A level choices

(55 Posts)
Coconutty Wed 04-Dec-13 20:10:06

DS is looking at A level options for next year.

Is Economics considered to be a good choice? He is thinking about maths, maybe geography or P&R, not sure on the other one. DT or English language?

Not wanting languages or science really.

What are your DCs enjoying? He disliked controlled assessments and would rather just do an exam if that makes any difference.

TIA

senua Wed 04-Dec-13 20:32:31

A Levels are just a step along the way. If you know what you are aiming for then you will know if Economics is a good choice or not.

So, what's he intending doing after A Levels?

Isthiscorrect Thu 05-Dec-13 14:15:51

At our school you need an A in maths to continue to A level, and most of our students would agree with that IMVHO. Dont know if that helps?

Leeds2 Thu 05-Dec-13 16:11:32

My DD is at the same stage.

I think Economics would be regarded well. I remember at DD's options' evening, they said that if you did Economics, you would find the course easier if you were also doing Maths. Maths wasn't essential, but they advised it.

I can't think what P&R could be! Geography is a well regarded subject, but I would imagine there were be some practical work, and writing up, to do. Would've thought DT would have a lot of practical work too, rather than just one exam at the end.

Coconutty Thu 05-Dec-13 19:54:12

He isn't sure what degree to do but wants to go to uni.

He's predicted A* in GCSE Maths, and should get it but only time will tell. P and R is philosophy and religion!

Leeds2 Thu 05-Dec-13 20:18:21

Thanks! I think DD's school offer Philosophy & Ethics, which is probably the same thing.

He should choose the subjects that he enjoys most, and the ones of most interest to him. Hopefully these could then lead on to degree subjects he likes too...

The Russell Group have prepared a document to help those choosing A level subjects, see www.russellgroup.ac.uk/informed-choices. Economics, Maths, Geography & Philosophy are all regarded well.

If he enjoys DT, does he think he may be interested in technology or engineering? If so, he would have a wider choice of degree course in these areas if he took Physics as well as Maths.

Leeds2 Thu 05-Dec-13 20:19:35

When does DS have to decide by? Think DD's form has to be in by the first week after Christmas.

senua Thu 05-Dec-13 20:27:59

If he wants to go to University but is unsure of what to read then it would make sense to go for a subject with good employment pospects. According to The Telegraph, these are the top 12:
Medicine, dentistry
Education
Vet Sci
Subjects allied to medicine
Law
Biological sciences
Maths
Languages
Engineering
History, Philosophy
Architecture, building, planning
Business and administration

Strike out the ones that don't appeal and have a look at the entry requirements for the remainder. That might help clarify matters.

antimatter Fri 06-Dec-13 15:29:15

one of 6th form colleges my dd is going to apply for advise to have 3 subjects in area of interest (say humanities) and one to counterbalance

i.e they advise not to go for 2+2 (2 science and 2 humanities) choice as this won't aid when applying for university places

maybe he can think to make sure he chooses 3 subjects in areas which are his strength

Beastofburden Fri 06-Dec-13 15:35:56

Fwiw to do economics degrees you will need maths but not economics at A level.

Geography has a better reputation than P&R.

English would be very sensible.

Maths, Geography and English would see him likely to do a social sciences degree, including but not limited to economics. It's a combination that would be welcome in Russell group Unis.

If he's thinking of four, further maths might be more useful than economics.

TBH I wouldn't do any form of religion at A level as it is not usually a strong subject either at Uni entrance or for jobs later. Unless of course he wants to do a theology degree.

Beastofburden Fri 06-Dec-13 15:44:58

T be fair, the Russell group informed choices leaflet doesn't recommend either philosophy or economics. They are not "facilitating subjects", which are maths, further maths, modern languages, classical languages, history, geography, English, physics, chemistry and biology. Their advice is to take at least two from that list. Three is even better, especially if you don't know what you want to do at Uni and need to keep options open.

antimatter Fri 06-Dec-13 15:53:55

OP if your son chooses English Lit and Maths then he has included one essay based subject already.
Maths is well regarded by employers even if he decides to study humanities at uni.

Shootingatpigeons Fri 06-Dec-13 16:45:41

Beast is right about facilitating subjects but they are simply those subjects that you need to do at A level in order to progress to the degree. RG do list some so called soft subjects which are those that are more practical / vocational which you should limit to one of your A levels but subjects like Philosophy and Economics are in no way soft, demanding A levels which have a good reputation. Lots of very academic pupils study Philosophy (whichever the permutation of the title) and it is very much more demanding than the GCSE and investigates different philosophical approaches whether it is to religion or ethics. To my certain knowledge Oxbridge, as well as RG unis are full of students with Philosophy (and indeed Economics ) A level. My DD found the AS modules a little bit too focused on the different approaches without the opportunities to put forward your own opinions but she is really enjoying the A2 modules.

Beastofburden Fri 06-Dec-13 17:58:46

That's not quite correct. The facilitating subjects are the ones that are useful whatever degree subject you go for. They are the ones that are most widely accepted across all RG universities for all the subjects. The advice is to check the precise subject requirements of your course, and if you want to leave that decision till later, take two at least, three to be on the safe side and keep your options open.

