A levels for Classics degree

(10 Posts)
Couchpotato3 Sat 23-Apr-16 19:33:59

Didn't want to hijack the Philosophy thread, so started this one.
DS (Yr 10) almost wants to study Classics at uni. He will be taking Latin, Greek and Maths A levels (he loves Maths too). He has the chance to do a fourth subject, and I am confident that he can manage this. Will unis take a dim view if he doesn't take up the opportunity? Which one should he choose from the following possibilities?
History (good at this, but dislikes essay writing)
Further Maths (loves maths, but this could be the hardest to get a top grade)
Physics (easier for him I think)
Or just not bother and concentrate on the three?
Any thoughts?

OP’s posts: |
Couchpotato3 Sat 23-Apr-16 19:34:25

That should read almost certainly wants to, not almost wants to!!

OP’s posts: |
gracefull Sat 23-Apr-16 19:44:51

I am not sure how the current A level system works, but if its still standard to study 4 AS levels followed by 3/4 A levels then he should take a 4th AS level. Top universities look for this. Re subjects: he should pick whatever he enjoys most/will get the best grade in. It doesn't matter whether it fits his degree per say. I know students reading English at top Universities who did Maths and Sciences at A level. Showing breadth of academic ability is good.

hayita Sat 23-Apr-16 20:09:10

He has the chance to do a fourth subject, and I am confident that he can manage this.

How can you be confident about this, when the A level content is changing? Maths A level will certainly be much harder than it currently is, and therefore it will be much more time consuming than now.

Many schools (even those sending high fractions of pupils to top universities) are now starting students on 3 A levels. Things will move back to how they were 20-30 years ago, when doing more than 3 A levels was rare unless you were doing four STEM subjects. Four A levels will never be required for a classics degree, so there seems no advantage to doing four, apart from the fact that with the extra subject he could tchange his mind later and apply for other courses.

Since he is only year 10, why would he make the decision now? Why not wait until the content of the new Maths (and Physics, FM...) becomes clearer?.

bojorojo Sat 23-Apr-16 20:35:00

I am by no means an expert, however I do know that Classics candidates at Oxford have to submit an essay which may well be discussed at interview. A very high proportion of classics candidates do get called for interview at Oxford. If he dislikes essay writing, this degree may be a problem. My DD did a MFL degree and, apart from the grammar/translation modules, it was all essay writing! If they want candidates to submit an essay, this is because they want to see how candidates form arguments. I am not sure maths is the best prep for this. I would check the admissions requirements of other universities to see what they prefer. I would have thought History would be a better bet.

sendsummer Sat 23-Apr-16 22:25:11

I have heard the same as bojorojo. One of the reported advantages of a classics degree is the breadth of other humanity subjects that it encompasses including history, literature and philosophy as was as the mechanics of the languages. I understood that the linguistics is usually a means to an end to access the original texts and essay writing is a major part of the degree.

AtiaoftheJulii Sun 24-Apr-16 08:45:20

Yes, plenty of essay writing in a Classics degree! But also in Latin and Greek A levels grin

3 will be fine - universities won't actually know how many A levels his school let people take! Check with the school nearer the time to find out what they are planning to do and how.


AmberNectarine Sun 24-Apr-16 09:01:24

I did classics and studied Latin, english lit, French and physics. I don't think is matters hugely as he already has Latin and Greek (I had to start from scratch with Greek at uni).

bojorojo Sun 24-Apr-16 10:49:40

I think, though, if a young person does not like essays, then Classics, or indeed Latin and Greek A levels, may not be the best course of action. I don't remember my DD doing loads of essays for MFL A levels though. However, I accept they are different.

AmberNectarine Sun 24-Apr-16 13:12:03

Agree. There is a lot of essay writing. Classics in general is an intensive degree course (or at least it was at my uni). There was no dossing about!

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