The Student Room Group

Do I pick a 4th A-Level or drop?

Right now I have chosen Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. But if I take only these 3, I am obligated to do EPQ beside it - which I don't think I will be able to do as I have bad anxiety and can't handle presenting in front of people which is a large part of the EPQ. I also did not do the HPQ so I'm not familiar with its structure and coursework. I'm struggling with choosing between Economics and English Literature as the fourth option, but I'm not sure? Also, I don't think I can do Maths A-level as I am predicted a 6 in GCSE and overall do not enjoy the subject. Would it be better to do a fourth and drop it after a year, or is that too much stress to maintain? I am capable of dealing with lots of content, but.. I'm struggling to choose. I want to do something along the lines of veterinary, neuroscience or paediatrics.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by starsandsariel
Right now I have chosen Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. But if I take only these 3, I am obligated to do EPQ beside it - which I don't think I will be able to do as I have bad anxiety and can't handle presenting in front of people which is a large part of the EPQ. I also did not do the HPQ so I'm not familiar with its structure and coursework. I'm struggling with choosing between Economics and English Literature as the fourth option, but I'm not sure? Also, I don't think I can do Maths A-level as I am predicted a 6 in GCSE and overall do not enjoy the subject. Would it be better to do a fourth and drop it after a year, or is that too much stress to maintain? I am capable of dealing with lots of content, but.. I'm struggling to choose. I want to do something along the lines of veterinary, neuroscience or paediatrics.
I would've suggested maths, as that would fit well but if you do not like the subject, that is completely valid. what other subjects are you considering?
Reply 2
Original post by starsandsariel
Right now I have chosen Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. But if I take only these 3, I am obligated to do EPQ beside it - which I don't think I will be able to do as I have bad anxiety and can't handle presenting in front of people which is a large part of the EPQ. I also did not do the HPQ so I'm not familiar with its structure and coursework. I'm struggling with choosing between Economics and English Literature as the fourth option, but I'm not sure? Also, I don't think I can do Maths A-level as I am predicted a 6 in GCSE and overall do not enjoy the subject. Would it be better to do a fourth and drop it after a year, or is that too much stress to maintain? I am capable of dealing with lots of content, but.. I'm struggling to choose. I want to do something along the lines of veterinary, neuroscience or paediatrics.
I think the EPQ is not that similar to HPQ- tonnes of people are doing it in my school who didn't do HPQ. I can't personally comment on English Lit vs Economic, but I've heard that lit can look slightly better for top unis?? Honestly I don't really know, but also apparently economics is easier to revise for... I would suggest picking the one you like more, or doing more research? Perhaps try to find people who do both and can give you an accurate assessment of the pros and cons?
Original post by starsandsariel
Right now I have chosen Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. But if I take only these 3, I am obligated to do EPQ beside it - which I don't think I will be able to do as I have bad anxiety and can't handle presenting in front of people which is a large part of the EPQ. I also did not do the HPQ so I'm not familiar with its structure and coursework. I'm struggling with choosing between Economics and English Literature as the fourth option, but I'm not sure? Also, I don't think I can do Maths A-level as I am predicted a 6 in GCSE and overall do not enjoy the subject. Would it be better to do a fourth and drop it after a year, or is that too much stress to maintain? I am capable of dealing with lots of content, but.. I'm struggling to choose. I want to do something along the lines of veterinary, neuroscience or paediatrics.
yes
Original post by starsandsariel
Right now I have chosen Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. But if I take only these 3, I am obligated to do EPQ beside it - which I don't think I will be able to do as I have bad anxiety and can't handle presenting in front of people which is a large part of the EPQ. I also did not do the HPQ so I'm not familiar with its structure and coursework. I'm struggling with choosing between Economics and English Literature as the fourth option, but I'm not sure? Also, I don't think I can do Maths A-level as I am predicted a 6 in GCSE and overall do not enjoy the subject. Would it be better to do a fourth and drop it after a year, or is that too much stress to maintain? I am capable of dealing with lots of content, but.. I'm struggling to choose. I want to do something along the lines of veterinary, neuroscience or paediatrics.
don't do econ as a 4th.... do sumn easier. Also pro tip: pick the epq and drop it in year 13 your school cannot force you to do an epq once you reach year 13. Just bear with it for year 12.. then get ur parents to write a letter that ur going to drop it... they can't do anything
Original post by starsandsariel
Right now I have chosen Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. But if I take only these 3, I am obligated to do EPQ beside it - which I don't think I will be able to do as I have bad anxiety and can't handle presenting in front of people which is a large part of the EPQ. I also did not do the HPQ so I'm not familiar with its structure and coursework. I'm struggling with choosing between Economics and English Literature as the fourth option, but I'm not sure? Also, I don't think I can do Maths A-level as I am predicted a 6 in GCSE and overall do not enjoy the subject. Would it be better to do a fourth and drop it after a year, or is that too much stress to maintain? I am capable of dealing with lots of content, but.. I'm struggling to choose. I want to do something along the lines of veterinary, neuroscience or paediatrics.
Hi @starsandsariel

I studied four A Levels myself and found it manageable to complete. Don't get me wrong, it was stressful at times! But overall, four A Levels are manageable for the right students who feel comfortable with time management and a bit more on added to their workload.

