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Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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babymekimmy
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  #1 Old 10-12-2012 Default Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

General Paper is a compulsory paper for each college when taking A Levels right? But it is not counted as a requirement for entry to university. Therefore when choosing the number of subjects to take for A Levels, do we include the general paper as well? As I have gathered on various Google searches and forums, most universities require 3A's but there are many who are taking 4 subjects and they say taking 5 is really too much of a burden for a student.

So lets say I'm interested in taking Economics, Psychology, Mathematics and Eng. Lit, + General Paper, does that mean I am taking 5 A Level Subjects and will be really tough to cope up with? Or is this the normal 4 subject combination most students take?
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  #2 Old 10-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

General paper, if you're referring to Malaysian Studies + Moral Studies (MQA) then it is NOT counted as a subject in A-levels.
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  #3 Old 10-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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Originally Posted by babymekimmy View Post
General Paper is a compulsory paper for each college when taking A Levels right? But it is not counted as a requirement for entry to university. Therefore when choosing the number of subjects to take for A Levels, do we include the general paper as well? As I have gathered on various Google searches and forums, most universities require 3A's but there are many who are taking 4 subjects and they say taking 5 is really too much of a burden for a student.

So lets say I'm interested in taking Economics, Psychology, Mathematics and Eng. Lit, + General Paper, does that mean I am taking 5 A Level Subjects and will be really tough to cope up with? Or is this the normal 4 subject combination most students take?
Where will you be doing your A-levels? As far as I know only TAR College forces their students to take General Paper...it is technically a subject, but most universities discount it, so if you don't have to take it, I would suggest you don't.

You have the same subject combination as me (sans Maths, swap that with Biology). I'm doing Edexcel A-levels now and I should think it would really be burdensome if you had to deal with General Paper on top of your other subjects.
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  #4 Old 11-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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Originally Posted by babymekimmy View Post
General Paper is a compulsory paper for each college when taking A Levels right? But it is not counted as a requirement for entry to university. Therefore when choosing the number of subjects to take for A Levels, do we include the general paper as well? As I have gathered on various Google searches and forums, most universities require 3A's but there are many who are taking 4 subjects and they say taking 5 is really too much of a burden for a student.

So lets say I'm interested in taking Economics, Psychology, Mathematics and Eng. Lit, + General Paper, does that mean I am taking 5 A Level Subjects and will be really tough to cope up with? Or is this the normal 4 subject combination most students take?
I did my A-Levels in Singapore, and General Paper was compulsory there - I don't think it is in Malaysia though (following the Edexcel or Cambridge A-Levels that is). Regardless, it's not a "full" subject per se and so won't be counted when you're applying to uni - at most it may be a tiebreaker consideration, but don't worry about it.

I'd really recommend taking 4 subjects (excluding General Paper) so you have one to fall back on in case you miss an A in one subject (freak results always happen). Because lots of unis want 3As for the more popular courses, it's kinda risky to only have 3 subjects.

On the other hand, if you know for sure that you can't cope with taking 4 subjects + GP, then don't. But I'd at least recommend you start off with 4, then drop one later on if you find that you really, really can't cope.

I did four subjects plus GP and it worked out OK in the end. So it really depends on the person, and only you can know if you can handle it, probably. Like I said, maybe try it out first and see?

Also, when choosing subjects, do make sure they're recognised by the unis...some so-called 'non-traditional' subjects don't look as good to unis. I'm not sure if Psychology is in this category, but I'm pretty sure it's not one of the 'traditional' subjects (which would be stuff like Maths, the Sciences, Economics, History, etc.). And some unis say they're alright with it, but may not be entirely supportive of it (see more specific student forums for this).

