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A Level Subjects you can’t afford to Miss | 2023

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In the realm of educational pursuits, A Level subjects stand as a pivotal crossroads for students, serving as a foundational stepping stone toward higher education and professional endeavors.

Students who are 16 years and older in the UK may pursue A-Levels (Advanced Level Qualifications), which are subject-based exams. They are typically studied over two years and result in credentials recognized for admission to universities in the UK and many other countries across the world. The majority of institutions of higher learning demand a minimum of 3 subjects.

A Levels are offered in schools all around the world even though they are UK credentials. A Levels are also accepted as a legitimate entry qualification by the majority of colleges and higher education institutions.

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of A Level subjects, shedding light on their significance, assessment methods, career implications, and the factors to consider when contemplating this academic path.

Table of contents

What Are A-Level Subjects?

A Level subjects, short for Advanced Level subjects, are a set of specialized UK-based qualification courses typically undertaken by students in the final two years of their secondary education, often in the age range of 16 to 18. These subjects are designed to offer an in-depth and rigorous exploration of specific academic fields, fostering critical thinking, analytical prowess, and subject mastery.

A Level subjects are a common prerequisite for university admission in many countries, and they play a pivotal role in shaping a student’s academic trajectory.

You may have also heard of AS Levels, however, thanks to changes made between 2016 and 2018 they are now considered a separate credential. Most institutions do not view AS levels alone as sufficient for admittance, despite the fact that they still correspond to the first year of study on the full 2-year A Level course.

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What Subjects Do A Level Student Take?

The array of A Level subjects is diverse, spanning the realms of humanities, sciences, arts, and more. From Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry to Literature, History, and Psychology, the range of choices caters to a spectrum of interests and career aspirations.

Students often choose three or four A Level subjects, allowing them to focus on areas aligned with their passions and intended university majors. This freedom to tailor their educational journey fosters a personalized learning experience that is both enriching and empowering.

How Important Are A Level Subjects?

The importance of A Level subjects cannot be overstated, as they significantly influence a student’s academic and professional future. Universities often consider A Level results during the admission process, with competitive institutions placing considerable weight on these scores.

Additionally, A Levels serve as indicators of a student’s ability to engage with advanced concepts, manage coursework, and excel in challenging academic environments.

Moreover, certain professions and specialized courses mandate specific A Level subjects as prerequisites, underscoring the pivotal role they play in career pathways.

For pupils who are certain of the topics they excel in, A-Levels are great options. Or, to put it another way, pupils with ‘one-sided’ strengths. For instance, it would be beneficial for a student to concentrate on math and drop English if they were great in math but weak in English literature. Focusing on particular subjects is impossible with the IB because its study scope is much wider.

A-Levels are better suited for students who perform well on written exams due to the significance of the final written exam. A Levels are best suited for students who can successfully revise and do well in timed tests. 

Most notably, as opposed to the IB, pupils obtain individual certificates for each subject they pass. 

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What is a good A-Level score?            

Aim for grades that fall in the A or A* range if you plan to apply to one of the top 30 universities. The AP exams are the American equivalent of the A Levels for students thinking about attending US universities.

How Are A Level Subjects Assessed?

A Level subjects are assessed through a combination of coursework, internally assessed components, and final examinations. This multifaceted assessment approach ensures that students are evaluated holistically, showcasing their comprehension, analytical skills, and application of knowledge.

The coursework component allows students to delve into projects, essays, and practical assignments, fostering independent research and critical evaluation. Internal assessments provide a platform for continuous evaluation, while the final examinations serve as the culmination of a student’s efforts, rigorously testing their grasp of the subject matter.

How are the A Levels Subjects graded?

The primary method of evaluation is through written exams, which are given at the conclusion of the two-year program. There is now significantly less project work as a result of the aforementioned measures. Nevertheless, depending on the subject, some coursework does continue to count toward the final grade.

The letter grades range from A* to E. Students who do not fulfill the minimal requirement will be given a U. For an E, they require 40%, for a D, 50%, for a C, and so on. An A* is awarded to any student who averages 80% across all modules.

Students cannot retake particular modules if they receive a failing grade; they must retake the entire exam. It’s important to remember that students may repeat their A Levels as often as necessary.

