The Uni Guide has a fresh new look

Six things you need to know before making your final A-level choices

Whether you already know which A-levels you want to take or if you're struggling to decide, here are six pieces of advice to help you make the right choices.

Already have some subjects in mind? See where they could take you with our A-level explorer, including possible degree and career paths.

What A-levels should you take?

The subjects you choose at A-level could impact what you can do in the future – like which courses you can apply to at university – so it's worth putting some time into considering your options.

Even if you don't know what you want to do after college, you can still make choices that could help you get you on the right path. Here are six things to think about when you're deciding which A-levels to take.

1. Certain A-level subjects may help with university course options

For some university degrees, you'll need to have studied specific subjects at A-level (or equivalent). Put the A-levels you're considering into our explorer tool and you'll see which degree and career options could be a good match for you.

If you're not sure about university yet, you can keep your options open by choosing a range of A-levels. Some universities may discourage students from taking certain combinations of subjects, particulary if they're very similiar – like business studies and economics.


 


2. A-levels are a lot tougher than GCSEs

Here are three of the most common reasons for choosing to study an A-level subject: 

  • you need it to pursue a particular career
  • it’s a subject you enjoy and are good at
  • it’s a subject you’ve not studied before but you think will suit you

Whatever made you choose the subject, just bear in mind that A-levels are more difficult than GCSEs and it can take time to get up to speed with the ways you're taught and what's expected of you. 

So don't worry if you initially struggle with the step-up – there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to adjust to the workload. 

3. Certain uni courses will look for specific A-levels

If you're eyeing up a degree, it's a good idea to research if they require any specific A-levels – you may not be able to take the course otherwise. 

Here are a few examples of which A-levels you could need for certain courses: 


For more guidance on which A-levels are needed for particular degrees, see our full list of uni subjects for more information about their typical A-level requirements.

It's also worth checking the full entry requirement details for a handful of courses across different unis to make sure you’re ticking all the boxes within your subject – you can find a course's entry requirements on The Uni Guide. 



4. Some courses and unis have lists of subjects they don’t accept

Particular courses view certain A-levels as 'less effective preparation' for university studies than others, meaning that the subject area of the A-level is too far removed from the focus of the degree.

For example, London School of Economics and Political Science has a list of ‘non-preferred’ subjects. While some universities (such as the University of Sheffield) list which A-level subjects they prefer.

Don't let this put you off taking a creative or vocational A-level subject though – just make sure the other subjects you choose meet the entry requirements.

Are there easy A-levels?

Unfortunately, there's no such thing as an easy A-level. But if you lean into subjects that you're good at, then they might seem easier to you than they do to other people – the same way that some students might seem better at subjects that you struggle with. 

Also – you'll probably find it easier to stay motivated for a subject that you have a genuine interest in, which could lead to better grades. 

As we mentioned earlier, some universities and courses have subjects they require and those they don't accept. Keep this in mind, but focus on studying subjects you like.

5. Know myth from reality

You might be told different things about universities depending on who you ask – it's always worth doing research to reach your own conclusions. 

For example, some universities may still consider your application even if your grades are slightly lower than their entry requirements – but you'll likely need a strong personal statement or portfolio to do this.

There's no harm in getting in touch with a university and asking what they'll consider. 

6. Many unis and courses will consider you whatever you choose

There are plenty of degrees that have no specific subject requirements – you can apply to study them with any combination of A-levels. These courses include business studies, law and marketing as well as philosophy, politics and psychology. 

Even though some courses have strict subject requirements, you'll still have plenty of options no matter which A-levels you decide to take.

If you want a better idea of which degrees could be suitable for the A-levels you're interested in, use our explorer tool. 


Our partnership with UEA (University of East Anglia)

The Student Room is proud to work with UEA, a UK top-25 university (Complete University Guide 2025) and UK top-30 university (The Times/Sunday Times 2024), as the official partner of our student life section.

Located on the edge of Norwich, a lively city full of secret gems just waiting to be discovered.

Visit their profile page to learn more or join the conversation on The Student Room's UEA forum.

Read more from the student life section 
Find out more about UEA on The Student Room 
Ask a UEA student a question about university
Study with UEA

Where could your A-levels take you?

Enter your A-level choices below to find out

    Add another subject

Search The Uni Guide

Find further advice or search for information on a course or university