because I would Ideally like to take (in my first year) two biology modules, and the physics module. From what I have heard people are expected to either go into physical or biological sciences, so would I be disadvantaged at all in my application if i want to do both? Will cambridge be less likely to accept me for the course given I had the option to take chemistry but didnt? Even though its not a required course they would surely prefer chemistry, so will I be less likely to get in without it ?

Some Cambridge colleges do not require Chemistry for NatSci (Biology), but the reality is that almost everyone that does get in, has Chemistry. Below if from the Cambridge website. i think you will have a better chance of getting in if you stick with Chemistry.

Typical Natural Sciences entrants (A Level and IB)
[start]Natural Sciences (Biological)[/start]
[start]For 2017, 2018 and 2019 entry, the majority of entrants from an A Level background achieved at least grades 3xA* (76% of entrants). These successful applicants typically took Mathematics (99%), Further Mathematics (37%), Biology (98%), Chemistry (96%) and Physics (26%).[/start]
Hi I'm a Cambridge Natsci.
You can definitely get into cambridge Natsci, without A-level chemistry, I know a few who have, but it will restrict the subjects you can take.
Chemistry is obviously out, but bio of cells also likes you to have A-level chemistry and expects you to know some beyond GCSE
If you look at the course and think these aren't needed for you, then that's fine. But if you want to take biology of cells then you should consider doing chemistry

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