Choosing your A Level subjects
If you are in Year 11, you have probably just finished your GCSE mock exams. You may be breathing a sigh of relief, or perhaps you even did rather better than you were expecting. If you are considering starting A Level courses next year, the Sixth Form Team at Ipswich School have some top tips on how to choose your A Level subjects.
Firstly, think about choosing the subjects that you’re good at, and things you enjoy. If you enjoy going to lessons, you’ll find you pay attention more, and you’re more likely to work harder in your own time, and this will help you to succeed. Getting a top grade in a subject because it’s one you love and have worked hard at is much more likely to secure you a place at the university of your choice; picking a subject which you think looks impressive but getting a lower grade will not help you.
Having said that, there are some subjects which are considered more highly by universities such as Oxbridge, so if you are aiming for these universities, do speak to your tutors to get advice on your subject choices.
Similarly, there are some combinations of subjects which do work well together, and which may be a requirement for some university courses. If you want to study Medicine, you will need Maths and science A Levels, usually Biology and Chemistry; these subjects are often studied together and there are some topics which make more sense if you are doing both sciences. You really need to study A Level Maths if you are doing A Level Physics; A Level Maths is also sometimes needed for psychology, finance, economics and business courses at university.
Your GCSE mocks will give you a good idea of what A Level subjects are possibilities for you. You will need to check whether your school or college has any entry requirements. For example, Ipswich School tutors say that to be really successful in a subject at A Level, you will usually need a grade 7 or above in the subject at GCSE. Data also shows that some A Level subjects are more difficult to access than others. Top students are generally successful in any subject, but if you have a grade 6 or even a 7 at GCSE, you may find it harder to get on in science subjects, modern foreign languages and maths.
Finally, a tip for parents. You can help by listening to your child and finding out more about their ambitions, and by talking to your child’s teachers – remember they should have a good idea about whether the subjects your child is taking are going to work for them.
The Sixth Form Team here are always willing to have a chat to pupils and parents who are considering A Level choices and wondering what to study and where. Whilst we do have minimum entry requirements, we are only too happy to discuss options regarding a Sixth Form place at Ipswich School. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org they will get in touch and arrange to chat through your options with you. You can also find out more about the Ipswich School Sixth Form here: www.ipswich.school/sixthform