Opinions on A level choices

(11 Posts)
ElizaSchuyler Fri 18-Nov-16 22:59:25

Weve got a bit of time as dd is in year 10 but she's started to think about options for A levels.

She's always said she wants to do science based A levels, possibly maths, chemistry & biology but we've been to parents evening & I think she should maybe reconsider.

She's predicted to get Grades 6/7 in her science subjects though the physics teacher said she could push herself to try & aim for an 8. In the old exams she'd have been an A/B candidate.

In maths she's predicted 7/8 - the maths teacher said he's not predicting anyone a 9, the new exam is so hard.

But in her essay based subjects such as English & RS she's predicted 8's. The RS teacher said she couod actually be on track for a 9 & her theology degree lecturer husband said her work was the same standard as some of his 1st year undergrads. Dds face lights up when she talks about the subject & her teacher thinks she should consider philosophy & ethics A level.

But dd is talking about Physiotherapy as a career - she actuslly wants to aim for a career in performing arts but wants academic back up which makes me wonder should she be considering a dance/musical theatre Btec instead.

So basically should you choose A levels according to what your best subjects are, what you think will be useful (dd said what use is RS/philosophy) or just what you enjoy.

BackforGood Fri 18-Nov-16 23:28:31

She should have a look at UCAS website, or just a few random university websites and look at what A-levels they are asking for, for courses she thinks sound interesting.
I have to say, the jump from GCSE to A-Level is huge. I wouldn't consider maths without a A/A* /8/9 starting point, it is really difficult.
If she wants to do something vocational like physio then she will need the right A-levels, but if she's thinking about RS, that is considered a very good, solid subject to take - nothing flakey about it at all.

Something like 80% of graduates who go on to work in graduate professions don't use the subject matter from their degrees, so RS / Theology /Philosophy are just as valid as other subjects.

errorofjudgement Sat 19-Nov-16 06:53:29

Level 7/8 is A/A* so she is definitely on track with the maths.
Presumably she needs Biology for physiotherapy, but perhaps she could consider RE as the third - it would give her some diversity, & it would be a shame to give up a subject she enjoys and has talent in.

IEatCannibals Sat 19-Nov-16 06:56:46

She needs to work backwards. So look at what a levels are required for a physiotherapist degree. Do what a levels she needs. If there's any flexibility then do what she enjoys as long as her predicted GCSE grades are good enough.

Philosophy and ethics is a good general a level IMHO as it shows a student can debate, put their view forward, consider different sides of an arguement, etc.

mummytime Sat 19-Nov-16 07:39:52

Okay- she is thinking of Physiotherapy as a back up? There are two big things wrong with this: a) physiotherapist is a very difficult subject to get into - it's a very popular subject to apply for, and b) there are no longer NHS bursaries.
Maybe she should get some work experience/talk to some physios first?
A'levels are hard, it's best to do subjects you are interested in and enjoy. What does she really enjoy?

ElizaSchuyler Sat 19-Nov-16 08:07:23

Mummy - yes that's my concern - that her back up is also ultra competitive.

She plans to audition for music theatre performance courses but wants the academic back up if things don't work out/injury etc.

I was concerned that she was picking subjects/career she thought she ought to do rather than what she wants to do. I asked her in her heart of hearts what she wanted to do & she said I need to dance & she doesn't want to look back in years to come thinking what if?

However she is fascinated by how the body works & how physio can help people. She is very influenced by the work & research of an Australian dance physiotherapist but her own physio has told her bluntly that she wouldn't get into any course saying she wants to specialise - she must be prepared to do all the clinical stuff.

MrSlant Sat 19-Nov-16 08:16:15

Looking back on this now as us two years ago I would let her look around at courses to get a good overall view of what is out there/required and then wait for a while and see. What DS wanted to do and the grades he was expected to get changed a lot of the the first 18 months of the GCSE courses and now he is doing something totally different to what he thought he wanted and doing really well and very happy.

I'd also second physio being a very competitive course to get into, a lot of the allied health professional careers now are massively over subscribed and will expect very high A level grades and that doesn't even guarantee you a place.

Essexmum69 Sat 19-Nov-16 16:31:06

Physiotherapy will definitely require Biology, but can be flexible with the other subjects. There is a national shortage of trained physiotherapists at the moment due to the bursary system and the cap on student places that caused. The stopping of the NHS bursery from Sept means the universities will be able to increase the number of places available so it should be easier to get a place although the students will now need to pay tution fees. I would also strongly advise against sports therapy or similar degrees which the HCPC do not recognise.

swingofthings Sun 20-Nov-16 13:30:46

music theatre performance: Does she truly have a talent, a passion and already built a portfolio? Otherwise, it seems very risky to consider this as a career.

RE teacher encouraging phyolosophy. I would take this with a pinch of salt. RE teacher are understandably very keen to see their best pupils picking up that subject further, but that doesn't mean that they have a future in this subject. My DD took RE at GCSE and really enjoyed it and did very well and her teacher was taken on by her enthusiasm and tried hard to encourage her to study it at A levels, but DD had wanted to study sciences since she was in Y7, so this was never an option.

Your DD still has some time to get a clearer idea of what she wants to do. It's not easy for 16yo to be in a position to decide whether to study what they excel at vs what they think they need to in order for them to pursue the career they think they will enjoy.

AmeliaLeopard Sun 20-Nov-16 13:41:10

I personally think it should be a decision taking all things in to account. Which subjects you enjoy is an important factor because of the sheer volume of work required at A level. If a student doesn't actively enjoy a subject it can be harder to focus for the amount of time required. In my subject (physics) we recommend three to four hours per week on top of time spent in school. About two hours of formal homework plus time spent on independent study. If you don't enjoy the subject that is an awful lot.

ElizaSchuyler Sun 20-Nov-16 13:58:58

What do you mean by a portfolio swingofthings?

In terms of songs students tend to put together their audition portfolios whilst studying for their diplomas.

Homework load concerns me Amelia. We know that if she studies for academic A levels it will be hard to keep up her current hours of dance (currently 15 hours per week plus 3 hours of singing & drama) but she will still need to be taking class every day.

It was me that suggested RS. Her grades in science has always been lower than in humanities but she dropped history & geography for GCSE as she wanted to take a language & music as well as RS. History, Geography & French were in the same column & although they were present in other columns RS & music clashed.

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