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A Level Choices for Best English Universties for what I want to do....

Posted on 2004-10-02
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Hello members of Experts-Exchange I'd like some advice : )  . Im a year 11 pupil thats 5th form for others at a normal English secondary school. Im afraid my question will be rather blunt or maybe not hehehe lol.

For my GCSE's im predicted: an  A/A* in Maths ,A/ A* in Physics ,A/ A* in Biology ,A/A* in Chemistry (I took triple/ modular science the most you can do so a qualification for each) an A/A* in ICT , A/A* in Geography , A/A* in RE and an A/A* in Business Studies . I got a B in my English Language (predicted C)  - (everyone takes it 1 year early) Im not sure what im predicted in English Lit although i imagine im about a B.

I went to an openevening the day before yesterday about sixth form (thats AS levels and A levels). Normally with AS's you take 4  then you drop your least favourite one and do the rest for A level. (Pesonally I think the goverment is stupid making everyone do AS's its just more time wasted on preparing for exams and less learning but nvm )


At the moment im thinking about doing
1. Maths
2. Further Maths
3. Physics
4. I am undecided between ICT and Chemistry - Which one would be best for getting me into a university , im more confident in getting an A in ICT than I am in Chemistry for AS's and A levels. But which is better? Also I enjoy ICT more than Chemistry cause I find some large aspects of Chemistry rather boring. -      Thats my first question


2. I enjoy programming alot at the moment im teaching my self C++ and using OpenGl for graphics , I'd like a course more weighted to programming although with some in deep hardware stuff in it to .  As you can see I don't really know what course I should take and I'd like you brilliant programmers opnion of what course I should do and the best places in England / UK to do it? thats my second question.


(When I am older I would like to be a programmer : )  as a job (preferably games hehe ))

PS. Please do not go tell me to buy a book of universties etc I would like your opinions because I trust you expierance. lol

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Question by:Paladin_VB
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by:mrwad99
mrwad99 earned 30 total points
ID: 12207567
>> I am undecided between ICT and Chemistry - Which one would be best for getting me into a university

It depends what you want to do at University.  You said you want to be a games programmer; now Chemistry is not going to help you a great deal in any aspect if you want a career in software engineering.  If you want to do Chemistry at degree level then obviously you would be better taking this.  It is not *just* the overall grades that Universities look at; it is the relevance of them to the course you would be studying.

>>  Also I enjoy ICT more than Chemistry cause I find some large aspects of Chemistry rather boring

You have now answered this question yourself ;-)

>> I enjoy programming alot at the moment im teaching my self C++ and using OpenGl for graphics ,
I'd like a course more weighted to programming although with some in deep hardware stuff in it to

Then I would chose a computer science course.  If you do a software engineering course then you would not really touch on hardware but CS definitely would.

>> the best places in England / UK to do it? thats my second question.

That again depends on your location and willingness to move around.  If you get any degree from one of the Oxbridge Univerisities then that is worth its weight in gold alone, but if you are not good enough (or come from a high class background, although that is a different matter altogether) then first you need to decide on what course you want for sure.  Then you can start looking at places that you would like to live, and see if they have a suitable course.

I did computer science at Aston, and it was s**t because they had no idea of what the industry was wanting.  I hear good things about Birmingham University, although it is hard to get into.  

ATEOTD it is not all about what qualifications you get; experience is worth twice as much easily.  But get a good degree, do a placement year in something relevant to what you want as a career and you should be sorted.

When the IT industry picks its feet up again, that is.....
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by:b0bmaster
b0bmaster earned 22 total points
ID: 12207668
Hi,

Your GCSE results are more than enough for you to get into doing A-Levels, you seem quite smart so I think you won’t have any major problems with A-levels.  But let me warn you about Chemistry and Further Maths. I know people who have done 4 A-levels got A’s in all of them except chemistry. These are quite difficult in fact I would class maths as the most difficult a-level but it is defiantly worth it, universities tend to like maths.

 If possible pick "Computing" A-level rather than "ICT" as there is a big difference and you will find computing allot more helpful especially since you want to go into programming.

