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Opinions welcome on A level options

(39 Posts)
uggmum Mon 10-Feb-14 08:27:15

My dd wants a future in science. She is interested in research or neuro-science.
She would like to do A level biology and chemistry but is unsure what else they go with.
She doesn't want to do physics or maths.
Any recommendations/opinions are welcome.

She is identified as gifted in science and projected A* at present.

LIZS Mon 10-Feb-14 08:32:06

psychology, english ?

RalphRecklessCardew Mon 10-Feb-14 08:41:06

If she wants a future in science she really really really should do maths. Really.

CatchesTheNightTrain Mon 10-Feb-14 09:04:00

Maths is so so important in a science future. It will be a big part of any science based degree program.

I would opt for Maths or Physics definitely.

BikeRunSki Mon 10-Feb-14 09:16:29

IT?
German - a lot of scientific research is published inGerman.
Business - if she considers the commercial pharmaceuticals side of things?

Theas18 Mon 10-Feb-14 09:16:45

My DS did biolong chemistry music and maths at AS and dropped the maths for A2.

I'll be the lone dissenting voice here. Choose a subject you love, preferably a "rigorous academic one" eg music, english, history even RE (if it's the ethics based course). Not psychology- it's really not rated at most unis even for psychology courses, but a narrative arts course is fine.

On the basis of biol/chem/music DS is holding an offer for neuroscience at Nottingham which looks a very good course indeed.

Definitely don't do maths or physics just " because" if it's going to make her miserable- there is a heck of a lot to " put up with" in A levels you don't like. Maybe do AS maths, get and A and then can it!

BikeRunSki Mon 10-Feb-14 09:20:13

I didn't say maths because you said she'd decided against it. Is this an informed decision? Or does she just not like maths? It is very, very useful for a kind if science degree, even the biosciences which are less numerate at school level than Physics. Even if she got on a degree course without Maths, she may well struggle without it.

uggmum Mon 10-Feb-14 10:01:31

She is not a lover of maths and has a complete lack of confidence in the subject. I think she will receive a good C in the subject and she does try with it.

She loves English so that might be an option and she was considering Drama as a forth A level as a fun option.

Degree wise there are so many courses to choose from it seems like a minefield.

crazymum53 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:09:10

Geography is a possibility - as this would open up the Earth sciences e.g Geology and Environmental Science. However this may not be possible without Geography at GCSE.
An essay subject such History would demonstrate breath. However English Lit would also show similar skills.
Students who are good at Science also seem to do well on subjects such as Economics, Pyschology and Philosophy.
HTH

BeckAndCall Mon 10-Feb-14 12:46:41

I'm going to be a bit harsh here, but if she's only on course for a C at maths GCSE, how will she cope with Chemistry A level? Biology, yes, but Chemistry? There is a lot of maths in it.

If she really wants to be a researcher in chemistry or neuroscience, she'll need a degree which most probably requires a Maths A level ( or at least a maths AS as theas suggests). But if she gets less than an A at Maths GCSE, she will probably find that too tough.

So maybe she should be looking at a different longer term path - perhaps in the technician or lab assistant type of career?

Nocomet Mon 10-Feb-14 12:54:30

DD is hoping to do three sciences and art. She wants to do marine biol (so needs biol/chem).

Had long debates with DH about maths, he finds maths really easy, DD1 and I don't. I have and she's capable of scraping an A, but we both find it hard work.

I got a grotty A level (D) DD1 is dyslexic and has put her foot down. She says art keeps her sane, 4x hard subjects is too much.

uggmum Mon 10-Feb-14 14:01:33

Beckandcall, that might have been a tiny bit harsh. Dd lacks confidence in maths but I think she could push it to a b if she really worked hard. But she is achieving A* in all her science tests/mocks which surprises us as I thought they went hand in hand with maths. Her school have identified her as gifted in all 3. But she just loves science, especially chemistry and biology.

She is on target for a solid A in geography and English so these may be good A level options

Starballbunny Mon 10-Feb-14 14:04:23

Many universities will take geography for science courses, so that is certainly a possible.

She needs to google courses that interest her.

Chopchopbusybusy Mon 10-Feb-14 14:14:03

My immediate thoughts were that maths would be required. Why not get her to email the admissions department of a university that offers the course she's interested in and see what they say.
I am boring myself now with offering this suggestion on these sorts of threads sad

BikeRunSki Mon 10-Feb-14 14:40:19

I am a Chartered Geologist and have never studied Gepgraphy to any qualification.

ISingSoprano Mon 10-Feb-14 15:09:11

She needs to take a look at UCAS and some find the type of degree she might be interested in and see what the entry requirements are.

Ds is doing a science based degree. He didn't do A level maths and although it wasn't a problem getting accepted onto the degree course he is now doing a lot of maths to catch up.

HesterShaw Mon 10-Feb-14 15:12:54

Science degrees involve a awful lot of stats.

HesterShaw Mon 10-Feb-14 15:13:42

DD is hoping to do three sciences and art. She wants to do marine biol (so needs biol/chem)

Maths would be very useful for marine biology too!

ThreeBeeOneGee Mon 10-Feb-14 16:54:11

She is not a lover of maths and has a complete lack of confidence in the subject.

Unless this changes, she will struggle with a Science degree course. I have a degree in Biological Sciences, and Maths A-level was an entry requirement for a reason.

Nocomet Mon 10-Feb-14 16:59:40

Maths would be useful and DD1 is quite happy to swore up any maths/stats she needs for A levels and at uni.

I started life wanting to do physics and ended up doing a biology degree. My A level mechanics was no help at all and the stats. I needed was taught as part if my degree.

Nocomet Mon 10-Feb-14 17:00:44

Swot up (and pick her Dad and best friends Mum's brains for maths).

lalsy Mon 10-Feb-14 18:42:26

uggmum, it is great your dd is so enthusiastic about chemistry and biology. She should be aware though that those subjects do involve a lot of maths as they get more advanced - I would second the advice to contact admissions tutors (even if you set up a new gmail to do it) and ask them about getting onto science courses with a C at maths GCSE, and about options beyond that if she wants a research career (or perhaps careers advisor). I suspect it will be hard - maths becomes absolutely embedded, particularly in chemistry.

Has she been well taught in maths? Would getting her some 1 to 1 help be possible, to see what is going on and build her confidence?

drwitch Mon 10-Feb-14 18:46:18

second and third everybody who says maths is really important. If she is gifted in science she must be able to well at A level maths, what is stopping her is confidence and/or poor teaching.

Oubliette0292 Mon 10-Feb-14 19:10:28

Any kind of scientific research will involve maths - at the very least she will need to be proficient in statistics. That said, she should pick subjects that interest her and see where that leads. An essay based subject (e.g. History, English) or a modern language would seem like sensible options.

Roisin Mon 10-Feb-14 19:23:29

A level science is very different from GCSE level and I would echo all the comments here about the importance of maths, especially for chemistry. If she's only on track for a C in maths GCSE, she would certainly struggle with AS Level Maths, but she'd also struggle with the maths required in her science subjects and if she wants to potentially study sciences at a higher level it could be a real obstacle for her.

If I were you I would be talking to her school now about extra support for her maths and finding out what is going wrong.

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