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Economics without Further Maths

I noticed that many of the Economics courses from unis such as Cambridge, LSE and Oxford state you dont need further maths A-level as an entry requirement. However your chances are near zero for getting in without it (if your school offers it), so are there any other ways to increase your chances without doing the fm course?
Original post by luke.chittenden
I noticed that many of the Economics courses from unis such as Cambridge, LSE and Oxford state you dont need further maths A-level as an entry requirement. However your chances are near zero for getting in without it (if your school offers it), so are there any other ways to increase your chances without doing the fm course?


A*s help, probably finance work experience, LSE don't always care about FM tbh. Other than that, oxbridge couldn't care less about your a levels if they are A*s, a good test result in whatever test they make you take in October is fine
Original post by luke.chittenden
I noticed that many of the Economics courses from unis such as Cambridge, LSE and Oxford state you dont need further maths A-level as an entry requirement. However your chances are near zero for getting in without it (if your school offers it), so are there any other ways to increase your chances without doing the fm course?


Do the tmua, and show in ur Ucas personal statement your love for maths and books you have read about it and applications of it into finance. Just in general show that you won’t be effected by a very quantitative course like LSE for offers
Original post by luke.chittenden
I noticed that many of the Economics courses from unis such as Cambridge, LSE and Oxford state you dont need further maths A-level as an entry requirement. However your chances are near zero for getting in without it (if your school offers it), so are there any other ways to increase your chances without doing the fm course?
While these courses don't explicitly require further maths a-level, this is largely to just cater to students from schools where FM isn't offered, rather than students who simply didn't choose FM.

Many of these unis also state that even if your school doesn't offer FM (or the desired modules from FM), you still have the opportunity to take using the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme. Cambridge's website says that if you've realized the importance of FM too late, they advise you to take FM at AS-level or do as many additional A-levels maths modules as possible.

In practice, if your school offers FM and you've chosen not to take it, then you have pretty long odds of getting an offer regardless of your performance in the TMUA. I know that Cambridge's own admission stats show most successful applicants achieved at least 3x A*s and 93% of successful applicants had done FM. I've seen a similar stat a while back for LSE that said 96% of successful applicants had done FM. Here, the residual is likely to be mainly those who's school doesn't offer it.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by BenRyan99
While these courses don't explicitly require further maths a-level, this is largely to just cater to students from schools where FM isn't offered, rather than students who simply didn't choose FM.
Many of these unis also state that even if your school doesn't offer FM (or the desired modules from FM), you still have the opportunity to take using the Advanced Mathematics Support Programme. Cambridge's website says that if you've realized the importance of FM too late, they advise you to take FM at AS-level or do as many additional A-levels maths modules as possible.
In practice, if your school offers FM and you've chosen not to take it, then you have pretty long odds of getting an offer regardless of your performance in the TMUA. I know that Cambridge's own admission stats show most successful applicants achieved at least 3x A*s and 93% of successful applicants had done FM. I've seen a similar stat a while back for LSE that said 96% of successful applicants had done FM. Here, the residual is likely to be mainly those who's school doesn't offer it.

Unfortunately my school does offer it, so I wouldn't fit into that category. Would AS Further Maths be sufficient to compete with people doing Further Maths A-level if I also have A*s in physics, maths, economics and EPQ? I enjoy maths so learning AS fm shouldn't be a problem.
Original post by luke.chittenden
Unfortunately my school does offer it, so I wouldn't fit into that category. Would AS Further Maths be sufficient to compete with people doing Further Maths A-level if I also have A*s in physics, maths, economics and EPQ? I enjoy maths so learning AS fm shouldn't be a problem.
I'm afraid only someone on the admissions teams at these unis would be able to answer this accurately. As Cambridge say, it will boost your chances, whether it will boost them enough I can't say.

If you're really dead set on applying to one of Oxford/Cambridge and LSE, then AS FM is a must. But quite a few people end up doing FM in just a year anyway, especially if they're good at A-level maths and other STEM subjects so this is one option. The other would be to do A-level FM in a gap year (or part of A-level FM this year and part in a gap year) so you'd be applying with achieved grades in the others and a predicted grade in FM.

