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A level Physics without maths - What are my options?

  1. Aug 22, 2013 #1
    I applied for my A level courses today and applied for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths (M)
    However, I did foundation tier mathematics GCSE and I've been told that my application to do Maths A level is at the discretion of the head of the department.
    I have caught up on the higher tier mathematics content over the summer so I am unlikely to struggle on the maths course.

    I would like to do a masters in either physics or aerospace/electrical/nuclear engineering in the future but these courses require A level maths.
    So if the head of the department does not let me take maths then what will my future options look like?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 22, 2013 #2


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    If your grade in foundation tier math was worse than C, probably your only option is bite the bullet and retake it (preferably at the higher tier). C grade GCSE math is the bare minimum for ANY university degree course, but AFAIK C is the maximum grade you can get from the foundation tier option.

    AFAIK many sixth forms or further education colleges require a minimum of a C grade at GCSE to let you study the same subject at A level (and for good reasons - i.e. to stop people with unrealistic expectations wasting other people's time as well as their own).

    I suppose the basic question is why you took the foundation tier. Did you get bad advice, or did your school think that was the best you could achieve?

    Bear in mind that for a university physics or engineering degree you will have to do many math courses at university that are above "A level" standard. Getting anything less than an A or A* grade at GCSE level is probably not a good starting point!
  4. Aug 22, 2013 #3
    I achieved a C, which as you say, is the most I can achieve on foundation tier. I was put in foundation tier in year 9 when my mathematical ability was much worse than it is nowadays.
    The higher tiers were already full during years 10 and 11 so there was quite a few people who missed out on the opportunity to study the higher tier qualification.
  5. Aug 27, 2013 #4
    Just keep on that them. Show them that you're up to scratch. Maybe even do a past paper to show them, then sit the higher tier maths paper when exam season comes around.

    Don't stop pestering your school until they give in.
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