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A Level Maths - how important is it?

(40 Posts)
JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 19:05:20

Just looking for some advice really - Dd1 has had her acceptance letter from sixth form college today, which we're delighted about - but she now needs to fine tune her A-Level options by the end of the week. She's currently Year 11, and will be sitting her GCSE's in May/June, and would like to eventually go to Uni to study Sports Science. She has to take 4 A-Levels - Biology and PE are definites, Sociology a probable. English a definite 'no' as it's her weakest subject. I've advised her to take Maths - she's good at it, but doesn't enjoy it and would love to drop it after GCSE.

I'm just wondering about Uni applications without either English OR Maths as an A-Level? I completely accept that my experience and knowledge of UCAS is about twenty years out of date, and I'm happy to accept that I'm wrong - but it's quite a competitive course to get on to, and I fear she'll be on the back foot if she doesn't have either English or Maths.

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 19:08:41

Just to add, we've trawled through lots of prospectuses - and none of them seem to require A Level English or Maths, I'm just worried she'll be at a disadvantage if she doesn't have either.

noblegiraffe Mon 31-Mar-14 19:28:24

A-level maths is associated with an increased earnings potential over her lifetime.

Both graduates and non-graduates who took maths A-level ended up earning on average 10 per cent more than those of similar ability and background who did not.

www.independent.co.uk/news/alevel-in-maths-is-key-to-high-pay-1071914.html

It's an old study, I'd say it's even more important now.

crazymum53 Mon 31-Mar-14 19:40:06

I would check the entry requirements for related courses- for Sports science it may be OK to not take Maths, but if your dd were to consider Physiotherapy the requirements are more strict and she would need another Science and probably Maths.
For Biology (and related Sciences) statistics is the type of Maths that is more useful.
HTH

GreenerthanGrass Mon 31-Mar-14 19:45:39

I think that A-Level Maths is probably the most useful A-Level you can do. Not having maths may well restrict her choices

tastingthestars Mon 31-Mar-14 19:45:44

What would she choose if Maths is taken out of the equation?

DSis did Maths A Level and called it her 'necessary evil' when she chose it, because she didn't like maths but knew it would keep more doors open as she wanted to do an economics related degree. She ended up with an A*. Not sure she ever really enjoyed it, but she's glad she did it because it's been invaluable since. And it shows you can do well even if you're not passionate about it!

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 20:22:21

Thanks so much for your replies. A year ago, she wanted to do Physiotherapy, but she's now thinking more along the lines of sports coaching and therapy. It's quite a competitive field, but I'd like her to keep her options open so to speak. I just keep thinking that an A-Level Maths will put her in a good position in terms of entry on to the course, but again, I'm happy to be corrected if my thinking on this is outdated.

She's bright, and quite academic - but I'll admit, she favours the path of least resistance and I think she's gulping at the thought of A-Level Maths. She's capable of doing it, but doesn't enjoy it IFKWIM. We've had the conversation about life being not all about 'enjoyment', and that there aren't any easy options at A-Level - but she's 16, and therefore knows best etc etc.

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 20:23:32

Thanks so much for your replies. A year ago, she wanted to do Physiotherapy, but she's now thinking more along the lines of sports coaching and therapy. It's quite a competitive field, but I'd like her to keep her options open so to speak. I just keep thinking that an A-Level Maths will put her in a good position in terms of entry on to the course, but again, I'm happy to be corrected if my thinking on this is outdated.

She's bright, and quite academic - but I'll admit, she favours the path of least resistance and I think she's gulping at the thought of A-Level Maths. She's capable of doing it, but doesn't enjoy it IFKWIM. We've had the conversation about life being not all about 'enjoyment', and that there aren't any easy options at A-Level - but she's 16, and therefore knows best etc etc.

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 20:25:53

Sorry for double post, don't know how that happened.

TeenAndTween Mon 31-Mar-14 20:26:24

What is she predicted for GCSE maths?

From my research you need to get at least and A at GCSE to be accepted to do A level maths.

And to be honest, from what I've read on here it looks as if, if she can't get an A* at GCSE she may struggle at A level.

titchy Mon 31-Mar-14 20:35:36

Is AS maths a compromise?

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 20:46:22

Teen - thanks, she's predicted an A in Maths, so doing fine - but definitely not A* level. She got a B in her mocks, and is very disappointed with that, as is her Maths tutor. With a massive push in the next couple of months, I'm confident she'll get an 'A', but she really hates it, and I know she's not really in a strong position for A-Level standard.

