What A Levels Should I Take?

Bridgette Barrett

Geography Lead


Read time

5 minutes

Choosing A levels is one of the first significant life decisions many students make. Your choice of A levels can shape your future educational and career path. 

The range of A level subjects available has never been greater. Meaning the decision about which A Level subjects to choose is even more daunting, particularly if you are not sure what you want to study at university. There are also decisions about how many A Levels to take and what combination. 

There is a lot of information available and you may have other people trying to influence your decisions, from friends who want you to take the same subjects as them, to your parents and teachers. You may even have used a ‘What A levels should I take quiz’ to make the decision for you. It is important to remember that although these quizzes can be a starting point, they are limited in the information they give and may leave you with more questions than answers. 

It is essential that you take the time to research and make the decision that is right for you. There are a number of questions which will help to give you the answers about which A Levels to choose whatever your circumstances.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

  • Reflect on the subjects you enjoy studying and have succeeded in at school. Think about the topics that genuinely interest you and motivate you to learn more.

  • Consider your strengths and natural aptitudes. Are you more inclined towards analytical subjects like Mathematics and Sciences, or do you have a flair for creative and expressive subjects like English Literature or Art?

  • Your A Level choices should align with your passions and talents, as this can enhance your enjoyment of the subjects and potentially lead to better academic performance.

  • A Levels are much more challenging than GCSEs, it is important that you enjoy learning the materials or you will definitely struggle.

What if you know what you want to study at university?

  • Look up the specific entry requirements for the university courses you are considering. Some courses may have mandatory subjects, such as Mathematics for Engineering or Biology for Medicine. The Russell Group website Informed Choices is a great place to start as a guide for the subjects you will need.

  • Additionally, some courses may have preferred subjects that can give you an advantage during the application process. Although these subjects are not mandatory, studying them can strengthen your application.

  • If you have a particular career in mind, research the qualifications and skills typically required in that field. This will help you identify relevant A Level subjects.

How can you keep your options open when choosing your A Levels?

  • While it's essential to focus on your interests, it can also be beneficial to choose a combination of subjects that provide flexibility. This can be helpful if you are unsure about your specific career path or if you want to explore various options.

  • Opt for a balanced selection of subjects from different areas, such as Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Languages. This can broaden your knowledge and skills base, keeping your options open for future study or career choices.

  • Consider subjects like Mathematics, English, or a Science subject, as these are often seen as foundational subjects and can be useful in a wide range of fields.

  • Do not choose subjects which are considered to be too similar such as economics and business studies as this can restrict the breadth of skills you gain.

Where are the best places to get advice on choosing your A Levels?

  • Consult with your teachers or career advisors at your school. They can provide personalized guidance based on your academic performance, interests, and career aspirations.

  • If there are careers that you think you might be interested in then reach out to professionals or experts working in fields that interest you. They can offer insights into the specific subjects or qualifications that are relevant and valued in their industry.

  • Attend university and career fairs. They can provide valuable information and answer your queries.

  • Talk to students already doing the subjects about what it involves.

  • Look at websites such as UCAS and the Complete University Guide which provide information about university requirements

What else can you do to help you make your decision?

  • Read through the specifications for the subjects you are interested in, particularly if they are subjects you have not studied before. They may not be what you expected.

  • Look through a textbook for the subject, this will give you an idea of the topics you will cover.

Remember, choosing your A Levels should ultimately come down to your own interests, abilities, and long-term goals. Consider all the available information and advice, but ultimately choose the subjects that align with your aspirations and passions. It is also important to remember that many people change their minds about their careers and degrees after doing A levels. According to UCAS there are over 50,000 degree courses available so, whilst it is an important decision, whatever your A levels there will always be opportunities available to you.

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Written by Bridgette Barrett

Geography Lead9 articles

After graduating with a degree in Geography, Bridgette completed a PGCE over 25 years ago. She later gained an MA Learning, Technology and Education from the University of Nottingham focussing on online learning. At a time when the study of geography has never been more important, Bridgette is passionate about creating content which supports students in achieving their potential in geography and builds their confidence.

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