4 Things to know before choosing your A-levels
With GCSE results coming on the 20th of August comes the needs to finalise your A-level choices. You may already know what you want to do, but if you're unsure of waiting for your results bear in mind, choosing which subjects to take isn't a decision you should take lightly. The A-levels you choose will impact what you do later, from the courses you apply for at university, to the university courses you can get into and even your future career. Here's what to bear in mind as you make your choices.
What does the subject entail?
With the GCSE courses, you are taking into A-level it pays to know what the subject entails at a higher level. Not only is work at A-level is more in-depth, but it comes with a degree of autonomy and analytical and lateral thinking. Teachers and tutors are your best port of call here for information on what the subject will entail, as will students who have previously taken this subject.
Many schools and sixth form colleges will also offer A-levels in subjects that you will not have studied before. On paper, they may sound exciting and even more accessible than traditional subjects; however, it's worth taking some time to find out what's involved and where these subjects will take you. Talk to students who have done these courses, find out from teachers and tutors what's involved in the curriculum and research where these A-levels will take you via careers and at university.
Do you enjoy the subject?
Getting a grade 7 -9 at GCSE in the subject isn't a reason to take the same subject for A-level unless you enjoy it and find it interesting. Studying subjects at A-level is very different from studying at GCSE. Aside from being more in-depth, the work tends to be much more analytical and in some cases, very methodical. So be prepared for a big jump in the level of difficulty when you transition.
Also, be sure to choose subjects that are compatible with each other, not just because it makes entry into careers and universities easier but also because they will make your daily workload easier. Finally, as tempting as it is to take on three brand new subjects, avoid this as the workload will be huge and more daunting for you.
Check your choices fit with your degree of choice?
If you're sure, you want to be a lawyer or a tech degree or study Astrophysics make sure the A-levels you choose will fit with university requirements. If you have a degree in mind research what you will need from different universities to make sure you're ticking all the boxes for entry requirements within your subject before you choose your A-levels.
The Uni Guide A-level Explorer is an excellent tool to use to find out if you're on the right path. Enter the A-levels of your choice, and it will tell you which degree subjects they will give you access to, with possible careers and graduate salary.
What if I don't know what I want to study at university?
Facilitating subjects are the A-level subjects most commonly required or preferred by universities to get on to a range of degree courses. They help you keep your options open for choosing a degree, and many of the top universities will ask you to have at least one A-level in one of these subjects when you apply.
The Russell Group universities facilitating A-level subjects are:
For advice or help with any A-level subject do get in touch with one of our subject tutors.