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Webbster

AS Level Applications

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From what I can tell I''m getting my AS level application forms next week, and there abit of a no-going back deal, so I just wanted to check with you guys, to see if I was making some good or not so good decisions. The subjects I have thought about are: Computing - Seems more relevant to my career choice than ICT, what with topics on programming. Mathematics - Seeing as I am looking to get into 3D Engine programming I would have thought Maths would be a good subject to take. Might even help me with some of the books Im reading now. Business Studies - I wudda thought this would be very helpfull if I ever wanted to ascend the ranks at a company and possibly take a managment role much later on. Further Mathematics - Not sure about this one, Im rubbish at physics so that WOULD have been my 4th choice but I''m not going to take a subject Im no good at. My plans are to take 4 subjects as AS and 3 as A2, I would really appreciate some help on this matter, I''m abit of a forward thinker so I''m looking at the long term possibilities of taking these subjects such as University etc. Some advice on other subjects I haven''t considered would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks a million and 1! Adam

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Maths and Further Maths are an absolute requisite. I''m taking them at the moment (P4 and M2/M3 - no stats, yay) and they become a bit of an arse, especially with the amount of calculus in the pure modules; but by the end, you''ll be really well prepared for uni courses in computing.

Computing... from what I''ve heard it''s not great. I was going to try and study it (in the end my school wouldn''t let me as they''ve got noone qualified on staff who can teach me), and I got a look at the syllabus... much of it is things like the social impact of computing, and designing business solutions. E.g:

Bill and Mary Bloggs run a caravan holiday camp in Brighton. Over recent years, business has grown to such an extent that Bill has trouble keeping track of all the bookings and payment details. Design a computer system for Bill and Mary that they can use to keep all their business details on computer.

And thus it begins; you talk about databases, spreadsheets, batch jobs, client/servers, etc etc. It''s pretty high-level; programming is only taught because without it you wouldn''t really be able to actually make anything. Oh, there''s one module on data structures (like linked lists) but it''s pretty insignificant compared to the rest of it.

Business Studies: I wanted to take it, but again my school didn''t offer it.. from what I''ve heard it''s a bit crap. You might want to look into Economics instead; it''s much more applicable to daily life, and will let you complain about the price of games with some authority

A lot of it depends on the teachers you get. I have two really great economics teachers; if I didn''t, I expect I would have dropped it after AS.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
Enginuity1 | Enginuity2 | Enginuity3 | Enginuity4
ry. .ibu cy. .abu ry. dy. "sy. .ubu py. .ebu ry. py. .ibu gy." fy. .ibu ny. .ebu

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I think I''ll follow my instincts then! Thanks for that.

Actually I am not that sure if My school will actually let me do Computing, I might have to settle with Information Technology, but I would have thought thats not worth doing for my career choice.

Also, Should I do Math. with Statistics + Further Math. or just Math. + Further Math.

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Im doing my A2 course this year and have applied for university for entry next year.

I did Physics, Computing, Business and Maths for AS and dropped Business at A2.

I wouldnt go as far as saying futher maths was absoloutly a requirement, there are three people in our 180+ people year group.

Computing is a lot more theory than you might think (particuarly on our course)

I looked at both business and economics and business seemed a whole lot better though a lot of people that do one do the other. Business was more me tho at the end of the day i hated writing all of the bloody essays, you have to write tons in the exams too!

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quote:
Original post by Webbster
Actually I am not that sure if My school will actually let me do Computing, I might have to settle with Information Technology, but I would have thought thats not worth doing for my career choice.

Also, Should I do Math. with Statistics + Further Math. or just Math. + Further Math.



Yeah, IT is pretty much unrelated. It''s about using computers (word, excel, etc etc) rather than making/understanding them.

I wouldn''t bother with Stats, but that may just be my personal taste. I hate stats.

Further Maths isn''t ''officially'' a must, that''s true, but it will *seriously* increase your chances of getting into a university. Put it this way: Oxford and Cambridge both list it as ''highly recommended'' on their application forms. If they''re saying that, it must be pretty important...

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.
Enginuity1 | Enginuity2 | Enginuity3 | Enginuity4
ry. .ibu cy. .abu ry. dy. "sy. .ubu py. .ebu ry. py. .ibu gy." fy. .ibu ny. .ebu

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I have just finished A2 levels.
I took:

Physics - This was the science I was good at at GCSE. I didn''t really figure it would prove a useful choice later on. I pretty much sucked at Physics. I got like a B at AS but my A2 modules were really hard so I ended up with a D.

