Choosing subjects? Watch

lilTrain
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#1
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#1
How many subjects can you choose for A level, and are there certain subjects that you nEED to choose/ some sort of specific combination of subjects u have to do that work?
Basically I mean, how do A levels work
Our school has barely told us anything about A levels yet we have to apply really quickly. it confuses me really
I feel a bit stupid..
Last edited by lilTrain; 7 months ago
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SamMed
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you can pick 3-4 A levels and they could be anything as long as they fit the college time table and will allow you to take the universitie course you want
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Lemonadez
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I suggest 3 a levels only unless you are willing to give up your social life. Also pick based on what university course you want to go into as well as what you are strongest/like the most.
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artful_lounger
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There's a lot to unpack here :O

So, students normally take 3 or 4 A-levels. Some schools require students start with 4 then drop one in year 12 and continue to 3 subjects only. University degrees only require 3 A-levels to be taken, and it's usually better to take 3 and do well in them all than take 4 and do average across them. The only situation where it's normally advisable to take 4 subjects is if you're taking A-level Maths and Further Maths, as due to the cumulative content most students seem to find they are less work than 2 full separate A-levels (so they find it is qualitatively more like doing 3.5 or so).

Regarding subjects, which to take depends somewhat on long term plans, as certain university degrees (most STEM courses for example) require you to have taken certain subjects to A-level. As a general rule, STEM subjects (maths/FM/biology/chemistry/physics) are best taken in pairs or even as all of your subjects. The exception is A-level Maths, which can be useful on it's own in other combinations. The most useful pairs of these are biology/chemistry, maths/chemistry (commonly taken with physics as well) and physics/maths (often FM is taken for this last one).

Many humanities and social science degree courses however have no specific prerequisite subjects (such as law degrees) and so any subjects are nominally acceptable; however, do consider the type or work you would be likely to do on that course and think about whether your A-level subjects would prepare you for that. For example, if it's an academic degree which involves a lot of essay writing (such as law) then an essay subject may be useful (even if not required), and as it's an academic course, taking "traditionally academic subjects" (i.e. those primarily assessed by final unseen written examination, in common with how those degrees are normally assessed) would be preferable.

In terms of selecting your subjects, you need to consider what your longer term plans are, and what you are actually good at and enjoy studying now. Taking a subject you hate because it leads to some degree you think you want to do usually ends up backfiring because you will lack the motivation and interest to sustain you through the course to get a good grade which you would need for the degree application anyway. Equally, often if you don't like a subject now, and a degree of interest requires that subject, that should usually be taken as a warning that the degree will be very like that subject (and hence you wouldn't like the degree). An example is computer science degrees normally require A-level Maths, because university level economics is necessarily mathematical. If you don't like maths in school, you won't enjoy a computer science degree; however, a degree in IT or computing might be more suitable and less mathematical (this is just an illustrative example).

It's hard to give more specific advise without knowing what your background is academically and what your interests and aspirations are both currently and in the longer term.
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lilTrain
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Thanks for explaining it for me!
I'm getting mostly 7s and I'm mostly interested in science, history, music, but I find things like computer science really boring (idk why I even chose it for GCSE, but I guess I learnt from my mistake and I dont want to repeat that for A level).
I was thinking of doing forensic science (still not sure yet, but it sounds interesting) and I read that you need biology and chemistry, my mum also told me that I have to choose maths too because it can "secure you for any kind of job/degree if you change your mind" (does it actually?) and I also want to choose music since its the most interesting for me even though theres not much you can actually do with it, I think. But even if I do manage to get these 4 subjects, would it really be too much work on me? (I'm still not sure about the amount of content you learn in A levels).
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