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A level options - April 4th 2010, 11:47 AM

I'm in my last year of high school and I'm choosing my A level options for when I go to college in september. So far I have chosen
  • German
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
I have 3 different options that I am choosing from at the moment
  1. Communication and culture (http://www.aquinas.ac.uk/index.asp?id=922)
Personally, I think communication & culture looks best and then science and then ICT. Problem is, the communication and culture one looks like it would have lots of speaking and presentations etc because it's quite vocational. I suffer from panic attacks and get extremely stressed over things like that and I think it might make things really hard for me. However I don't want this to hold me back and stop me choosing a good option and I also know that german will have lots of speaking so I'm just quite unsure about it all.

Has anyone ever done these subjects? Can you comment on them?
Any general advice/comments for me?
What is the difference between applied and normal ICT??

thanks


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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 02:16 PM

I would recommend not doing psychology and sociology. You're limiting yourself with the Universities you can apply to. Although I know it's not true both are perceived as being 'soft' (ie, easy) subjects and there is a fair amount of overlap between the two. I would seriously suggest doing something else like history, english lit or english language, geography, maths, etc. It will make your application for University a lot stronger and give you more options.

As for these additionalities, I only have experience with science in society. The majority of my friends did it last year during AS year and they all hated it. You are also trying to learn what is basically an AS in only one hours teaching time a week. Have you considered doing a proper fourth AS level? At my college these subjects are considered "additionalities" and when it comes to applying to University I don't think they will be seen as proper full AS levels. Obviously it depends on what Universities you want to apply to and what kind of course you want to do, but it's worth considering that without a fourth AS level you're going to be seriously limiting yourself and your application.

Out of those three, I would go with the communication & culture course. I can understand why you're apprehensive because the presentation aspect, but those are great skills to learn that you will have to use throughout University so getting to grips with them now would be really helpful for you. It also sounds like YOU want to do that course more, and you should always try and pick subjects you'll enjoy. Also the high coursework % will take a lot of presure off you when it comes to the exam.

Good luck at college, I just did some snooping on the website and yours looks massive - the kind of place I would choose to go to too! I made the decision to go to college rather than a school and I've loved every minute of it.


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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 03:15 PM

Thanks for your advice. I chose psych and sociology because I'm planning to go into a career around them so I thought they would be good options and my sister did them and got into a good uni, she even got interviewed for cambridge. Also, I'm not so great at all those kind of subjects that you listed so I was a bit unsure of choosing them when I dont think I would be good in them or enjoy them particularly.

As for the fourth A level, I thought that it wouldn't matter so much that it wasn't really academic because I was planning on dropping it after the first year and just taking my other options through to the full A levels. When you say they are called additionalities, what does that mean? They weren't called that at the college I'm going to but then again I'm probably missing the point here


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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 03:49 PM

Okay well at my college those subjects are offered as alternatives to general studies and critical thinking rather than as an actual AS level subject. This might be different at your college. But I still would recommend taking a 'harder' subject for several reasons:

a) It will make your University application look stronger. It's great your sister got into a good University with those subjects and I'm not saying it's not possible but getting a place at University is getting harder every year.. especially for things like psychology. My sister is starting psychology in September and it's such a popular degree now that you really need to get into a good University to have good graduate prospects! I've seen lots of my friends with really good applications get turned down from the top Universities this year just because they weren't quite good enough. Also I believe Cambridge have even blacklisted the subjects like science in society etc! Scary stuff! With Universities like Cambridge they have a list of 'traditional' subjects (they're listed on their website) and without two of these more traditional subjects you would struggle to get an offer. It makes me sound a bit mean but that is probably why your sister did not get an offer after an interview, and they do interview like 90% of the applicants. But you don't need two traditional subjects for most top Universities and doing a language makes you look very good

b) You might find after a year that you don't like psychology or sociology or german. Or that at AS you get a lot lower in one of those three than the 4th AS. It just gives you more flexibility.

It is important that you pick something you think you will like though. I just looked at the list of subjects your college does and the ones I saw that be good are things like classical civilisations, english, government and politics, geology, law, philosophy, religous education (my sister does this and loves it). Do you do GCSE psychology/sociology? Have you made sure you will like the course? From what my friends have told me Law is somewhat similar to them both. Also remember in a psychology degree there is a fair amount of maths/statistics so bare that in mind, it was a massive negative for my sister but she decided to ahead anyway!

But you are right. It's important to do what you want to do. If you are sure about the subjects you want to do then out of those three I don't think what you do would make much difference so do what you fancy. You could turn either of them around into a positive in your personal statement
science -- link to the science that is in psychology
ICT -- analytical/ICT skills a big part of psychology
communication -- communication skills a v. important part of psychology



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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 05:23 PM

Hey,

I'm going to be taking German at A Level this year too.