Cambridge students are graded on a % basis at the conclusion of their AS Level exams, and their final overall A Level percentage grade is calculated by combining their AS and A2 Level grades 50/50. It should be noted that AS Level exams do not grant A* ratings.

They are only given out to people who have earned all of their A Levels. Additionally, you only receive your combined A Level grade rather than your individual A2 Level grade.

At the conclusion of each module, Edexcel students receive their grades based on the table below. Their final average mark is calculated by averaging the modules they take during the AS and A2 parts using a predetermined weighting that can be seen in the online curriculum for each topic.

Students’ completion certificates from Edexcel or Cambridge include both a letter grade and a percentage grade. But in university applications, it is this letter grade that is most frequently cited and taken into account.

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Which Careers Require A-levels Subjects?

The influence of A Level subjects extends far beyond the classroom, directly impacting career trajectories. While some professions require specific A Level subjects as prerequisites, others place a premium on the skills cultivated through A Level study.

For instance, aspiring medical students often need Chemistry and Biology A Levels, while Engineering programs may demand Mathematics and Physics proficiency.

Other Common examples include:

  • Medicine – chemistry, biology, and either math or physics;
  • Veterinary science – biology and one or two courses from chemistry, math, or physics.
  • English literature is covered. 
  • Math in computer science.
  • Chemistry, biology, and either math or physics are required for dental school.

The benefits of A Levels transcend these specialized fields; the critical thinking, research, and communication skills honed during A Level study are highly transferable and valued across various industries, including finance, journalism, and entrepreneurship.

When picking your A-level subjects, it’s crucial to consider the entry requirements for any degree or career you have in mind so you don’t find yourself in a difficult situation when applying.

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Are A Levels Subjects Right for You?

Choosing the right A Level subjects is a decision that warrants careful consideration. As you contemplate this academic path, several factors come into play. Firstly, introspection about your interests, strengths, and long-term goals can guide your subject selection.

Researching the university courses and careers you aspire to pursue can shed light on the A Level prerequisites and preferred subjects for those pathways. Engaging in discussions with teachers, counselors, and individuals in your desired field can provide valuable insights.

It’s also prudent to strike a balance between subjects you are passionate about and those that align with your envisioned future. Remember, A Levels are not only about meeting requirements but also about fostering a love for learning and personal growth.

They may be the best choice for you if you appreciate academic learning and wish to study a variety of disciplines.

If you know you intend to attend university, taking A-levels can help you keep your options open.

They are worth taking into consideration if you know for sure that you wish to attend college. Employers and universities both value them. For some courses, universities only accept A-levels; vocational credentials are not accepted.

They are advantageous if you are unsure about your ideal career or what you want to study at university because they leave many possibilities open.


A Level subjects are threads that weave together academic prowess, career aspirations, and personal development. These subjects are not merely checkboxes on an academic journey but gateways to higher knowledge and professional success.

The multidimensional assessment methods challenge students to excel, while the diverse array of subjects empowers them to forge their unique paths.

As you embark on the A Level journey, remember that the choices you make today have the potential to shape your tomorrow in ways both profound and unforeseen.

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Can I change my A Level subjects after I’ve started the course?

Yes, while it’s advisable to make well-informed choices initially, some schools or colleges allow students to change their A Level subjects within a specific timeframe at the beginning of the course.

Are there any subjects that are considered ‘better’ than others for university admissions?

Each university and course has its own set of preferred subjects and entry requirements. It’s best to research the specific universities and programs you’re interested in to understand their expectations

How can I manage the workload of A Level subjects effectively?

Effective time management, organization, and consistent study habits are key. Breaking down larger tasks, seeking help when needed, and maintaining a balanced routine can contribute to managing the workload successfully

Do A Levels limit my career options?

While some careers may have specific subject requirements, the skills cultivated through A Levels, such as critical thinking, research, and communication, are highly transferrable and valuable across a wide range of professions.

Can I take A Level subjects online?

Yes, there are online platforms and schools that offer A Level courses. However, it’s essential to ensure that the online course is reputable and recognized by universities if you plan to use the results for admission.