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 Post subject: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:54 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:54 pm
Posts: 47
Dd has to make her final choice in the next couple of months and I was looking for any views from the good folks here! At the moment she's opted for biology, chemistry, maths and history. But she enjoys physics and has shown over the past year that she is really good at it (100% raw marks in igcse mock papers) so we all feel it would be a real shame to drop it. She would rather do physics than maths and she prefers the applied maths in physics rather than the 'pure' maths of some of the maths a level. But I know the strong advice is that you really have to do maths if you're doing physics and I understand it is also helpful for the other science subjects. She wants to keep history as she is also good at essay writing and wants to keep this up, as well as enjoying the subject. She has to keep chemistry and biology as she is looking to do medicine although this is no means finally decided. Any thoughts?

I wonder if physics would be good if she decided against medicine (although also helpful for BMAT) and wanted to do a straight science degree although if she ended up going towards physics then further maths would be useful. Oh dear, it's difficult! She will very likely be taking all four to A2.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:45 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1770
Location: caversham
We went through similar Chem, Bio, Maths were definite and looking for a fourth choice it was Physics, Econ or Geog.

Physics had been badly taught and not enjoyed, so the focus switched to Econ or Geog, flipped backwards and forwards but eventually settled on Econ. Which had been studied at GCSE so gave a head start. :D

It might look a strange mix, I would say different, doesn't close many doors and might open others. Also differentiates from the vast numbers doing triple science and maths?

Most important to choose subjects they enjoy so when the going gets tough they can remain motivated and focused. :)

We were comfortable dropping physics as that left two sciences, wouldn't be so comfortable dropping maths, would have to look at how that impacted on science uni options?


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:48 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:05 pm
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Location: Reading
If she has any interest in doing engineering she needs physics as well as Maths. If not then something different is good.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:55 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:54 pm
Posts: 1770
Location: caversham
Tinkers wrote:
If she has any interest in doing engineering she needs physics........


:lol: I knew you would be along to write that, so I didn't. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:28 pm
Posts: 2357
Hi

Have you checked current thinking on need for Biology for Medicine, 3 years ago it wasnt a requirement and Physics was quite popoular for medicine as well.

To get 100% UMS for IGCSE Physics really is very good and she would probably find the A level relatively easy.

If she is thinking of a science based degree then generally to have Chemistry, Physics and Maths would be more useful than Biology.
A bio sciences degree would entail statistics - does she enjoy that part of maths?(many don't!)

Do the school give the option of taking at least AS level Further Maths as an extra option? Many do and for those taking Physics and Maths it isnt a massive extra workload.

Best wishes!


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 7:54 pm
Posts: 47
Thanks for all your thoughts. I agree that biology isn't always a requirement for medicine but it seems that it's seen as advantageous so I think bio and chem are definites. Her school doesn't offer 5 ASs so FM as an extra is out and I'm not sure she would want to do that anyway. So I think it's between physics and history and for her to decide which she would enjoy the most although I think her views on this are coloured by current teachers. It's also difficult to know what the a level will be like. My feeling is that physics is probably the most interesting of the three sciences!


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
Posts: 2125
DD faced a similar dilemma a few years ago - v. good at Physics but not wanting to drop Maths, and Bio/Chem essential for her intended course. What decided it was that there was a large amount of overlap between the syllabus for Maths (Mechanics) and Physics, so although she would have preferred the Statistics option for Maths she went with it and ended up doing really well in all 4 subjects, so possibly the lighter workload helped. She finds the Maths background extremely useful now for the first year of her veterinary course, and has noticed that those who didn't do Maths A-level sometimes have problems.

Incidentally, the Physics A-level she took included a module on Medical Physics, which she was allowed to do by self-study as it was not covered at the school but turned out to be useful for her application.

_________________
Marylou


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:21 pm
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I would suggest Maths is essential with Physis as it keeps more doors open - for example, if she decided to do a Physics degree she would be struggling to get a place.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 11:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
Posts: 3813
Location: Chelmsford and pleased
delta wrote:
Dd has to make her final choice in the next couple of months and I was looking for any views from the good folks here! At the moment she's opted for biology, chemistry, maths and history. But she enjoys physics and has shown over the past year that she is really good at it (100% raw marks in igcse mock papers) so we all feel it would be a real shame to drop it.


What board for igcse physics? Is it the new AQA certificate? It looks really thorough and 100% would indicate a real flair for the subject. However, physics and maths overlap hugely and a very high level of maths is necessary for success in university physics.

Is she certain that she really wants to take biology? The history would give her a nice mix and breadth is popular these days.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:55 pm
Posts: 851
Location: Bexley
Guest 55 - I'm interested in your comment about maths being essential with physics. Do you mean in terms of likely future careers or in terms of coping with physics A level?

DS2 is thinking of doing AS physics and I'm a bit uneasy about how he will cope with this as he has an uneasy relationship with maths. He got an A for maths gcse at the beginning of year 10 but then started on AS maths which he seemed to struggle with. He only managed a D for C1 at the end of year 10 but is repeating it this year and is predicted an A. He has the option to complete his AS maths in year 12 and thinks he should do this, but doesn't plan on taking it to A2. I'm wondering if his maths is good enough for A level physics. He's predicted an A* for his physics gcse and got an A* in his mock before Xmas but I imagine, as with most subjects, there's a huge jump from gcse to A level.

If he doesn't carry maths on to A2 then he will have to stick with his other choices so I don't want him to do physics and then find he can't cope with it.

His other definite choice is geography and then we have to choose from a 'short' list of biology, history, english, economics, government and politics, sociology etc etc!

DS1 made some bad A level choices and I'm very anxious that DS2 doesn't do the same.


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