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A level choices- EPQ or Spanish AS

(18 Posts)
vivivienne Thu 10-Jan-19 15:41:37

Dd is conflicted so thought I’d ask here for advice for her. She would like to go into medicine and has chosen Biology, Chemistry and maths but is unsure on whether to do an epq (on a subject related to medicine which she hasn’t picked yet) or an AS in Spanish (which she is excellent at, comes naturally to her and she also enjoys). I know she would do well in either and so she isn’t factoring in her success in the subjects
Her issue is that she feels as though the EPQ would give her something to talk about on her personal statement whereas the Spanish AS wouldn’t as much but she does think she’d enjoy Spanish more however is unsure hence this post.

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TheDrsDocMartens Thu 10-Jan-19 17:23:25

Languages don’t seem to be that popular at the moment so gives her something that others don’t have. Plus if she enjoys it then she’s likely to be successful and will have more ucas points.

chicaguapa Thu 10-Jan-19 17:28:37

Can she do both? Round here the "most able" do an AS in the first year alongside 3 A levels and then the EPQ in the second year. If your DD is going into medicine, she sounds like would be one of the "most able".

vivivienne Thu 10-Jan-19 19:06:02

Her school doesn’t allow that. It’s set to 3 A levels and one As or EPQ

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chicaguapa Thu 10-Jan-19 19:27:31

I think Spanish would show a degree of roundedness, ie having a humanities subject alongside the Science and Maths. But I don't know if that would be an advantage for medicine. If your DD has an idea where she'd like to go, could you speak to the admissions team at the uni and see if they have a preference?

vivivienne Thu 10-Jan-19 19:59:46

She doesn’t really have an idea about where she wants to go but universities generally ask for chemistry and then either biology, maths or physics. So choosing chemistry, maths and biology I say she’s already ticking enough boxes and other things are extras

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Deadheadstickeronacadillac Thu 10-Jan-19 20:06:06

EPQ, can be far more useful. Try to get her to investigate ethical issues that are currently faced by medical profession but avoid the simplistic abortion / euthanasia ones.
Ethics surrounding AI and nature of life can make an easy to research EPQ. She needs to remember though that EPQ is about the 2 year process, not the final dissertation.

mumsneedwine Thu 10-Jan-19 20:24:48

I'd say EPQ. I doubt any medical school will look at either (it's mainly UKCAT/BMAT score) but and EPQ gives you a great talking point at interview. Knowing about a new development or issue in medicine is an almost guaranteed question. I say this as a mum of a first year - it's a tough process and a lot of Unis don't even read the PS now. It's GCSE grades, entry exam, interview.

vivivienne Thu 10-Jan-19 20:26:28

I think the fact that I’m telling her this and she’s still giving me reasons that doing Spanish would be beneficial is telling of what she truly wants to do. She’s very much facing a heart vs brain dilemma and for her the issue is will going with her heart be severely detrimental?

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caringcarer Thu 10-Jan-19 20:34:56

I was Sixth Form Tutor until last year. I am surprised school only offering 3 A level and either 1 AS or EPQ. For medicine some Unis ask for 4 x A level. I would ho Spanish then if A or A * at AS be begging to complete to full A level. I have been centre coordinator for EPQ and as all students seem to get A or A* it is seen as easy option by some Unis.

sequin2000 Thu 10-Jan-19 20:39:56

I teach and moderate EPQ. Many of our students are given university offers which are lower if they have EPQ (30% of our EPQ students last year told us the qualification made a difference) e.g 3 A's or 2 A, 1 B and A in EPQ. It also helps massively in interviews to be able to talk about something which they are expert in and which the panel may not be as familiar with. I'd argue EPQ with the right title would give more of an edge in a very competitive field (but I am biased!)

caringcarer Thu 10-Jan-19 20:42:05

It is very tough for medicine. I have had students scoring 3 x A * and 1 x A grade A* in Chem, Biology and Maths with A in Geog and been turned down by their choices and had yo go through clearing. Unis also want D of E, Young Sports Leader or similar as well as A levels. Make sure Leadership skill shown.

vivivienne Thu 10-Jan-19 20:44:10

caringcarer yes school does give students the choice to complete the AS to a full A level but this depends on the result they get

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vivivienne Thu 10-Jan-19 20:46:11

So EPQ is the right choice. I can’t say it’s the choice dd will go for though.

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Malbecfan Thu 10-Jan-19 21:19:43

My DDs have both done the EPQ. One made an artefact that she was asked about briefly in her Cambridge interview. The other is completing an essay on a subject related to medicine although she is not applying for medicine at uni (but a biochem-based course). She too was asked about it at a couple of her interviews.

In the medical-type EP, DD2 spent ages trying to pick a subject that tied together Biology, Chemistry and Politics (her favourite subjects) whilst including some Maths. The inspiration came apparently from me reading a Facebook post about my idiotic non-vaxxer cousin (whose child has been hospitalised with measles....) DD2's eyes lit up and she has been researching whether or not to make particular vaccinations compulsory i.e. legally enforcing it. Sorry, I'm really tired so this probably doesn't make much sense. I think EPs get students to research, organise information and then interpret their findings, all of which are valuable for Higher Education.

mumsneedwine Thu 10-Jan-19 22:28:39

NO University's ask for 4 A Levels for Medicine. 99.9% of them refuse to look at more than 3. Offers are based on 3. But some offer lower grades if have an EPQ - Sheffield accept AAB if have an A/A* in EPQ). I hate rubbish being spouted about applying as it really hurts kids. Having gone through this last year with DD you need good GCSEs, a good UKCAT/BMAT, a bit of work experience and a v tough skin. And to apply strategically. Every Uni selects for interview differently. For example, Sheffield ask for 6 As at GCSE and then it's all down to UKCAT tank. Whereas Cardiff score GCSEs. Notts going to UKCAT tanning next year, as Bristol have this year.

mumsneedwine Thu 10-Jan-19 22:32:49

And v v v v few Medical Schools even read the PS these days. They couldn't care less about DofE. It might be useful to talk about resilience but nothing else. Please don't give out rubbish info as people might believe it. There are a couple of Medicine threads on here where parents of actual medical students help each other. The 2018 thread was fab.

Satsumaeater Sat 12-Jan-19 16:40:10

I'd say Spanish. It's a skill as well as a subject and she'll never regret having a language.

The EPQ is a nice to have but certainly not a requisite for university.

Think long term not just about university entrance.

I didn't know AS levels were still a thing, though.

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