This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Is further maths ok as one of three a levels?(62 Posts)
Eg maths, further maths and one other? Or is it always considered by universities / employers as an adjunct/ additional or fourth subject? Confused that as one of three it might not ‘cut it’ and can’t seem to get a clear answer from school or uni websites.....
I think with maths and further maths they whizz through maths in L6th and then further maths in U6th.
So you'd need 2 others really ( Dd's best friend doing it so my knowledge may not be cutting edge)
I think it depends on what they are intending to study at University. DS1 has 3 A levels, Maths, Further Maths and Physics. He is studying Maths at University and received offers from all 5 on his UCAS form including Cambridge. I know of people studying Physics who have the same 3 A levels that he has.
I get the impression that FM is so hard that a student who is capable of FM would be capable of 4 A levels. It’s also most typically taken with sciences which wouldn’t be as time consuming for the more capable pupils as essay subjects.
It will be seen as an entirely separate course as such won't have an impact on university applications. I would only suggest it however if they want to progress further into maths or physics. The two together are hard work and a real flare for maths is needed.
I think you will find that some universities, for some courses, will not accept Maths and Further Maths as separate subjects. Medicine, generally, is one example IIRC. The best thing would be for your DC to check what the requirements are for the courses and universities in which they are interested. What does s/he want to study?
My DS did maths further maths and Physics and got accepted into his university of preference 2 years ago
I think it depends what they want to study he's doing nuclear physics.
Quite a few of ours do maths/fm/another but they need to be very clear that they want to go on to do a maths related course (or physics, comp sci etc).
Some schools teach maths and FM over the standard two years. They don’t necessarily do one after the other so check what your school does. Some universities expect all A levels to be taught over a 2 year period with exams at the end, so whizzing through one to lighten the load in Y13 may not be acceptable now.
I know a young person doing maths at a good RG university with Maths, FM and Physics A levels. I would check on university web sites to see if others expect a third subject because Physics and Maths is just two. I suspect it may only be the top universities but I would check out possible courses and start at Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial who will want the most exacting science qualifications.
Obviously maths and physics cuts out Chemistry and Biology and Medicine and Vet Science but I’m sure Engineering and other Maths and Physics based courses would be ok. Not sure about Economics though. Few universities do not want mathematicians for maths based courses so may not worry about a third subject but the top universities may make entry just that bit harder by requiring STEP for example.
My DD did pure maths, history, statistics and another random one that she dropped after a year and replaced it with further maths, which she comp,eyed in a year.
Got into Universtiy with those to study maths.
Just email a few places and get some reassurances
My dc dropped physics A level and now does maths, FM and computer science. When he was deciding, we emailed admissions for maths and for computer science at Oxford and Imperial. All 4 replies said, yep fine.
Son did maths, further maths and physics, and had no problems getting a place on a computer science (information security) masters course.
Maths, fm and physics is perfect for engineering (except chem eng). DD did these and is doing an MEng at Cambridge. She also did comp sci to AS and a relevant EPQ. The decision to drop the comp sci was to allow her to focus on getting the high grades needed for the places she wanted to apply to.(And it turned out that whereas her Cambridge offer was 2Astars and an A, people doing 4 an extra subject needed an A in that too!)
So - these 3 are fine for engineering, physics and maths. But, taking only these 3 from the start is risky if the student isn't absolutely sure that they're going to want to go into one of these areas.
My DD was accepted at Durham to read Law with Maths, Further Maths and Economics A levels (A*AA) plus a law related Epq. She also got a A at English Lit AS level but dropped it after AS. So yes Durham accept maths and FM as separate subjects.
However one of her classmates was rejected from UCL because the subjects were too similar.
Best to check with the individual unis as they obviously have their own take on it
DD1 at Camb doing Psychology. Her A levels were Maths, Further Maths and Psychology. She had offers from Cambs, Durham, Bristol . Sussex and Newcastle. At no point did anyone suggest FM wasn't anything other than a full a level. Nor did she need extra a levels or a epq.
It all seems a bit daft to be spreading your efforts across any more exams than absolutely necessary if you are looking for a place on a highly competitive course.
