What subjects should you choose?

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.

‘Facilitating’ Subjects

Competitive entry universities like ‘facilitating subjects’.  These are A Levels, not CTECHs/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:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Geography
  • History
  • Maths and Further Maths
  • Modern and Classical Languages
  • Physics

If you are thinking about entry to one of the top universities in the country (often called ‘Russell Group’), then we recommend that you consider taking two ‘facilitating subjects’.  If you are not sure what you want to do at university, taking facilitating subjects is also a good idea since they help gain entry into lots of different courses.

‘Soft’ Subjects

There is a fantastic range of subjects available to study at sixth form level.  All of them are interesting and valuable qualifications.  They are usually different from ‘facilitating subjects’ because they are more focused on one area/specialised rather than being broad like facilitating subjects.  ‘Soft’ and ‘facilitating’ subjects are both challenging and soft subjects should not be seen as easy options. 

Examples of ‘soft’ subjects would be:

  • Art
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geology
  • Government and Politics
  • History of Art
  • Law
  • Media Studies
  • Photography
  • PE
  • Religious Studies
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Theatre Studies
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