Thoughts on DD's A Level choices

(88 Posts)
Blinne Thu 04-Sep-14 00:40:07

DD has just started sixth form and is taking English Literature, Economics, Physics and Psychology at AS level. She is well-rounded in her studies but does enjoy essay subjects. She intends to do Law but is wanting to keep her options open. Do you think these subjects will give her a good choice of future courses / jobs ?

Thank you for your help!

BOFster Thu 04-Sep-14 00:44:45

My instinct would be to say that the selection there is a little too broad-based, but I'm no expert. It shows that her abilities are very versatile, but d be concerned that there isn't enough of a weighting in any one area to allow her to get onto any particular university course.

I'd be interested to see what others say though.

rosmariecrusoe Thu 04-Sep-14 01:06:24

The advice my Ds had is that if you want to study economics at a higher level , you need maths. Or swap economics a level for maths . If she is good at essay subjects and wants to do law - could she swap psychology for history?

Obviously she is well rounded but if she is good at essay based subjects , it look to me like she has 1 in that mix. Or if she likes economics and physics it looks like she should be doing maths . But others will know better,

mintbaileys Thu 04-Sep-14 01:19:43

I think physics looks like the odd one out to me. Without the support of maths, the course itself may be harder, and if she wanted to do physics or engineering etc at university, then they'd want her to have maths. So I'm not sure what value it's adding, especially if she prefers essay subjects.

How about swapping physics for a language?

Blinne Thu 04-Sep-14 01:40:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stonecircle Thu 04-Sep-14 05:19:13

I'd also be worried about the lack of maths to support physics. DS2 considered doing A level physics and you had to do maths with it at least to AS. If she finds it difficult as a result of this and wants to drop physics at the end of year 12 then she's leaving herself with just one facilitating subject.

eatyourveg Thu 04-Sep-14 07:28:06

Physics without maths is unusual. I'd go with mintbaileys suggestion and consider a language or maybe History instead and then drop Psychology after AS. That can be quite mathsy too but still very do-able without it.

Hakluyt Thu 04-Sep-14 07:33:49

My dd started off doing English, History, Theatre Studies and Physics, because she was absolutely entranced by physics at GCSE. She only lasted a term- she found it incredibly hard and her maths just weren't good enough to keep up with all the kids doing A level Maths and Further Maths.

titchy Thu 04-Sep-14 08:09:01

She's ruled herself out of a physics degree (and possibly a physics A level!) by not doing maths. Surprised they'll let her tbh.

So she needs to rethink that one as others have said and think about a language or history.

Did they offer any guidance or an interview for the sixth form place?

Molio Thu 04-Sep-14 08:09:06

DD1 did English Literature, History, Geography and Physics and read law.

DS1 did Physics without maths and got an A*. DS3 is doing Physics without maths and has just got an A at AS. It's perfectly do-able without maths.

OP, it's a perfectly good set of choices.

Molio Thu 04-Sep-14 08:12:47

Cross post with titchy smile The DD wants to read law, so the idea of a physics degree is irrelevant. I'm amazed you think she's ruled herself out of a physics A level titchy! Lots of kids at our school do it! She doesn't need to re-think at all. Law admissions tutors like physics, because of the particular thinking skills it trains.

merlehaggard Thu 04-Sep-14 08:57:39

I think they look good. My daughter's is just going in to her final year of a law degree and her A levels were Maths, Biology, Law and Government and Politics. The advice we were getting was that a range a subjects is good and that they must not be soft option subjects. They like Maths/Physics and also a subject that shows that you can write essays so I think they sound good.

AugustaGloop Thu 04-Sep-14 09:11:00

I don't think it makes sense to do either economics or physics without maths. She really is making it harder for herself. Also, not sure about whether she is really keeping her options open because I do not think she could do either physics or economics at degree level without maths (which is fine if she would not want to do those degrees anyway). Not sure about psychology as a choice but that is mainly because I do not really know what it involves as an A level and whether it is considered a soft option. I think Eng, maths, economics and physics would be a better choice. I did a law degree with a broad base of A levels (maths, physics, Spanish and history) and actually found it very helpful because law exams are a combination of essay questions and problem questions.

