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A-level combo for Pharmacy

I'm thinking of studying pharmacy at university and I need to choose my A levels soon.

Is Chemistry, Biology and English Language a good choice?
I'm mostly worried about choosing English Language, but I wanted my third subject to be a bit easier since Chemistry and Biology are quite challenging.
Original post by rolypoly08
I'm thinking of studying pharmacy at university and I need to choose my A levels soon.

Is Chemistry, Biology and English Language a good choice?
I'm mostly worried about choosing English Language, but I wanted my third subject to be a bit easier since Chemistry and Biology are quite challenging.

The key ones are biology and chemistry (in the strictest sense, chemistry is absolutely mandatory). Anything else is more or less optional.

Whether something is easy or not depends on the individual. I could say science and maths are easy, but many many people would disagree with me. On the other hand, people can say English is easy but others can say it's more challenging than maths.

Pick something that suits your strengths and interests outside of pharmacy/chemistry/biology.
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
The key ones are biology and chemistry (in the strictest sense, chemistry is absolutely mandatory). Anything else is more or less optional.

Whether something is easy or not depends on the individual. I could say science and maths are easy, but many many people would disagree with me. On the other hand, people can say English is easy but others can say it's more challenging than maths.

Pick something that suits your strengths and interests outside of pharmacy/chemistry/biology.

I'm not really a fan of chemistry tbh but if it provides more opportunities then I guess I'll go for it. I find biology interesting at GCSE level and so I think I'm prepared to push myself at A level.

I don't mind English(specifically English Language) because I'm pretty decent at writing-based subjects and I'm good at essay writing when I put in the effort. However, I'm making this judgement based on GCSE level work and I know that A levels are much harder generally. (btw I don't like English Lit)

Also for my y11 mocks I got:
6 in both English Lang and Lit
6 in Chemistry
7 in Biology
(this was at cramming/last minute level)

Thanks for the reply
Original post by rolypoly08
I'm not really a fan of chemistry tbh but if it provides more opportunities then I guess I'll go for it. I find biology interesting at GCSE level and so I think I'm prepared to push myself at A level.

I don't mind English(specifically English Language) because I'm pretty decent at writing-based subjects and I'm good at essay writing when I put in the effort. However, I'm making this judgement based on GCSE level work and I know that A levels are much harder generally. (btw I don't like English Lit)

Also for my y11 mocks I got:
6 in both English Lang and Lit
6 in Chemistry
7 in Biology
(this was at cramming/last minute level)

Thanks for the reply

MPharm is a 4 year degree (unless you do a foundation year, which makes it 5) and it's pretty much all chemistry (and it's not easy). If you don't like chemistry, then you might want tot rethink about doing this degree and going down this career path.

I don't know what opportunities that you're specifically looking for, but if something requires Chemistry at A Level then chances are it's something that would involve a lot of chemistry. It's not going to get any easier.

GCSEs are horrible indicators for how you would perform at A Level. A Levels are generally a completely different animal. If you take the same approach for A Levels as you did for GCSEs, you are likely going to have a very hard time. You should look up YouTube videos on how to score A* grades in specific A Level subjects, since each subject have their own nuances.

I haven't done English Lang at A Level, but I did AS Lit and it's really more of the same but at a more difficult level.

If you like writing essays, then consider other essay based subjects such as Geography, Economics, Philosophy, RS, etc.

Other than your required subjects, you're free to pick whatever you want and you should pick the subjects you can get the highest grades in (grades are paramount at A Level).
Reply 4
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Reply 5
Original post by MindMax2000
MPharm is a 4 year degree (unless you do a foundation year, which makes it 5) and it's pretty much all chemistry (and it's not easy). If you don't like chemistry, then you might want tot rethink about doing this degree and going down this career path.

I don't know what opportunities that you're specifically looking for, but if something requires Chemistry at A Level then chances are it's something that would involve a lot of chemistry. It's not going to get any easier.

GCSEs are horrible indicators for how you would perform at A Level. A Levels are generally a completely different animal. If you take the same approach for A Levels as you did for GCSEs, you are likely going to have a very hard time. You should look up YouTube videos on how to score A* grades in specific A Level subjects, since each subject have their own nuances.

I haven't done English Lang at A Level, but I did AS Lit and it's really more of the same but at a more difficult level.

If you like writing essays, then consider other essay based subjects such as Geography, Economics, Philosophy, RS, etc.

Other than your required subjects, you're free to pick whatever you want and you should pick the subjects you can get the highest grades in (grades are paramount at A Level).

Wow, thank you for the advice. You've given me a different perspective here. Would you suggest any career paths based on the info I've told you?

Extra info:
I want to help others and work with other people. I don't want an office job or anything to do with Tech or computers. I also want a good salary as well- higher than average(even if it's progressive over 2-3 years or so). I'm doing well in History, Biology, RS at the moment, and I'd say that I'm quite good at those sort of subjects. I'm average at maths. I'm a people person and I'm good at reading people and I enjoy studying/discussing social issues.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks again.
Original post by rolypoly08
I'm thinking of studying pharmacy at university and I need to choose my A levels soon.

