It is very important to choose the right kind of qualification. It is also important to choose the right subjects so that you can keep as many doors open as possible when you are in the sixth form and thinking about university. See section on level 2 and 3 qualifications in the ‘Post 16 Options’ section below.
Post 16 Options
You must pass English and maths GCSE.
To study A Levels, you need usually need a grade 5 or above in English language and maths.
To study Level 3 CTECs/BTECs, you usually need a grade 4 or above in English language and maths.
The Right Subjects
There is a fantastic range of subjects available to study at sixth form level. All of them are interesting and valuable qualifications. It is really important to choose the right subjects for level 3 (sixth form) so that you have lots of options available to you when you leave school and apply to university or apprenticeships.
Competitive entry universities used to prefer ‘facilitating subjects’ and although they no longer express a preference, it is still a good idea to consider studying one or two of these subjects if you are aiming for Russell Group universities. These subjects are A Levels, not CTECs/BTECs. They are the subjects that are considered to be broad and rigorous enough to give you a good all-round education and to prepare you for being successful at degree level. They are not specialised in the same way as a subject like law or media studies.
The facilitating subjects are:
- Maths and Further Maths
- Modern and Classical Languages
The main advantage of taking facilitating subjects is that they prepare you for studying a huge range of university courses because they are so broad and give you so many choices of study further down the line.