The River Thames outside DLD College London

Which A-Levels should I take?

12th July 12

Which A-levels should I take?  

GCSEs are finally finished, all that hard work has come to fruition. Fantastic. Things are right on track and it’s time for A-Levels. So wondering what you’re going to do next might seem like a strange thing to do. Unless you know what you want to be when you grow up. But for some, this is one of the hardest decisions they will make in their lives. So seeing as we’re a helpful and friendly bunch at DLD College London, we thought we’d help you as much we can. Here are a few vital things you should consider before you make any decisions. 

“I’ve always wanted to be a Doctor. Which A-Levels should I take?”

If you are lucky enough to know what you want to do after university, your A Levels pretty much choose themselves. If you want to become a Doctor you’ll need to go to one of the top medical universities in the country and you’ll probably need to study four A Levels. An A* or A grade in Biology and Chemistry are a must. And you’ll probably need one or even both of Maths and Physics. If a career in Investment Banking is more your style then you’ll be taking Maths, Economics, and probably a language – your future company might want to send you abroad to work for a while. 

If you definitely know what you want to be when you grow up, you should do a bit of research into the courses you need to do and what universities are going to be the best for you to go to.  And we’ll have a closer look into more specific course options in other instalments in this series.

“I want to study English Lit. I’ll work out the rest later.”

But what if you don’t know what you want to be yet, but you’ve had your eye on a specific course at University?  Lots of people go to University to study a course that they love and then work out their career path later. It’s perfectly acceptable to know you want to study English Literature at University and base you’re A-Level choices around what you will need to do to get there. If you find yourself feeling like this, the best thing for you do is to do a lot of research into which University suits your needs best and then work out which A-Level courses you’ll need to make it happen.

“I just want to go to University.”

So you don’t know what course you want to do at University? Don’t worry. There are still a couple of major things to consider. What do you like, and do what are you good at.

Do what you like.

It’s not uncommon for students your age to have no idea what they want to do when they leave education. To just want to go to University and experience the life there is one of many peoples’ life goals. If this is the case, then the best thing for you to do is to think about what subjects you enjoy the most. You’re going to spend three or more years studying for your degree, so it would be a really good idea for you to enjoy yourself while you do it. If you love nothing better than unravelling equations, you have to do Maths. If the roar of the Bunsen burners and the suffocating smell of Sulphur igniting is your thing, then do Chemistry.

Or something you’re really good at…

Here’s something not many people consider. You hate Physics, but you’re really good at it. You speak French like it was your first language, but it bores you. You could do a lot with straight As at A-Level though. Universities will be falling over themselves to offer you a place if you ace your exams. The trade-off is that you’re A-Levels are going to be a really slog, but the payoff is that converted place at the University of your choice.

OK, so you didn’t really like anything you did at GCSE, and you weren’t really that good at anything either. Don’t panic! That’s alright too.


The options you have at A-Level are much wider and more varied than you had at GCSE, so it is worth you taking a good long look at your options. If the subjects you did at GCSE aren’t doing it for you anymore, there are always the newer A-Level courses you probably weren’t able to do before. A-Level subjects like Business Studies, Film Studies or Politics for example, will probably not have been available to you as a GCSE, and a fresh start might be just the impetus you need to push on and get those results to take you to University. 

A little bit from column A, a little bit from column B…

Here’s a crazy idea: how about you do a little of everything we’ve suggested? Do an A-Level you know you’ll be good at. Do one you will love. Do an A-Level that will challenge you but will impress a university. Be inspired and do something you’ve never done before. You certainly won’t be bored.

And if you’re still not sure what to do, hope is not lost. Talk to your parents, your guardians, or your teachers. But take all the time you need, don’t be rushed or pressured into doing anything you’re not 100% sure about. This is your life.