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What do you think about these A levels?

(55 Posts)
PerspicaciaTick Tue 14-May-19 09:39:00

DD is in y10 and starting to think about A level choices.
She is toying with the idea of doing Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Art with a possibility of doing Further Maths as a fifth A level.
I come from a Humanities background and am struggling to give her a perspective on this combination. Is it a weird mixture? Is she doing herself a disservice by not doing an essay/humanities subject? Is the workload going to be horrific? What pitfalls or positives should she be aware of?
No real clear idea of what degree she is aiming for at the moment, although she would love to work in a way that combines Art and science (not sure what that would like in terms of a career).
I'd love your thoughts or experiences please.

OP’s posts: |
madeyemoodysmum Tue 14-May-19 09:45:22

Can’t think of a lot that combines art and science tbh. I’m arty but opted for science as it was more employable.

Is she very bright as that seems a lot

Art will be project intensive

BlackPrism Tue 14-May-19 10:38:15

It doesn't really matter what you pair with a particular track anymore. Eg, I did English so my Chem A level was useless despite my mum thinking I wouldn't get into uni without a Science.

The only reason I would question this is because 3 of her options are very hard and the massive portfolio work load with Art may affect her ability to study.

MirandaWest Tue 14-May-19 10:40:37

I did maths, further maths, physics and chemistry a levels - I don’t think I could have fitted in another a level tbh. And I think that art would have taken up a lot of time.

Does she have any idea what sort of job she’d like to have?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Tue 14-May-19 10:45:37

Five A levels seems like a lot, especially given that art will have a lot of coursework.

sashh Tue 14-May-19 10:48:38

Can’t think of a lot that combines art and science tbh.

Cooking.
Design of - well anything and everything
Architecture
Gardening
Producing science books / tv shows
Hairdressing
Plastic surgery


I did maths, computer science and art.
2/3 of the computer science class also did art and a couple did maths too.

Depending on the Art syllabus she might have essays, in my day there was a history of art exam as well as producing the c#actualart.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 14-May-19 11:43:12

I think that it is fine to be thinking that way in y10.
But 5 A levels is too much and (at least) one would have to go.
She may anyway want to consider an EPQ in place of at least one of those.

As she is considering 5, is she very bright? In which case Architecture could be a good direction (and drop Chemistry). If you think she won't get an 8 for maths GCSE then drop FM.

Maybe in the summer she and you should research possible careers, look at degrees and required A levels and go from there.

MaudBaileysGreenTurban Tue 14-May-19 11:54:02

Why five? Especially considering one of them will be Art, with a huge coursework load, it seems excessive.

I'm sure she's extremely bright, but those choices would require significant levels of organisation and sustained motivation as well.

If she wants to keep her options open (which is fair enough!) would she consider the IB instead?

Itsagrandoldteam Tue 14-May-19 12:06:06

No real clear idea of what degree she is aiming for at the moment, although she would love to work in a way that combines Art and science (not sure what that would like in terms of a career).

She could be Angela from Bones, she's a specialist in forensic facial reconstruction. I don't know how many of those exist in the real world though.

My son wanted to study most of his GCSE subjects at A level when he was in year 10. He chose his A levels in January, history, economics and business, which came as a shock because for years he wanted to do maths. A couple of weeks ago he changed his mind again and is now adamant he wants to study English.
My advice would be to let her chose what she wants to study based on how much she enjoys the subject.
I know 2 high flying finance people, one was a previously a chef and the other has a chemistry degree.

RedSkyLastNight Tue 14-May-19 12:07:30

Website design and development - real gap in the market for people who can do both!

Comefromaway Tue 14-May-19 12:22:50

Further maths is HARD. For Maths & FM A level you really have to enjoy maths. I really wouldn't advise her doing it as a 5th A level. Many schools are only getting their kids to do 4 A levels now, with a 4th if doing Furhter maths. She'd be much better off concentrating on getting the best grades possible in 4, rather than spreading herself too thinly doing 5.

