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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:27 am
Posts: 2086
Location: Barnet, Herts
Hi all, looking for some advice on A level choices.
My son had an interview for St Alban's School Sixth form last week and has been offered a place.
His A level choices were:
Chemistry
Biology
Geography
Economics

At the interview the Head said he would be better doing Maths instead of Economics as it would give him greater choices of careers if he changes his mind ( he wants to do Medicine or Dentistry).
DS agreed but isn't really happy about it as he has had his enjoyment of Maths tainted by a teacher with whom he doesn't have a good relationship (he's not the only one-she isn't liked at all!) At Parent's Evening a couple of weeks ago she said with hard work he may get an A at GCSE.
He really wants to do Physics instead of Maths (consistently gets A*, yesterday got 96% in a past IGCSE paper) but several people have said you can't do Physics without doing Maths too.
I do appreciate that A level Physics is a huge step up from GCSE but he really enjoys Physics ( not Maths :( )
Can anyone advise?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:25 pm 
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Physics A level is very maths orientated. Physics beyond A level is maths! He should at least consider AS. If he really doesn't enjoy maths then he probably won't enjoy A level physics.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:35 pm 
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Location: Bucks
I would double check their 6th form entry requirements as at my DS' school they are not allowed to do Physics if they are not taking Maths alongside it.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:42 pm 
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His choices seem fine for medicine (bio and chem) are the two important ones. A very few Med schools would like to see a third (natural) science A level so these schools would be ruled out.

BMAT has a section on physics so it might be useful to study to AS and then drop it?

Any A level should be accessible without the need to study an additional A level, maths in this case. It is likely that most physics A level students are also doing maths and the teacher may assume prior knowledge on some aspects so I think it important for the physics teacher to be aware of your DS is not doing maths.

For degree Physics, then yes, you must have maths (and be good at it) but I don't think it a 'must' for A level.

He needs A's for medicine and dentistry which is something else to consider! If this seems more likely in Economics and he prefers it then fight your corner.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:44 pm 
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DD loved physics GCSE and did very well at it, but she did struggle with maths and was advised not to do physics A level.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:45 pm 
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Location: Barnet, Herts
He's never done Economics! They don't do it at GCSE at his current school. Hence the Physics! Better the devil you know...!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:48 pm 
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Location: Barnet, Herts
At recent Parent's Evening his Physics teacher took it for granted that he was going to do it at A level! At that point DS was not thinking of it and was really embarrassed when Physics teacher kept saying 'When you are doing it at A level....'!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:55 pm 
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zorro wrote:
He's never done Economics! They don't do it at GCSE at his current school. Hence the Physics! Better the devil you know...!


Oh, I thought Economics was his original choice...

Well, the Biology and Chemistry are important and despite popular opinion, Maths / Physics is not required for medicine (not sure about dentistry). I would advise another academic A level (if not maths or physics) so that if he wants to drop Geography he maintains three good academic A levels to A2. I'm also (a bit) of the opinion either Maths or English at A level is a good thing. Does he like English Literature ? It's contrasting, and this is favourable for some universities.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:01 pm 
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Location: Barnet, Herts
Yes, he did want to do Economics but it would be a totally new subject for him and the Head of 6th form said that it is one of the hardest A levels.
Why couldn't he carry on with Geography and drop Physics at A2?
He does enjoy English so I suppose tht's a possibility.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:12 pm 
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zorro wrote:
Yes, he did want to do Economics but it would be a totally new subject for him and the Head of 6th form said that it is one of the hardest A levels.
Why couldn't he carry on with Geography and drop Physics at A2?
He does enjoy English so I suppose tht's a possibility.


Of course carry on with Geography.
It's just that if he refuses to do maths - and physics is not allowed, or advisable by school without maths then he'll need to pick another subject entirely. I was just advising that another academic subject (English?) as a fourth choice and this then gives your DS the choice of dropping the Geography or 'other' subject at A2.

Choice is good, and with a fourth academic A level he will have choice at the end of Y12. :D


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