Post 16 Options: Choosing A-Levels

3rd July 2018 by Richard Allnutt

Once you decide that A-level study is the right learning pathway, you need to choose which subjects you are going to dedicate your time to over the next 2 years. This can be a complex problem requiring a well thought through solution. You might have strong ideas about the future or you might want to simply play to your strengths. Either way, here is CareerWave’s advice about how to get your A-level decisions right;

In a nutshell, what are A Levels?

•  academic subjects – focused on ideas, theory and knowledge.

•  mainly taught in the school classroom environment of Sixth Forms (including School Sixth Form, Sixth Form College, Sixth Form within College of FE, University Technical College).

•  assessed by exam.

•  can be taken as a package of 3 or 4 OR alongside vocational Level 3 qualifications.

•  lead to University or employment including Apprenticeship/Higher and Degree Apprenticeship.

How to get A-level decisions right

•  choose subjects which interest you. If you are interested, you are likely to do better.

•  it helps if you are good at the subject, or it suits your strengths (in the case of a new subject).

•  some subjects go well together and specific combinations are needed for certain degrees and subsequent careers.

•  it is ok to mix it up a little. Taking a contrasting subject shows off other talents.

•  there are many degrees and jobs which do not require any specific subjects or combinations.

•  be aware of workload and the demands of each subject and in combination with others.

•  there are many misconceptions about what is essential for degrees and careers. Always check out the specific entry requirements for interested courses and Universities.

•  a few Universities have lists of preferred and non-preferred subjects.

•  competitive courses and Universities might prefer traditional subjects.

•  project based work and independent study skills are increasingly valued by Universities. As a result, EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is becoming a popular option alongside 3 A-levels.

The following articles/guides have been carefully selected to support A-level decision-making;

https://www.informedchoices.ac.uk

icould.com/article/choosing-a-level-subjects-five-points-to-consider

www.ucas.com/ucas/16-18-choices/search-and-apply/qualifications-you-can-take/levels

university.which.co.uk/advice/a-level-choices/six-things-you-need-to-know-before-making-your-a-level-choices

The following University course search websites are relatively easy to use in order to find out about entry requirements for degree subjects;

www.ucas.com

www.which.co.uk/university

www.whatuni.com

www.ukcoursefinder.com