A Levels for law – a flexible choice Watch

Arran90
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A Level subjects for law are not as clearly specified as for medicine or STEM subjects. However:

1. Is it unwise to take two non-facilitating subjects in addition to one facilitating subject?

2. Is it unwise not to take an essay type subject? There have been several instances of being accepted for law with A Levels in mathematics, further mathematics, and physics (the least essay type combination) but do such applicants tend to struggle badly with a law degree because it's words?

3. If the essay subject is a non-facilitating subject such as government and politics rather than a facilitating subject such as history then is this looked down on by most universities assuming the other two subjects are facilitating subjects?

4. Is it unwise to take computer science or economics A Levels because they are non-facilitating and admissions tutors might not be familiar with them?

5. Why exactly is A Level law not looked at favourably by most universities for a degree in law?

6. Is it rare not to have an A Level in English literature?

7. Foreign languages are facilitating subjects but are they of any value in terms of knowledge for a law degree – assuming students aren't studying foreign legal systems?

8. Exactly which A Level will best prepare students for a law degree in terms of skills and knowledge and why?
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Compost
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1. It's Ok, though it depends a bit on your choice of subjects - Economics and Politics would be fine, PE and Photography probably less so.
2. Probably bets to pick something (or at least an EPQ) - but this could be a foreign language.
3. Fine if your other subjects are academic.
4. They're longstanding, main stream subjects. They'd be fine.
5. Most are fine with it (though it isn't asked for), I think it's only LSE that is on record preferring you don't do it.
6. No, although (can't find the reference) i have read that the 3 most popular A levels for successful Russell Group applicants are History, English Literature and Maths.
7. I think one would be a good choice - it helps you understand how a language it put together and they are considered challenging subjects. My understanding of how English is put together was learnt almost entirely from Latin and French.
Last edited by Compost; 2 months ago
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Arran90
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(Original post by Compost)
4. They're longstanding, main stream subjects. They'd be fine.
Computer science is a new subject. It's supposed to be more up to date and academically rigorous than the old computing it replaced but whether universities, outside of STEM degrees, value it more than the old computing (or at all) is a different matter.

6. No, although (can't find the reference) i have read that the 3 most popular A levels for successful Russell Group applicants are History, English Literature and Maths.
I'm more interested in less common combinations and whether they are worthwhile and sensible or not.

7. I think one would be a good choice - it helps you understand how a language it put together and they are considered challenging subjects. My understanding of how English is put together was learnt almost entirely from Latin and French.
I'm not very familiar with foreign language A Levels. All I know is that German would be recommended for a course involving German law as it enables students to understand primary sources of information. Rather strangely, English language is not highly rated as an A Level even though, argubly, it's the most important primary and secondary school subject.
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harrysbar
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Too many questions in one go...

What subject combinations are you thinking about doing? The answer will help us advise you as to whether they are a good mix for Law, especially if you also tell us your strengths and weaknesses. For example, it is a very good idea to take English Lit or History, but only if you think you can achieve top grades in those subjects. It would be ok to choose Law A level as long as your other A levels were more academic ones (Law is not seen as that academic compared to traditional A level subjects which is why it is not generally rated that highly). Computer Science seems a bit risky to me, but Economics is not risky as it is a highly regarded subject.
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Arran90
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(Original post by harrysbar)
What subject combinations are you thinking about doing? The answer will help us advise you as to whether they are a good mix for Law, especially if you also tell us your strengths and weaknesses. For example, it is a very good idea to take English Lit or History, but only if you think you can achieve top grades in those subjects. It would be ok to choose Law A level as long as your other A levels were more academic ones (Law is not seen as that academic compared to traditional A level subjects which is why it is not generally rated that highly). Computer Science seems a bit risky to me, but Economics is not risky as it is a highly regarded subject.
I'm just enquiring. I'm not planning on studying law.

Are academic and traditional A Levels synonymous with facilitating A Levels or not?

I have been scratching my head over the issue...