Some universities only take the first 3 grades - and don’t care about any extras. So I would recommend to you doing 3 A-levels and concentrating on getting A grades for all of them. A-levels are a big jump from GCSE. You only need 3 A-levels to get into university so there is no point stressing yourself by doing extra AS's or A-levels.

ICT is a very easy A-level it can be done by not even going to lessons – my 6th form school was crap so I couldn’t take physics and ICT because the lessons were at the same time – so I just did ICT myself at home. I would have preferred to take Computing but my school did not have the option.

Conclusion – if I were you – I would do:

1. Maths
2. Physics
3. ICT(Computing if possible) or Further Maths

As far as universities go I would recommend you go to a Central London based one such as Kings. I suggest you think about it more nearer the time when you are filling your UCAS forms in about a year or so. I can also warn you about “Brunel University” since I have a lot of experience with it (I went there) – its sucks and you should not ever go there especially if you want to do programming / computing. A lot of people will tell you otherwise but you will have to trust me.
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by:Paladin_VB
ID: 12207791
Yeah I inquired about computing at my school but they do not offer it.
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by:Paladin_VB
ID: 12207810
ok which out of Computer Science and Software Engineering would give me a better chance of getting a job as a programmer ??
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by:Paladin_VB
ID: 12207814
(Thanks for comments so far very useful)
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by:mrwad99
ID: 12208218
Software Engineering without a doubt.

Computer science is ok but it will not give the solid grounding in SE that a pure SE course would.  You would get SE modules in a CS course, but for overall coverage and in depth discussion of SE - hence maximum chance of a SE job - I would have to say choose an SE course over plain CS.

>> , I'd like a course more weighted to programming although with some in deep hardware stuff in it to

You could even consider a software engineering/electronic engineering course when I think about it...
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by:Paladin_VB
ID: 12208226
and is software engineering as reconsied as computer science?
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by:mrwad99
ID: 12208248
That would depend on what the job you are applying for wanted.

If you were applying for a job as a games programmer, then yes, software engineering would be more desirable than plain computer science.  If however you wanted something more general, say a network support job, then computer science would be the better choice to have since it is not purely programming.  This really is swings and roundabouts.

If you are not sure of what you want to do as a career, then go for a BSc in Computer science/software engineering (there actually are courses with this title.  If you are 100% certain you want to go for a SE job, then go for the SE degree.

You need to remember also that you can get an MCSE as an additional qualification (Microsoft certified software engineer) that would additionally increase your chances, but that is a bit far away for you right now.  So your degree alone does not ulimately determine your future career.
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by:Paladin_VB
ID: 12208255
yeah im pretty sure I want to be a programmer :)  .
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farsight earned 22 total points
ID: 12221788
To me, it's obvious that software development is becoming more and more specialized.  It will grow even more so in the future.  Having a software degree (knowing software) is nice, but most companies today are looking for programmers that also have a specific knowledge of their area of business.  Knowing one or more of these business areas will serve you well.

So ... programming and what?  How can you combine your interests?  (You sound bright, so here's some suggestions.  These are difficult areas, but challenging ... to keep you interested.)

Bioinformatics -- Related to genetics, proteomics, etc. (which is essentially advanced biochemistry).  Lots of math, pattern matching, categorizatiion, etc.  Some graphics.  "New" field.  Probably some opportunity for new innovative visualization techniques and technology.

Medical Imaging -- Lots of math to process the signals, to determine the structure of the body.

NMR -- (nuclear magnetic resonance) Lots of math to process signals to determine the structure of a material.  Some relation to chemistry, as the goal is usually to identify the structure of a molecule of a particular organic chemical.  What atoms are present, and how are they bound to the other atoms.  Some fancy interactive visualization would be useful, too.

Optics -- fiber to the home will be coming, optical switching, etc.

Materials Science -- (with a nanatech focus) There's more and more nano-materials being developed.  Requires special equipment to work at the nano level.  "New" field.


I'm sure there are many more areas you could focus on to involve ALL your interests.  Do some brainstorming, and see what else you can come up with!
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by:Paladin_VB
ID: 12221809
muhahahah JC Denton
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by:Paladin_VB
ID: 12308875
how do i split the points?
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by:mrwad99
ID: 12309186
Click "Split points" at the bottom of the page...:)
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