A level choices, History, Art, RS and Biology a good mix?(38 Posts)
Dd has to apply to the sixth form at her school by the end of term and after attending an information evening these are the A levels she'd like to do. Art and History were absolute, there were a few options in her mind for the other two slots and based partly on how much she enjoys a subject and how interesting they sounded on the information evening she chose the other two.
She isn't complete sure what she wants to do in the long term, at the moment it's likely she'll do an art degree but we all feel that she should give herself options if she changes her mind in the next couple of years. She's predicted A stars across the board at GCSE so is a bright girl. She's our oldest so we've not been through this except for our own A levels donkeys years ago so I'd appreciate any views.
The biology is rather a curve ball in that mix !
Biology without another science or maths isn't much good if she decides she wants to go in that direction. My DDs' school don't recommend biology on its own.
We have a similar dilemma. DS1 hates Biology and Physics but loves Chemistry which he is getting A* grades in.
So we have History, English, German and Chemistry as his four. No idea what he wants to do post A level. Got til February to decide.
Biology was a surprise to me too, she'd talked about either a language, English lit and RS until the information evening. I don't think she'd ever go the science route, she's more a humanities/arts person but she felt that a language at A level would be dull and purely based on enjoyment opted for biology. I think she's hoping that it makes her look well rounded.
If have opted for English lit myself, it sounded so good.
It would be so much easier if he had more of an idea of what he wants to do after A Levels but he really doesn't. the mocks start on Monday so I am hoping that might narrow things down a bit more.
I work for a Sixth Form and what we recommend is even if you don't know exactly what you want to do after A levels it is good to look at the UCAS website at courses you might be interested in as some will state that you must have a certain subject, a lot of our students who do not do the research before deciding have to do a third year - where spaces aren't always guaranteed. We also other Swop not Drop so students can change their chosen subject up to the October half term and students often end up on completely different programmes than the one they initially applied for.
Biology teacher here who as a general rule strongly recommends not doing biology without at least one other science/maths. It's not that your DD couldn't do it - some do - but the vast majority haven't picked the other sciences because they're not good at them and don't like them but think biology is the easiest, which they soon find out isn't the case at all at A Level!
Every year we get students with this combination discovering they don't like biology A Level, it's really hard and they just aren't motivated/able to do well. They then struggle for ages before finally dropping to AS, which is not at all easy either.
Seeing this combination of three arts + biology in my class lists is my personal nightmare - but occasionally one does surprise me and really take to it, so perhaps your DD is that exception
I agree that biology sits oddly with the rest and without maths will be a dead end in terms of progressing anywhere else with it. Is there another history type subject at her school - eg classical civilisation? Or if she is dead set on art is there something like photography that would sit well with it?
Probably a bit late in the day now and might not be available but what about the IB? DS2 doesn't have any plans as yet for what he wants to study at university and in retrospect he would have been more suited to the IB, we realised to late to apply to anywhere worthwhile.
I did history, geography and biology (many many moons ago... ). Was planning a geography degree.
The biology was really hard for me (ok at science, but I hadn't appreciated how much chemistry was involved). I got a B, which I was very pleased with in the end. (and ended up doing Law).
I think she would be better with a language tbh.
Personally, I would keep biology in. It's good to have a science and this is quite a common "stand alone" science to have if children are more naturally drawn to the arts/languages. I think they look like a good mix. If she doesn't have a direction, I think it's most important to choose subjects that she likes and is likely to get good grades in.
I did Biology, English and History at A level and did very well in all three subjects. I was good at, but didn't especially enjoy, the other science subjects and would have been "allowed" to take both Maths and Chemistry if I had wanted to. I was aware that I would not be able to do sciences at University with only one science A level and was okay with this.
I think that provided your DD is good at Biology and reasonable at GCSE level Chemistry and aware that post A level it would be tricky to go in a science direction then there is no harm in going with what she is good at and enjoys.
There is an essay in art of 3000 words, English A level may help her do really well in that. Art and history, go well together, I would recommend English.
If she's predicted all A* at GCSE she might as well do four facilitating subjects (the better harder subjects) to show what she's made of. History and biology are two facilitating subjects. She really wants to do Art so okay do that. What about doing English which goes well with history? She might be better going with 4 arts or 4 science / maths subjects to be honest though rather than the science/arts mixture. Has she a clue about careers yet?
DD is looking at taking biology as her only "real" science but along with geography as the uni course she is looking at considers geography to be a science! However as her other ASs will be french and English lit I am trying to persaude her to consider the IB as I think that selection will fit well with it.
With regards to the OP, I dont think those subjects would work with the IB as history and RE would be in the same block and the only way to take a second humanity would be to drop the art.
Maths maths maths maths maths maths maths. I would seriously advise any student getting an A* at GCSE to take A-level.
The higher maths qualifications you sit, the greater your earnings (on average) over your lifetime. The country needs more maths-qualified people. If she decides to become a primary school teacher down the line, she'd be snapped up.
I wouldn't advise Art and RS.
I wouldn't advise Art unless she is absolutely going to do an Art degree.
Ds did Rs and really enjoyed it, but he could afford to do it because he was also doing Maths, Physics and Chemistry. He dropped the Rs after AS level.
If you do an Arts degree, not Art, then doing a language and combining it as a joint honours for a degree is a sure fire way to get offers. Many universities are seriously short of MFL students, so people who opt for joint honours with an MFL can have lower, and more, offers.
OP, if your DD actually wants Art to be her degree, she might find another Art type A level of use. People on a Mumsnet tend to think people who are likely to get A*s at GCSE must be academic and cannot possibly be talented at art! Some of our best artists are highly intelligent but this gets glossed over on this forum. A language will be hard work but extremely useful. More so than a Biology with her other choices.
As a biology teacher, I would agree that Biology is best taken alongside at least one of other science. If she fancies something in the sciences then perhaps psychology which she may well enjoy if she likes biology.
Alternatively lots of history students opt for philosophy.
We have lots of students doing history and psychology,
Many moons ago I studied English, History & Biology. Loved Biology - did reasonably in it and went to to study first Nursing & then Psychology. Biology V useful for both although I could have studied either without it. I agree that an IB if available would be a good choice as it does give you the range thereby keeping options open.
Why wouldn't you recommend RS 3littlefrogs?
The Russell University group Informed choices booklet recommend RS A level as a good choice for history degrees. It's generally considered to go well with history.
Trinity college Cambridge also rank it as an A2 subject - so in their list of most academic arts subjects.
Of the OPs A level choices, they're the two that go together best I'd say.
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