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Tuesday 13-Sep-2016
【The Standard:Boarding Insider】Lights, camera, action
"My daughter would like to study film at university. She also has excellent maths skills. Would taking an A level in maths seem a little unusual for university film department admissions teams when she could study film, media studies and drama?"

Selecting A-level subjects is not something to be taken lightly. The first and most reliable step to ensuring that mistakes are not made is to check the entry requirements for the film studies courses you are interested in online and then to call the relevant university department to confirm what is written.

Warwick, for instance, demands that A-level subjects should include at least one of the following subjects: English literature, English language and literature (combined), film studies or history.

Logically, film studies would be a good choice if your daughter's school offers it.

Generally speaking, universities do not look favorably upon A-level subjects which are similar and some universities have made it clear that students should not take certain combinations of A-level subjects. Warwick's selectors, for instance, value "breadth of subjects" while "overlapping curricula should be avoided."

This is something to bear in mind for students but I think that film studies is a more specific situation. Many other universities offering film studies just look for three A levels with solid results without stating what subjects they might be.

It is hard to see institutions rejecting students because they have studied film, drama and media studies, but it is always worth checking.

Your daughter may have her sights firmly set on studying film but never rule out the possibility of her changing her mind one year down the line.

I have experience with the matter so do not take things too lightly. Therefore, taking a glut of vocational or practical subjects, such as media studies, drama, film and music, may restrict what your daughter can study at university.

The reason is because universities have lists of "non-preferred subjects" which provide a less effective preparation for study, in the eyes of certain institutions at least. It may be worth considering a maths A level, in addition to film, if possible, and English or another humanities-based subject.

Overall, my experience is that the future is unpredictable - and 15-year- olds do not always have plans set in stone no matter how determined they appear to be at the start of Year 11. 


Mabel Chan is a principal consultant at Britannia StudyLink

Original Article:​

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Education Experts

Samuel Chan, the winner of Alumni Awards 2017, is the founder of Britannia. He had studied in the UK since the age of 9 for 15 years and achieved his master degree in International Political Economy at University of Warwick. Now he shares his experiences and professional advice in education columns in Hong Kong’s major newspapers.


Mabel Chan is the Principal Consultant of Britannia. Having studied in both the UK and the US, she is an expert in school matching for overseas education. She writes education columns for Sing Tao Daily and The Standard, and answers questions arising from parents and students patiently.


MB Cheung, our senior consultant, has been writing education columns for major local newspapers for more than 25 years. With his experience and unique insights, he shares a variety of tips and advice on overseas education for the readers (and DSE students)

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