It's difficult to deny that a person with good GCSE grades and no A Levels will find a degree in biochemistry significantly more difficult than a person with A Levels in biology and chemistry. Ditto for a degree in physics without A Levels in physics and mathematics. A similar situation probably applies for a degree in history or geography without the respective A Levels. This is because skills and knowledge from the A Levels are a prerequisite for the degree courses. However, would it be significantly more difficult for a person with good GCSE grades to start a law degree course without taking any A Levels beforehand and get a 1st than a person with 3 A* grade A Levels? The purpose of this question is to determine whether the A Levels provide useful beneficial skills and knowledge for a law student or whether they are just a hurdle primarily in order to reduce the number of students taking a law degree.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Arran90)
The purpose of this question is to determine whether the A Levels provide useful beneficial skills and knowledge for a law student or whether they are just a hurdle primarily in order to reduce the number of students taking a law degree.
I don't know why you bother wasting our time with your silly little questions when you could just get to the point.

Law students need to have certain soft skills before they go to uni. Certain A-level subjects help students develop these skills better than others. These tend to be the 'traditional' essay subjects and the STEM subjects. Now, the difference between a very traditional subject like English Lit and a less traditional one like Sociology is minimal, which is why they're considered to be equivalent.

Most universities cannot afford to use A-levels as an easy way to cut down on numbers - they're desperate for more students. The few universities that are genuinely selective for law in the UK (Oxbridge plus LSE/UCL/KCL plus Durham plus maybe Bristol, depending on your perspective) haven't really used A-level subject choices (or indeed the number of A-levels you take) as a discriminating factor. They're more interesting in raw grades + performance in the other aspects of one's application.
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Arran90
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
Law students need to have certain soft skills before they go to uni. Certain A-level subjects help students develop these skills better than others. These tend to be the 'traditional' essay subjects and the STEM subjects. Now, the difference between a very traditional subject like English Lit and a less traditional one like Sociology is minimal, which is why they're considered to be equivalent.
Universities are known to dislike and disfavour certain A Level subjects.

A few years ago a mentioned a prospective law student who wanted to do A Levels in electronics and computer science and it was seen as a controversial choice on TSR.

Nobody has answered question (8) Exactly which A Level will best prepare students for a law degree in terms of skills and knowledge and why?

Most universities cannot afford to use A-levels as an easy way to cut down on numbers - they're desperate for more students. The few universities that are genuinely selective for law in the UK (Oxbridge plus LSE/UCL/KCL plus Durham plus maybe Bristol, depending on your perspective) haven't really used A-level subject choices (or indeed the number of A-levels you take) as a discriminating factor. They're more interesting in raw grades + performance in the other aspects of one's application.
Competition for places at top universities is still intense although many of the new universities will accept applicants for law onto foundation years without any GCSEs.

University of Essex
https://www.essex.ac.uk/courses/ug00235/1/llb-law
A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

University of Leeds
https://courses.leeds.ac.uk/3010/law-llb#section3
A-level: AAA excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking

The list of acceptable subjects includes many non-facilitating subjects. There is no requirement to study an essay-based subject

University of Bristol
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/under...9/law/llb-law/
A*AA or A*A*B


Superficially, this provides applicants with a diverse selection of A Levels. Some students might choose easy subjects (whatever they personally find easy) in order to make the grade but whether this adequately prepares them for the degree course or impresses the admissions tutors is a different story. Just because a person gets 3 A* grades in mathematics, further mathematics, and physics doesn't imply that they have the right preparation and mindset for a law degree. On the other hand, A Levels in law, sociology, and government and politics might not impress the admissions tutors as the hallmark of academic rigour but, if accepted, such an applicant could find that it has prepared them exceptionally well for a law degree that getting a 1st is a walk in the park.
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returnmigrant
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Most Unis will not ask for any specific A level subjects for Law - they just want mega-high grades.
If they do 'prefer' certain subjects they have to be up-front about this and say so; the days of admissions 'secrets' are long gone.

Bristol, for instance, does not specify any subjects for Law and doesn't have any interest in 'facilitating subjects' across the University. Each course page on their website will tell you exactly which A levels and/or BTEC subjects and the GCSEs they want.