Uhm, Do you have to take 4 A Levels? I know I do at my college. Also , would be interested in a course like 'Classical Civilisation' - that may link in with the Communication and Culture? Or even, like geography based subjects would link to that?

Or, why not take the Communication and Culture course in college? If it does it?
I agree with follwing subjects that you want to do when your older, but be careful not to specailise to early =]


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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 06:13 PM

I did Psychology ... loved it!! Also love German but couldn't face it at Alevel
I like the 3rd one, which I think would be helpful if you're planning a career around Psychology/Sociology. Also it may help you bein forced to do speaking if you're scared of it (I am too!! Have never gotten over it!!) which would ultimately be a good thing right?
Personally I'd go with the Science on next and chose ITC last, but that's just me :P


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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 06:23 PM

I do Psychology and for all those Universities that keep saying it's an easy subject I'd love to see them all have a go The bloody essays are so complicated you have to have all the right words to get any marks. Don't get me wrong I like the subject

I'd say to drop out Sociology though since at least half of the content is covered in psych anyway. Communication and Culture would fit in well with what you want to do but Science is also highly valued by Universities, do you not have any singular sciences you can choose from? as I think Biology and Psychology go well together.
   
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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 06:27 PM

Yeah I have to take 4 A levels but then after a year nearly everyone will drop one subject and just do 3 full a levels and have 1 as just an AS level.

I don't think classical civilisation would be a good course for me or geography as I am nearly failing my geography GCSE and hate it. Claire, the communication and cultures course was going to be my 4th A level not a course I do in school if that makes sense? I'm going to college in September?


Edit: If I was going to take a single science it would be either chemistry or biology but I wasn't too sure. Is it true that if you take science you pretty much have to forget everything you learnt? I heard from people taking sciences that it's incredibly hard and not to do it?


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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 06:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dement View Post
Yeah I have to take 4 A levels but then after a year nearly everyone will drop one subject and just do 3 full a levels and have 1 as just an AS level.

I don't think classical civilisation would be a good course for me or geography as I am nearly failing my geography GCSE and hate it. Claire, the communication and cultures course was going to be my 4th A level not a course I do in school if that makes sense? I'm going to college in September?


Edit: If I was going to take a single science it would be either chemistry or biology but I wasn't too sure. Is it true that if you take science you pretty much have to forget everything you learnt? I heard from people taking sciences that it's incredibly hard and not to do it?
In Chemistry everything they tell you at GCSE is a big fat lie so yeah they're right about that.

I do Biology as well but since my GCSE year was basically filled with Global Warming crap I don't know if there's any difference to what we learnt in GCSE.
Biology is all about remembering things so if you have a good memory go for it
   
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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 06:48 PM

Can you give an example of things that they teach at GCSE chemistry that are wrong? I'm just quite interested, I was thinking of doing chemistry at first but decided against it because I thought it would be too hard. What are all the A levels that you're doing?


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Re: A level options - April 4th 2010, 10:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dement View Post
Can you give an example of things that they teach at GCSE chemistry that are wrong? I'm just quite interested, I was thinking of doing chemistry at first but decided against it because I thought it would be too hard. What are all the A levels that you're doing?
Well you learn that electrons go 2,8,8 in an electron shell. This isn't true at all and ridiculously simplified. If I tried to explain it would probably just confuse but yes you do have to forget most of what you learnt at GCSE, but you do use the general skills you learnt.

Chemistry is hard and it does take a lot of work. But I enjoy it a lot, it's defintley my favourite subject. I don't mind revising for chemistry because it's interesting! Also after the first term in AS year I found it got a lot easier. I don't struggle at all now.

Biology is a lot of memorising and I do better in biology with less work but it's not as interesting (to me) as chemistry. Still very interesting though, especially the human biology aspects.

I agree that a science would look very good for psychology. Or any course really -- it's shows a lot of variety!

Cara I know that psychology and sociology aren't easy, I didn't mean to imply that they are, I'm just saying that is now they are percieved by Universities.


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Re: A level options - April 5th 2010, 02:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by her_beautiful_mistake View Post
Well you learn that electrons go 2,8,8 in an electron shell. This isn't true at all and ridiculously simplified. If I tried to explain it would probably just confuse but yes you do have to forget most of what you learnt at GCSE, but you do use the general skills you learnt.

Chemistry is hard and it does take a lot of work. But I enjoy it a lot, it's defintley my favourite subject. I don't mind revising for chemistry because it's interesting! Also after the first term in AS year I found it got a lot easier. I don't struggle at all now.

Biology is a lot of memorising and I do better in biology with less work but it's not as interesting (to me) as chemistry. Still very interesting though, especially the human biology aspects.

I agree that a science would look very good for psychology. Or any course really -- it's shows a lot of variety!

Cara I know that psychology and sociology aren't easy, I didn't mean to imply that they are, I'm just saying that is now they are percieved by Universities.
Oooh no, I wasn't referring to what you said. I was just talking about the universities in general that say it
   
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