Students need more guidance when choosing A level subjects

More than a fifth (18 per cent) of university applicants said that different A level subjects might have been better suited to the degree course they applied for, according to new research. 

Proportion of A* and A grades was 25.8 per cent, down by 0.1 per cent on last year. Photo credit: PA

The poll of 1,000, conducted by YouthSight for Which? University, found 30 per cent of those surveyed felt suitably informed of how their A level options would impact their university/ degree choice.

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Alex Neill, of Which? University said: “The A level subjects you take can have a big impact on what you can go on to study at university, so make sure you do your homework and choose wisely.

“If you’ve just received your GCSE results, and are now choosing your A level subjects, it’s important to know your options and get some advice. Our A level explorer tool can help you to consider the best subjects to take.”

A similar percentage (29 per cent) felt they needed more advice on which A-levels to take.

Over half of those choosing their A level subjects (52 per cent) picked their choices without thinking about what degree they wanted to study.

Which? University, a free source of information for students, shares five top tips to making your A level choices:

  1. Certain university courses will look for specific GCSEs and A levels: To apply for some uni courses, you will need specific GCSE and A level subjects at specific grades. If you know what you want to study at university, you should check out the full entry requirement details.
  2. Taking certain A levels will open up more university course options: If you have not decided what you want to study at university, do not panic – you will not be the only one. We have listed the most commonly asked-for subjects in university entry requirements for you on  our site.
  3. Some courses and unis have lists of subjects they do not accept: Be aware that some courses will view certain A levels as more beneficial than others. Some universities actually list which A level subjects they prefer, while others actually have ‘non-preferred’ subject lists.
  4. Many universities and courses will consider you whatever you choose: Do not forget – many courses will consider a wide range of A-level and other qualification choices and do not normally have essential subject requirements. Try not to get too bogged down in essential A levels you have to take.
  5. It is not all about A-levels: BTECs and vocational qualifications are a valid route to university, too, and more students are taking this route now, so it is worth looking into all of your options.

Which? University has created a free tool to help students choose the right A level subjects to help them in their future careers. that will help you get to where you want to be. To use the tool, visit:

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