Choosing your A level courses? Here’s five things you need to know

Share article posted on January 05, 2018


So your GCSE results turned out great? Nice work. Now you need to decide which A level courses you want to take to help steer your career in the direction you want it to go. But it’s not quite as simple as just choosing the subjects you like. Here’s a few things to consider to make sure you choose your courses wisely, as well as some advice on dreaded A level retakes, so you’re ready for your next step.


1). Nobody said A levels were easy

A Level courses are harder than GCSEs. Much harder. And that’s the way it should be. Otherwise everyone would have them. So you need to be prepared for a different style of course - different in the way it’s studied and different in the way it’s taught.

Give some thought to the subjects you absolutely need to have that will get you on the right uni course for your chosen career, as well as other subjects. Do you enjoy a certain subject or are you good at it? Will it suit you if you haven’t had a GCSE background in it? A levels are a big step change and you’ll certainly notice the difference, so be ready to step up your game.


2). Keep your course options open

If you’re still at the stage where you’re quietly panicking and trying to figure out what it is you want to study at uni, then you won’t be the only one. If you’ve made the decision to go to uni, then that’s the first step. At this stage you can keep your A level course options wide open.

All universities have what’s known as ‘facilitating’ subjects. These are subjects that are most often required for uni entry. It’s a mixed bag and reads a bit like a list of your GCSE subjects, but they are: English, Maths, Modern & Classical languages, History, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. The more of these you choose to study, the bigger the choice of uni courses you’ll have.


3). Does your uni course need a specific A level?

If you know exactly which uni degree course you want to take, you’ll already know the subjects you need to study at A level. Though these might differ slightly from uni to uni, it’s worth noting that some degree courses have very precise entry requirements. If you don’t have the right subjects, they might not let you apply.

Always check the full entry requirement for the uni courses you want. But don’t just check your preferred uni. Check your second and third choices too, just to make sure you’re covering yourself and getting the right mix of subjects under your belt. And keep an eye on what the grade requirements are too so you can prioritise your revision plan.


4). Whatever your choice, it’s still a good one

If you are still unsure of the subjects you want take, don’t panic. Unless you have a clear vision locked in with pinpoint accuracy, you have a fair crack at choosing from many different courses, each requiring different A level course subjects.

Most universities will consider your application even if your subjects don’t exactly match their entry requirements. And remember, some unis don’t even have essential entry requirements, so don’t let yourself be put off by ‘having’ to choose specific subjects. Each of your A levels will tell unis, and future employers, that you’ve shown dedication, commitment and ambition, so pick subjects that you enjoy as well.


5). What if it doesn’t quite work out?

It’s important that you get stuck into your A levels with all the enthusiasm and determination needed to see you through to completion. All the short term pain and relentless study will be totally worth it when you get the results you need to get into the uni you want. But, despite your best efforts, what if you don’t get all the results you need?

Though you might get a slightly lower grade than required in a particular subject, don’t admit defeat. Speak to your chosen university as soon as possible to see if they’ll still accept you. If you’ve had any issues or problems during your study, they might take your personal circumstances into consideration.

If the worst happens and your chosen uni won’t accept you as your results stand, you could consider A level retakes. Many tutorial colleges, such as London-based Westminster Tutors, offer specialist A level retake courses that give you one-to-one teaching with an individually planned programme to help you in the areas where you need it most.

If you only just miss out, A level retakes might make all the difference to getting into your first choice uni. Call Westminster Tutors today on 020 7584 1288 or fill in our Contact form for more information.