Which A Level Subjects Should You Take?

Choosing the right A Level subjects can be a daunting task and can determine the trajectory of your future career. But not to worry, Our article goes through five questions that will help you decide Which A Level Subjects You Should Take.

Table of Contents

a levels subject guide

1. Which course do you want to pursue?

If you’re unsure about what course you’d like to pursue, it’s best to take subjects that enable you to pursue a wide range of courses in the future. We recommend that you take at least two general subjects. The following list has subjects that are usually required for certain university courses:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Alternatively, if you’re already sure about your future path, you can choose subjects based on the future course you’d like to pursue.

Required Subjects for Medicine

Biology and Chemistry

Required Subjects for English

English or English Literature

Required Subjects for Chemical Engineering

Math and Chemistry

2. Which subjects are not accepted by universities?

Some subjects are not accepted as part of your UCAS Tariff score at many universities. These subjects include:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Global Perspectives
  • General Studies

Meanwhile, some universities have more specific requirements about subject choices. For example, the London School of Economics and Political Science has a list of non-preferred subjects. This includes Business Studies, Home Economics, Music Technology, Travel and Tourism and more. Students may only take one of these subjects in order to be accepted at LSE.

The reason for these subjects being non-preferred and not a part of the UCAS Tariff score is that many universities have found these subjects to inadequately prepare students for undergraduate studies.

3. Which subjects are additional requirements for certain courses?

Some undergraduate courses have specific subject requirements, such as how Chemical Engineering requires Maths and Chemistry. These requirements are obvious and are directly related to the course you’re about to pursue. The A Levels subjects you have chosen to study will prepare you well for undergraduate study.

In addition to that, some subjects may have a secondary subject requirement. For example, Law courses normally require a minimum of a C in English as you’re expected to communicate well in English. However, it is not required for you to take A Levels Law to be admitted into an undergraduate course. This is because the undergraduate programme will adequately prepare you for studying Law without any prior knowledge of the subject, however, the programme expects your level of English to be at a certain level at the start of your studies.

4. Which subjects are most difficult to ace?

Some A Level subjects are harder than others. The conventional wisdom for those who are unsure about which subjects to take is to go with two science subjects which would allow you to pursue most courses.

If you’re looking for a third subject, it may be worth finding one that’s easy to ace. The reason for that is many universities look at your top three grades at the A Levels so the third subject is quite important. Most courses with subject requirements will only have two science subject requirements, so you have the option to take a humanities subject as your third subject.

Take a look at the following list of the hardest subjects to pass and ace at the A Levels.

RankingSubjectPercentage A*Percentage APercentage Ungraded
6English Language2.17.710.5
5Computer Science11.421.712.1
1Information Technology0.33.227.6

5. Do subject combinations matter?

Ultimately, do subject combinations matter? The answer largely depends on how set you are about your future undergraduate course. The safest option if you’re undecided is to go with two science subjects such as Biology with Chemistry as it allows you to pursue Medicine and Chemistry-related degrees in the future. Alternatively, taking Math with Physics will allow those with an inclination to physics to pursue a course in the subject. Of course, if you go with science subjects for your two A Levels, they are widely accepted if you decide to pursue an undergraduate course in the humanities later.

The majority of courses, especially those in the humanities, will accept you no matter what subject combinations you have chosen as long as you meet their grades and other requirements. One of the few exceptions is English degrees, which typically requires an A Levels in English.

Overall, choose your A Level subjects wisely, but be sure to also base your choices on your natural aptitude and interests.

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