University requirements are getting tougher and so is the competition to get a place, so is it worth doing more A Levels in an attempt to get ahead of the rest. Which number really is the best to guarantee you the university or apprenticeship place that you desperately want?

1. 3 is the absolute minimum

Bearing in mind, almost all university courses require 3 A2 levels in order to get an offer, 3 is the absolute minimum you should take (unless you are also taking BTEC or other vocational courses alongside them which sometimes count in their place). This is a good number if you’re worried about the workload or often struggle at school, but the risk is that you cannot drop one of your subjects if you are finding it tough or do not like it. Also, if your school doesn’t allow you to continue a course due to your grades then it can sometimes mean you can lose your place at your college/sixth form.

2. Four is also a common number

Most A Level students choose four. This is because it is still a relatively manageable workload but it also allows you the freedom of dropping a subject if you are not enjoying it for whatever reason. Doing 4 normally allows you to have free time in your timetable to catch up on work (depending on how your school timetables lessons), which you’ll find yourself needing around exam time. It also means that if you carry on with all four until A2 then you will be one step above everyone else when applying for university or an apprenticeship (providing your grades meet the criteria). Also, some courses require an AS level as well as three A levels, so you may need to take four anyway depending on what you want to do at university.

3. Five or more A Levels are less common

It is much less common for people to do five or more A Levels, purely because schools are not keen on allowing it. When you do five, it will usually remove any free time from your schedule and also increase the amount of work you have to do- something which could make the transition to A Levels more difficult as well as making it tougher to manage your time and workload effectively. It is even rarer that people do 6 A Levels as there physically isn’t time. Unless you are naturally gifted at a subject, it may be too difficult to keep up with everything and therefore not worth the extra stress just for the extra step up when it comes to university applications.

We would aim for around choosing four when you first apply for sixth form or college because it gives you much more freedom if you’re struggling at a subject but it also means that you don’t put yourself in a risky position. Choosing any more than that could lead to extra unneeded stress, something which you definitely don’t want at exam time. Some schools are beginning to only allow three A Levels now, so you do not put yourself at a serious disadvantage when it comes to university places by choosing four or three A Levels as opposed to five or six. This means that it definitely isn’t worth the extra stress and therefore We believe four is the best amount of A Levels to choose when you first start college.