Is Chemistry, Biology and English Language a good choice?
I'm mostly worried about choosing English Language, but I wanted my third subject to be a bit easier since Chemistry and Biology are quite challenging.

i would reccomend Chemistry for sure, Biology, and possibly pick something else that you enjoy and will find easy for your third option! I'm currently doing a pharmacy foundation year course and there's a big emphasis on chem.

for reference, i did chem, maths, and eng lit lang (BBB) and was still eligible for the pharmacy course. (i chose foundation year because the main course was ful)
Reply 7
Original post by cherryblossomed
i would reccomend Chemistry for sure, Biology, and possibly pick something else that you enjoy and will find easy for your third option! I'm currently doing a pharmacy foundation year course and there's a big emphasis on chem.

for reference, i did chem, maths, and eng lit lang (BBB) and was still eligible for the pharmacy course. (i chose foundation year because the main course was ful)

Thanks for the reply
Do you enjoy Chemistry though? And would you say it's worth doing pharmacy even though I don't really like Chemistry?
Also what is A-level Chemistry like?(did you find it challenging)

(Sorry for all the questions!)
Original post by rolypoly08
Wow, thank you for the advice. You've given me a different perspective here. Would you suggest any career paths based on the info I've told you?

Extra info:
I want to help others and work with other people. I don't want an office job or anything to do with Tech or computers. I also want a good salary as well- higher than average(even if it's progressive over 2-3 years or so). I'm doing well in History, Biology, RS at the moment, and I'd say that I'm quite good at those sort of subjects. I'm average at maths. I'm a people person and I'm good at reading people and I enjoy studying/discussing social issues.

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks again.

I want to help others and work with other people. I don't want an office job or anything to do with Tech or computers.
I get it, you're a people person.
The sort of jobs that help people often tend to be in healthcare, and a Biology A Level alone can open a number of doors.

I also want a good salary as well- higher than average(even if it's progressive over 2-3 years or so)
Helping people and getting above average salary don't always go hand in hand. I would tend to focus less on the salary and more on the sort of job that you want. You'd regret it less.

I'm doing well in History, Biology, RS at the moment, and I'd say that I'm quite good at those sort of subjects.
OK, so perfectly reasonable.

I'm average at maths.
As a maths enthusiast, that's a bummer.

I'm a people person and I'm good at reading people and I enjoy studying/discussing social issues.
See first comment.
Regarding social issues, there is sociological research but there's a strong office element to it as well. Other roles include public policy, politics, and development studies - all unfortunately involve more office work than facing people.

Based on the above, the sort of things that leap out to me include (if you ignore wages):

Clinical psychologist

Psychiatrist - needs a degree in medicine, which in turn involves a lot of chemistry

Therapist and/or counsellor

Life coach

Mental health practitioner

Salesperson for an organisation (or your own) that sells products people need

Nursing and Midwifery - the fact that you didn't mentioned anything about a hospital setting can imply you're not keen on this

Social worker

Nutritionist/dieticians

Dentist

Personal trainer

Physiotherapist

Paramedic - see comment regarding nursing

Sociologist (in field research though; a lot of senior and high paying posts are in offices)


The profesions that stand out to me the most are in:

Psychology/counselling

Physiotherapy

Personal training

Life coach

Dentistry

Sales

Possibly dietician/nutritionist although you would be doing a lot of office work


I would recommend reading up on the job profiles for the above on sites such as:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/sectors
https://www.life-pilot.co.uk/job-sectors/

Good news: many of the above that do require a degree you would mostly need Biology A Level + any 2 other subjects. The only exception is the degree in dentistry (both biology and chemistry are typically required). You won't need qualifications to become a life coach or go into sales, although it's recommended that you have some sort of certification for life coaching. Personal training will require a level 3 qualification.

If you really want, you can do an online personal training qualification after your A Levels so you can act like a personal trainer whilst you study at uni. The online qualifications are self paced, and some managed to complete it within 3 weeks (some take 3 months), but they can cost £1000. It's a similar story with life coaching and sales, although you won't need any certifications to get into them.

Let me know what floats your boat.
Original post by rolypoly08
Thanks for the reply
Do you enjoy Chemistry though? And would you say it's worth doing pharmacy even though I don't really like Chemistry?
Also what is A-level Chemistry like?(did you find it challenging)

(Sorry for all the questions!)

Don't worry about the questions, I'm more than happy to answer!

