A Level Choices

Which subjects should you study?

The Russell Group is a lobbying group for the 20 leading universities in the UK which includes Oxford and Cambridge. Competition for places at these universities is fierce with many candidates for courses such as Medicine, English and Law having three/four A Levels at grade A.

They are now advising that to gain access to one of these universities students should be picking up at least two subjects from the traditional academic subjects as against the perceived weaker subjects. These are also known as the "facilitating subjects" and choosing these subjects give the student a much wider range of options at university.

  • Maths & Further Maths
  • English Literature
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geography
  • History
  • Languages (Classical & Modern)

Admission tutors for these universities insist that a lower grade in an academic subject would be more beneficial than a higher grade in a perceived easier subject.

Students need to ensure they make the right choices at A Level to maximise their opportunities and further choices in life. Combinations of subjects at A Level are crucial and each student should think carefully before finalising their option choices. Do not take a risk. Ensure you undertake the relevant research, particularly if you are picking a new subject.

Possible reasons to study a subject at a higher level:

  • You are good at and have enjoyed the subject
  • You need the subject to enter a particular career or course
  • You have not studied the subject but you have completed your research and feel it will suit your strengths

At university many of the science degrees fall into two categories: Biological / Life Sciences or Physical Sciences.

Biological or Life Sciences are degrees based on Chemistry and Biology. By choosing both subjects a huge number of degrees will be open to you including: Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Pharmacy. It will also give you the opportunity to study research based degrees such as Biochemistry and Pharmacology.

Physical Sciences involve the application of Maths and Physics. By taking these two subjects you will be able to study Engineering and Physics as well as a huge range of degrees.

Before picking you chose of A Levels please research your options carefully and be realistic about the subjects you are choosing, considering your ability and the advice offer by subject teachers.

View the Russell Group A Levels combinations chart here:

Download the Russell Group "Informed Choices” guide, which offers advice and information on how to choose what to study after your GCSEs:

Bible Quote

“Praise the Lord because he is good.  His faithful love will last forever.”
Psalm 136:1

Word of the Week

Pandemic (noun)

Subject which uses this term: Science, Geography

Meaning: An epidemic that sweeps across continents or the whole world.

For example: "Scientists are working hard to ensure the world does not see another viral pandemic."

Thought for the Week


"Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people."

2017-18 Options Booklet

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