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Are my A Level choices reasonable?

(29 Posts)
Gcsekid Tue 23-Apr-13 18:47:59

For A level my choices are Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and English Language. I've got a few questions, firstly, I know literature is more preferred but I enjoy language much more so that won't change,but will it affect how a university see me? Also what are your opinions on psychology? I think it sounds like an interesting subject but I'm not sure it it's a 'pointless' one on a CV? I'm getting straight A's at GCSE, but I'm worried about these subjects being a lot of work and
Too much to cope with, I'd preferably like ABB/AAB, any advice would be appreciated!

secretscwirrels Tue 23-Apr-13 19:26:41

Do you know what you want to study at degree level? Have you any career in mind?

StrangeGlue Tue 23-Apr-13 19:33:21

They sound good to me but then they are almost what I did. smile

Whether they are good depends what you want to do and where you want to study for some people. To me good means what you want to do, fires your love of learning and gets you through 4 a-levels because that is a lot of work.

In my experience psychology is good as it gives you lots of transferable skills and it's very interesting.

Do bear in mind you need to get thought two years so don't consider what others think too much. You need to start ploughing your own path now you're older and making decisions for yourself and your life.

senua Tue 23-Apr-13 21:13:00

What the others said: reasonable for what?
It sounds like you are thinking of going to University so start to narrow down the list of possible courses and then look on websites to see what the entry requirements are.
Don't worry about how an A Level subject appears on a C.V. because people tend to look closely at your latest qualification. By the time you get to job hunting, A Levels will be way in your past and not that interesting.

Don't get too hung up on grades at the moment. I think that the days of grade inflation are over and lots of students getting AAA will be a thing of the past.

Which subject are you considering dropping for Year 13?

andadietcoke Tue 23-Apr-13 21:18:16

I did psychology at a-level and it's actually very transferable to business degrees - I've just finished a masters in business and drew on a lot of what I learnt when I was doing a-level.

Plus, I found it very interesting, so was more engaged, which is what you need when you're committing to studying a subject.

Gcsekid Wed 24-Apr-13 00:03:09

I'm considering dropping English language, the route I want to go down is the biology route, I'm interested in neuroscience particularly, but any science really, but that depends on how good I find psychology as to whether I drop that or Lang..

Gcsekid Wed 24-Apr-13 00:05:12

I think I'd be interested in psychology a lot because I find that stuff really intriguing, but I've heard loads of rumours that it's a terrible subject to take and the current teachers aren't too good, but as long as I find the content interesting I think I should be ok?

QuintessentialOHara Wed 24-Apr-13 00:08:25

If you are interested in Science, would you not be better off with either maths of physics rather than English?

AllOverIt Wed 24-Apr-13 00:23:30

You need a balance of academic subjects.

Psychology is quite difficult, despite its reputation as a 'soft' subject.

I teach both English Lang and Lit. Definitely pick Lang if this is what you prefer.

If you want the science route at uni then pick two sciences.

senua Wed 24-Apr-13 08:43:02

Originally, I thought that your list of A Levels looked OK but if you are looking specifically at Neurosciences then you may need to tweak a little. If we go to the UCAS site and go to 'course search' and drill down to 'course-specific requirements' then you will find, for example:
Bristol: Minimum of two science subjects, or one science subject and Mathematics. Will not accept Gen Studies nor Crit Thinking
Cardiff: Biology and Chemistry. Maths preferred as third subject. No GS/CT.
Leeds: Biology and Chemistry and a third science or science-related subject. No GS.

So you can see that Maths is frequently mentioned. They don't say that you have to have it but if the course is heavily oversubscribed and your competitors have Maths but you don't, then it may put you on the back foot. There again, Keele will let you study a joint honours in English & Neuroscience with three A Levels including English and an unspecified science!

I'm not sure that Psychology is a difficult subject although it may be horses for courses. My DS finds it easy (not much to understand, just lots to learn) so kept it on to A2 because he thought that he would get a good mark in it. I've just done a search: I've told you this before!smile If it is merely lots of learning then you should be able to make up for poor teaching from the text book.

secretscwirrels Wed 24-Apr-13 15:19:46

I think you would struggle to do A level Chemistry without Maths.
Could you not do Psychology as an enrichment (ie none exam) subject?

alreadytaken Wed 24-Apr-13 17:42:38

if you want something to look good on a cv drop the Psychology and go for Maths instead. One of my child's friends applied for psychology and even if you want to apply for a psychology course you'd probably find it easier with Maths. Psychology degrees are popular and at the better universities you could need an A*. Some offer lower grades to those with science A levels.

Maths is counted for so many degree courses that anyone capable of doing well in it should consider taking it.

evilgiraffe Wed 24-Apr-13 17:53:44

Having done a science degree with Biology, Chemistry, and Geography as my A Levels, I speak from experience when I say DO MATHS. I bitterly regretted not taking maths at A Level, it would have been enormously helpful, particularly in the biochemistry modules of my degree. If you're going to do four A Levels, then you can still keep English or Psychology for fun, but I can't stress enough how helpful a good grounding in maths is for a biological degree.

notcitrus Wed 24-Apr-13 18:58:08

I did neurosciences. If you are remotely capable of it, do maths at least in lower sixth. Also consider physics. One essay subject to prove you can write is useful though.

