Mon-Fri 8-17, Sat-Sun 10-16
(UK time)
Онлайн Выставка 27-28 февраля с 11-00 до 19-00 (МСК)
Ведущие школы и университеты за рубежом

TOP-5 tips how to choose the right A-level subjects for international students

Show all
TOP-5 tips how to choose the right A-level subjects for international students

Students planning to enter universities in the UK or other prestigious universities around the world often choose to study in high schools in British schools as a way to prepare for higher education. After receiving IGCSE, future applicants of British universities choose the A-level program, which ensures compliance with academic standards, preparation for the perception of knowledge at the university level.

Universities test the qualifications of students who have completed full secondary education. The two-year A-level program allows students to gain in-depth knowledge in 3 disciplines. Most students finish their A-level between the ages of 16 and 18 to apply to the university, although tests of this level are also useful when choosing direct work in paid work or for studying as a student.

  • A-level structure

In the first year (AS), students of the Sixth Form (12th grade of a British school) study in depth 4 subjects, in the 2nd year only three remain. The results of their study will be decisive for decision making by the university selection committee.

The popularity and quality of A-level certificates in the English system of higher education is undeniable: 88.5% of students who enrolled in universities provided the learning outcomes for this particular program.

Choosing A-level subjects is a difficult decision that will affect future admission opportunities.

  • How to choose disciplines for studying at A-level?

There are two approaches to determining the necessary subjects:

  • Focus on narrow-profile courses and enter only a strictly defined number of specialties
  • Choose universal subjects that will allow you to apply for various courses (mathematics, English, physics, etc.).

The best and most effective way to learn is to study what makes you want to learn, move on, and be able to fill the meaning of professional life for years to come. When choosing programs of higher education and high school, follow the predispositions, take into account orientation to the university program, statistics of admission of previous years. If a student cannot choose a profession after passing the GCSE , he or she will be left with a universal set of subjects that allows him to apply for an extensive number of university programs. A number of recommendations will help you choose the academic disciplines that will allow you to enter the chosen course in two years.

Professional advice

Teachers or career counselors from your school will help you choose subjects for your specific area of study. Carefully study the information on the websites of the universities you have chosen.

Universal subjects

For those who have not decided on a future specialty, subjects from the list of universal ones requested upon admission to universities are suitable, regardless of what course you are applying for:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Geography
  • Story
  • Maths
  • Modern and classic languages
  • Physics.

Universities recommend that students abandon the choice of specific combinations of subjects, especially when they are similar (business research and economics).

A-level programs are harder than GCSE

The choice of an subject is determined by one of three scenarios:

  • The student decided on a future career
  • Discipline suits the student, meets his inclinations and talents
  • The subject is not known to the student, but is suitable for the level of load and skills.

Be prepared to increase the level of difficulty when moving from the GCSE to the AS level: there are differences in how you are taught and what is expected from you.

Special requirements

Some university specialties require specific education: you will not be able to apply to the university if you choose universal or inappropriate subjects. Here are a few examples to form an idea of what requirements universities may have:

  • For admission to the pharmaceutical specialties, students choose chemistry plus biology, mathematics or physics.
  • Entering English, the applicant must submit an A-level certificate in English literature and English.
  • To study geology and earth sciences at the university, applicants provide estimates in mathematics, physics, chemistry or biology
  • Future economists need mathematics, less often - economics.

What subjects are not worth choosing and why?

Some educational institutions make lists of subjects that are in demand and, conversely, undesirable for study: for example, the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Bath, the University of Sheffield, London School of Economics and Political Science. LSE accepts certificates in art history, classical civilization, economics, geology, politics, law, media research.

If the selected subject does not coincide with those included in the priority list of the university, do not refuse the course or subject that is really interesting to you! Make sure that you meet the requirements of the university - two subjects you have chosen should be included in the list of required requirements.

What A-level subjects are easy to learn?

Everyone has their own difficult or easy to study subjects, so you can only say which subject will be easier for you to study based on an analysis of personal characteristics, abilities and the chosen professional sphere. However, patterns can be deduced. The 2018 data showed interesting gender differences: boys achieved higher grades in French, German and chemistry, girls had more successes in ICT, media, film, television and psychology. But when choosing, focus not on the ease of study, but on the breadth of future opportunities and the requirements of universities.

School change

If the desired subject is not taught at your school, check out the offers of other schools in the city or district. Even if today the change of school seems a difficult and uncomfortable event, the choice of the optimal educational institution will subsequently result in high-quality preparation for admission and better readiness for the university course.

A-level: myths and reality

Around the most prestigious university preparation program, many myths have arisen, so the information is worth exploring on your own, forming a complete picture.

The university considers each student individually, pays attention not only to assessments, but also to portfolio, resume, recommendations. Especially carefully read the requirements for applicants to the faculties of media, law and general research.

University programs covering a wide range of A-level programs

You can enter programs in accounting, anthropology, archeology, banking, hospitality, law, management and much more with almost any set of A-level disciplines. Admissions offices consider applicants with a different store of knowledge.

If you have decided on a university program and future profession, follow the recommendations of the chosen university - and we, SMAPSE experts, will offer general rules for selecting individual study programs.

List of A-level subjects by industry:


A-level items

English language

  • English literature or English literature and language
  • History
  • Religious studies
  • French or other foreign language
  • Latin or other classic language


  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Maths
  • Physics


  • Maths
  • Business Studies (AGCE, National and Diploma).
  • Economy

Information Technology

  • Informatics
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Philosophy
  • Computer techologies

Engineering science

  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics

Art and design

  • Art
  • Design technology
  • Photography
  • Art history


  • Maths
  • Physics
  • IT and computing
  • Chemistry
  • Business research

The medicine

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Maths
  • Physics


  • Jurisprudence
  • English language
  • Foreign language
  • Maths
  • Natural science
  • History
  • Geography


  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics
Read also...
You may be interested

Your comment/review/question:
Callback Free course selection Online consultant