I actually didn't like chemistry that much, and did end up liking it more than originally but it's not my favourite subject ever. think once you figure out the best way for you to revise for chem it's fairly easy! A lot of past paper practice as a lot of the questions on the paper are kind of regurgitation worked for me, as well as some good YouTubers like elliot rintoul and freesciencelessons. if you can get uplearn free then id say use that, but i wouldn't pay for it.

look into sutton trust to see if you can get uplearn through them or if you're eligible for any other means of getting it. it's certainly not easy, but like i say, once you get into the swing of revising and using flashcards and finding a method that works for you it will be okay.

i didn't sit traditional gcses so i missed out on learning how to revise, which meant that i spent a lot of my alevel's trying to find out what worked for me and ultimately i think that's why i didnt get the A i wanted. (for context, once i figured out how to revise i went from D's and E's to B's and the occasional A)

Because I'm doing a foundation year course, i actually haven't gotten to any of the serious pharmacy content yet so i don't think im qualified to comment on whether its worth it or not yet, but if you'd like me to update you next year once i've started, i'd be more than happy to do so! So far though, I enjoy the small snippets of pharmacy related knowledge we do get. If you like problem solving and overall want to help people i think it's an okay route to go.

if you do decide to do chemistry at a level and ever want help or just want to ask more questions, feel free to shoot me a message, i'd be more than happy to help :smile:
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 10
Original post by cherryblossomed
Don't worry about the questions, I'm more than happy to answer!

I actually didn't like chemistry that much, and did end up liking it more than originally but it's not my favourite subject ever. think once you figure out the best way for you to revise for chem it's fairly easy! A lot of past paper practice as a lot of the questions on the paper are kind of regurgitation worked for me, as well as some good YouTubers like elliot rintoul and freesciencelessons. if you can get uplearn free then id say use that, but i wouldn't pay for it.

look into sutton trust to see if you can get uplearn through them or if you're eligible for any other means of getting it. it's certainly not easy, but like i say, once you get into the swing of revising and using flashcards and finding a method that works for you it will be okay.

i didn't sit traditional gcses so i missed out on learning how to revise, which meant that i spent a lot of my alevel's trying to find out what worked for me and ultimately i think that's why i didnt get the A i wanted. (for context, once i figured out how to revise i went from D's and E's to B's and the occasional A)

Because I'm doing a foundation year course, i actually haven't gotten to any of the serious pharmacy content yet so i don't think im qualified to comment on whether its worth it or not yet, but if you'd like me to update you next year once i've started, i'd be more than happy to do so! So far though, I enjoy the small snippets of pharmacy related knowledge we do get. If you like problem solving and overall want to help people i think it's an okay route to go.

if you do decide to do chemistry at a level and ever want help or just want to ask more questions, feel free to shoot me a message, i'd be more than happy to help :smile:

This is really encouraging. I'm not a fan of chemistry but I still want to give it my best efforts, I was worried it would be too much for me. I think I will do chemistry at A Level, alongside Biology and maybe English Lang/Psychology.

Thank you so much for taking the time for answering my questions and good look with pharmacy!
Reply 11
Original post by MindMax2000
I want to help others and work with other people. I don't want an office job or anything to do with Tech or computers.
I get it, you're a people person.
The sort of jobs that help people often tend to be in healthcare, and a Biology A Level alone can open a number of doors.

I also want a good salary as well- higher than average(even if it's progressive over 2-3 years or so)
Helping people and getting above average salary don't always go hand in hand. I would tend to focus less on the salary and more on the sort of job that you want. You'd regret it less.

I'm doing well in History, Biology, RS at the moment, and I'd say that I'm quite good at those sort of subjects.
OK, so perfectly reasonable.

I'm average at maths.
As a maths enthusiast, that's a bummer.

I'm a people person and I'm good at reading people and I enjoy studying/discussing social issues.
See first comment.
Regarding social issues, there is sociological research but there's a strong office element to it as well. Other roles include public policy, politics, and development studies - all unfortunately involve more office work than facing people.

Based on the above, the sort of things that leap out to me include (if you ignore wages):

Clinical psychologist

Psychiatrist - needs a degree in medicine, which in turn involves a lot of chemistry

Therapist and/or counsellor

Life coach

Mental health practitioner

Salesperson for an organisation (or your own) that sells products people need

Nursing and Midwifery - the fact that you didn't mentioned anything about a hospital setting can imply you're not keen on this

Social worker

Nutritionist/dieticians

Dentist

Personal trainer

Physiotherapist

Paramedic - see comment regarding nursing

Sociologist (in field research though; a lot of senior and high paying posts are in offices)


The profesions that stand out to me the most are in:

Psychology/counselling

Physiotherapy

Personal training

Life coach

Dentistry

Sales

Possibly dietician/nutritionist although you would be doing a lot of office work


I would recommend reading up on the job profiles for the above on sites such as:
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles
https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/job-sectors/sectors
https://www.life-pilot.co.uk/job-sectors/

Good news: many of the above that do require a degree you would mostly need Biology A Level + any 2 other subjects. The only exception is the degree in dentistry (both biology and chemistry are typically required). You won't need qualifications to become a life coach or go into sales, although it's recommended that you have some sort of certification for life coaching. Personal training will require a level 3 qualification.

If you really want, you can do an online personal training qualification after your A Levels so you can act like a personal trainer whilst you study at uni. The online qualifications are self paced, and some managed to complete it within 3 weeks (some take 3 months), but they can cost £1000. It's a similar story with life coaching and sales, although you won't need any certifications to get into them.

Let me know what floats your boat.

I'll have a look at the different careers and links you've suggested, but think for now I will focus on my GCSE's and my A-Levels before making a definite decision.

However this has given me a lot more insight and clarity so thank you very much for the detailed reply!

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