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Is it a bad idea to do 4 A levels?

My parents and everyone around me always says its a bad idea to do 4 A levels, how hard is the jump from gcses to a levels????
Reply 1
If you're organised, taking four A levels shouldn't be a problem. It also gives you the flexibility to drop a subject if you're struggling to narrow down your subjects to just 3.
Original post by AnVeryBigIdiot
My parents and everyone around me always says its a bad idea to do 4 A levels, how hard is the jump from gcses to a levels????

What universities and subjects do you plan to apply to? Normally 4 a levels wouldn’t give you an advantage but there are edge cases and you may take 4 AS if you enjoy the subject and drop one if you feel like it’s too much
No UK University requires 4 A levels - and you risk all your grades by doing an extra A level that you do not actually need.
Remember - AAA will always look better than ABBB, and this could cost you a Uni place.

The only exception to this is for some STEM degrees where taking FM as an extra A level does have some validity.
In all other situations, it is a total and absolute waste of your time.
Reply 4
I wouldn't say it's always a "total and absolute waste of your time". If there's a 4th subject you enjoy, even if it's not relevant to your aspirational course, there will always be value in doing it, whether it's to develop an interest or to counterbalance a STEM-heavy subject array.

That being said, it's important to recognise your own capabilities, as the step up from GCSE is significant. If you are someone who doesn't get on top of their organisation or isn't committed to two years of intense study, taking 4 A-levels will be a mistake. As mentioned above, if taking a 4th jeopardises your chances of meeting the required grades in your essential subjects, then don't take it.

However if it doesn't, go for it!

*It's definitely worth talking to relevant subject teachers or students in the year(s) above if you're unsure :smile:
Original post by AnVeryBigIdiot
My parents and everyone around me always says its a bad idea to do 4 A levels, how hard is the jump from gcses to a levels????


You could always start with 4 and see how you go. If it becomes too much, then in the first few weeks you can drop one. Or do the 4th up to AS level (if your college/6th form will allow) and just do the 3 for full a-level.
Thats why my old 6th form encouraged people to do 4 a-levels. It gave people the option to drop on if they were struggling in one/really didnt enjoy one. Whereas if you only start with 3 to start with then theres less option.
It depends on what the subjects are and how well they complement each other. I've done four A-Levels successfully and it is absolutely possible (and definitely not a waste of time), without detracting from the time you have for extra- or super-curricular activities and for doing things you enjoy. Doing four also gives you greater flexibility when applying for university courses, because so many university courses require specific subjects - having four opens more doors. If you're expecting to achieve mainly 8s and 9s in your GCSEs, doing four A-Levels - or at least starting off that way - could be the best choice for you. In terms of the jump from GCSE to A-Level, some people do struggle with it and the best way to get on top of it is to really focus on exam technique when you revise for the GCSEs you will be doing at A-Level. When you get to Year 12, you will only be doing 4 subjects rather than 9 - 10, so you will have a lot more time to concentrate on each.
Original post by AnVeryBigIdiot
My parents and everyone around me always says its a bad idea to do 4 A levels, how hard is the jump from gcses to a levels????

Hi! Y12 Student doing 4 A levels here (Maths, FM, Physics, Eng Lang) - currently coping just fine! Although I'm not sure if its different because two of mine are maths. As long as you are motivated and goal-orientated you should be fine! Plus I have plenty of friends who dropped down to 3 at the end of first year so its not the end of the world if you cant cope ❤️ best of luck lovely!!

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