Lastly, note that when it comes to undergraduate Law or Psychology (and similar subjects), there's no need to have the corresponding A-Level subject - in fact studying at A-Level won't really help you much at all, so if you're interested in taking Psychology at A-Level because you may want to do it as a degree, know that it isn't really necessary.
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  #5 Old 11-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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Also, when choosing subjects, do make sure they're recognised by the unis...some so-called 'non-traditional' subjects don't look as good to unis. I'm not sure if Psychology is in this category, but I'm pretty sure it's not one of the 'traditional' subjects (which would be stuff like Maths, the Sciences, Economics, History, etc.). And some unis say they're alright with it, but may not be entirely supportive of it (see more specific student forums for this).

Lastly, note that when it comes to undergraduate Law or Psychology (and similar subjects), there's no need to have the corresponding A-Level subject - in fact studying at A-Level won't really help you much at all, so if you're interested in taking Psychology at A-Level because you may want to do it as a degree, know that it isn't really necessary.
Psychology isn't really considered a "traditional" subject, but most universities don't mind it. I know a bunch of people who were admitted to places like Oxford, and took Psychology for A-levels. I would avoid taking A-level Law though, especially if you are planning to do law for your degree - most universities just seem averse to the idea somehow, so best not to risk it.
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  #6 Old 11-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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Psychology isn't really considered a "traditional" subject, but most universities don't mind it. I know a bunch of people who were admitted to places like Oxford, and took Psychology for A-levels. I would avoid taking A-level Law though, especially if you are planning to do law for your degree - most universities just seem averse to the idea somehow, so best not to risk it.
I do know that most unis aren't really hung up on non-traditional subjects, especially if you've already got 3 traditional ones, but I was saying that it depends on the uni - so best to check.

Haha yeah taking A-level Law, and then applying for law, won't help at all (although like I said, I don't think it hurts if you have 3 other regular subjects). Likewise I think Psychology does not help with Psychology, but doesn't really count you out anywhere.

My mentality still is: if you want to take a non-traditional subject, make it your fourth rather than third one. Just to be on the safe side.
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babymekimmy
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  #7 Old 11-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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Where will you be doing your A-levels? As far as I know only TAR College forces their students to take General Paper...it is technically a subject, but most universities discount it, so if you don't have to take it, I would suggest you don't.

You have the same subject combination as me (sans Maths, swap that with Biology). I'm doing Edexcel A-levels now and I should think it would really be burdensome if you had to deal with General Paper on top of your other subjects.
Then what about MQA? Doesn't other colleges require students to take that? I haven't decided on where exactly I would be doing my A-levels. You are doing yours at HELP or MCKL? So you are just taking those 4 subjects and nothing else?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas92 View Post
Also, when choosing subjects, do make sure they're recognised by the unis...some so-called 'non-traditional' subjects don't look as good to unis. I'm not sure if Psychology is in this category, but I'm pretty sure it's not one of the 'traditional' subjects (which would be stuff like Maths, the Sciences, Economics, History, etc.). And some unis say they're alright with it, but may not be entirely supportive of it (see more specific student forums for this).

Lastly, note that when it comes to undergraduate Law or Psychology (and similar subjects), there's no need to have the corresponding A-Level subject - in fact studying at A-Level won't really help you much at all, so if you're interested in taking Psychology at A-Level because you may want to do it as a degree, know that it isn't really necessary.
Yes, thats the whole point of me wanting to study those 4 subjects, so I have something to fall back on. But I am not too sure if I can cope with them IF i have to deal with taking GP because then that would be 5 subs. But then again, you did so its sort of inspiring to know that it can be done.


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Psychology isn't really considered a "traditional" subject, but most universities don't mind it. I know a bunch of people who were admitted to places like Oxford, and took Psychology for A-levels. I would avoid taking A-level Law though, especially if you are planning to do law for your degree - most universities just seem averse to the idea somehow, so best not to risk it.
I also read on a few universities websites that they do not really recommend taking Law at A-levels because it might give students the wrong perception about law. But then again, a friend of mine who is taking Law said that most of the stuff learnt during A-level Law is repeated during the first year degree so it won't be that much of a struggle. So yeah, I am still undecided about this. Sigh.