However, if you have done a typical essay-based subject like History, Politics, Sociology, English Lit etc, you are more likely to have the immediate essay skills needed - and you will find LNAT easier. This wont automatically help you get a place but it will make starting the degree easier - there is a great deal of reading, and essay writing is an essential skill that is at the core of a Law degree.
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
I don't know why you bother wasting our time with your silly little questions when you could just get to the point.

Law students need to have certain soft skills before they go to uni. Certain A-level subjects help students develop these skills better than others. These tend to be the 'traditional' essay subjects and the STEM subjects. Now, the difference between a very traditional subject like English Lit and a less traditional one like Sociology is minimal, which is why they're considered to be equivalent.

Most universities cannot afford to use A-levels as an easy way to cut down on numbers - they're desperate for more students. The few universities that are genuinely selective for law in the UK (Oxbridge plus LSE/UCL/KCL plus Durham plus maybe Bristol, depending on your perspective) haven't really used A-level subject choices (or indeed the number of A-levels you take) as a discriminating factor. They're more interesting in raw grades + performance in the other aspects of one's application.
This.
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Arran90
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
If they do 'prefer' certain subjects they have to be up-front about this and say so; the days of admissions 'secrets' are long gone.
Applicants are definitely asked about their A Level choices during the interview. I think that giving an intelligent answer how their choice is beneficial for both a degree and a career in law carries more weight than the exact choice of subjects.
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anonymous1231231
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(Original post by Arran90)
Applicants are definitely asked about their A Level choices during the interview. I think that giving an intelligent answer how their choice is beneficial for both a degree and a career in law carries more weight than the exact choice of subjects.
I mean this just isn’t true

Why do these youths focus on facilitating subjects which fully mean nothing for law and not preferred? Universities like Oxford, Leeds and LSE have preferred subjects lists for Law. If your subjects are on there, you’re fine. Facilitating means nothing here, facilitating literally means flexible. It’s for students who don’t know what to pick but want to open up the most doors for university and so choose these flexible/facilitating subjects. Anyone who tells you you need facilitating subjects for law is stupid. Preferred subjects. These are still academic subjects but much wider, like psychology, sociology, geography, economics, language literature subjects like Arabic Literature.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Arran90)
Universities are known to dislike and disfavour certain A Level subjects.

A few years ago a mentioned a prospective law student who wanted to do A Levels in electronics and computer science and it was seen as a controversial choice on TSR.

Nobody has answered question (8) Exactly which A Level will best prepare students for a law degree in terms of skills and knowledge and why?



Competition for places at top universities is still intense although many of the new universities will accept applicants for law onto foundation years without any GCSEs.

University of Essex
https://www.essex.ac.uk/courses/ug00235/1/llb-law
A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

University of Leeds
https://courses.leeds.ac.uk/3010/law-llb#section3
A-level: AAA excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking

The list of acceptable subjects includes many non-facilitating subjects. There is no requirement to study an essay-based subject

University of Bristol
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/under...9/law/llb-law/
A*AA or A*A*B


Superficially, this provides applicants with a diverse selection of A Levels. Some students might choose easy subjects (whatever they personally find easy) in order to make the grade but whether this adequately prepares them for the degree course or impresses the admissions tutors is a different story. Just because a person gets 3 A* grades in mathematics, further mathematics, and physics doesn't imply that they have the right preparation and mindset for a law degree. On the other hand, A Levels in law, sociology, and government and politics might not impress the admissions tutors as the hallmark of academic rigour but, if accepted, such an applicant could find that it has prepared them exceptionally well for a law degree that getting a 1st is a walk in the park.
What the literal **** is your point
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anonymous1231231
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i wouldnt use essex as an example of a competitive uni...
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Notoriety
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The question is over-simplistic, so I don't like it.

