Student Life

Ambassador Stories: How did I decide my A levels?

3 min
October 21, 2021
We know that choosing your A-levels can be a daunting task. To make things easier for you, we spoke to Adelin, one of our Springpod Brand Ambassadors, who has just started Year 13 to see how he came to his decision on what subjects to study. Read on to see what you can learn from Adelin's process and adapt it to help you make your future choices.

You may have come to that moment in your education where you must decide what A-levels to study. This may be stressful and pretty difficult (it was for me, anyway!) - there are so many opportunities and such a vast range of subjects... So, to help, I’ll tell you how I chose my subjects, what made me consider some and rule others out. I hope understanding my pathway to A-level helps you - or at least makes deciding a lot easier and a lot less stressful. 

Research the subjects: 

The first thing you should do is find out all the subjects that your sixth form offers - and make a list! This will ensure that you know exactly what choices you have available. After you’ve listed all of them, do a bit of research on what the entry requirements are. This is important because some subjects require a specific GCSE grade, for example, most sixth forms won’t let you do A-level maths without having a grade six at GCSE. The requirements should look similar to the following:

A-level subjects and their required grades:

Maths - Six in GCSE maths

Physics  - Six in GCSE science

Politics - Six in GCSE English 

Now, this may already rule out certain subjects that require a certain grade, however, it’s worth discussing this with your teacher to see if exceptions can be made.

Research for the future: 

The next step that will help you decide your subjects is researching what you actually want to do and looking at university entry requirements. If you don’t know the exact field of work you want, try searching for a subject you like. Say you like politics - search for politics university courses and note the entry requirements. This may be an A-level in an essay-based subject, for example.

What you’ve done before and what you like: 

Re-order the subjects that are leftover in the order of what you like best. Perhaps you studied certain subjects previously at GCSE and wish to carry them on. This will help you understand what you do - and definitely don’t - want to study. Bear in mind subjects you’ll need for your course though, as some you may not necessarily like but will need in the future. 

Speak with students and teachers:

Now that you have a list of subjects that interest you, speak with other students that do those subjects to find out what the teachers expect and what the workload is like. Don’t forget to speak with teachers as well! Ask them if you can look at textbooks and review the content. This should further help you choose your subjects.  

Final choice: 

Now that you have all of this information, it’s time to rule out the remaining subjects, leaving you with three of four A-levels. Remember to bear everything in mind: what subjects you need for university, what subjects you enjoy, what subjects you found interesting at GCSE and so on. Your subject list shouldn’t be too long anymore, so there wont be much left to rule out. 

Key tips: 

A key tip during this process is to make sure to speak with your sixth form and find out how many subjects you can choose. Some sixth forms allow you to do four subjects but one will be an AS level (basically half an A-level). The AS you’ll likely have to drop so consider carefully. You may be able to do four full A-levels if your school allows it, but enquire first!

A final note: 

Thank you for reading! I hope these tips help you decide the correct A-levels to get you where you want to be. This blog was created using my own experience of choosing my A-levels and covered all the stuff I wish I knew so you don’t make the same mistakes.

If you’d like to become a Springpod Brand Ambassador like Adelin, and get the chance to write blog articles like this one, offering an insight into your career journey so far, then email Dan at: daniel.eames@springpod.com

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