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Tutor Doctor | Feb 9, 2016

4 Things to Consider When Choosing Your A-Levels

Categories: Teens, Tips

It’s already that time of year where students are applying for college and thinking about which subjects they are going to choose. We all know that what you choose to study at A-Level can have a major impact on your future, so it’s important to make the right decision. Here at Tutor Doctor we’ve narrowed it down to the 4 most important things to consider before making those all-important choices. So whether you’re decided or haven’t got a clue, we guarantee that these four pointers will help you make an informed decision.

1. Ability and enjoyment
It’s always important to start with the basics. Begin by mind mapping out the subjects your good at along with what you like and enjoy. The more you enjoy your studies the more likely you are going to be motivated to work hard. Having a natural ability in your chosen subjects can also increase your chances of success. However always keep in mind that A-Levels are very different to GCSEs, so make sure you do your research about exactly what each course offers.

2.Certain University courses will look for specific A-Levels
If you have a rough idea what you’re wanting to study at university always keep in mind that certain university courses will look for specific A-Levels.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Pharmacy must have: chemistry, plus at least one from biology, maths and physics
  • English must have: English literature or English language (Sometimes Both)
  • Geology must have: at least two from maths, physics, chemistry and biology
  • Economics will need: maths

This will also be similar for those interested in Art and Design degrees and it is likely that art subjects will be required. For a full list of University subjects and typical A-Level requirements click here.

3. Course content, assessment and workload
Before making any final decisions always have a look at the course syllabus- this will usually outline the content and assessment titles. This will give you a good indication to whether the two years will cover the areas that you are most interested in. You might even be surprised at how excited you can get about specific topics!

Also consider the workload of the course and the main methods of assessment. For example one subject might include lots of essay writing and reading whereas you might prefer extended practical projects. Either way it will give you the chance to weigh up what you’re best at and whether that style of assessment suits you.

4. A-Levels are tougher than GCSEs
Finally it’s important to remember that A-Levels are a lot trickier than GCSEs. It’s a fairly big jump up and you will instantly see that a lot more is expected from you. It’s crucial that you prepare yourself for this transition by being on top of your studies and not leaving revision and homework to the last minute.

How can I get advice?
If after reading this you are still confused about which A-Level subjects you want to take or perhaps you’re not sure if A-Levels are the right option for you, remember you can always get advice. Speaking to tutors, teachers, parents, college lecturers and even other family members is always a great way to talk through your options. Teachers and tutors will also be helpful if you’re not sure which subjects are your strongest. If these options don’t suit you, then chatting with a Careers Advisor can be super helpful as they always have loads of information to hand. Visit the National Careers Service for details.

For more information about the structural changes to A-Levels see our previous post here.