Maths - I took P1-P3, M1-M2, S1. I was supposed to take M3 instead of S1 but pfft, it was an easy A. We got screwed in the M2 exam though so I ended up with another annoying D.

Computing - A breeze. It''s actually not the stereotypical easy difficulty. There is a lot of theory (at least in our exam board), but the teacher didn''t even know OOP concepts so there were things lacking. We learned Pascal and Delphi, I took studying way over the level needed though. Got an A in all 6 modules.

I applied for Uni, was supposed to start last month. I got accepted into Kent for computer science despite they wanted BBB (I got ADD) so they must have liked me, I also got accepted into Lincoln to do Games technology.


Yea, Maths will help A LOT, and further maths is even better. I would have said take physics but it IS one of the hardest a-level subjects and if you arn''t too good at it, don''t force yourself.

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I did a degree in BSc Soft Eng. at the Uni of Central Lancs and, although i didnt finish the course, (due to issues i had with the course and outside of it) there wasnt much maths content at all from what i remember. Most of the stuff was pretty basic, i think set theory was about the only thing i didnt remember from A-lvl maths, and even that was taught from scratch.

btw, i went to a Soft Eng degree with A-lvls in Biology, Maths and Electronics (that said i did my A-lvls 5 years ago now (dear god i feel old, hehe) so i guess stuff could have changed as to how strict they are for entry subjects, heck i didnt even have a GCSE C in English

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Thanks for all the Help...

I think I''ll go for Computing, Business, Math & Further Math!

Im guessing when you mention PI-P2 M2/M3 etc. etc. your talking about the modules, I don''t know much about this yet so what sort of modules do you advice me to look into and research seeing as I am looking to get into 3D Games Programming. I figure that if i can get modules ''relating'' to my hobbies in programming, I may be able to ''enjoy'' them alittle more and find them easier to get into and learn..

Thanks
Adam

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Yes, maths is usually split into Pure, Statistics and Mechanics.
Being I didn''t do further maths I either had to choose:
Stats - P1,P2,P3,S1,S2,S3
Mech. - P1,P2,P3,M1,M2,M3

Since you are doing further maths as far as I remember you do: P1,P2,P3,P4,P5,P6,M1,M2,M3,S1,S2,S3

Pure - This is just the hardcore theory. Coordinate geometry, differentiation, integration. Hence "pure". A lot of it will be very helpful in Games programming.
Statistics is as you guessed lots of data manipulation. Averages, Graphs, Diagrams, stuff like that.
Mechanics is very closely related with physics. It is stuff like collisions, ladders, gravity, projectiles, all sorts of stuff like that so again it will most probably be quite useful.

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I feel I should warn you about the standard of A-Level maths. Basically the entire maths/further maths syllabus is covered in the first year of a maths degree... to bring everyone up to the same standard. This means if you have done further maths, you are about the standard of a 1st year maths student (which is not really very high in the real mathematical world). It is also worth remembering that what is called "Pure" maths at A-level is almost all considered "Applied" at university. The mechanics modules tend to be quite interesting though, especially the later ones, though they only go as far as setting up f=ma based motion ODEs. So basically what I am saying is... if you want to learn applied mathematics at a higher level, the pure modules are the important part. The mechanics modules tend to use premade mechanics equations like s=ut+1/2at^2 etc, and that is not really very useful at any reasonable level. If you can do all 6 pure modules you get up to partial differentiation and Simple harmonic motion type ODEs etc, and you cover more calculus. So in short, if you are going to do a maths degree... you only really need single award maths, further maths will all just be repeated in the first year, so don't waste your time on it. If you are going to do a computing related degree, do further maths, as this will give you a useful conceptual head start. This may sound strange, but I found 1st year uni very dull indeed having done further maths. Module wise... P1-6, M1-4, S1-2 for further maths... P1-3, M1-2, S1 for single (if you are going to do a degree in maths). i hope someoen finds this helpful.

EDIT: These choices are based on someone wanting to do game coding, who HATES statistics (BOOOOO STATS!!!).

[edited by - dmounty on October 17, 2003 9:38:01 AM]

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