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A Level choices - 4th subject

(14 Posts)
OneMoreMum Mon 17-Nov-14 13:42:53

Somehow my PFB is old enough to be looking at 6th forms (I don't know how that happened) so looking for a bit of advice to pass on for him to ignore

He is certain he wants to study computer science at uni, so is fixed on Maths and Computer Science A-levels, probably Physics as well, which just leaves him with a 4th subject to choose, he has ruled out a modern language, history, geography and art from his GCSE subjects. I think that leaves us with the other sciences, English, Media and anything that you can take up from scratch in the sixth form.

Most computer science degrees specify maths A-level, and prefer another from a list that includes computer science and physics so there's nothing else required (a couple ask for further maths but to be honest they're not the ones he's likely to get the grades for anyway).

Any advice? He is bright but lazy, currently hovering at low A's, high B's in his predicted GCSE grades, am trying to up the nagging to bring that up but we'll see how that goes.....

flack Mon 17-Nov-14 14:14:40

Gosh, sounds much like my DS (except mine only in yr10).

What about stats, Biology, Economics, Geography, Psychology, Business Studies or Env. Science (would help if later decided to do a master's in one of those). Else anything he would truly enjoy. All those fields need people who can do quantitative methods & computing.

MrsSquirrel Mon 17-Nov-14 14:28:32

My dd is similar, only her choices are maths, physics and chemistry. She goes back and forth about the 4th choice.

Further maths would be very useful for cs, even it if it's not a requirement for his uni course, but he would most likely need an A at GCSE in order to be allowed to do it. Economics is another one my dd is considering, as is business studies. Or maybe look at the subjects where he has As predicted for GCSE and choose from those.

NeitherHereOrThere Mon 17-Nov-14 15:58:33

If I were you, I would encourage him to choose a subject that is more essay based as it will keep/open a few more doors in case he decides not to do computer science.

If he really wants to do another science, then I would go for Chemistry as its a great subject that can lead to lucrative careers.

catslife Mon 17-Nov-14 16:53:51

I would find out more about the school's past results with Computer Science at A level OP. It's a relatively new subject and some sixth forms/teachers have only limited teaching experience which has meant low results compared to other subjects. Has he taken this subject at GCSE as this may mean that he does better than students starting from the beginning. At dds sixth form, students who do well in Computer Science tend to be those with all As and A*s at GCSE.
Would the unis he's interested in accept BTEC level 3 in IT (if offered by the sixth form) as this can count as 2 A level subjects?

flack Mon 17-Nov-14 17:06:14

imedia L3 doesn't seem to be offered any more, but DT graphics or anything to do with electronics could be useful, too.

roguedad Mon 17-Nov-14 19:21:35

Further Maths obviously. It will help him get into a really good university. A level computer science is not actually useful. Even if the unis that ask for it are potentially out of reach he can have a shot and might get lucky, or improve his choices for the next level of place.

TeenAndTween Mon 17-Nov-14 19:44:16

Further Maths only if he is really good at maths. (A* at GCSE with ease).

In my experience properly literate computer scientists are rare (needed for writing specifications, user manuals, proposals etc.) So continuing to develop that area could be good.

Has he looked through prospectuses? What is he drawn to?

stonecircle Mon 17-Nov-14 20:33:15

What about electronics? DS wants to do computing at university and is planning to do Maths, Physics, Computing and Electronics in year 12. He should finish his Maths and Computing A levels in year 12 having started them early and is planning on doing Further maths in year 13.

Mindgone Mon 17-Nov-14 22:28:35

I would encourage chemistry, on the grounds that it goes very well with both physics and maths, and would keep plenty of doors open if he changed his mind about computer science.

OneMoreMum Tue 18-Nov-14 12:58:12

Thanks for all your replies - really helpful.

Computer science is a brand new A-level from 2015, so no-one has taught it before. Obviously it's a risk but he is really excited about it, especially the coding. I also think it would be better to find out at A-level if it's not for you rather than in your fist year of a degree. Our sixth form is also quite young (newish school) so I'm not sure how much experience they have in it but they did get some very good results in general last year. We haven't had our open day yet so will hopefully know more then.

Catslife - At dds sixth form, students who do well in Computer Science tend to be those with all As and A*s at GCSE - I imagine you could say that about all subjects couldn't you?

He's a solid A-B student with no really obvious areas of excellence or difficulty, which I think means he's not Oxbridge material but definitely more than capable of a place a a decent uni, just trying to keep his options open really...

lljkk Tue 18-Nov-14 18:42:11

I found Uni comp-sci courses that only required C in maths A-level. It's DS decision whether that's a decent Uni or not. I will support what he thinks & what he wants to do.

skylark2 Tue 18-Nov-14 20:10:42

Physics, maybe.

I think someone who's A/B at GCSE would be stark raving bonkers to do Further Maths if his school would even let him (and I say that as someone who strongly recommends it to mathematicians/physicists who are getting A*s).

Changingnames32 Tue 18-Nov-14 22:40:32

Psychology or Economics?

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