Year 13 Maths for Health Sci First Year at Uni. Need help asap!


I’m a Year 12 student in NZ who wants to do Health Sci First Year at Uni, but at the moment I’m in a huge dilemma about which Maths course to take next year.

In Year 13, my school offers NCEA Statistics, NCEA calculus, and the Double Cambridge Maths course which covers A-level Maths along with both NCEA Calc and Stats.

The Cambridge course is extremely demanding and takes 2 entire periods of a school day instead of 1. I’m afraid it would be detrimental to my other subjects to take it. I would also have to drop my fave subject, Spanish for it (since I can only do 6 subjects and 4 slots are already taken by the 3 sciences and English, which leaves either an NCEA maths course + Spanish or Cambridge maths.) But Cambridge covers literally everything I would need for Health Sci and is apparently extremely useful for the STAT115 and Public Health paper.

For NCEA maths, I’ve been hearing a lot of differing opinions on both Stats and Calc.
My teacher says that NCEA Stats is irrelevant and thinks it would be crazy to take Physics without Calculus. However, many forums say that NCEA Stats is in fact useful.

However, taking NCEA Stats, I would be completely missing out on Calculus. I’m afraid that if I take Stats and change my mind about Health Sci down the line, I won’t have Calculus to back me up for other degrees since Stats can be picked up in Uni but Calculus can’t really.

Although, no one I know so far has said anything about Calc being useful for Health Sci.

The other option is for me to take NCEA Calculus and take tutoring in my spare time for Stats.

What do you recommend?

I only have a few days till I need to decide, so some quick responses would be awesome!


Hi Jiya,

Sorry for not replying earlier. The reality is not taking Calculus is not really detrimental to Level 3 Physics - as long as you have a reasonably strong grasp of algebra and trigonometry you will be fine. Calculus will not be useful in Health Science First Year. Stats has some minor overlap with Health Science First Year and STAT115 but the concepts aren’t difficult to pick up. My recommendation would be to focus on gaining NZQA Scholarships which provide money towards your tertiary fees so if you feel stronger at Calc or Stats and feel like you would have a better chance of gaining a Scholarship in one of those, I would go for that. It sounds like you could do Scholarship Spanish too but doing the Cambridge Maths course is not necessary. Bio, Chem and Physics have the most overlap with Health Science First Year so getting a strong foundation in those is most important - especially Chemistry.

Hope that helps!