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Choosing the Right Subjects for A Level Courses

Course guide 20 June 2017

Laying the foundation for postsecondary studies is one of the most important aspects of a young student’s academic career. For those studying A levels, choosing subjects can be a very complicated decision – with only three (or occasionally four) subjects chosen, there is a lot of pressure to ensure that students’ course combinations will adequately prepare them for their university goals.

Fortunately, CATS has years of experience guiding students through the A level selection process and onward to postsecondary success. Read on for three key factors to consider when selecting A level subjects to ensure a course that matches your child’s unique needs and ambitions.

Find Out Which University Programmes Require Specific A Level Courses

Many students already have a university path in mind when they begin their A levels. Whether they want to attend a particular university or they know which subject they want to pursue at any institution, it is important to research university and programme requirements to find out if any specific A level subjects are required or discouraged. For instance, programmes like medicine generally require an A level in chemistry, plus two additional A levels of which at least one should be a science. Many law schools, on the other hand, do not have specific A level subject requirements but may note preferences for a well-rounded mix of subjects, or subjects that demonstrate skills such as logic. Having this type of information about their desired university institution or subject of study will help students select their A level courses prudently.

CATS students should research the A level requirements of universities and programmes that interest them

Focus on Facilitating Subjects if You Have Not Yet Decided on a Postsecondary Path

What about the many students who have not decided where or what they want to study at university? Fortunately, students pursuing A levels do not necessarily have to construct a specialised path for themselves at this early stage. Instead, they should focus on what are often referred to as “facilitating subjects,” or subjects that are most commonly asked for by university programmes. These include biology, chemistry, English, geography, history, maths, modern and classical languages, and physics. By pursuing a combination of these subjects, students can put themselves the best position to be eligible for whatever university programme they eventually decide on. These courses are all offered by CATS A level colleges in London, Cambridge, and Canterbury, ensuring that CATS students can take the A level subjects they need to facilitate a strong university career.

Emphasise Student Aptitude in Fast Track A Levels Programmes

Finally, it is important not to lose sight of the subjects for which your child has the strongest aptitude, as these will undoubtedly be the most efficient path to the excellent grades needed for a strong admissions profile. While it is not advisable to pursue A level subjects that are too similar, such as business studies and economics, students can still easily select a cluster of subjects that play to their strengths. For particularly ambitious students in their last year of high school, fast track A levels programmes like the one offered at CATS may be an appropriate choice as they allow the two year A level programme to be completed in less time. This option may be more feasible for students pursuing subjects that they already excel in, and can be a great way for them to challenge themselves before thriving in the rigorous university environment.

Choosing subjects based on aptitude can help students succeed in a fast-track A levels programme and graduate sooner

By keeping university programme requirements, facilitating subjects, and student aptitude in mind, you and your child will be in the best position to choose the optimal combination of A level subjects for academic success.

Are you and your child comparing A level courses?

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