Oxbridge are full of students with all sorts as their third a level, as long as they have two facilitating subjects it should be OK.

But philosophy and ethics is a different syllabus from philosophy and religion, be careful, the religious one is less well though of.

senua Fri 06-Dec-13 18:41:52

Facilitating subjects: They are the ones that are most widely accepted across all RG universities for all the subjects.

Can I be a bit pedantic and query how that is phrased?
I understand facilitating subjects to be the subjects that are specified as being required for certain degrees. So, for example, a Chemistry degree will require Chemistry A Level, so Chem is a facilitating subject. Conversely, an Economics degree does not require Economics A Level, so Economics is not a facilitating subject.
Nonetheless, Economics is still regarded as a 'good' choice. See here for the Trinity College list of suitable and not-so-suitable A Levels.

monet3 Fri 06-Dec-13 18:46:36

Most Unis require Math with Economics.

Economics
Maths
Geography
And one other of his choice

My DD is doing
Economics
Further maths
English Lit
and Government and Politics

She is not sure what she wants to do at Uni either.

Beastofburden Fri 06-Dec-13 19:03:40

No, I don't think that is what the document means to say- in fact I'm afraid it's the other way round smile

The idea behind the RG document is to advise students on the subjects that are most flexibly useful. The official advice is that the facilitating subjects are the ones that keep a wide range of degrees and career options open to students. It isn't the same thing as being subjects that are required for courses- in fact it's the opposite.

Take some examples. Music A level is required for music degrees. Religious studies a level is often required for theology degrees. Art a level is required for art degrees. None of these is a facilitating subject, because they are only relevant to a narrow range of degree choices.

OTOH nobody really recommends doing. Law a level for a law degree. Law at A level is neither a requirement, nor a faciltating subject.

Facilitating subjects are the ones that can be used to apply for the widest range of degrees at a RG Uni.

Trinity published that list a long time ago, and it is much longer than the RG list. When they published it, they were concerned to separate out media studies and the like. It was partly because nobody else was prepared to say whether they agreed with Trinitys list or nt, that the RG published their own list.

Economics is perfectly OK, but best as a third A level alongside two facilitating subjects.

Can you tell I work at a RG Uni? smile

titchy Fri 06-Dec-13 19:49:55

Beast I assume you don't work in admissions then.... Facilitating means exactly what senua et al have said - NOT having one rules out particular degrees, ie you must have chemistry ALevel to do a Chem degree.

When RG published Informed Choices there was a lot of fuss because music and economics weren't on the list so they clarified what they meant, and Music (usually) and economics degrees do not need music or economics a levels so they're not on the list. Music usually needs G8 practical and theory, but the requirement for the A level isn't widespread. Similarly I can't think I anywhere that would require RS to do Theology, history, English maybe but not RS.

Juliet123456 Fri 06-Dec-13 20:02:07

As said above the RG facilitating subjects (i.e. you cannot go wrong if you pick 3 of these) are:
Mathematics and Further Mathematics

English Literature

Physics

Biology

Chemistry

Geography

History

Languages (Classical and Modern)

Beastofburden Fri 06-Dec-13 20:11:50

http://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/russell-group-latest-news/154-2013/5530-facilitating-subjects/

May help the op to make up her own mind on this point.

Shootingatpigeons Sat 07-Dec-13 08:38:40

But you won't go wrong if you pick two from Juliet's list and one other from Philosophy, Economics or English Language and if your son really feels that it would be the combination he would do best in, accepting it might narrow his options, two of those with Maths or Geography.

BeckAndCall Sat 07-Dec-13 08:49:35

That's right shooting - providing it is two from that list already - so maths and geography for the OP- but just to emphasise that English Lit is the facilitating subject, not English language at A level, so that is not one of the two.

And I do know that if you want to do English at uni, say, and you've not done English lit but have done English Lang then providing your school offered the lit option, you have to explain your choice. And in an ultra competitive subject like English you don't want to have to start explaining yourself - you want to get it right first time. That's very specific I know and not relevant to the OP I shouldn't think.

Coconutty Sat 07-Dec-13 09:58:07

Thanks for all this, it's very helpful. Have checked and his school don't offer English language as an option, just lit which he doesn't enjoy so much.

He has to get his options in for January but his school are flexible and will allow more time/changes if possible.

He said he wants a career where he makes lots of money. grin

Shootingatpigeons Sat 07-Dec-13 09:58:07

I think this thread which was posted by an actual admissions tutor might be of interest with regard to how much you should regard the informed choices booklet as gospel. It is all about widening options but at the end if the day it is about choosing above all subjects that your DS will enjoy and do well in. http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/higher_education/1865217-RG-universities-not-sticking-to-the-infomed-choices-subjects

Speaking for my own uni and subject (not an admissions tutor either ) beasts comment is rubbish, because of our specialism we very much value students having been exposed to and studied different perspectives, philosophical approaches and belief systems, and would not in any way devalue P&R. Perhaps it just goes to show the diversity of attitudes within universities, who knew? grin

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