NoWayYesWay Thu 04-Sep-14 09:20:00

They are absolutely fine. They show she is a good all rounder. I'm sure you have already looked at the Russel Groups INFORMED CHOICES (for what it's worth).

I wouldn't worry about her choices at all.

NoWayYesWay Thu 04-Sep-14 09:21:30

I agree that maths would have been nice though but as your DD is a dement she doesn't want to do it then what she has chosen is ok.

All four of my kids did/do Maths A'level as it keeps a lot of doors open.

TheAwfulDaughter Thu 04-Sep-14 09:28:26

Wouldn't bother with psychology. It's not viewed as terribly 'academic' at A-Level (although I don't like rolling out the hierarchy of worthy subjects on these kinds of threads) for the amount of effort that you need to put in. There are a lot of case studies, a lot of memorisation rather than analysis and it's generally quite fluffy. I remember it being a bit hit and miss too, my friends who were usually straight A students were getting everything from full marks to Es on their papers.

For her fourth choice, especially with Econ and Physics as her other options- I would seriously recommend she does Maths. Even if she drops it at A2.

Otherwise, I would recommend History or Philosophy. The latter would be particularly good.

HumblePieMonster Thu 04-Sep-14 09:30:22

Look at the university entrance requirements for the courses she wants to follow.
Also look at their list of non-acceptable A levels.
Some top universities won't accept Psychology.

TheAwfulDaughter Thu 04-Sep-14 09:33:46

She doesn't want to do maths? Sorry I missed that!

Just to add a bit more, I honestly think that History or Philosophy will prepare her for the rigour of a law degree. It will teach her analysis, referencing and how to research. I believe these skills are all vital for all undergraduate students and I would not have functioned on my social sciences degree without A-Level History.

It will also be looked on for fondly than psychology, for no more effort workload wise grin

TheWordFactory Thu 04-Sep-14 09:39:23

Economics and English are a good base for law.

Universities are looking for good grades in at least one analytical essay based subject. Two even better.

The third matters less in terms of subject matter and for very selective courses there's a lot to be said for show casing a broad ability set - a science, maths, a language...

Hakluyt Thu 04-Sep-14 09:40:04

A lot of kids at my dd's very academic school do physics as a 4th AS and in some cases A2 without maths, and I with undulated subjects (cf my dd,below) it's because the school has an exceptional physics department and very exciting physics teachers.. It doesn't seem to have held them back!

TheWordFactory Thu 04-Sep-14 09:43:19

As for economics, certainly don't need maths A level , though you do have to be numerate.

However many economics degrees require a level maths.

merlehaggard Thu 04-Sep-14 09:44:56

IMO And experience no one will care if your daughter's 4th subject is as long as there are 3 non-soft options - if infact Psychology isn't an ideal choice. LSE viewed A Level Law as a soft option but it became irrelevant because it was offered alongside 3 other A levels that weren't viewed as soft options.

Hakluyt Thu 04-Sep-14 09:45:22

Not sure what undulated subjects in my last post are- reeling, writhing and fainting in coils, probably. Should be unrelated subjects........

antimatter Thu 04-Sep-14 09:52:19

Psychology may be her interest but even for studying it she doesn't need it.
Physics without maths would make her studying harder - had she spoken to someone who has done it?

Cerisier Thu 04-Sep-14 10:10:02

For law the choices look fine. For Physics or Economics she would have to justify the no Maths stance I suspect.

One of our Y13 students has just swapped into my Further Maths A level class on learning that to have a good chance of an offer to do Economics at LSE they will expect Further Maths as well as A level Maths. Apparently this info came from good sources.

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