The Best A-Level Subject Combinations - A&J Education (2022)

Choosing the right A-level subjects can be vital for your university application: that’s because some subjects work better together than others.

When you apply to a competitive course, it’s crucial that you choose the subject combinations that will help to make your application stand out.

There are three main ways of making this decision:

  1. Work with an education concierge to identify the best subject combinations for your A-levels.
  2. Choose the subjects that combine best with your favourite subject.
  3. Choose the best subject combination for the course you want to study at university.

Work With an Education Concierge

Whilst all of the advice in this article is accurate and based on decades of experience in university admissions, in reality, every case is different.

Sometimes, you’ll find that the best course of action is to take the exact subjects that are listed under your desired course in this article, but there are situations in which this might not be the best option.

For example, should you take a recommended subject in place of a subject you are passionate about, and in which you’re likely to achieve a fantastic grade? Sometimes you should, but sometimes you shouldn’t. It all depends on the course and university you are applying to and how competitive that particular degree is.

Generally speaking, certain subjects are useful regardless of these factors. Facilitating subjects such as Maths, Modern Foreign Languages, History, English and the Sciences are usually strong and safe choices (although for some university courses, choosing English over Physics might put you at a distinct disadvantage).

Similarly, it’s best to avoid some subjects. Generally, you’ll find that courses like General Studies, Media Studies, Dance, and Home Economics aren’t well respected by the top universities. However, if you want to study a subject like Journalism or Dance and Media at university, you should think about taking one of these courses at A-level.

If you’re looking to apply to a competitive university, we’d highly suggest contacting an experienced education concierge. This service will be able to help you select the best A-level subject combinations, both for your skillset and for the university course’s requirements.

Get in touch with us at A&J Education to book a free consultation with one of our expert mentors.

Choose the Subjects That Combine Best With Your Favourite Subject

If you’re not sure what degree you want to study at university, a useful strategy is to choose your favourite subject that’s offered at A-level and build your other subject choices around it.

If you’re planning on applying to a competitive academic course at university, you should remember to pick a facilitating subject as the subject you build your other choices around, rather than a ‘soft’ subject such as Media Studies or Photography.

Top Russell Group and non-Russell Group universities like St Andrews and Lancaster will value facilitating subjects more than other subjects.

As a rule, if your primary interest is in the Sciences or in Maths, you’ll want to take at least two subjects out of Maths, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.

If you’re more interested in the Arts and Humanities, then you should choose two subjects out of English Literature, History and Geography.

If your main aim is to keep your options open, then aim to choose this collection of subjects at AS-level:

  • A Humanities course
  • English
  • A Science subject
  • Maths

This collection gives you the ability to become more specialised when you narrow down your subject choices for A2-level.

Here is an in-depth rundown of the best A-level subject combinations. We’ll go through each of the facilitating subjects in turn, looking at which combinations work well when it comes to building a strong application for university.

Best A-Level Subject Combinations: English Literature

Suggested Subject Combinations

It’s little surprise that English Literature A-level is an essay-based subject, focusing on writing, comprehension, analysis, and the ability to form and present a convincing argument.

It’s a subject that builds a number of transferable skills that will benefit you at university and in your career.

Universities are always on the lookout for students with these writing, critical thinking, and comprehension skills. You’ll need to have the ability to interpret texts analytically and develop cogent arguments in almost any subject you choose to study at university.

If English is your main choice, it makes sense to further develop and demonstrate these skills by pairing it with more subjects that require similar transferable skills.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • English, History, and a Modern Foreign Language
  • English, History, and Philosophy

Extended writing is a significant part of many university courses. These A-level combinations will prepare you for when you have to write a dissertation or thesis, allow you to perfect your ability to put together a convincing argument, and improve your capacity for critical thinking.

Applying for English Literature at a Top University?

Even at most Cambridge colleges, the only requirement to study English is that you take English Literature at A-level, and some might accept English Language and Literature as a substitute. However, we’d highly recommend that you take English Literature as an A-level where possible.

