Choosing which A-level subjects to study is one of the most difficult decisions students have to make to achieve their place at a top university.
Every student is an individual. Whilst there is no single recipe for success, it’s sensible to choose subjects that demonstrate your ability and develop both your subject knowledge and transferable skills.
All students at Kings Oxford have a personal tutor and access to highly experienced UCAS advisors. They provide support to put together tailored study plans that ensure a genuinely satisfying academic journey and successful outcomes.
Ten top tips on choosing the best A-Level subjects
Kings Oxford share their advice with these handy tips.
1. Do your research
Research which course best matches your interests and the subjects the universities require. If, like many students, you are not certain of your plans for degree, think about which subjects you don’t wish to pursue and check which doors that would close.
2. Don’t limit your options
It is important to consider both the specific knowledge that you will gain and the skills that you will develop in each subject. The skills are often transferable across multiple disciplines and can therefore keep your options open for degree progression.
Some of the subjects which are requested most often and provide greatest flexibility have been referred to as ‘facilitating subjects’: Mathematics and Further Mathematics, English Literature, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geography, History, Languages (Classical and Modern). It is worth considering the inclusion of one or more of these subjects within your choices.
The prestigious Russell Group of universities provide a useful website guide Informed Choices which provides guidance on specific pre-requisite subjects for individual degrees and also which degrees students might consider based on the subjects they enjoy and study at A-level.
3. Breadth of subjects is good
It can often be beneficial to avoid significant overlap — for example, taking Economics alongside Business Studies — unless of course you have a specific interest in that area.
4. Follow your interests
Students tend to be better at the subjects they enjoy and this should lead to a more fulfilling future career, but remember that two years is a long time and you might change your mind.
5. Play to your strengths
If you enjoy essay writing and research, then essay-based subjects demonstrate your communication and analytical skills and critical thinking. Science subjects demonstrate logical thinking and reasoning as well as building familiarity with scientific principles.
6. Consider studying a new subject
A-levels open up new subject possibilities, you may find a new area of study you find intellectually stimulating and enjoyable.
7. Know what the A-level course entails
Find out what exactly what you will be studying over the next two years and how the course is structured. Kings will provide advice and guidance but are also flexible, it’s possible to change your mind if you start a subject and find it really isn’t the right fit for you.
8. Maths can be a winning choice
Universities value Maths and it is a pre-requisite subject for many degrees. Mathematical and statistical problem solving, data analysis and interpretation skills are used in a broad range of subject areas. If you are capable of achieving good grades it is well-worth considering.
9. Bear in mind that A-levels are more difficult than GCSEs
This may seem obvious but be prepared for a big jump in the focus, level of difficulty and possibly the effort required for each subject.
10. Get advice from the experts
Every potential A-level student should receive tailored advice from their current school, but we are always happy to discuss your subject choices. Our team are experts at helping students achieve their full potential and win their place at a leading university. Our students’ results and destinations illustrate our students’ success.
Whether you are taking A-levels for the first time, resitting subjects or revising your study plan, Kings Oxford can help you achieve your ambitions.
Kings Oxford is a modern independent college for ambitious students looking for a mature yet supportive learning environment and community in which they can express their own identity, explore their interests and achieve their ambitions. The college supports students to become responsible and independent learners, based on a mutual respect between staff and students.