Her offers were between A*AA -AAB . How can it be better in anyway to study four ? Surely that just reduces and dilutes your study time. DD1 just focussed on 3 and was able to achieve the higher marks. She would not have got the required pass mark for her current course with 4.
Slight hijack but does anyone know if it is acceptable to drop a 4th A Level at a later stage in Y13? Ds applying for Engineering so Maths, FM & Physics will suffice. He is also doing Biology & adamant he wants to continue this for now but obviously doesn't want it to impact on his overall grades.
If he is doing 4 when he makes his UCAS application but subsequently drops the Biology will that cause problems?
I think he'd have to inform his choices at least, not just assume it can quietly disappear. If he applies with 4, he may get some offers with 4. Tbh if he doesn't want to do the exam next year, I'd drop it before applying to UCAS.
Thanks Atia. That is my concern but he wants to keep on the 4th at present. Will see how it goes for the first month or so!
I don't think many courses make their offers on 4 A levels but some do. I'm pretty sure it's best to apply on the basis of the qualifications you're going to complete.
* How can it be better in anyway to study four ? Surely that just reduces and dilutes your study time. DD1 just focussed on 3 and was able to achieve the higher marks. She would not have got the required pass mark for her current course with 4.*
It depends on the student and the course they want to do. My DD decided to focus on 3 - partly because she needed very high grades but also because, having looked at the curriculum for the second half of comp sci (pre reforms), a lot of the content wasn't as interesting/relevant to her as the AS part had been. The point of doing 4 A levels isn't to get 4 grades - it's to learn more! For very able students doing natural sciences, top chem eng courses etc I'd have thought 4 A levels were definitely useful for the extra content. Maths, fm, physics and chemistry combo isn't necessarily much of a stretch if you're good at them.
Taking LSE as an example:
BA History: Mathematics and Further Mathematics at A level will be considered, so long as they are combined with an essay writing subject.
BSc Economic History and Geography: If you have taken Mathematics, Further Mathematics and one other subject at A level, this may be considered less competitive for this programme.
BSc Accounting and Finance (possibly the one one might have expected to be okay with it?): Further Mathematics is seen as a fourth or additional subject: students offering only Mathematics, Further Mathematics and one other subject at A level or equivalent are not normally considered.
The LSE are actually very helpfully clear on the matter, and have a section on maths & FM - www.lse.ac.uk/study-at-lse/Undergraduate/Prospective-Students/How-to-Apply/Admissions-Information
I wish all universities were as explicit. One of the things that always puts me off Cambridge is the fact that each individual college can set their own entry requirements and offer grades, and it's difficult and/or tedious to check them all.
My eldest has recently taken A levels, the general idea at his school was that they chose 4 subjects for year 12, with a view to dropping one for year 13 and taking 4 A levels. The exception to this was if they were taking Maths / Further Maths. They weren't allowed to drop one, because technically that would leave them with only two subjects. (In his school they took the whole Maths course and exam in year 12, and then the whole of FM in year 13. I'm aware that some schools do it differently, with half of each course per year).
He took Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Latin. He had offers from 4 universities to study Physics: all of them gave offers based on 3 grades. All wanted a certain grade in Maths and Physics, and the 3rd grade in either FM or Latin. So regardless of the school rules on having to take 4 subjects (if 2 of them were Maths), the universities seemed happy to accept 3.
Sorry, the beginning of my above post should read "dropping one... And taking 3 A levels".
My eldest has recently taken A levels, the general idea at his school was that they chose 4 subjects for year 12, with a view to dropping one for year 13 and taking 3 A levels.
This was pretty much standard practice up into the A/AS level reforms of the last couple of years. Things are a bit different now.
With maths and further maths then they are treated as one subject but two separate A levels. Most schools AFAIK (but happy to be corrected) take the kids through maths A level in a year and then do further maths in the second year.
This was what happened to DS. He's a mathsy type and if you're going to do further maths then it won't be hard to do A level maths a year early and further maths in the second year of A level
All of which means you probably need two additional subjects. DS did physics and chemistry.