BarbarianMum Tue 14-May-19 13:13:08

What I think is that she'd have no life for 2 years.

lisalocketlostherpocket Tue 14-May-19 13:17:45

If she's particularly good at Maths why not do Maths, Further Maths and Art, otherwise one science? But she's plenty of time to decide. You only need 3 A levels, no need to do more, and there will be enrichment activities at sixth form college/school that she will want time for.

riverislands Tue 14-May-19 14:07:36

O think 4 are plenty but I also agree that taking a non science one is an excellent idea. It gives a more rounded education, and develops a more rounded person.

Devondoggydaycare Tue 14-May-19 14:22:09

She will have plenty of time to decide as she gets closer to her GCSEs. Most schools and colleges encourage you to try subjects on their taster days and only make a firm decision when they get their results.one friend started by taking maths, history and English out and is now taking maths, biology and chemistry instead. Art would be a good topic to pursue for an EPQ, but I doubt if a 6th form will want her to 5ake 5 at A level now that the standard is 3 plus FM.

randomsabreuse Tue 14-May-19 14:28:27

Maths, Physics and Chemistry overlap and complement each other nicely. Wouldn't do 5, especially not including Art! Not uncommon to do 3 science + something arty.

I did a law degree with Maths French and Physics a level. Essays at degree level were fine even though I had none at A level. Biggest shock was French History as didn't do history at GCSE but got a solid 2.1

PerspicaciaTick Tue 14-May-19 16:04:31

Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply. I'm glad to hear that 5 is likely to be too much, especially for someone who is a bit of a perfectionist with her Art. She is bright, much cleverer than me. I think that Web stuff is in her future, but I'm not sure she needs to take Computer Science at Alevel if that is the direction she wants to take.
The whole secondary school experience is so fundamentally different to when I was taking A levels 30years ago. It would be too easy to trot behind her rather trying to give any guidance... hopefully the school will be able to support her too, once they get this year's exams finished.

OP’s posts: |
Devondoggydaycare Tue 14-May-19 16:16:40

A lot of 6th forms let them start with 4 and encourage them to drop 1 by half term after they've had a proper chance to weigh them up.

stucknoue Tue 14-May-19 16:18:39

Check with the school/college very few state schools allow 4 a levels now days and I seriously doubt any can even fit in 5

AnyoneButAnton Tue 14-May-19 16:27:51

Further maths is hard but it’s not a lot of work if you’re really good at it. Likewise physics is much less workload if you’re so good at maths that you don’t have to work on the maths element. It’s not like history or Eng Lit which are the same amount of workload however good you are.

Those choices would probably rule out doing a straight humanities degree though, so she should be sure that she’s not going to want to suddenly take a swerve in that direction.

DizzySue Tue 14-May-19 16:43:40

5 is too much, especially if one of them is art as it's so project heavy.

My DS is taking chemistry, physics and maths and doing really well as they all seem to compliment each other and an equal work load. He has had such a wide choice of university degrees open to him.

Aussiejazz Tue 14-May-19 18:59:10

Great combination which keeps open all sorts of doors at university and beyond.

ThatCurlyGirl Tue 14-May-19 19:08:53

Fusing science and art suggests design and coding careers could be good - would something fusing commercial and scientific skills like gaming design, food science etc appeal to her?

Regardless I would have a look at charities and industry bodies that are focused on getting more girls and women into STEM careers.

They will be able to (and thrilled to) give advice and perhaps even suggest work placements or shadowing opportunities.

ThatCurlyGirl Tue 14-May-19 19:09:57

Well STEAM careers now - the latest phrase for this as it incorporates art too! Good luck OP sounds like you have a hardworking kid on your hands smile

PerspicaciaTick Tue 14-May-19 19:22:28

The shadowing and mentoring sounds like it may help her, I'll do some digging.
It looks like the school offer 4 A level subjects plus a choice of Further Maths, a language or an EPQ.

OP’s posts: |

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