"It's Not Necessary To Do More Than 3 Subjects At A Level" - Dr Musarurwa
A Zimbabwean social scientist has said it is not necessary for learners to do more than three (3) subjects at Advanced Level (A-Level) adding that there is a need to advise learners on the right combinations.
Dr Hillary Jephat Musarurwa’s remarks after a form six student scored 50 points (10 As) in the November 2022 Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) examinations. He said:
I have always argued that it’s not necessary to do more than 3 subjects at A Level. May the kids be correctly advised on the right combination and number of subjects to take.Feedback
Musarurwa who holds a DPhil in Public Administration – Peace Studies from the Durban University of Technology, said schools were now encouraging their learners to do more than three subjects for prestige. He said:
Prestige amongst school heads. They want to brag on having the most number of As.
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A message from an unidentified official at the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences was in support of Dr Musarurwa’s reasoning. Read the message:
Good evening legends. Apologies I am behind on chats but I saw this conversation which I thot of responding to.
UZ does not discriminate against schools, especially the faculty of medicine which I have been part of since 2008. It’s unfortunate that many students who do more than 3 subjects at A level end up including irrelevant subjects to our entry requirements.
Our requirements are A level passes in Chemistry and any 2 subjects between Maths, Physics, Biology/ Zoology. So besides Chemistry, we count the other best 2 subjects, thus we only consider 3 subjects. So if one does 5 subjects and gets all A’s and a D (2 points) in Chemistry, we don’t see it as 22 points but as 12 points because we consider chemistry first and any other best 2 from the above list.
So the message is, don’t force your bright students/ children to take up many subjects if they intend to do medicine. This does not increase their chances. Let them concentrate and maximise their efforts on 3 relevant subjects only. In addition, we don’t count mathematics together with Further Maths or Applied Maths/ Pure Maths…. etc, we just consider Maths as 1 one subject. So it’s of no benefit sitting for exams of all variants of maths.
Our intake is about 300/ yr for medicine. If we have a high number of potential students (which has been the case since 2014) we conduct interviews. The interview instrument is to weed out potential delinquencies and those who would have been pushed to do medicine by their parents/ guardians when they don’t really intend to by themselves. We also look at communication skills. This is where some students fall off. Some schools concentrate on bookwork but they don’t groom their students.
Others who commented on the matter believed there are many more opportunities created by doing more than 3 subjects, “beyond medicine at UZ.”
Another one said in times like these, learners probably should be doing as much allowing them to change their minds even after qualifying for medicine to follow a more artsy route. They said specialising so early in their journey of learning is probably risky.
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