I'm planning to go for a law degree, not psychology. But I find Psychology very interesting and I think I would love studying more about it. But it surprises me that tarc, bac and atc are not offering it. How do you find it so far?

Last edited by babymekimmy; 11-12-2012 at 10:36 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #8 Old 12-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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Then what about MQA? Doesn't other colleges require students to take that? I haven't decided on where exactly I would be doing my A-levels. You are doing yours at HELP or MCKL? So you are just taking those 4 subjects and nothing else?
MQA subjects are compulsory for every student in every college, yes, but most colleges, as far as I know, don't force you to take General Paper (which is different from the MQA subjects).

I'm at MCKL now, in my second semester. I did both my MQA subjects this semester, and yes, I'm not taking General Paper so I only have those 4 subjects.

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Originally Posted by babymekimmy View Post
I'm planning to go for a law degree, not psychology. But I find Psychology very interesting and I think I would love studying more about it. But it surprises me that tarc, bac and atc are not offering it. How do you find it so far?
Well I do find it interesting, but I should warn you that it can be hard to score. Like if you get how to answer properly you'll do well, but if you can't, then your grades would probably be terrible.
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babymekimmy
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  #9 Old 12-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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MQA subjects are compulsory for every student in every college, yes, but most colleges, as far as I know, don't force you to take General Paper (which is different from the MQA subjects).

I'm at MCKL now, in my second semester. I did both my MQA subjects this semester, and yes, I'm not taking General Paper so I only have those 4 subjects.



Well I do find it interesting, but I should warn you that it can be hard to score. Like if you get how to answer properly you'll do well, but if you can't, then your grades would probably be terrible.
OHH, so GP is different from MQA. I see. So you can choose to do MQA at the semester you want, and once its done you don't have to study it anymore?

How is MCKL? The lecturers and students there? Since Edexcel is using a modular system, do you think it would be hard to adjust back to an examination system during your degree years? That is one of my concerns. But grade-wise, there is absolutely no discrimination against Execel when it comes to getting accepted into uni right? (because people say it is easier to score with Edexcel)

I think I could try out with Psychology first, and if I can't manage then I'll drop it? But then, I have to pay the fees for that subject, don't I? So if I drop it then its like a waste of money. D:
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  #10 Old 12-12-2012 Default Re: Advice Regarding Number of A Level Subjects

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OHH, so GP is different from MQA. I see. So you can choose to do MQA at the semester you want, and once its done you don't have to study it anymore?

How is MCKL? The lecturers and students there? Since Edexcel is using a modular system, do you think it would be hard to adjust back to an examination system during your degree years? That is one of my concerns. But grade-wise, there is absolutely no discrimination against Execel when it comes to getting accepted into uni right? (because people say it is easier to score with Edexcel)

I think I could try out with Psychology first, and if I can't manage then I'll drop it? But then, I have to pay the fees for that subject, don't I? So if I drop it then its like a waste of money. D:
Your MQA subjects will be Malaysian Studies and Islamic/Moral studies. In MCKL the college decides which one you do in which semester...in my case I had to do Malaysian Studies and Islamic Studies in the same semester, because I think they didn't have a lecturer ready for the latter in my first semester. I'm in January intake, and usually students do Moral studies in their first sem, then Malaysian Studies in their second. July intake students do Malaysian Studies first, then Moral Studies. Unless you have to retake (which you only have to do if you don't pass), once you get your MQA exams done you don't have to worry about it anymore.

I quite like MCKL, but you'll probably get mixed responses from some people...the campus is very conducive and we have the benefits of being in close proximity to public transport (buses, MRT, LRT) so you can just go out if you're bored. The lecturers are all generally nice people, you rarely get the nasty types here. And actually I think the modular system is more similar to how it's like in university, you don't only have end-of-year tests when you're in uni...

If you ask me the Edexcel style is more for fast learners. You need to be able pick up on things fast and then study intensely for the exam that you'll be facing in that semester itself. You'll probably have more breathing room if you did Cambridge A-levels. Which one is easier really depends on the student...
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