VI: How to choose your A Levels

It's not the end of the world...

When as a 15-year-old I was first confronted with the decision of what subjects I wanted to continue for the next two years I was stuck. Having to narrow down from eleven subjects to a mere four was a simple decision for some, but I struggled greatly; some subjects I knew I was never doing again but nonetheless I still found myself torn between more than four. So as the deadline draws ever closer, here are a few tips I have for you that I hope can make it somewhat easier.

  1. If you don't like it now, you won't like it later. It seems obvious I know, but I've spoken to a number of people in my year who took an A level subject, despite it being something they weren't particularly fond of at GCSE and all I can say is: it isn't worth it. You will spend so much time in and out of school doing work for your subjects, if anything it's likely going to make you dislike it more.
  2. Consider university, but don't make it the biggest priority. If you are someone who knows exactly what you want to study at university, then it will be helpful to look into whether any A levels are required or recommended and take this into account when making your decisions. That being said, and this is similar to my previous point, if through this you find the degree to be very orientated around something you aren't particularly keen on maybe reconsider if it is really what you want to do. It is definitely more difficult to avoid required subjects than recommended ones - definitely consider these but do not feel forced to take them because it 'might be helpful'. If you haven't thought about university yet - do not worry! I still haven't and not worrying about it has let me enjoy my subjects so much more.
  3. It's your decision, not your parents'. I appreciate this is much easier said than done in many cases, but do not let them make the decision for you. You will be the one taking seven periods a week of a subject, therefore it is important that you are sure it is something you want or need to do, rather than something they want you to do. If you do find that you are struggling to convince your parents to do or not do a subject, I recommend speaking to your head of year or form tutor who may be able to help the situation to ensure that you can make the best choice for you.
  4. Don't overthink it. Chances are, whether it seems evident or not, you already know what subjects you absolutely love and those that you absolutely loathe and you've made the decision in your head. Take the subjects you know you love and you will be absolutely fine.

For any of you feeling completely stuck or confused in choosing your subjects, I hope that this has been able to offer you some help. Don't forget to talk to your subject teachers, form tutor and head of year for more help and feel free to get in contact with the VII too - we'll be more than willing to help!

Estelle Brandenburg VII