How to Decide What A Levels to Take

Your A level choices can affect your university application

Many students struggle with choosing their A Levels. If you’re one of those people scratching their head and asking ‘what A Levels should I take?’, we’ve written this guide to give you a bit of a helping hand in picking the right options for you.

Whether you’re looking forward to university, need to boost your qualifications, or are determined to pursue a particular career, choosing the right A Level combination is vital. There are plenty of A Levels to choose from and this gives you a lot of flexibility. Read on for our guide on picking the right choices for your aims.

The key to deciding your A Level choices is to identify what you are going to use them for. We’ve split the article into handy categories, depending on what your needs are.

University Application

If you’re looking to progress to university, then choosing your options is vitally important as most universities will require you to achieve 2-4 A levels, typically between grades A-D. The first thing to do is to identify the following two key deciding factors:

  •  Which universities you want to apply to – Different universities have different entry requirements, which change from year to year. Don’t get lulled into thinking there is a one size fits all selection of A Levels. It’s always worth checking with your prospective universities admissions departments for the latest entry requirements before you commit to an A Level course.
  • Which subject you want to study – Every course will have its own requirements.

Some will simply require a particular combination of grades (for example you may be asked to achieve grades AAB, or BBC); other courses will require you to achieve a specific grade in a specific subject. Many science-based courses will require you to have completed a science A Level as a prerequisite. For example, most Chemistry degrees will require you to have an A Level in Chemistry.

If you have a required subject, then you’ll obviously need to take that subject but chances are, you’ll still have a good degree of freedom in choosing your remaining A Levels.  If you don’t have a required subject then you have a wider range of choices, but you should still consider which subjects complement your degree choice.

So, you’ve shortlisted your uni choices and chosen your subject of study and narrowed down the selection of A Levels accordingly. What next?

You will want to take into account which subjects interest you, as A Levels are tough and if you can study a subject that you enjoy, it can make it easier to keep working during those rough periods when your motivation can sometimes slip.

If you have a subject that you are particularly strong in, then you will want to consider taking it further. Taking on a subject that comes easier to you will make studying less intensive and can free time to dedicate to a subject that you are weaker in.

Boosting Existing Qualifications

Many of our students are looking to update old qualifications, or are trying to boost their existing grades. If you’re thinking about doing the same, it’s worth taking a moment to think about which courses fit your needs best. If your English or Maths is letting you down, now is a great time to give your grades a boost and demonstrate your real abilities.

Alternatively, taking an A Level such as Accounting can allow you to formally demonstrate your grasp of practical skills.

Important Points

Remember that whichever options you pick; you will need to find an exam centre to sit the exams. If you choose a course with practical assessments, you must allow for this and locate a suitable centre.

Selecting your A Levels is a very important decision, so we try to make it as easy for you as we can. With distance learning from Oxford College, you can study at a time and place that suits you. We won’t withhold materials, as some colleges do and we won’t limit questions to your tutor.

You can start a course at any time and this flexible learning means that you can join the course after the start of the academic year, or start early in the summer to get a head start. There is no set timetable for handing in work (except for coursework), so you can adapt your timetable to your needs.

If you’re set on finding a new career, then this is a great time to branch out into new and interesting subjects. For example, did you know that you can take an A Level in Health and Social Care?

(Image courtesy of Flickr.)