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More guidance needed for A-level subject choices

As students collect GCSE results, Which? University says university applicants don't think their A-level choices were suitable

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 25, 2016 | People, policy, politics

On GCSE results day, new research from Which? University reveals that nearly fifth (18%) of university applicants said that different A-level subjects might have been better suited to the degree course they applied for.  

The survey of 1,000, conducted by YouthSight for Which? University, also found that 29% felt they needed more advice on which A-levels to take and over half (52%) made their choices without thinking about their future degree choice.  

Alex Neill from 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.”  

Which? University shared their six top tips for students making their A-level choices: 

  • Certain uni courses will look for specific GCSEs and A-levels: To apply for some uni courses, you’ll 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.
  • Taking certain A-levels will open up more university course options: If you haven’t decided what you want to study at university, don’t panic – you won’t be the only one. We’ve listed the most commonly asked-for subjects in university entry requirements for you on our site.
  • Some courses and unis have lists of subjects they don’t 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, whilst others actually have ‘non-preferred’ subject lists.
  • Many unis and courses will consider you whatever you choose: Don’t 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.
  • It’s 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’s worth looking into all of your options.


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