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Choosing a 4th AS level

(27 Posts)
sopleased Wed 16-Jul-14 16:12:28

Need some advice if anyone around.

DD is going to do French, German and maths A levels.
She hopes to study French and Linguistics at Oxford.
She had planned to do physics AS level too, but having had a taster day at college, is doubting that this will be a good choice.
At the moment she is considering:
Computer science.

We know philosophy is a soft subject, but it is the one that appeals most because it looks interesting and enjoyable.
Will Oxford take a dim view of this as a choice?
What would be the best choice?

Many thanks in advance.

titchy Wed 16-Jul-14 16:42:58

It's fine! She has three hard subjects, a slightly softer one won't do her any harm at all - even for Oxford. Although Philosophy is well regarded as it goes, it's not in the same league as Media studies at all. grin

sopleased Wed 16-Jul-14 16:54:20

Thanks titchy. That is good to hear. smile

titchy Wed 16-Jul-14 16:57:22

Link to Cambridge subject list:

sopleased Wed 16-Jul-14 19:28:16

Bump for the evening crowd.

senua Wed 16-Jul-14 21:17:15

Have you been to the horse's mouth? This lists essential / recommended / helpful subjects. It says you need the MFL in question, there are no 'recommendeds' but it would be helpful to have Eng Lang, Maths, a Sci or another Language.
Her current 2x MFL + Maths seems to tick the boxes so the fourth subject seems to be a free choice (as long as she continues the other three to A2). So why not choose a 'soft' subject, why not go for the easy grade.
Why make life more difficult for yourself? wink

sopleased Wed 16-Jul-14 21:30:12

That is what I thought, but I think she has had some conflicting advice from various (probably not reliable) sources.

The physics syllabus is a bit dull for the AS year - the interesting stuff is in the A2 year by which time she will have dropped it anyway.

I think she should go for the philosophy because she will enjoy it.
She will be doing a year of Italian for a GCSE in the first year too.

Thank you for the link - that and the one titchy supplied have been really helpful. smile

senua Wed 16-Jul-14 22:04:36

Gulp. Are you sure that the Italian is a good idea. Three lots of vocab to learn!?shock

sopleased Wed 16-Jul-14 22:12:26

Well - she really wants to do it. I am not arguing because I know she can drop it if she can't cope. She doesn't need a GCSE in Italian but she couldn't do it at school so has always had a bit of a hankering.
She is already fluent in French so that takes a bit of pressure off. She just loves languages (doesn't take after me at all).

She is so excited about 6th form college she would probably do everything given the chance.

senua Wed 16-Jul-14 23:11:34

If she is a real glutton for punishment and wants to up her gravitas quotient, does she know about the Extended Project Qualification? It needs to be done in Y12 really, if it is to go on the UCAS entry, so she could get thinking about it and do background reading over this summer.

Happy36 Wed 16-Jul-14 23:12:49


BeckAndCall Thu 17-Jul-14 08:20:04

I would have thought a solid essay writing subject would be most helpful - English or history.

I only say that because my DS did sciences plus a language at A level and was really disadvantaged in his Spanish literature course work because he didn't have the same experience and discipline and approach in writing such an essays as his humanities peers.

And I imagine that much of the university work in a language will likewise require real essay writing/ source work skills

Isthiscorrect Thu 17-Jul-14 12:55:05

Philosophy is not a soft option and is most emphatically a strong essay subject.
EPQ students at our school use the end of year 11 after exams to start their EPQ and then prepare most of it during the summer and knock it on the head before Christmas in year 12, ideally before half term.

sopleased Thu 17-Jul-14 17:52:23

Thank you so much everyone.
I think it will be philosophy as it really seems to appeal.
She does know about the EPQ and it is offered at this college.

summerends Fri 18-Jul-14 08:53:26

As well as being a strong 'hard' essay subject, there is an obvious link between French and philosophy which may be an added bonus for extra reading and university application.

Phaedra11 Sat 09-Aug-14 16:23:38

I am a bit concerned that it has been recommended on this thread that EPQs should be worked on over the summer after GCSEs and wrapped up by Christmas. DS1 is starting Sixth Form College in September and won't know whether he can do an EPQ until he gets his results, as the college only give the opportunity to students with an average GCSE grade over 6.5. He is expected to get this so I suppose he could do some prep, but has received no info or guidance from school or college.

webwiz Sat 09-Aug-14 17:20:51

DS is in the summer between year 12 and 13 Phaedra and just starting to work on his EPQ. I think the process of doing it will be helpful as a preparation for university study (he wants to do English Lit) so not really worried about the UCAS points. The EPQ isn't offered widely at his sixth form so only a handful will be doing it.

SwedishEdith Sat 09-Aug-14 17:28:00

Philosophy. That'll be an essay based subject as well, I imagine

Phaedra11 Sat 09-Aug-14 17:49:12

Thanks webwiz.

sopleased Thu 23-Jul-15 05:17:19

Just thought I would come back and say thanks again to everyone who gave advice.
DD chose philosophy, absolutely loves it, is having a brilliant time at 6th form college, and is doing her EPQ over this summer in a philosophy related topic.
She will be applying to study philosophy at university.
Mumsnet is brilliant. smile

senua Thu 23-Jul-15 09:44:36

Have you re-read your opening post where you dissed Philosophy as a "soft subject".grin
Glad she's enjoying it, it's a fascinating topic.

MyVisionsComeFromSoup Thu 23-Jul-15 09:48:38

DD2 did a similar thing, chose Psychology as "fun" 4th AS, loved it, and will be applying to study it at uni smile. Fortunately her other subjects fit the qualifying criteria, it's hard if you change your mind during 6th form, and suddenly you don't have the right other subjects.

sopleased Thu 23-Jul-15 09:54:08

Ha Ha - yes - I freely admit to knowing absolutely nothing.
There was no such thing on the curriculum when I was at school!
I was basing my opinion on things I had been told by other people - who probably also knew nothing.

voilets Thu 23-Jul-15 10:44:20

Could you enlighten me a little on EPQ and whether it is really worth it - has gravitas!

DD is interested in English and Spanish at Oxford or other good uni. I really wanted her to focus on these and other extra curricular fun to maximise grades.

Grammar schools (with new govt. funding formula)are offering 3 A levels not a fourth AS as far as we know.

She has a year to go before we know about all this for definite.

What do you know? smile

sopleased Thu 23-Jul-15 10:52:36

All the Oxbridge group are doing EPQs - I understand that this is usual because it gives them something to talk about at interview. Several students applying to other universities are also doing EPQs so it isn't just the Oxbridge group.

I have no experience of university myself - this is just what I have been advised by the college.

DD is doing something that is relevant to her proposed degree course, in an area of research that she has a particular interest in.

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