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Guide to individual A level subjects

As described in Guide to Choosing the right A-level subjects, there's a lot to think about in deciding on the best sixth-form programme for your abilities, interests and ambitions. One of the key considerations is of course the individual A level subjects themselves: the topics you have to study, the skills you need, the way they are assessed etc.

It can be hard to find that information in at-a-glance form, so we've done just that for you. Click on any of the subject titles in the list on the right and you'll get to a page which will give you a quick overview of that A level. Each subject page is laid out with the same headings to help you compare more easily.

What's it about?

Tells you about the main topics the subject covers. Students work best at subjects they find really interesting.

What sort of work is involved?

Describes the sort of work you have to do, in class and private study, and the skills required to do well. Eg 'This a subject with a lot of in-class discussion', 'you will be expected to write essays', or 'you need good number skills'.

What background do I need?

Are there essential GCSEs you need? What sort of academic interests  are a good guide to whether you could do well in the subject?

Where can it lead?

Explains how the A level might affect your choice of university degree, the sort of degrees it leads to, and careers beyond university, how strongly the A level is regarded in combination with other A levels etc

One year?

Taking A level in a year isn't easy , but many students cope with it, especially if they choose subjects carefully. This section describes the challenges involved in taking the subject in three terms


Outlines how the A level is assessed. Details may vary according to the exam board your college uses for the subject, but the guide describes the common features.

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