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:


The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is the official national training board for the UK construction industry; last year they helped over 3500 people gain apprenticeships in lots of different construction roles.

There are many opportunities for young people in this industry, some will be based on the traditional craft trade and others on new and developing techniques.

Apprenticeships are based around three key elements working, studying at college and functional skills and take two years to complete an Intermediate Apprenticeship with an addition year to achieve an Advanced Level qualification.

If you are interested in an apprenticeship with CITB you can start the application process by applying online at:

After this you will be invited to take a CITB Skills Learning Exercise test (SLE). If you are successful CITB will then contact you with details of vacancies suitable for you.

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