Worth baring in mind that there are still some very strong economics courses that are a bit more lenient on the lack of FM, such as UCL and Warwick.
Okay, thank you. I'm pretty dead set on getting into one of the elite target universities for IB so seems like further maths is non-negotiable. I could go for a less quantitative course, but this would put me at a disadvantage in the future.
If you're aim is to do IB in the future, then there's no requirement for you to take a quantitative degree, and frankly, nowadays recruiters don't really care about the degree you do.
Coming from an economics student whose career mentor has been an IB for 10 years, I've been told that they are trying to recruit more people from non-STEM backgrounds to improve their diversity, so you will see more people with degrees such as English and History get into IB. What matters is the transferable skills and work experience you get out of your degree. (So taking a less academically challenging degree that doesn't require you to study 24/7 will allow you more time to apply for work experience) My mentor has also mentioned that they are looking for different skillsets nowadays because they see the same type people who have the same Economics/Maths/STEM degrees that frankly isn't bringing much else to the table. That does mean when they interview you (depending on the recruiter) they will tailor the technical questions for what you studied, and focus more on your motivations rather than technical knowledge which they'd ask for being with a higher quantitative background.
Also side note, I didn't do A-level FM and still got into Econ at Durham - however there's a reason why they prefer people to have FM and that's because the maths modules you take, even in your first year, is primarily FM content! Yes, you could learn it at uni but it definitely sets you back if you don't have that knowledge when you start, and I've not been able to get a true fresher uni experience as I've had to learn pretty much the majority of FM independently in less than 6 months.
If I were you, aim for the top uni but if you think that FM will set you back (especially if you find that you need to practive current A-level maths almost everyday to keep up) then don't focus too much on just applying for econ- definitely keep your options open. So a less quantitative course will definitely not put you at a disadvantage. You could do one of the best degrees in the world, but if you don't know how to transfer or showcase the skills you got from your degree, then you'd be at a disadvantage. (Also considering that there are thousands of other econ graduates aiming for IB so you definitely need to develop something that makes you stand out if you took this route, hence why non-STEM degrees are currently being targeted)
I'd also look into IB/Finance related degree apprenticeships. They are much more competitive, and that's for a good reason. They are a much 'easier' route into finance and they are mainly looking for your drive/passion, rather than technical knowledge, but its definitely worth a try to apply as this can get you into the industry much faster and help you climb that career ladder.
Original post by Carrotsroom
If you're aim is to do IB in the future, then there's no requirement for you to take a quantitative degree, and frankly, nowadays recruiters don't really care about the degree you do.
Coming from an economics student whose career mentor has been an IB for 10 years, I've been told that they are trying to recruit more people from non-STEM backgrounds to improve their diversity, so you will see more people with degrees such as English and History get into IB. What matters is the transferable skills and work experience you get out of your degree. (So taking a less academically challenging degree that doesn't require you to study 24/7 will allow you more time to apply for work experience) My mentor has also mentioned that they are looking for different skillsets nowadays because they see the same type people who have the same Economics/Maths/STEM degrees that frankly isn't bringing much else to the table. That does mean when they interview you (depending on the recruiter) they will tailor the technical questions for what you studied, and focus more on your motivations rather than technical knowledge which they'd ask for being with a higher quantitative background.
Also side note, I didn't do A-level FM and still got into Econ at Durham - however there's a reason why they prefer people to have FM and that's because the maths modules you take, even in your first year, is primarily FM content! Yes, you could learn it at uni but it definitely sets you back if you don't have that knowledge when you start, and I've not been able to get a true fresher uni experience as I've had to learn pretty much the majority of FM independently in less than 6 months.
If I were you, aim for the top uni but if you think that FM will set you back (especially if you find that you need to practive current A-level maths almost everyday to keep up) then don't focus too much on just applying for econ- definitely keep your options open. So a less quantitative course will definitely not put you at a disadvantage. You could do one of the best degrees in the world, but if you don't know how to transfer or showcase the skills you got from your degree, then you'd be at a disadvantage. (Also considering that there are thousands of other econ graduates aiming for IB so you definitely need to develop something that makes you stand out if you took this route, hence why non-STEM degrees are currently being targeted)
I'd also look into IB/Finance related degree apprenticeships. They are much more competitive, and that's for a good reason. They are a much 'easier' route into finance and they are mainly looking for your drive/passion, rather than technical knowledge, but its definitely worth a try to apply as this can get you into the industry much faster and help you climb that career ladder.