There is no "perfect prep" for law at uni, including A-Level law. That's why the perennial advice is to study somewhat academic subjects you enjoy, so you get the required grades (e.g. A*AA/AAA/AAB). If there were a perfect combo, unis would ask for it or give some indication that it existed.
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foolishstrawbery
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About Law A level. From what I've heard (from Lawyers/people in the industry) is unis and law firms don't like it is because what you learn in Law A level is really diluted and not exactly real law (it is but it's not in enough depth). I think because of that they end up having to unteach a lot of things and the subject itself doesn't give you very many practical skills that a lawyer would need. Other subjects, like philosophy and ethics or history, give you transferable skills such as critical evaluation of content and the ability to structure arguments. So because of that they are regarded more useful skills for a lawyer to have because you're going to have to learn Law anyway in uni so having an A level in Law won't give you any benefits because it doesn't really mean anything.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by foolishstrawbery)
About Law A level. From what I've heard (from Lawyers/people in the industry) is unis and law firms don't like it is because what you learn in Law A level is really diluted and not exactly real law (it is but it's not in enough depth). I think because of that they end up having to unteach a lot of things and the subject itself doesn't give you very many practical skills that a lawyer would need. Other subjects, like philosophy and ethics or history, give you transferable skills such as critical evaluation of content and the ability to structure arguments. So because of that they are regarded more useful skills for a lawyer to have because you're going to have to learn Law anyway in uni so having an A level in Law won't give you any benefits because it doesn't really mean anything.
Why are you asking lawyers about the preferences of admissions teams? Universities don't really mind A-level law these days - it's considered to be as facilitating as any other essay subject.

Re: "unteaching":
1) The courses covered in A-level law are extremely straightforward and tend to 'clump' nicely into distinct topics. The format stays the same; it's the content and the links drawn between courses that become more advanced. For example, criminal law and trusts will always be taught in a similar way - and the only difference is whether 'bonus' topics like corporate liability in criminal law or the administration of wills in trusts law are taught at all.

2) A lot of the value of a law degree lies in its advanced modules (usually taken in third year) that aren't available in the A-level course. These modules are where a leading researcher can really add value.

3) The improved legal skills you learn as a law student (key among which is learning how to read cases!) won't enable you to peer into some alternate reality where the law is different to what it was at A-level. At most, they'll allow you to see the nuance in the law and draw links between cases/different areas. But nothing you will have learnt at A-level will be outright discredited - the law, particularly in easier modules, is fairly certain, no matter who teaches it.
Last edited by JohanGRK; 2 months ago
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Arran90
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(Original post by anonymous1231231)
Why do these youths focus on facilitating subjects which fully mean nothing for law and not preferred? Universities like Oxford, Leeds and LSE have preferred subjects lists for Law. If your subjects are on there, you’re fine. Facilitating means nothing here, facilitating literally means flexible. It’s for students who don’t know what to pick but want to open up the most doors for university and so choose these flexible/facilitating subjects. Anyone who tells you you need facilitating subjects for law is stupid. Preferred subjects. These are still academic subjects but much wider, like psychology, sociology, geography, economics, language literature subjects like Arabic Literature.
(Original post by Notoriety)
There is no "perfect prep" for law at uni, including A-Level law. That's why the perennial advice is to study somewhat academic subjects you enjoy, so you get the required grades (e.g. A*AA/AAA/AAB). If there were a perfect combo, unis would ask for it or give some indication that it existed.
Myths and misinformation continue to circulate even on TSR.

There are plenty of people who go round thinking that applicants have to take facilitating subjects for law, or that all facilitating subjects are valued by universities more than all non-facilitating subjects so applicants with more facilitating subjects are given priority. Others go round saying that you should take history and / or English literature because either applicants won't be accepted or they will find a law degree difficult otherwise. Concerns have also been raised that taking subjects that may be unfamiliar to admissions tutors can be risky.
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Doones
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(Original post by Arran90)
Myths and misinformation continue to circulate even on TSR.
Because people like you keep perpetuating them with posts like this.

Posted from TSR Mobile
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Notoriety)
We're wrong because moronic applicants have said stuff on TSR which contradicts us?

Get outta here, pal. Before I lose my ****.
His argument is on par with what a mediocre LNAT applicant would chuck in their essay

"Some would argue that X [no justification]." "Others would argue that Y [also no justification]." "I believe that Y is true."
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Arran90
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Questions (1) to (4) are resonably well answered. Can anybody shine more light onto questions (7) and (8)?
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