Deciding what to study for A level is a big decision, and one that you will want to get right. You don’t want to lose time switching courses and having to catch up because you chose badly, and you definitely don’t want to struggle through two years of study only to fail at the end. To give yourself the best chance of A level success it is worth thinking hard about what subjects you are going to take. Fortunately, there are a few key pieces of advice that will make your choice easier. Indeed, these same tips could be useful for choosing the subjects for any further education too.
- Do Subjects You Like
A levels are a big step up from GCSE, so you will want to make sure you are doing a subject that you enjoy. Not only will you be expected to study the subject to a deeper level and in more detail, but the difficulty is likely to increase too. Choosing something you enjoy will help you stay engaged with the subject and giving it your best shot. Studying something you don’t enjoy can quickly become demoralising, and could leave you dreading going to class.
- Check Out What’s Required
As well as choosing something that you will enjoy learning about you will also need to do a subject that you feel confident in. Find out what skills you will need to develop as you study, whether essay-writing, independent reading, or detailed memorising of facts and figures is important. It is not enough to be interested in a subject, you need to be able to keep up with the skills required.
Speak with your teachers to find out what you might expect from the subject at A level as well as any potential Sixth Form tutors you get the chance to meet at open days and so forth. You can also check Sixth Form guides for information on subjects, or speak with anyone you know who is already doing the subject at A level. Of course you can also check past our ‘Advice Centre’ if you have any questions about any future career plans.
- Consider Your Career Plans
Talking of career plans, you will want to consider these when looking at subjects for A level. Do you plan to go to university to study a particular subject, or do you have a career in mind that you would like to get into? These will both have a bearing on what subjects you might need to take at A level. Your school will be able to help with these sorts of questions. However, that being said, it is not a bad idea to keep our options open at this time. In fact, you should avoid taking a subject you don’t enjoy just to fulfil a career plan – it is far better to adjust your career goals unless you feel for some reason you will find the subject easier at A level standard (which, to be honest, you probably won’t!). If you are stuck for career plans you might need to find some career inspiration!
- What If I Make The Wrong Choice?
Despite the advice, you may still find that a subject was a wrong choice for you. If so, try not to panic. Speak with your tutors and find out if you can get extra help or if you should soon find things getting easier (after a steep start). Alternatively, if you catch the problem early on you may be able to switch your course, getting some extra help to catch up. Of course, if you decide that A levels are not for you there are plenty of alternative routes into employment for you to look into!