How to choose your A-levels

Choosing your A-levels can feel pretty daunting when you start to think about it. How do I choose my whole future when I haven’t even done my GCSEs? What if I make the wrong decision? What do I want to do at uni? WHAT DO I CHOOSE?

Well, never fear. The question has been asked so many times on TSR that we decided to collect all the helpful information that was floating around, and put it in one easy to read package. So without further ado, here's how to choose your A-levels.

Take subjects you enjoy

If you don’t know what you want to do in terms of a career, picking subjects you enjoy is a good start, as they logically lead to a career that you really like. 

Leviathan1741 agrees that it's important to pick subjects you enjoy,as you're going to be studying them for two years.

One thing I will say is don't pick a subject if you don't like it. If you don't like it then you're not likely to do as well as you would in a subject you enjoy, or at least think you'd enjoy.


Take subjects you’re good at

This often goes hand-in-hand with the point above, as generally people enjoy what they're good at. You’re more likely to get good grades if you take a subject you’re passionate about.

This point is especially useful if you're struggling to pick your last A level choice - just pick something you know you're good at. 

As HMarles says;

If you don't yet know what you want to do at uni, pick something you like. Enjoying studying a certain subject will allow you to perform better, as you will be more motivated to work because the work won't feel like work. Take advantage of your freedom to choose.


Think about your future - but not too much

If you have an idea of a career or a subject at uni, having a look at entry requirements for that course at different universities is a good idea. However, most universities for most courses do not have strict entry requirements – for example most Law or Economics degrees do not require study of those subjects at A-level.

Picking A-levels for your future is particularly important if you’re thinking about medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine – they have very strict entry requirements. 

Help on uni applications

But in general it's important not to restrict yourself while choosing A-levels - after all, by the end of two years you may have changed your mind about what you want to do. However, it’s not the end of the world if you do – there's always a path leading to what you want to do. 

If you’re thinking about a Russell Group uni, it’s a good idea to think about what are called 'facilitating subjects'. You can find a list of them on the RG website here

Don't worry if you don't have a long-term plan yet, says Community Team member She-Ra:

Uni might seem a bit of a way off in Year 11 when you’re picking your A-levels, so don’t panic if you don’t know what exactly you want to study yet – you won’t be the only one! You can keep your university options wide open by selecting some of the most commonly asked-for subjects in university entry requirements, known as ‘facilitating subjects’, including the sciences, English, maths, languages, geography and history.


Don't forget to have a look through degree entry requirements

Go through all the degrees you MIGHT be interested in doing at any uni, and then check their A-level subject requirements. I know a couple of people who regret not taking a subject because they later found out it was necessary for the course they wanted to do, e.g. Biology is usually required to do dentistry.


And finally, some general advice from CatusStarbright

Make sure you at least like the subjects you choose as you will be spending many hours studying them. Obviously you should be good at them too so you can get high grades. Regarding facilitating A-levels, bear them in mind, but they're not the be-all and end-all.


More advice on preparing for A-levels

Choosing A-levels - Manisha's story

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