Choosing school subjects

The 'do's and 'do not's when choosing school subjects

If you are yet to choose your GCSE or A level subjects at school, there are some important things to consider when making your choices, whether you have a university course or career in mind or not.

With the help of Which? University, we've compiled a useful guide containing advice on the things you should consider when making your school subject choices – as well as some of the things to avoid when deciding which subjects to take forward.

The 'do's...

Consider 'facilitating' subjects

If you're not totally sure on what to choose, these subjects will generally open the door to more university courses (biology, chemistry, physics, English, geography, history, mathematics and modern and classical languages).

Work out if your chosen course requires certain A levels

If you have your heart set on a particular course, make sure you know early enough in advance if there are certain A level subjects that are required.

Find out the facts directly from universities

Rather than going on myth or rumours, by contacting universities directly you can get a more accurate idea of whether you're on the right track with your subject choices.

Keep your options open

Studying a broad diversity of A level subjects can serve as a platform for many university courses and can help to keep your options open when the time comes to apply. It's also worth bearing in mind that your subject interests can change over time.

The 'do not's...

Don’t follow the crowd

Choosing your school subjects can be the first step towards a dream job or career and it’s important that you use this opportunity to take responsibility for your own career path. While it can be easy to just choose the same subjects as your friends, now should be the time to concentrate on your own ambitions.

Don’t shy away from new subjects

Particularly for A level choices you may find that some subjects of study become available which you are unable to study at GCSE level. It may be worth branching out and considering some of these subjects as a way to freshen up your learning.

Don’t rule out subjects that may not be taught at your school

It’s very possible that you may be able to study an A level subject at another school or college that isn’t offered at your own and taking the leap to study at a new institution could serve as a beneficial step to get you out of your comfort zone and feel a bit more confident about the jump to university study. 

Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture

Whether you know what job or career you’re aspiring towards or not, it’s really important to consider that the choices you make for GCSEs and A levels can have an effect on the path you can take. Studying a healthy selection of subjects and considering facilitating subjects can potentially lead to a greater choice of courses if you’re still uncertain when the time comes to apply.