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A Level Choices: English Lit or Philosophy and Ethics

My school makes me do 4 a levels and I am planning to go into medicine. I have already decided on the first 3: Bio, chem and maths, and want to take a humanities subject for my fourth.

I originally wanted to do english because I enjoy analysing books and writing essays, literature is very fascinating in general. my only concern is that i have heard it is hard as sh1t. you have to read a lot books outside of the ones you study. I love reading but not when I am forced to finish books within a short amount of time on top of my other studies, it really depends on how many books within how much time, if it isn't too bad, I will be fine. you also have to write SUPER well and it just overall is very hard. I have had this experience too at GCSE, it is defo the hardest gcse, barely anyone gets 9s in mocks.

Philosophy seems easier and still quite interesting. Also, I feel like it relates more to medicine, looking at ethical dilemas. However, the philosophy teacher isn't that good.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 1
I'm in my second year of philosophy and ethics, and i also originally was choosing between that and Eng lit - i really enjoy philosophy and ethics, it can be tricky at times but i personally find it to be interesting. But, if you prefer analysis a lot more, def go for Eng lit because philosophy is more about evaluating philosophical arguments than analysing them yourself. Hope this helps :smile:
Original post by Roonia
I'm in my second year of philosophy and ethics, and i also originally was choosing between that and Eng lit - i really enjoy philosophy and ethics, it can be tricky at times but i personally find it to be interesting. But, if you prefer analysis a lot more, def go for Eng lit because philosophy is more about evaluating philosophical arguments than analysing them yourself. Hope this helps :smile:


thx for the reply. how much of philosphy and ethics would u say is abt learning content vs interacting and thinking with the content.

i personally feel like in lit u have more freedom to come up with ur own ideas and is more abt thinking deeply and being critical.

my school does ocr which has a lot of religion in it, lot of learning concepts rather than doing the actual thinking.

what was ur experience in regard to this?
Reply 3
Original post by ismaelishere
My school makes me do 4 a levels and I am planning to go into medicine. I have already decided on the first 3: Bio, chem and maths, and want to take a humanities subject for my fourth.
I originally wanted to do english because I enjoy analysing books and writing essays, literature is very fascinating in general. my only concern is that i have heard it is hard as sh1t. you have to read a lot books outside of the ones you study. I love reading but not when I am forced to finish books within a short amount of time on top of my other studies, it really depends on how many books within how much time, if it isn't too bad, I will be fine. you also have to write SUPER well and it just overall is very hard. I have had this experience too at GCSE, it is defo the hardest gcse, barely anyone gets 9s in mocks.
Philosophy seems easier and still quite interesting. Also, I feel like it relates more to medicine, looking at ethical dilemas. However, the philosophy teacher isn't that good.

Hi! I do both OCR English Lit and OCR Philosophy and Ethics at A-level! They are both fantastic and super interesting, I have been predicted an A and a B respectively however they are both hard work as they are both very very content heavy.

The workload of English - to me it seems - has been lighter than the one for Philosophy and it feels easier as (so far) we have only looked at 4 texts (we work on two at a time which we will compare in the exam and have one teacher which specialises in that text teaching us it - we have two teachers, so they do it simultaneously), while is Philosophy we have worked on 14 different topics, (5 for Philosophy of Religion, 3 for Development in Christian Thought and 6 for Religious Ethics) each with their own scholars, analysis and content. I do find Philosophy and Ethics to be more stimulating however, as it can become quite repetitive looking at the same two texts for over a term.

In English Lit, unlike GCSE, it is based quite heavily on context and critics, which will make it difficult to memorise for exams, while Philosophy may be easier as it is split up nicely into topics and some do intersect! For exams, I believe the English one is a series of 3 papers each 2 hours 30 minutes long in which you have to write 2 competitive essays, while Philosophy is 2 hours long and you also have to answer 2 questions. For me, it has been quite easy to improve in both of these subjects as the teachers work closely with the specification and tell you exactly what you are missing, plus there is LOADS online which has helped me massively.

Overall, both a great and it is your decision but if you work hard you can do well in both! If you need any more information I'm happy to help!
Reply 4
Original post by ismaelishere
thx for the reply. how much of philosphy and ethics would u say is abt learning content vs interacting and thinking with the content.
i personally feel like in lit u have more freedom to come up with ur own ideas and is more abt thinking deeply and being critical.
my school does ocr which has a lot of religion in it, lot of learning concepts rather than doing the actual thinking.
what was ur experience in regard to this?

Ah we did it without religion, we did look at metaphysics of god but less in a religious way and more in a logical, 'could god exist?' way - i'd say you have to really think about the content since (in AQA at least) you need to form your own opinion to argue in essays and some theories are hard to remember if you haven't thought about what they're arguing by yourself.

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