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Application for sixth form - Choosing subjects for A-Level

Sixth form study is such a huge jump from GCSE, choosing subjects to study for A-Level can be quite a dilemma. With a variety of courses and subjects to choose from when making your application for sixth form, this can sometimes be a tough and tricky decision to make.

Here are some tips from our expert education consultants on how to get started. If you’re looking for further support and advice you can contact our team to book a complimentary call to discuss your application for sixth form.

Choose subjects you are passionate about

A-Level work is quite a step up in difficulty, so engagement, interest and passion for a subject will be key to battling through the challenges of studying it. Choosing a subject just because your friends are doing it, is not usually a good plan.

Read the A-Level subject and syllabus booklet carefully

In order to get to grips with what the course actually entails by way of content, teaching and assessment format it is always best to thoroughly read through the syllabus. You’ll probably have twice as many lessons per week for each subject in sixth form, so you need to go for subjects you will enjoy.

Understand what subjects are considered equal by universities

Take at least two subjects that are valued as either facilitating or ‘hard’ subjects by the Russell Group of universities. Avoid taking subjects that are too similar, for example Business Studies and Economics. ‘Soft’ subjects (those deemed to be ‘less effective’ preparation for degree study by the top universities) should be chosen with care. Knowing and understanding your pathway beyond school, will make this decision a lot easier.

Ensure your subjects are linked to your future aspirations

Make sure you have your bases covered if you have any particular course or career aspirations for university and beyond. Some courses such as Medicine or Engineering require A-Levels in particular subjects so you will need to bear this in mind when making your final selection. Check grade expectations and whether any particular subjects are required, before submitting your final selection. If you are unsure of university courses at this stage, keep your options open by the choices you make.

Challenge yourself in your choices, but don’t over-stretch

Sometimes it can be better to excel in three subjects, in tandem with perhaps an EPQ and wider extracurricular commitments, rather than push for four subjects and see a dip in final grades as a result. Consult teachers and listen to their advice. They know both your academic capabilities and the demands of sixth form study, so are best placed to advise you.

BTECs offer a more vocationally based qualification in more practical subjects, so can suit some students better. Check university entry requirements for reassurance about grade targets in these subjects in tandem with A-Levels.

Work hard at GCSE and A-Level

When considering your UCAS application, top universities may well look at your GCSE grades, in tandem with your A-Level grade predictions, so work hard in year 11 and aim for the best grades possible.

Keep an open mind

University is not the only pathway to employment. Work experience and wider opportunities within the sixth form programme can open other doors that might be more up your street. Keep an open mind.

How can we help with your application for sixth form

Creating your application for sixth form can be daunting, from choosing where you want to study to the subjects you want to take at A-Level. Our expert team of education consultants are here to help you consider all the possible options and which would be best for you. Contact us to book your complimentary call today.

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