Thanks for the advice. Surely an economics degree at an elite target uni such as LSE or Oxford would give more opportunity to network with likeminded people though? Regarding the maths skills, numeracy is one of my strong points and I didn't take FM only because I wasn't sure if I wanted to go more down the physics route than economics. The main thing I'm debating is whether AS FM would offer any advantage to these quantitative courses, as while I know the 2 Year A-level course would be more beneficial, my other 4 courses are quite demanding so I don't think I would be able to cover all of the content in the full course.
Original post by luke.chittenden
Thanks for the advice. Surely an economics degree at an elite target uni such as LSE or Oxford would give more opportunity to network with likeminded people though? Regarding the maths skills, numeracy is one of my strong points and I didn't take FM only because I wasn't sure if I wanted to go more down the physics route than economics. The main thing I'm debating is whether AS FM would offer any advantage to these quantitative courses, as while I know the 2 Year A-level course would be more beneficial, my other 4 courses are quite demanding so I don't think I would be able to cover all of the content in the full course.

Any degree from an elite target is beneficial. My mentor did Law at Oxford and is in IB. I've seen other people with degrees like French or History from Oxbridge get into IB. It goes with what I was saying that you do not need a STEM degree course to get into IB, its more the mindset and skills you learn to transfer into your role.
What I have noticed is that the only reason why we associate top unis with top jobs isn't because of their course/uni name, its because those unis have been able to admit the best people. If the same people went to a non-elite uni, then they'd end up still getting into IB regardless because they're just naturally smart and can pass the application process easily. Tbh, it's not something you quite understand until you speak to quite a few people and go through the application process itself, it took me quite a while to comprehend. But I have also seen people doing a STEM degree at unis like Open university and still get the high finance roles, because again, university degrees are now so popular that recruiters only see them an a minimum requirement for you to start the application process - the main thing that now holds value is skills and experience.

On the discussion of FM, if you're purely looking at a university admissions process, then yes it may help you be more competitive than those without FM (although how you reason this and get it across your personal statement is very dependent). But, do check with your school how it would work as I know in my sixth form, FM students were separated from normal Maths students and they did normal maths in the first year and FM in second year.
However, in a hypothetical world, it would be better to drop one of your other 4 A-levels to pick up FM, rather than just do half if you did really want to have a better portfolio. AS FM is still half an A-level so make sure it doesn't drag your other courses down.
So the aim is really to go to a target uni and show you can transfer the skills you have learnt from the degree to the job itself? At my sixth form they treat FM like any other A-level so suggested I join the class for stats year 1 this up until the summer and then learn pure from y12 class next year. This should mean it’s not too detrimental to my other A-levels.
Original post by luke.chittenden
So the aim is really to go to a target uni and show you can transfer the skills you have learnt from the degree to the job itself? At my sixth form they treat FM like any other A-level so suggested I join the class for stats year 1 this up until the summer and then learn pure from y12 class next year. This should mean it’s not too detrimental to my other A-levels.

Yes, but that's kinda the bare minimum. Its one of those ridiculous things where they expect you to have some sort of experience even before you graduate. It's why internships are so competitive because they want you to have something that makes you stand out, and usually people aim to convert their internship into a grad scheme which is considered the most ideal route to get a job post grad.
Even people with retail job experience can get into IB, its just how you can talk about how you will be able to transfer the skills you gained in that job into a role like IB (hence why Google loves people with retail experience) - its all about skill transfer. Once you start getting into higher, technical and more senior roles then names of companies become more important as recruiters know you've gone through the vetting process in that company, so they trust their judgement when considering your application in their company.
If your school lets you pick up FM like that, then there's no harm in trying. Should it start affecting your other A-levels then maybe reconsider. I know someone who did AS FM and got rejected by LSE but got into UCL. Worth a try regardless
I've applied for a few work experience programs within finance which should improve my super curricular (if phrased correctly) but being an undergrad there aren't too many options regarding internships yet except for 6 week ones that would take up the entire summer. Hopefully they will allow me to teach myself AS FM because the maths teachers at my sixth form are hopeless and there are infinitely better resources online. Thank you for the guidance.
The most popular work experience you can get are summer internships! Most people apply for these because they are over the summer, and so don't need to take a year out like a placement year.
Work experience now is good, and applicable too, great for your PS too. But if that is the only thing on your CV by the time you graduate, there'll be quite a large time gap in terms of experience.
Definitely look into if the unis your applying to offer placement years/years in industry as this is one of the best programs to get it converted into a grad scheme/full time role before you even graduate.

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