A Level Choices

Help with the right choice

Making choices for A-level study can be a daunting prospect, after all, the choices made will set an academic path for at least your next 5 years of school and university life. For some students with clear vocational objectives, such as Medicine, Veterinary Science, or Dentistry, the combination of A Levels studied will be clear—the sciences. For others, even those intent on other career related courses, such as Law, the choices are less obvious, so careful consideration of options must occur before final choices are made.

2016-chemlabday1-55rInternet Resources

For guidance a variety of internet based sites are available, but perhaps the most relevant is the UCAS web site, where using the course search facility allows potential undergraduates to see specific course requirements set by each university. It is also important that you speak to your subject teachers and available careers services.

Mr Stockton Head of 6th Form, will also spend time with you, helping you make choices, and if required showing you how to access internet resources.

A-levels and UCAS points

Every A-level is divided into two parts AS – normally studied in year 12 and examined in January and/or June of that year, and A2 studied in year 13, and examined in January and/or June of year 13. It is quite normal for students to ‘drop’ one subject at the end of year 12; this AS level is a standalone qualification, and gains UCAS points (for more on UCAS points and university offers see University Admissions).

It is possible to study 5 A-levels, but 4 is more typical. For a student focussed on sciences, three sciences and an arts/humanities subject would be a standard combination. For students who are arts/humanities based, then the reverse applies, so it is likely they will study 3 arts/humanities and one science subject. Languages produce another combination of options, where they can be mixed with either sciences or arts and humanities.

For ambitions, for enjoyment

Subject choices should of course be based on ambitions, but also on personal commitment and enjoyment. So choose subjects that you enjoy, subjects that you like discussing in and out of class.  Some A-levels, like the sciences and languages are dependent on prior knowledge and we would expect students to have evidence of study at GCSE.  However, this is not true of all subjects; for example Psychology and Economics can be studied at A-level without previous study experience.



If you would like to study Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry, St. Michael’s offers a full programme of support and in-depth preparation to help you succeed. In the UK, only about 10% of applicants to medical school are successful in gaining a place, so specialist advice and support are essential. At St. Michael’s School we have a record of over 90% acceptance covering the last 10 years, around 3 times the independent school average.

Coordinated by our experienced Head of Sixth Form, the programme aims to develop in our students the skills, confidence and experience needed to succeed in a highly competitive field.

For further details please read our medical leaflet >>