What Should You Study at A-Level? 10 Subject Combinations to Consider
Have you got a favourite subject at school or maybe there is a subject you enjoy that is missing from your timetable? A-Levels are a great chance to study in detail subjects that interest you. Whether that's something completely new, like psychology, economics or sociology, or something you haven't quite got enough of yet.
The problem with this is that there are so many different subjects you could consider and it’s not too easy deciding on what subjects to pick. One important thing to keep in mind is which subjects go well together, maybe they steer you towards a particular degree you want to study or career you want to pursue. Whatever your reason, we have some great suggestions that might just help you reach your decision.
What are A-Levels and are they important?
Students aged 16 and above (Years 12 and 13) can choose to study advanced level qualifications, also known as A-Levels. This is where students typically study 3 or 4 specific subjects of their choice. Universities tend to expect students to have achieved good A-Level grades (or an equivalent alternative) to be accepted onto their course. So, if you are thinking about going to university or want to keep your options open for the future, studying A-Levels may be the right path for you.
Maths, Physics, and Further Maths
If maths and physics were your strong subjects at GCSE, then studying them further could be the right decision for you. These three subjects work very well together and there is a lot of crossover between them. You’ll also learn many transferable skills too, such as numeracy, data analysis, logical thinking, and problem-solving.
However, they are not the easiest subjects to study and can be quite demanding. But with a big challenge comes big rewards, as studying these subjects at A-Level shows universities that you are a more than capable learner. Maths, further maths, and physics are highly valued by Russell Group universities and getting a good grade in them can put you in a strong position going forward.
Maths, Chemistry, and Biology
This is a classic combination for students wanting to study medicine or dentistry. Mathematics is well regarded in medical applications, and most universities expect medicine and dentistry students to have studied at least one of the sciences. Getting onto a top course can be quite competitive so along with top grades, write a strong personal statement, and show passion for the subject you are applying for.
Still, you are not limited to going into these careers. Maths, chemistry, and biology are well regarded by universities making you an attractive candidate in most areas of study. As studying these subjects shows universities that you can keep up with a heavy workload and prepare you in advance for university work.
Maths, Computer Science, and Product Design
A mixture of both art and maths, studying these subjects is a great way of showing what a well rounded student you are. Being able to understand complex topics and display your creativity, gives you a large skill set that can be applied to many different disciplines, common ones for these subjects though, is architecture and engineering.
Knowledge of maths is useful when creating technical drawings, and more and more work is done through computer software rather than hand these days, so learning about them through computer science can be a huge advantage. Product design also helps with this as you can use computer programmes to create designs and prepare a portfolio of work to show to prospective universities.
Business Studies, Economics, and Maths
If you want to get a great insight into the working world, then each one of these subjects will interest you. All of them are closely intertwined, as business studies and economics include a good element of mathematics to them, and maths helps us understand modern economics. This is an ideal A-Level combination for anyone looking to go into accountancy, finance, or any business-related careers. Just remember that maths A-Level is a big step up from GCSE, make sure you are up for the challenge and are getting the right support for it.
Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology
Studying biology, chemistry, and psychology is suitable for anyone with a passion for science. The combination of both the natural sciences and social sciences will develop your understanding of scientific processes in all their forms. Here you will learn how to do research, carry out experiments, and manipulate data, that will prepare you greatly for any science related degrees. This is also a great way for students to test out which branch of science suits them best.
History, Economics, and Politics
If you are interested in current affairs and the news, then studying history, economics, and politics is a great option for you. Studying humanities is the best way to develop your reading, essay writing, and arguing skills, which are vital for a career in law, politics, or even journalism.
An advantage of this combination is that they complement each other really well, you can be sure to get great marks if you apply economic principles in your history essays, or your historical understanding when interpreting modern politics.
English Literature, History, and Philosophy
Good with words? English literature, history, and philosophy is a great choice for anyone passionate about reading and writing, as these subjects require a lot of it. However, strengthening your essay writing skills and being able to critically analyse texts you read in subjects like these, will set you up well for university and beyond, turning you into a top academic.
English Language, Art, and a Modern Language
The best combination for culture enthusiasts. Learning a language is hugely beneficial, not only is it interesting to study, prospective employers will love it, and it opens up some great travel opportunities too. Combining that with English language will help you improve upon your own language as well as others. Both of these are great ways of expressing yourself and being creative, and so art fits in very nicely here too, especially if you want to explore the art of a particular country you are learning about.
Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology
If you want to try completely new subjects, then these might be a good choice for you. Typically philosophy, sociology and psychology are not taught at GCSE, so studying them at A-Level shows that you are an adaptable student. All three of these subjects allow you to develop strong debating and critical analysis skills about our society and human behaviour. They also work well as combined subjects at university, if you were looking at studying more than one subject then too.
Geography, Chemistry and Sociology
Our last subject combination is good for anyone interested in the environment and who wants to focus on issues about sustainability and climate change. Geography and sociology are good for focusing on the science of the natural world and the way in which people relate to it. If you want to study a BSc degree then studying a core science like chemistry will give you a huge advantage here too.
There are many career possibilities here, you could work in the energy industry, the government or help companies reach net zero emissions. There are a lot of fantastic environmental related opportunities that will be available to you.
Starting your A-Levels soon?
Starting A-Levels can be daunting as it’s a big jump from GCSE. While these are only some of the subject combinations you could consider, there are plenty more that work well. Just remember to go for what you are interested in and try to balance it out with subjects that may cross over. If you have a specific university course in mind, then have a look at their requirements and see what A-Level subjects are needed to apply. At Tutor House we have lots of helpful resources and tutors to guide you through your A-Levels and achieve the result you want.
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