The Student Room Group

Biology, Chemistry, Maths and FM - should I change?

Hey there,
I've chosen to do 4 a-levels next year: biology, chemistry, maths and further maths. I was really struggling to choose and after discussing with my parents, that's what I ended up choosing. The plan was that I could go into medicine with biology and chemistry or pursue an accounting apprenticeship after a-levels with the maths and fm to sort of increase my chances of getting the apprenticeship.
But as I've thought about it, I don't really know whether I want to do medicine, obviously, my parents want me to, but I don't really think I'm the kind of person who would suit that job: it's stressful and I can't really deal with blood or anything.
The only subjects I know for sure I want to do are maths and fm because I don't mind maths, and I'm fairly good at it, and willing to put in the work too.
My school does allow a-levels to be changed right up until results day for GCSEs, and some other a-level options I was considering and am now considering include business, economics or computer science (I do business and computer science at GCSE) as I think the business / technology route would suit me better. I feel like I'm more a desk job person than an active worker.
Wonder if anyone could give me and advice and if anyone does or has done any of these a-levels and could share what it's like.
Thank youu :smile:
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Liqht
Hey there,
I've chosen to do 4 a-levels next year: biology, chemistry, maths and further maths. I was really struggling to choose and after discussing with my parents, that's what I ended up choosing. The plan was that I could go into medicine with biology and chemistry or pursue an accounting apprenticeship after a-levels with the maths and fm to sort of increase my chances of getting the apprenticeship.
But as I've thought about it, I don't really know whether I want to do medicine, obviously, my parents want me to, but I don't really think I'm the kind of person who would suit that job: it's stressful and I can't really deal with blood or anything.
The only subjects I know for sure I want to do are maths and fm because I don't mind maths, and I'm fairly good at it, and willing to put in the work too.
My school does allow a-levels to be changed right up until results day for GCSEs, and some other a-level options I was considering and am now considering include business, economics or computer science (I do business and computer science at GCSE) as I think the business / technology route would suit me better. I feel like I'm more a desk job person than an active worker.
Wonder if anyone could give me and advice and if anyone does or has done any of these a-levels and could share what it's like.
Thank youu :smile:

I take this combo as I was interested in medicine or maths, I’ve now chosen medicine as my future career path.

I enjoy this combo, I loved bio chem and maths, and since I was good at maths I also chose further (which is now probably my least favourite but it’s also the hardest and my school isn’t great at teaching it or giving resources so this is more personal opinion). Workload is manageable- especially maths is so much easier when you do further.

If you’re really not interested in Medicine I’d talk to your parents about it. Maybe you can compromise and take chemistry and change biology for something like computer science. There are a few med schools who only need chem, a lot less but it a still manageable if you ever wanted to go down that route. Also chem is the hardest a level along with fm (subjectively online), and is well respected for any degree. THAT BEING SAID, don’t take chem if you don’t enjoy it at all or find it really difficult, it is tricky and you’d rather get a good grade in a different subject than a bad one in a ‘hard’ subject.

I’d say that the combo you’ve chosen currently would work out if you kept it (if I was to quickly change my degree choice since I do maths and fm quite a few stem degrees are open to me except some physics and engineering courses depending on where you apply). Feel free to ask me anything about the combo or any more advice
Original post by Liqht
Hey there,
I've chosen to do 4 a-levels next year: biology, chemistry, maths and further maths. I was really struggling to choose and after discussing with my parents, that's what I ended up choosing. The plan was that I could go into medicine with biology and chemistry or pursue an accounting apprenticeship after a-levels with the maths and fm to sort of increase my chances of getting the apprenticeship.
But as I've thought about it, I don't really know whether I want to do medicine, obviously, my parents want me to, but I don't really think I'm the kind of person who would suit that job: it's stressful and I can't really deal with blood or anything.
The only subjects I know for sure I want to do are maths and fm because I don't mind maths, and I'm fairly good at it, and willing to put in the work too.
My school does allow a-levels to be changed right up until results day for GCSEs, and some other a-level options I was considering and am now considering include business, economics or computer science (I do business and computer science at GCSE) as I think the business / technology route would suit me better. I feel like I'm more a desk job person than an active worker.
Wonder if anyone could give me and advice and if anyone does or has done any of these a-levels and could share what it's like.
Thank youu :smile:

Hi!

I took a similar set of A-Levels: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, FM and Physics at the start of my Y12.
After the 1st term of Y12 I have decided to drop Chemistry, as I personally found that our teacher was covering the content too quickly for me to stay on top of it. So I continued with Bio, Maths, FM and Physics.
Initially, I was going to do medicine, with computer science being the second option, however after dropping Chemistry, that option was no longer possible. So now I have just finished my 2nd year of Computer Science degree at Lancaster, and have not regretted it in the slightest 🙂
The moral of the story is: do not force yourself to take the A-Levels or pursue a degree that you don't enjoy/ don't feel like you would enjoy.

