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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:52 pm
Posts: 934
Time has flown so quickly. 11+ still seems like a Yesterday thing.

DD was keen on Medicine in her early school years. However, this has changed since year 9. She is getting interested in Architecture, Engineering and Economics.

She is firm on Maths, Physics and Chemistry. The fourth subject is a dilemma - French or Further Maths.

She thinks French would be a more balanced choice. She gets the top grades(and 1+ progress) without any effort, so far.

Further Maths, Maths is also one of her strongest subjects and has done well in the Kangaroo type challenges.

If she is to go for Architecture/Engineering what is a better choice? Similarly for Economics will FM be better than French?

How do the workloads compare? She was saying she cannot drop French at A2.

Any help is much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:44 am 
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It is difficult to judge just from posts on a forum, but I would lean more to Further Maths than French. Especially if your dd is getting into the kangaroo rounds in the UKMT.

Of all the A levels, dd is finding FM the one she has to work hardest on (She is doing all sciences for the rest). However, it will be useful, as she wants to do science at Uni. If your dd is considering engineering, it will be more useful than French.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:23 am 
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Location: Essex
FM if definitely Engineering, doesn't matter in the slightest what she chooses if definitely Architecture - except for those (few) schools of architecture which prefer / require Art or something similar, but she is already ring those out, so the French / FM issue is irrelevant.

Will the 4th subject be the full A level, or just to AS?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:41 am 
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Why 4? Most schools do not advise 4 as the workload has increased massively. Better to do 3 well than 4 and slip grades. And use the "extra" time to get valuable work experience/volunteering etc.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:02 am 
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Thank you for your replies.

russet, let me know if you need any further information to judge. I will PM you. My DD is not predicted a 9 in Maths but not too far fro it. Almost every year she has received a silver/gold Kangaroo and she has enjoyed the tests. She is enjoying GCSE maths but loses marks on silly mistakes trying to do everything in her head. Once, she had a look at computational statistics - algorithms related to machine learning/artificial intelligence and she liked it as well. The thing that she specially likes is how maths in studied in different cultures and how the same problems is solved in different ways, weighing the pros and cons of different methods and how they can be mixed and matched. But again, this may not be the thing to base a choice decision on.

ToadMum, architecture is completely new to us and have no idea at all about which university, what course, how many years and what job prospects etc. Never looked into it at any time. She saw a presentation in school and also some kind of strength finder, architecture with engineering or the other way - engineering with architecture came out on the top for her. Any help on architecture is much appreciated.

KCG, I would like to reduce the workload as much as possible. It seems 4 subjects is a norm in her school. Most of the girls we spoke with were doing 4 subjects. Some of them 3 sciences and maths and others 2 sciences, maths and further maths. When asked on the open day none of them thought 4 subjects were too much to handle. I am confused.

I would also like to know how further maths helps with Engineering. Will it also be helpful for economics/econometrics? And, how it fits in with other subjects - maths, physics, chemistry ? is there a significant overlap in the content of these subjects? And of course workload balancing. Can FM be dropped at A2?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:59 am 
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TBH, I was just trying to say; I am not an expert in education, so without knowing your dd, this is what I would do, but do not put too much weight on it.

My dd decided to start with 4 A levels. Her thinking was, she could drop one if it were too much or she really was not getting on with a subject. Whereas, if she started with 3 she would find it hard to start a different subject once A levels began. It is still the first term and she is coping with 4 and an EPQ ATM.

The more your dd practises GCSE questions, the fewer silly mistakes she'll make. This is what I found with my dd. It is worth trying a paper and then going through the mark scheme to see where points are being lost. When dd saw how she was loosing marks, suddenly writing down all the steps did not seem so silly.

Could your dd see the careers officer at school before picking A levels, as this will probably help her get a clearer idea of what she want to do?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:41 pm 
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Location: Reading
Given my DD and your DD are at the same school, I can give you what has happened in sixth form her year.

Most started with 4 but not everyone does and the school are ok with them starting three if they think that is the best option for them.

Out of DDs friendship group of about 8 only two have continued with 4 in year 13, the rest have dropped one after doing it at AS. She thinks this is mirrored through the year group. The decrease in workload has made a huge difference to DD. She has extra free periods during the day and has one less subject, this means she has less hw to do at home. Given the subject she dropped is not the one she expected to drop at the beginning of year 12, I can sort of understand the principles of starting with 4 then dropping one. One of her friends dropped a subject quite early one in year 12, as she realised she hated it. If you talked to year 12s I suspect they would answer differently to year 13s. DD felt ok at the start, but later on it starts to take its toll.

As for engineering, it is very maths based. Any extra maths you do will help a lot. In DDs year, they had the option of doing AS FM in year 13 if they were only doing 3 A levels at that stage. This might have changed, obviously. I’d expect there to be the opportunity to drop FM at the end of year 12 and do AS. DD loves maths and is very good at it, but wanted to do an EPC instead in year13. If her choice of uni subject accepted both maths and FM she would have probably done it. I don’t know enough about economics to know of it useful of not.

As someone who did maths, FM, physics and chemistry myself, I’d say it’s an excellent combination and yes there’s overlap between them, but then I’m bias and I knew I want to do chemical engineering at that point. FM wasn’t included in any of my offers, but was very useful in the first uni year and I had a head start maths wise.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 2:24 pm 
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Location: Essex
Get your DD to have a look at the s hooks of architecture listed here, to see what their requirements are:
http://www.arb.org.uk/student-information/schools-institutions-architecture/

To qualify as an architect, she would need to obtain qualifications in Parts I, II and III - Part I exemption comes automatically with a first degree from any of the institutions on the ARB list.

With regard to Art, it does help if she has a ability, even if not taking the A level. Most universities require a portfolio as part of their assessment process.

Bath's course is very 'engineering-y', The Bartlett (UCL) very 'arty'.

TSR has quite a lot of chat about Architecture (with plenty of posts by 'grown ups' such as ''PQ'. Look in https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2022808, for example.

(DS2 wanted to do Architecture for ages, then a couple of months ago changed his mind and now wants to do History of Art :)).

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:35 pm 
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My DD also finds FM the A level she has to work hardest at (it’s hard) but consequently the one that gives her the greatest sense of achievement. DS dropped it within two weeks, he could tell that often not being able to do the homework was not something he could live with. They both got 9s at GCSE but I think it’s more to do with how much you want it and whether you like maths enough to do that much of it. It’s definitely not just a bit more maths, it’s a whole other A level and a subject often underestimated. Interestingly DD has had three uni offers so far, all on only 3 A levels, one says that if further maths forms one of the three grades it can be a grade lower.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:53 pm 
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I'd agree with FM being difficult, although DD1's classmates who also did Physics A level found there was a lot of cross over in M1,2 and 3. She found it useful in her Economics degree, but in the first year there were extra maths classes for those who had not studied it to allow them to get up to speed, albeit she was relieved not to have to do this. Architecture degrees vary hugely in course content and leaning. DD2 has found having done Maths and Art most useful, the latter particularly when preparing her portfolios, but this may just reflect the courses she applied to. It is a long and very intense study programme and no matter where studied involves a huge workload, coupled with poor employment and salary prospects at the end. Definitely something to do for love and nothing else. Good luck. Personally I'd go for French, if she loves it :)

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