One of the most difficult decisions students have to make to achieve their place at a top university is which subjects they should study at A-level.
Kings Oxford are experts at helping students achieve their full potential and win their place at a leading university. Their students’ results and destinations illustrate their success. Here are their top tips to consider when choosing your A-Level subjects.
Every student is an individual. Whilst there is no single recipe for success it’s sensible to choose subjects that demonstrate your ability, develop both your subject knowledge and transferable skills and that keep your options open.
10 Top Tips: How to Choose Your A Levels
- 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.
- Don’t limit your options: The prestigious Russell Group of universities provide an online guide called Informed Choices which explains in detail what they are looking for. We suggest that students typically choose at least two “facilitating subjects”: Biology, Chemistry, Classical Languages, English Literature, Geography, History, Mathematics/Further Mathematics, Modern Languages, Physics, (Economics would be included for degrees in Economics) with the third choice being more flexible.
- Breadth of subjects is good: Avoid significant overlap, for example Economics and Business Studies.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Know what the A-level course entails: Find out what exactly you will be studying over the next two years and how the course is structured. Kings London will provide advice and guidance but we 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.
- 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 have the potential to achieve good grades it is well-worth considering.
- 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.
- 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.
Kings personal tutors and UCAS advisors are highly experienced in developing tailored study plans that ensure a genuinely satisfying academic journey and successful outcomes. Whether you are taking A-levels for the first time, resitting subjects or revising your study plan, talk to them to see how they could 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.