Scroll down to read more about picking the right subjects for your university course!
It may seem like a while since you chose your A Levels, but soon you’ll be fully engrossed in those subjects and (if you want to!) planning your move into the world of higher education.
However with GCSE Results Day looming, it’s not uncommon to question your subject choices. After all, this is arguably the first big academic decision that will affect what you study throughout Years 12 and 13, and potentially at university!
Yet despite the fact that it's a big decision, it's not set in stone. If you’re panicking and second-guessing yourself: stop it! Instead, ask yourself the following questions to work out whether you’ve picked the perfect A level combo for you...
1. Are you playing to your strengths?
This may seem like a harsh question, but it's an important one. A Levels are undeniably harder than GCSEs, so it’s important to play to your strengths and be realistic about what you can achieve in order to get the best grades you can.
While Results Day will inevitably tell you where you stand, speak to your teachers in the meantime if you’re feeling uncertain. The likelihood is that you’re more than capable of studying your chosen subjects at A Level; you might just need some reassurance to boost your confidence!
2. What subjects do you enjoy?
This is arguably the most important question, as research has shown that if you study something you enjoy, you’re automatically more inclined to work hard, and are therefore more likely to achieve higher grades!
This doesn’t mean you have to absolutely love every subject you choose. Sometimes career goals might outweigh your reservations about a particular subject.
For example you might really want to become a doctor but find Chemistry quite tough, and as a result don’t particularly enjoy studying it. Should you still study Chemistry? Of course! You need to if you really want to study Medicine.
However, let’s say your parents think you’re great at Art and encourage you to pursue it, but you prefer Spanish. If you enjoy Spanish more and it’s compatible with your career and university goals then choose Spanish. Your parents want the best for you, so they’ll be understanding.
3. Do your subjects match your university goals?
It may be two years until you start university, but nevertheless it’s a good idea to think about what and where you’d like to study. Some degrees don’t necessarily require you to study particular subjects (they might focus on grades and/or UCAS points instead) but there are a surprising amount that do.
Obvious examples include Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry, all of which typically ask for at least two Science A Levels. In addition, Science courses such as Biology, Chemistry and even Maths will often require an A Level in that particular subject in order to study it at degree level.
Humanities courses - depending on the university of choice - will also often ask that students study the subject in question at A Level. Some common exceptions are Philosophy, Theology and Classics.
Therefore, if you’re uncertain what is required of you, we’d recommend you go to your desired university’s website - or browse UCAS - and take a peek at your potential courses to see if you’ve chosen the right subjects. You don’t want to miss out on your dream course because you didn’t do your research!
And don’t forget: many sixth forms and colleges will let you swap courses a few weeks into term if you’re having second thoughts, so there’s really no need to panic.
What’s important is that your choices affect your future; so what you study has to be your decision. Choose wisely and make sure you’re happy with your subjects, so that you’re set to succeed next term!
And in the mean time - have a great summer!