The biggest difference between GCSE and A-level is the amount of subjects you do. A-level limits you to three, sometimes four. Choosing the right subjects can be hard and as much as I like to tell you to choose whatever you like, this is not the case.

1. Think ahead
It’s never too early to start thinking about your university course. You should have a vague idea at least. Almost all universities have subject requirements and they are not something to ignore. You might have a passion for French and a love for history but they will not get you into a medicine course. Checking a university website for subject and grade requirements is easier if you have a specific course in mind.

2. Self-reflection
Say, you know what you want to study. Medicine. This is an extreme example, but some universities do look at your GCSE grades and for a course like Medicine or Dentistry they are requiring 5 A’s or more at GCSE level. Even colleges and sixth forms have grade requirements when choosing A-levels. Then again, they vary per college and at this stage you should be able to do the A-levels you want.
But what if a subject that you are not particularly good at is required, like chemistry.
If they let you do the A-level then you can surely do it but you have to work hard and give it 101%. A-levels require 3 hours study per week on top of homework and there is no point choosing a subject if you are not willing to put those hours in. Especially if it is not your strongest subject.

3. I don’t know what to do?
It’s not the end of the world if you still don’t know what you want to do at university. It is also not the only option after your A-levels but it is something that many do. If you are planning to go to university without a course in mind have a look at facilitating subjects. These are subjects that are mostly required by universities and they can open many doors. They are also a good third or fourth subject. Russell Group Universities (these are top universities) define them as:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English literature
  • Geography
  • History
  • Physics
  • Modern and classical languages
  • Maths and further maths

4. What does this mean?
You might think, “Where does the word fun fit in all of this?” These are A-levels and they should be taking seriously. Looking at university requirements does not mean that you are only choosing subjects you hate. The A-levels you choose based on what you want to do later are linked. You should never choose something because of family or friends, it is strange to want to study Medicine when you hate biology. It is your A-level and you are the one sitting those exams after two years.

Posted by Rebecca Harbot on 29 June 2017

Category: Alya