If I thought the GCSE would be enough, I'd be happy to agree with her that she could drop Maths, and take a different A-Level, but I'm just not sure that her application to a competitive Uni course would be taken seriously without it.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

BackforGood Mon 31-Mar-14 20:50:07

My understanding is that a LOt of people who sail through GCSE maths without batting an eyelid, then struggle with A-level maths, which takes a mahoosive step up, more so than some A-levels. (I'm not an A-level teacher, just the experience of various young relatives / God children and their friends over the last few years).
That said - presumably because it is difficult- then it's well considered. Very useful for a lot of other degrees such as psychology, economics, as well as the more obvious ones like engineering and sciences. I suppose it depends how set she is on the course, and how set she is against doing maths - generally teens will do better in subjects they really want to do.....

TeenAndTween Mon 31-Mar-14 20:54:05

I'm a little concerned by your answer.

She has a maths tutor (implies she doesn't find maths all that easy?) (or are you using tutor as a posh word for normal teacher?) and got a B in her mocks (though you say she is very disappointed, so maybe that is a blip?). Neither of those strike me as a sound footing for A level.

I guess the question you may have to think about, is do you think a C for maths A level, would be better than an B in a different subject?

mrscog Mon 31-Mar-14 20:55:41

Would A level Statistics be a good compromise? Would be v useful for the research parts of degree level study and not as challenging as maths. FWIW as student number controls are going next year it will be easier to get on to degree courses anyway.

summerends Mon 31-Mar-14 21:08:43

IMO chemistry better choice than sociology and more important than maths for sport science. If she is reasonably academic then I wouldn't advise her to do both sociology and PE unless she is really poor at chemistry and does n't like anything else. Adding maths in would give her more options if she changed her mind

summerends Mon 31-Mar-14 21:18:15

Just to add that if she is n't particularly strong at maths she should n't consider doing it beyond AS and maybe as mrscog suggests do an AS in statistics

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 21:22:41

backforgood - she's not set on doing the A-Level course at all, has no enjoyment in Maths, and is desperate to leave the subject behind altogether. Like I said, I think she's capable of a pass if she was to really apply herself - but the desire just isn't there.

Teen - yes, sorry - tutor was my 'posh' word for teacher grin. She's at a normal state comp, and her teacher expected her to get an A in her mock. She got a B, disappointing, because I think she thought it was going to be all plain sailing. It's one of her strongest subjects, but she gets no enjoyment from it at all - hence her desire to drop it altogether after GCSE.

mrscog - A-Level Statistics not offered as a stand alone subject unfortunately, but thanks anyway.

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 21:25:34

summerends - she's very strong in Chemistry, and enjoys it, but we hadn't factored that in as an option. More to think about now - thanks.

RiversideMum Mon 31-Mar-14 21:31:25

I wouldn't push her to do maths unless she gets A*. It really is a big leap.

summerends Mon 31-Mar-14 21:48:55

Jock what about biology, PE, chemistry and perhaps psychology instead of sociology? It does seem that maths is not a good idea for her if she dislikes it.

circular Mon 31-Mar-14 22:09:32

Im a similar situation this time last year, only one subject DD1 really needed, and English her worst subject too.
Good but not great at maths, tolerated rather than liked it, also predicted A at GCSE but got B in mock (although mock was a past paper and they hadn't completed the syllabus at the time.
Wanted to take Physics, and in the end did the maths to support the Physics, with the intention of dropping maths at AS.

Although finding all her subjects a challenge, is absolutely loving maths now - her second favourite subject.

creamteas Mon 31-Mar-14 23:01:52

I would really advise against taking Maths unless really committed.

DS1 got A* at GCSE and took Maths to go with science A levels. But he simply couldn't manage it,scraped an E at AS and dropped it.

All subjects open some doors and shut others clearly, but Maths is no better or worse for doing this. Unless it is really pertinent to the subject she wants to study then the grade will be more important.

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 31-Mar-14 23:10:48

Ok, just had a lengthy convo about A-Level options - she has put her preliminary options as Biology, Chemistry, PE and Psychology, so have agreed to no Maths at all. This is based on her strengths, and what she thinks she'll do best at.

Thanks so much for everyone's input, it's been really helpful just to put thoughts down in words.

Nocomet Mon 31-Mar-14 23:51:07

We've had long discussions in this subject here too.
DD initially put biology, chemistry, physics and maths in her A level form (with the firm intention of only taking maths to AS), as she's A/B borderline and that's not enough for A2

However, she has put her foot down and change it to art. She declared a firm wish to stay sane. She draws and sings for fun, unlike DH who things a book of complex graphs is holiday reading.

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