Choosing the right A-levels for you

Making the right choice of A-levels is crucial to the success of your Sixth Form experience. How do you ensure that you make the best possible selection of A-levels?

  • Choose subjects that you enjoy and you are interested in. Which classes do you look forward to? Which homework do you always seem to end up doing first? Which subjects give you a buzz or sense of satisfaction when you make connections, solve a problem or complete an assignment? Remember: you’re going to be spending about a third of your curriculum time doing each subject and enjoyment is key to keeping you motivated.
  • Choose subjects for which you have an aptitude. A-levels are challenging, and it is important that you are able to make the conceptual leap to ensure that you transition successfully from GCSE to A-level. Pupils should ask themselves whether their performance in their chosen subjects matches their ambition. Low grades are as much a barrier to entry to university as choosing unsuitable subjects for a chosen degree can be.
  • Make sure that you make an informed choice. Research your A-level choices carefully. Read the course descriptions in the Sixth Form Prospectus carefully. Ask teachers of this subject further questions. Talk to Sixth Formers who already take the A-level – they will be able to provide you with a no-frills account of what it is like doing the A-level.
  • It is particularly important that students research subjects that haven’t been studied before. Students need to check that the subject is what they think it is and will suit their strengths. They must avoid taking uninformed risks.
  • If you have a specific career or university course in mind, you should check to see if they have any specific A-level requirements. You can investigate specific courses yourself on university admissions pages. Any member of the Sixth Form Team will help you to check the specific requirements of certain courses. If in doubt, do ask. Even for very similar courses entry requirements can vary from one university to another so you should only use the information below as a general guide.

Support to help you make your choices

These are vitally important decisions which will affect the rest of your life, and you cannot afford to make them on a whim or without careful consideration of the consequences. A great deal of help is available, so please do take advantage of this.

In the Michaelmas Term (Winter Term) Year 11 pupils and their parents and carers will have the opportunity to discuss subject choices at the Sixth Form Open Evening. In the autumn students will also receive a careers interview which will help them put their current choices into the longer perspective. Parents, carers and pupils will receive a written report following this interview.

Remember that teachers and Heads of Department will always be happy to talk about their subjects – they will provide informed, realistic advice on an individual basis.

It is well worth talking to Sixth Formers who are already taking the subject – they will be able to give you a valuable student perspective.

In the Lent Term Forest students have access to information sessions about subjects which are new to A-level (Classical Civilisation, Psychology, Music Technology, Politics, Business, Economics and Philosophy). If you think that there might be a chance of you doing these subjects, then you should attend these.

Students who are new to Forest and have accepted places, receive a one-to-one interview in the Lent term to help them make good A-level choices.

After your GCSEs are over (in late June) both pupils new to Forest and Foresters are invited to Sixth Form transition days. These will give you experience of lessons in the Sixth Form and will help you make your subject decisions.

All Foresters have access to Unifrog which is an online database which will enable you to find out more about course requirements for universities and apprenticeships.

It is worth knowing that the Heads of House, Sixth Form Team and Heads of Departments will review all subject choices to check for potential problems; we have considerable experience of identifying unwise choices, and want to help you choose subjects in which you are going to excel.