I didn't do an EPQ myself, mainly as I was already doing four subjects, so an EPQ didn't seem necessary. But many of my friends completed it alongside three A Levels and found it beneficial. It might also help you to work on your presentation skills and confidence, as you will most likely have similar tasks at some point at uni.

If you're going to choose a fourth A Level, make sure it's something you enjoy and are interested in. It would be great if it's also beneficial to applying for the careers you mentioned above, but you also want to enjoy your subject so you feel motivated to complete more work. For me, I would choose English Literature as it's a transferable subject for many different uni courses, and also I would enjoy the content - but there really is no wrong answer. Maybe there's another subject you think you would enjoy, but haven't considered taking it as it isn't directly lined up to your career aspirations? But don't feel you have to rule it out just because of that, especially as you already have three strong subject choices.

There isn't a right or wrong answer to your situation, it's down to personal preference, but either option can offer you something towards your future studies.
Best of luck deciding! 🙂
Emily
Student Rep at BCU
Hey @starsandsariel!

Most people in my college studied four A-Levels and then ended up dropping one after a year: mainly because it gave them the option to choose their three best going forward. Sometimes, the subjects you excel in at GCSE aren't necessarily the subjects you'll do the best in at A-Level, so having the option to drop one that weighs you down instead of solely having to rely on doing well in your initial three choices can be really helpful. No one ever really mentioned it being particularly stressful - even if they did, I think most people found it quite comforting knowing they could drop it the year after anyway.

I did both Economics and English Lit at A-Level (as well as Chemistry!), and I honestly loved them both. I think any essay subject would look good alongside your more science-focused A-Levels, but Economics might fit in more with the maths-y, technical vibe. I wouldn't say one was easier than the other. Economics was maybe a bit more content-heavy, but definitely easier to revise for, whilst English Lit had less content but more essays/coursework. Have you checked out the texts you'd be studying if you chose English Literature? That might help you make your mind up a bit more.

Also, do you know if any of the courses you're applying for have specific subject requirements? I imagine for veterinary/neuroscience, you'll have them covered through Biology and Chemistry, but it's always good to check none of them are asking specifically for Maths.

Eve (Kingston Rep).
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Kingston Reps
Hey @starsandsariel!

Most people in my college studied four A-Levels and then ended up dropping one after a year: mainly because it gave them the option to choose their three best going forward. Sometimes, the subjects you excel in at GCSE aren't necessarily the subjects you'll do the best in at A-Level, so having the option to drop one that weighs you down instead of solely having to rely on doing well in your initial three choices can be really helpful. No one ever really mentioned it being particularly stressful - even if they did, I think most people found it quite comforting knowing they could drop it the year after anyway.

I did both Economics and English Lit at A-Level (as well as Chemistry!), and I honestly loved them both. I think any essay subject would look good alongside your more science-focused A-Levels, but Economics might fit in more with the maths-y, technical vibe. I wouldn't say one was easier than the other. Economics was maybe a bit more content-heavy, but definitely easier to revise for, whilst English Lit had less content but more essays/coursework. Have you checked out the texts you'd be studying if you chose English Literature? That might help you make your mind up a bit more.

Also, do you know if any of the courses you're applying for have specific subject requirements? I imagine for veterinary/neuroscience, you'll have them covered through Biology and Chemistry, but it's always good to check none of them are asking specifically for Maths.

Eve (Kingston Rep).


This is the exact reason that my old 6th form encouraged people to start with 4.
Original post by starsandsariel
Right now I have chosen Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. But if I take only these 3, I am obligated to do EPQ beside it - which I don't think I will be able to do as I have bad anxiety and can't handle presenting in front of people which is a large part of the EPQ. I also did not do the HPQ so I'm not familiar with its structure and coursework. I'm struggling with choosing between Economics and English Literature as the fourth option, but I'm not sure? Also, I don't think I can do Maths A-level as I am predicted a 6 in GCSE and overall do not enjoy the subject. Would it be better to do a fourth and drop it after a year, or is that too much stress to maintain? I am capable of dealing with lots of content, but.. I'm struggling to choose. I want to do something along the lines of veterinary, neuroscience or paediatrics.


Listen. Take maths. It’s important for a lot of stem subjects at the good universities. If u ever wanted to apply for econ, chemistry, psychology even, and other subjects you will need maths at the top tier universe. Don’t shoot urself in the foot by not taking it. Taking stem subjects w out maths is just not ideal.

Quick Reply

Latest