At this time of year many students around the world are thinking about one very important decision in regards to studying: What subjects shall I choose? 

Well for the third time in my life I am facing that decision and I have decided to help some of the future A Level/BTEC students whose shoes I can remember being in.

Here are my simple guidelines for choosing the right subjects:

1. It is your choice not anyone else’s

This is the classic scenario of "I do not like chemistry but there is a 1/16 chance that I will be in the same class as my bestie" or "My mother, cousin, brother and sister all studied history and they want me to study history as well".

While you may be pressured to continue the family traditions or do not want to leave your friend on their own, you need to think what's best for you as it is your choice and it will pave the way for your career - not theirs!

2. Results do not lie

You may have wanted to take A-Level Biology but it turns out that you need to have a B in GCSE maths and not only do you not care for anything maths related but you got a C.

Grade requirements exist for a reason: the subject you have chosen involves an unexpected amount of knowledge from another subject, which only people who got a certain grade in a specific GCSE subject can handle.

So play to your strengths, not your weaknesses.

3. Research and make sure you know what your course is about

You may wonder why there are two types of design course, or what the difference is between English Language and English Literature. 

Some subjects on the surface appear to offer the same topics, modules and coursework opportunities.  When you research them, they actually offer very different benefits, and the topics covered are not the same across the board.

Doing your research before starting your courses means you won't have to queue up and change your subject 2 weeks into your studies, and relieves yourself from that pressure of getting it right a second time.

4. Be prepared for the worst

Now there may be the one question in your science exam that threw you off guard or you may have spent too much time planning your answer to question 4 and did not have enough time to develop your third point in your essay, making you 4 marks off the grade you needed for BTEC Law and now you have an unexpected gap you have to fill in with a subject you did not choose.

I have been there - remember to have a plan B.

5. Try to avoid resits

Further education is much harder than GCSEs. You may need to resit to GCSE maths to take A Level science but trust me it is much easier to get the B the first time. You do not want to spend your time revising GCSE topics when you need to dedicate your time to the upcoming A Level Chemistry exam.  Do not dwell in the past and make sure that you get the results you need in your GCSEs before college/sixth form not during.


So those were my top five rules for the future A Level and BTEC students and to conclude I wish you good luck and I advise you to keep calm and remember the harder you work the better the reward.

Posted by Rebecca Harbot on 30 June 2017

Category: Taha