But don't panic if you know there's no way you will ever do maths - I got to Cambridge with biology, chem and two random subjects, and while first year chemistry was tough, the MSc neuro wasn't.

Suzieismyname Wed 24-Apr-13 19:34:46

Another one for Maths, preferably with some Statistics content too.

happilyconfused Wed 24-Apr-13 21:31:15

If you are going down the science route you need maths to get onto the competitive course. You can then go for Lang instead of Lit. Not really sure what psychology would offer you can do some extra curricular reading instead.

Ehhn Wed 24-Apr-13 23:32:32

As others have said, it depends what you want to do next. I am in the English department at King's College London and we don't care much for psychology A Level. It's true- perceived as soft but isn't easy for the student (same goes for PE - really hard subject!) Rule of thumb: if it is a subject that is traditionally studied at uni (psychology, law etc) then top unis don't care for A levels in those subjects as it is believed that you cannot get a proper understanding of the subjects at A Level. Right or wrong, this is the attitude. Top unis like traditional subjects such as the sciences, lit, history etc. It looks like your options are pushing you more to a social sciences (psych/ed psych) - as other posters have said, if you want to be totally science based, get maths or physics on board...

TolliverGroat Wed 24-Apr-13 23:42:22

You could really do with Maths to support the Chemistry in particular and to keep your options more open on university options. In your position I'd take that and drop one of English Language or Psychology (probably drop the Psychology given what you've heard about the course/teachers).

Gcsekid Thu 25-Apr-13 20:30:23

I'm working at an A/A* in maths and feel I may have the potential to do maths at alevel, but I feel that's its likely ill get a C at alevel due to my work ethic, and I don't feel too confident with the subject, but I've just been told I can't take English language due to the subject blocks. And subjects left are ones such as physics and geography. I'm getting A's currently in physics, but I don't particularly find it interesting so I don't feel like ill be able to take it confidently

Gcsekid Thu 25-Apr-13 20:42:18

Hopefully ill get good grades in chemistry and biology, because I feel like taking these too sciences and mathematics would be too much work and I'm afraid my grades will start to slip, I Believe law is also a soft subject and isn't highly regarded, and it is nothing to do with my career path.. But I'm unsure of what else I could take. Physics and maths seem to be my best options for university, but they don't particularly Interest me

Suzieismyname Thu 25-Apr-13 21:27:05

You'd be nuts to do Physics without Maths...

breatheslowly Thu 25-Apr-13 21:41:53

Bizarrely I have taught Chemistry and Psychology at A level. I don't think you need Maths for A level Chemistry at all (goo GCSE level skills are essential). But Maths is very useful if you are pursuing a science degree (a bit moreso for physical sciences, but statistics is very useful for biological science). Psychology is a lovely A level - it is really interesting. But it is definitely easier than traditional sciences. I would say that a C grade chemistry student would generally be an A grade psychology student, and as a result it isn't a great discriminator for universities to use to select students so they probably don't like it partly for that reason. I think it does complement sciences as it brings essay writing skills, but English Language will do that for you. Psychology is also a great subject for really getting to grips with the scientific method as psychological research is plagued with confounding variables and limitations on research methods. However you will probably get enough of that from the sciences.

Gcsekid Thu 25-Apr-13 22:31:20

That's what I thought, I'm very interested in psychology and if I didn't take it I think id regret it a lot, does it massively affect my position in a decent university if I got AAB/ABB In bio, chem and psychology.. Or is it very unlikely getting in against other students without maths or physics?

notcitrus Fri 26-Apr-13 18:30:21

I'd ask some of the unis you're potentially interested in, as they are the only ones with up to date info - my school told me I'd never get anywhere without maths or a 3rd science. Especially not Cambridge.

Phoned Cambridge. Bio and chem fine for NatSci. Got in, as well as offers from Manchester, Bristol, Warwick... Admittedly out of the 30-odd of us who hadn't done maths to A level (out of 650 students), only 7 of us hadn't got A/S level, and I was the only one who hadn't done physics either. But as maths teaching at my school was crap and I effectively hadn't learnt any since age 13, I have no regrets.

ISn't the current system you have to take 4-5 subjects in first year 6th and then drop one or two? If that's the case, I'd really recommend the maths. And check with unis about pyschology - they may or may not rate it. It's the sort of thing you can take up later or enjoy reading about quite easily, whereas maths usually isn't.

BeckAndCall Sat 27-Apr-13 17:11:01

But notcitrus your experience of Cambridge is exceptional. Coincidentally I have just looked at the website for one of the colleges and it says quite clearly that you will be disadvantaged for natural science if you do not have maths. ( diff subject I know but neuro sci probably starts off there).

So all the advice you are getting, OP, is that you will need maths for neuroscience.

But quite frankly you're on the wrong website - go over to The Student Room and you'll get better information there

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