Now, about the A-Levels:
Biology was personally one of my favourites, as it is a lot of repetition of the GCSE content, but much more in-depth. I found it interesting, and the exams were not too challenging if you have done all of the past papers.
Maths A-Level is not particularly difficult either, and it's such a great subject to have as it opens up a lot of routes and possibilities; there are also plenty of resources available online for it.
Further Maths is definitely more challenging than Maths, but if you are interested in Mathematics, it might suit you. Further Maths can actually be quite simple if you put in the time to do plenty of the practice questions available in the textbook and/or online - however that is time consuming and requires good time management with your other subjects and any external commitments (although this depends on a person). So, if you are willing to put in the work and looking to pursue something like Computer Science/ Accounting/ Finance, then Further Maths is a great choice. If you are not going for a STEM/Financial route, then it might be a bit of unnecessary extra work (but if you enjoy it, that is what matters most).
As for Chemistry, I cannot really give an accurate description of it, as I didn't enjoy it largely due to the teaching style rather than because of the subject itself - it is interesting, but it is quite a fair bit of work. I would even say it is as difficult, if not more difficult (personal preference), than further maths.

Also as for figuring out if you are a desk type of person or not: perhaps attend some insight days at the companies over the summer, complete some virtual work experiences online, and even better: reach out for some shadowing opportunities to observe the roles you might be interested in. This would help you to test your hypothesis 😄

Final reminder: make sure you enjoy the subjects you choose, as A-levels tend to be quite demanding in terms of required workload. Especially Chemistry and FM.
Hope this helps and good luck with the rest of your GCSE exams!

Polina,
Lancaster University SCC Ambassador.
Reply 3
Original post by study23!
I take this combo as I was interested in medicine or maths, I’ve now chosen medicine as my future career path.
I enjoy this combo, I loved bio chem and maths, and since I was good at maths I also chose further (which is now probably my least favourite but it’s also the hardest and my school isn’t great at teaching it or giving resources so this is more personal opinion). Workload is manageable- especially maths is so much easier when you do further.
If you’re really not interested in Medicine I’d talk to your parents about it. Maybe you can compromise and take chemistry and change biology for something like computer science. There are a few med schools who only need chem, a lot less but it a still manageable if you ever wanted to go down that route. Also chem is the hardest a level along with fm (subjectively online), and is well respected for any degree. THAT BEING SAID, don’t take chem if you don’t enjoy it at all or find it really difficult, it is tricky and you’d rather get a good grade in a different subject than a bad one in a ‘hard’ subject.
I’d say that the combo you’ve chosen currently would work out if you kept it (if I was to quickly change my degree choice since I do maths and fm quite a few stem degrees are open to me except some physics and engineering courses depending on where you apply). Feel free to ask me anything about the combo or any more advice

Thanks, I didn't realise chemistry was considered difficult but that's fine because I do find it interesting and with fm I think I'll be able to manage the workload, plus my sixth form does allow you to drop a subject later on so I guess if things get too stressful I can always drop one. Also, it's good to know the a-levels are versatile enough, like you said there's a lot of STEM degrees available so I guess that's reassuring because I do find bio and chem interesting, that's not the issue, it was more the jobs/degrees so at least they're not super restrictive, thanks :smile:
Reply 4
Original post by Lancaster Student Ambassador
Hi!
I took a similar set of A-Levels: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, FM and Physics at the start of my Y12.
After the 1st term of Y12 I have decided to drop Chemistry, as I personally found that our teacher was covering the content too quickly for me to stay on top of it. So I continued with Bio, Maths, FM and Physics.
Initially, I was going to do medicine, with computer science being the second option, however after dropping Chemistry, that option was no longer possible. So now I have just finished my 2nd year of Computer Science degree at Lancaster, and have not regretted it in the slightest 🙂
The moral of the story is: do not force yourself to take the A-Levels or pursue a degree that you don't enjoy/ don't feel like you would enjoy.
Now, about the A-Levels:
Biology was personally one of my favourites, as it is a lot of repetition of the GCSE content, but much more in-depth. I found it interesting, and the exams were not too challenging if you have done all of the past papers.
Maths A-Level is not particularly difficult either, and it's such a great subject to have as it opens up a lot of routes and possibilities; there are also plenty of resources available online for it.
Further Maths is definitely more challenging than Maths, but if you are interested in Mathematics, it might suit you. Further Maths can actually be quite simple if you put in the time to do plenty of the practice questions available in the textbook and/or online - however that is time consuming and requires good time management with your other subjects and any external commitments (although this depends on a person). So, if you are willing to put in the work and looking to pursue something like Computer Science/ Accounting/ Finance, then Further Maths is a great choice. If you are not going for a STEM/Financial route, then it might be a bit of unnecessary extra work (but if you enjoy it, that is what matters most).
As for Chemistry, I cannot really give an accurate description of it, as I didn't enjoy it largely due to the teaching style rather than because of the subject itself - it is interesting, but it is quite a fair bit of work. I would even say it is as difficult, if not more difficult (personal preference), than further maths.
Also as for figuring out if you are a desk type of person or not: perhaps attend some insight days at the companies over the summer, complete some virtual work experiences online, and even better: reach out for some shadowing opportunities to observe the roles you might be interested in. This would help you to test your hypothesis 😄
Final reminder: make sure you enjoy the subjects you choose, as A-levels tend to be quite demanding in terms of required workload. Especially Chemistry and FM.
Hope this helps and good luck with the rest of your GCSE exams!
Polina,
Lancaster University SCC Ambassador.

Thanks for responding, I didn't think about insight days/virtual work experiences, so that's something I'll definitely consider! Just wondering, you didn't take computer science for a-level, but are doing a computer science degree, do you not need to do computer science at a-level? I was under the impression that it was required, so if I did the a-levels I've chosen, could I do a computer science degree? Or do I need to do something else, like continue learning to code or something? But thank you for the advice and insight :biggrin:

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