Once you get into year eleven you’re almost immediately pressured to start thinking about A Level options and where you’ll go for college. And whilst it may seem daunting at first, there’s only a few things you have to think about to make the right choice.
1. Choose subjects to fit university requirements
If you’ve already decided what you want to do at university then the obvious suggestion is to look at the A Levels required by most universities for that course and then tailor your chosen subjects to fit those. This is only really do-able if you’re dead set on what you want to do in the future or you have a general idea of which area/subject you’d like to study, even if you don’t know the specifics.
2. Go for a wide range of subjects
If you haven’t got a clue about what you’d like to do at university then our advice would be to choose a variety. Choosing a wide range of subjects (i.e. a science, a humanities subject, a language, etc.) will keep most doors open to you when applying for universities or apprenticeships. Although, it may limit some courses- such as medicine- so you should bear that in mind if you’re going down this route.
3. Pick subjects you'll enjoy
You should definitely take into consideration what you enjoy the most. If you are going to spend two years studying a subject you’ll need to enjoy it, especially as you’ll need the motivation to keep going when it gets tough. If you don’t have a particular favourite, take a look at the syllabuses and courses for the A Levels that you think you’ll enjoy and see if you are particularly interested in any of them. Keeping interested in the course you’re studying is a huge help when it comes to motivating yourself to keep working no matter what.
4. Select subjects in which you're likely to achieve high grades
Grades should also play a part though too. Although it’s not always fun to hear, if you’re not likely to achieve high grades in them then maybe that subject isn’t for you. When it comes to applying for further education, they will only see your grades and an A is still better than a D even if you’d enjoy the D grade subject more. Similarly, if you’re struggling at GCSE then we wouldn’t suggest you choose it at A Level as the jump in work difficulty can be quite big even if you are great at the subject, which could make it hard to cope with the work right from the start.
5. Pick a subject you’d like to study at further education
Generally, our suggestions would be to look at the courses you would be studying and look at the general style of exam papers for them. If it looks interesting then maybe consider taking it, especially if you think it’d be a subject you’d like to study at further education. We’d also look at university courses, even if you’re not certain what you’d like to study yet. This can provide guidance in the kind of courses you need so you don’t get caught out when it comes to applying in two years time. This mainly applies to more specialist courses like law or medicine which tend to have more specific requirements than general courses like criminology which may only depend on UCAS points.
Hopefully this has helped you with your choices. Remember, if you feel like you’ve made the wrong choice then most schools will allow you to change as long as it’s within a two week period of starting the course so don’t stress about it too much.