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 Post subject: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:23 am 
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I gather that year 11 student will need to pick their A level choices sometime soon. My DC knows that she wants to take Maths, Chemistry and Biology and she knows that she would like to take a fourth A level but she is unsure of what.
I know the argument for only taking 3 A levels and I agree but my daughter wants to do 4. She says physics would be the easy option along with maths but would not widen her horizons she would like to continue with French because she says she would like to learn a language to a useful level. She wants to take English because she simply loves the texts and thinks that continuing to improve her writing skills will be useful to her for the rest of her life. She wants to take psychology because she is interested in the subject matter, she wants to take politics because she is interested political history. She wants to take history and geography because she enjoys them and she wants to take Dance AS just for fun even though she didn’t do dance GCSE.
She doesn’t want to take Music because she has hated the GCSE despite it being a subject that she is very talented at (how did they get it so wrong? )
What is the general adice on an extra A level, not whether to do it or not but what subject to take? DD is still looking at medicine or at least a science subject for University. Of course all this is academic because it depends on GCSE results but it is a hot topic in our household at the moment and I expect it is for others who have DC in year 11 too.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:25 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:44 am
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Location: Reading
do you have an IB school near you?
My DD hated music GCSE too - despite being talented.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:38 am 
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Reading Mum wrote:
do you have an IB school near you?
My DD hated music GCSE too - despite being talented.

Yes there is an IB school near us but my Daughter is determined to stay where she is, i think most of her friends are intending to stay. I have flagged the option up as well as others but friends win the day. I have said that she will heave to leave them sooner or later....
I don’t think anyone taking music likes it which is a real shame.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:39 am 
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My dd is mulling over her decisions too. A year ago she would have been struggling to narrow down her choices but she seems fairly fixed now.
She wants to do History, English and Politics. She is wondering whether to start a 4th in case she hates Politics (as she hasn't done it before) but would definitely give it up if she was enjoying Politics (she thinks Geography would be that 4th).
A year ago she was considering Maths, Music or Chemistry which she is no longer doing.
I think it's good to get some breadth in there so I think your dd is sensible to think about doing something a bit different. Some medical schools (well at least UCL, I don't know about any others) actively encourage 2 sciences (chemistry plus one) and another A level (English or History seem the most popular). Dd's friends who are considering medicine seem mainly to be planning to do Maths, Chemistry and History or Biology, Chemistry and History.
A friend of mine has a dc who was planning to do 3 sciences, with a view to some sort of scientific degree. She asked him to consider doing 2 plus a humanity for breadth; he started 4 (3 sciences and the humanity) and then dropped one of the sciences when he realised he enjoyed the humanity. He's now at university studying the humanity that he only started to humour his mum!


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:46 am 
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Be aware that universities won't make allowances for lower grades if you take 4 A levels. If the requirement for a course is A*AA it won't be lowered if you have done 4, but your chances of getting those grades will be reduced.

LLL - I have sons who have done all of those subjects at A level (3 each). My daughter on the other hand did Maths, Biology and Chemistry, and after she finished vowed never to look at science again (despite having an unconditional offer to study natural sciences at a very good university). She taught herself an extra A level in Y14 and is following a university course based on that. I think it is easier to go from sciences into humanities rather than the other way round. The 4 subjects your daughter is considering are all essay-heavy (well maybe not Geography so much); at my sons' school Politics is really popular, my two loved/are loving it and I have never heard of anyone dropping it. The ones which seem to be dropped most, anecdotally, are Biology and RE, from a small sample.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:53 am 
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Amber wrote:

LLL - I have sons who have done all of those subjects at A level (3 each). My daughter on the other hand did Maths, Biology and Chemistry, and after she finished vowed never to look at science again (despite having an unconditional offer to study natural sciences at a very good university). She taught herself an extra A level in Y14 and is following a university course based on that. I think it is easier to go from sciences into humanities rather than the other way round. The 4 subjects your daughter is considering are all essay-heavy (well maybe not Geography so much); at my sons' school Politics is really popular, my two loved/are loving it and I have never heard of anyone dropping it. The ones which seem to be dropped most, anecdotally, are Biology and RE, from a small sample.


Yes I think she will love Politics - it also seems really popular at their school. She currently wants to do either English or History at university and she loves writing essays (properly loves; she says that crafting a good essay is very satisfying) so the essay-based nature of them is a plus rather than a negative for her.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:58 am 
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I have heard that biology is very much harder at A level. My Dd finds it very easy at the moment, says it is mainly common sense but I don’t think that is the case a5 A level. Perhaps that is why some drop out?
What would be the easiest but most breadth offering A level to add to Maths, chemistry and biology? Any ideas?


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:02 am 
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Does the school allow 4? At my son's GS, they only allow 4 if they get a certain number of points at GCSE, and the threshold was increased with the new A levels. Biology is hard, but I think chemistry is worse! Most common 4th ones I know of with that combination are physics or further maths. Easiest? I don't think any A levels are easy, it depends on the pupil's strengths. What one finds easy (say an essay subject), another will find impossible. My DS finds physics "easy" but I think he's a little unusual :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:07 am 
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scary mum wrote:
Does the school allow 4? At my son's GS, they only allow 4 if they get a certain number of points at GCSE, and the threshold was increased with the new A levels. Biology is hard, but I think chemistry is worse! Most common 4th ones I know of with that combination are physics or further maths. Easiest? I don't think any A levels are easy, it depends on the pupil's strengths. What one finds easy (say an essay subject), another will find impossible. My DS finds physics "easy" but I think he's a little unusual :lol:

Yes the school alllows four. I think she will probably reach their threshold. She says physics would be the easy option for her especially added to maths but I don’t think there is a lot of point of her doing a fourthA level unless it is to widen her choices at Uni. I am totally with you and am trying to persuade her to only take 3 but my advice falls on deaf ears.


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 Post subject: Re: A level choices
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:09 am 
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Part of my persuasion problem in regards to taking 3 A levels is that a number of her friends at indies are taking 5! Oh and at least 2 of her fiends at the GS are intending to take 4 too.


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