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10 things to consider when choosing your Sixth Form subjects

There are lots of considerations when choosing your Sixth Form subjects and many students find it hard to narrow the choice down to three. Mr Ryan-East, Head of Sixth Form, shares 10 things to think about when making the decision.
  1. Your strengths. Not sure what you are best at? Ask your teachers for an honest assessment. You may be guided by your GCSE choices, of course, but there are new subjects on offer in Sixth Form so they are possibilities too. Think beyond the subject content and consider what skills you have and how you learn. If you don’t like writing essays, then maybe English Literature is not for you.
  2. What you enjoy. You'll typically have twice as many lessons in each subject at Sixth Form so you need to enjoy what you are doing. You are much more likely to do well in a subject you like.  
  3. What might be different. Subject content and/or the way it is taught may change or develop considerably between GCSE and Sixth Form. It is really important that you find out exactly what the course entails, and whether it is what you want.
  4. A Level or BTEC. This decision could be based on your career path or learning style. BTECS provide a way to learn through practical work as well as study and, broadly speaking, are more tailored to a specific career. However, BTECS remain an academic option requiring essay writing, research and analysis.  
  5. Keep your options open. Unless you have a very specific course or career in mind it may be worth choosing a wider subject combination. Students further down the road will tell you that favourite subjects now might not be in the future.  
  6. Take subjects that are of value (if you need to). Not all subjects are created equal. Some top universities give more weight to what they call ‘facilitating subjects’ (see the Russell Group list) or other ‘hard subjects’. If you know where and what you want to study check if this is a requirement.   
  7. Do your research. Again, if you want to study a particular pathway in mind, find out if there any course requirements before you choose your Sixth Form academic programme. A course may not only request specific grades but specify the subjects you need them in too.  
  8. Check your combination.  Consider the combination of your subjects, do they support each other, do they encourage the same skills? Related subjects can often reinforce progress and learning. Again, check your university requirements, whilst some courses welcome A Levels in all three sciences, others may consider business studies and economics too similar to count twice. 
  9. Check for additional requirements. It might seem obvious but not studying biology will severely limit your choice of medical schools. The vast majority of economics degrees require either A Level maths or a minimum grade at GCSE. Whilst the vast majority of universities accept BTECs there are some in the Russell Group who may not.  
  10. Think about employers. University isn't the only option, you may want to go straight into work or opt for an apprenticeship at the end of Sixth Form. Whether you do it at 18 or 21 you will be getting a job in the future so consider what that might be and whether it has an impact on the choices you make.  

For more help and advice on Sixth Form courses at Leweston contact the Admissions Team on or 01963 211015.