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Choosing your A-Levels/Highers Subjects

Choosing your A-Levels/Highers Subjects

Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m Aaliyah and we are the welfare officers on the VMS committee. Each week we will be discussing matters related to wellbeing and how we can support each other during this difficult process. It doesn’t have to be a stressful time, and our aim is to help each other. We’d love to have your involvement in these discussions, so please feel free to share experiences (this can be done anonymously if you would like to do so). Join us in discussing each week’s topics by sharing your thoughts and questions. The goal of this blog is not to judge others based on their experiences, but to make sure everyone feels valued so please be respectful of people’s opinions even if they are different from your own. We’ll be discussing a new topic each week and answering the most common questions during the weekly Virtual Medical Society Meetings, as well as in the comments section below. We’d love the main body of this blog to be a discussion, therefore, we have included a short intro to this week’s topic to be used as guidance. However, we want the conversation to be led by you because it’s your Virtual Medical Society after all!

If you have any suggestions of topics, you’d like covered in the future then please let us know in the comments too!  

This week we will be discussing:- 

Choosing your A-Levels/Highers Subjects

You’ll know from choosing your GCSE/Nat 5 subjects that it’s not always as easy as it seems. Having been through the whole process again, we can assure you that its pretty much the same for A-Levels and Highers. But don’t worry, hopefully these tips will enable you to choose the right A-Level and Highers subjects.

  • First, its really important to choose the right Sixth Form or College for you. Look out for things like the school environment, extra-curricular opportunities (we hope that we’ve instilled in you by now, how important this is)
  • Below we’ve highlighted the main entry requirements for Medicine, Veterinary and Dentistry. However, check out the individual university requirements, as sometimes this can vary:
  1. Chemistry is a compulsory requirement for all Medics
  2. Biology is an additional requirement for Veterinary Science and Dentistry. Keep it in mind that Human Biology and Biology are equivalent to one another and won’t be counted separately, so choose based on what you are more interested in or what your school offers.
  3. For Medicine, most universities require an additional science, giving you a choice between Biology, Maths/Further Maths (they’re both considered to be the same qualification) or Physics. However, the University of Manchester for example, regards Psychology as a science as well.
  • Please do not feel pressured to do 6 Highers, a 4th AS or A-Level subject. They are not at all required, and can sometimes make your workload a lot more difficult (we can attest to that!). Although it could give you an extra subject grade to fall back on if another doesn’t go so well, some universities can actually give you an offer based on that extra subject too. Having said that, if you think that you can cope and you really enjoy them, then go for it!
  • Choose your 3rd subject strategically, it can be pretty much any A-Level (well, except critical thinking or general studies). Think about which subject you and your teachers think you will do best in. We know that you guys are intelligent and hard workers so this may not seem relevant if you’re one of the lucky ones who are good at everything. However, first look at whether you will enjoy learning about the subject, as this will really motivate you to work hard – remember you’ll be studying that subject for a long time!

Remember that, at the end of the day, this is your decision and you can always change your mind, even after you’ve started your A-levels/Highers (don’t leave it too late though!). We hope that you found this useful and would love to hear about what subjects you’re thinking of doing.

And finally, good luck with starting your A-Levels or Highers 🙂 !

Academic Support and Resources
Problem Based Learning Questions

Problem based learning (PBL) is a popular method of learning, currently used by most health professional courses in the UK.

The aim of PBL is for you to read through a complex and broad series of information, to identify areas of interest and areas you would like to explore further, in order to further your knowledge of specific topics, through self-directed learning.

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