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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ingham

Is 6th Form for ME?

Last minute jitters on whether A Levels are for you? Let us help by giving you some more information.

There’s quite a big leap in difficulty level between GCSE and A-level. A subject that you thought you’d got your head around will suddenly become a lot more complex!

At A-Level, you’ll be studying things in more detail and you’ll probably find that your teacher or tutor expects a lot more independent study and engagement from you than they did at GCSE level.

What do i need to study A Levels?

In order to move on to A Levels (or equivalent) you normally need:

  • at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4/A* to C

  • at least grade 6 in the specific subject(s) you want to study

However, the specific requirements needed to study A levels will vary across schools and colleges. It's important to check what you will need with the school or college you are looking to study at.

Why do A Levels (or equivalent)?

If you enjoy academic learning and want to study a broad range of subjects, they could be the perfect option for you. If you're sure that you want to go to university then they are also worth considering as they are highly valued by universities, and also employers; in fact, some universities require A-levels for certain courses and they won’t accept vocational qualifications.

Taking a variety of A Levels also allows you to find out the academic areas and subjects that you are really interested in and what it's like to study these at a higher level - perfect if you aren't sure what to study at University.

What is it like to study A Levels?

This really depends on where you are going to study - doing A Levels at a School Sixth Form is often very different to doing them at large College. Because of this, you should try to experience the different types of institution and see what feels best to you - make sure you attend open days, talk to teachers and, importantly, find out what it's like from students who are currently there!

In general, you will find that studying A Levels requires much more independent learning so you should be prepared to study outside of the classroom more than you have done previously; this is why you often get study lessons (not free periods!) in your timetable at A Level. As you only take 3-4 A Levels, you will find that you go into lots of depth in each subject, but you should definitely be prepared to conduct your own reading to really develop your understanding. Moving on to study A Levels signals a move into a more mature way of studying, so you'll need to make sure you plan and manage your time effectively.

But don't worry - your teachers and tutors will be there to support you every step of the way to help you to make the step up to Advanced Level study.

How do I choose the right A Levels?

The most important criteria for choosing A levels subjects are:

  • Looking at what you are likely to enjoy and be good at. If you enjoy a subject or have an ability in it already, you are more likely to do well.

  • Are there any particular subjects and/or grades you may need? If you have a particular career, job, or further study in mind, you may need to choose specific A levels in order to meet entry requirements.

  • How open you want to keep your future study and career choices? If you are not sure which direction you are going to take in the future, you should consider choosing facilitating subjects that are attractive for a range of areas and allow you to keep your options open.

What can I do after A Levels?

Many people ask 'What can I do with my A levels?' The answer is you can do lots as you will have achieved fantastic qualifications that really show your hard work and dedication. SOme of the popular options people take after A Levels include;

  • Continue on to university – A levels are the most common qualifications studied to get into higher education and this is the destination for a lot of A Level students.

  • Look for employment – they’re valued by employers because they show a good level of education.

  • Go on to vocational or work-based qualifications, such as a higher apprenticeship.

Which careers require A Levels?

Some careers require you to have a degree, which may require certain A-levels - you have to be aware of this when making your choices. Here are some common University courses and what A Levels are required;

  • Veterinary science – biology and one or two subjects from chemistry, maths or physics.

  • Medicine – Chemistry, biology. Some courses might require maths or physics but check the entry requirements of specific courses.

  • English – English literature.

  • Computer Science – often requires you to have studied maths.

  • Dentistry – Similar to medicine; most courses require chemistry, biology and possibly maths or physics. Again, make sure that you check the individual entry requirements of courses at different Universities.

If you have a certain degree or career in mind, it’s really important that you have a look at the entry requirements to those courses when choosing your A-level subjects so you don’t find yourself in a dilemma when applying.

Doing well at school is obviously important, but don’t forget to keep your globalbridge profile up to date, as educational and work experience establishments are always interested in what you have to offer as a whole you, not just academically! You'll find you will get lots of opportunities too while you are studying A Levels, so make sure you take advantage of as many of these as possible - and record them on your globalbridge profile too so you have a permanent record!

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