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Here are some more suggestions for complementary subjects to English Literature:

  • History
  • A Modern Foreign Language
  • A classical language such as Latin or Greek (if possible)
  • Geography
  • Philosophy (note that if you’re applying to a top university such as Oxford or Cambridge, we wouldn’t recommend choosing Philosophy at A-Level).

Best A-Level Subject Combinations: Biology, Chemistry or Physics

If your preferred subject is one of the Physical Sciences, then your A-level combination choice is quite simple.

Pair two or more of the Physical Sciences together, and include Maths if you can. For A2, the following combinations are popular and feed into a strong application for Science-based degrees at top universities:

  • Biology, Chemistry, Maths
  • Physics, Chemistry, Maths
  • Biology, Physics, Chemistry

If you want to keep your options open a little, and you want some variety in your A-level subjects, just make sure the additional subject you choose is a facilitating subject.

For example, English and History would provide some balance to a primarily science-based A-Level subject set.

Focus on Biology

In addition to the required A-level in Biology, you’ll want to take at least one more Science, if not two. Maths is a secure final option.

Here are our complementary recommendations if you’re applying for Biology at university:

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics/Further Mathematics

You could consider replacing Physics/Further Mathematics with an essay-based subject to diversify your A-Level combination, but if you’re applying to study Biology at a top university you’ll want to focus on your Science-based subjects.

Focus on Chemistry

If you want to study Chemistry at university, then you should study Chemistry and Mathematics at A-level. We would then advise choosing another science and Further Maths:

Here are our complementary recommendations for Chemistry:

  • Mathematics
  • Biology/Physics
  • Further Maths

Focus on Physics

In addition to Physics, we’d suggest taking Maths, and preferably Further Maths. Alongside these three subjects, take one of:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Human Biology

If you don’t want to take Further Maths, you can replace it with one of the three subjects above. However, this might put you at a disadvantage if you’re applying to a competitive university.

Best A-Level Subject Combinations: Maths

Suggested Subject Combinations

Maths is the most popular A-level choice, and it’s a fantastic subject when it comes to applying for university and building a transferable skill set to help you in your career.

The subject requires a lot of expertise and the ability to focus on a specific issue: these skills are invaluable when working in the finance and technology sectors.

You can’t really go wrong when combining subjects with Maths, as it’s such a versatile subject. Here are a few of our favoured A-level combinations that work well with Maths:

  • Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
  • Maths, Physics, Economics, Business Studies
  • Maths, Psychology, English, Economics
  • Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Computing

A lot of top universities request that you combine Maths, Further Maths, and Physics when applying for courses such as Computer Science and Engineering.

It’s also worth noting that Maths is often a required subject for Medicine, Economics, Maths and Natural Sciences degrees.

Applying for Maths at a Top University?

If you’re applying for Maths at Cambridge, you’ll need to take Further Maths alongside Maths at A-level.

Oxford colleges don’t require you to take Further Maths, but we’d highly recommend that you do: your chances of admission without Further Maths are significantly lower than if you take the subject.

Physics is required if you’re applying to Maths and Physics, and even if you’re not, it’s a good idea to take the subject.

We’d recommend Chemistry for your fourth A-Level, although you might get away with taking Computing or Statistics if you’re not applying to Oxford, Cambridge, or a top US university.

Modern and Classical Languages

Modern Languages are a little more challenging to incorporate into your A-level collection.

You should have a specific language in mind as your main Modern Language A-level. Once you’ve picked that A-level, you’ll have two options:

  1. Pair it with other subjects you enjoy
  2. Make your decision based on the degree you’d like to study.

Still unsure? Here are a few subjects we think combine really well with a Modern Language:

  • If you’re talented enough to be able to speak another foreign language, doubling up on languages is never a bad idea
  • English Language/Literature
  • History
  • Politics
  • Maths
  • Business Studies

Applying for Modern Languages at a Top University?

If you’re applying for Modern Languages at a top university, it’s important, of course, to take at least one foreign language at A-level. If you can take two then that is preferable.

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Other than that, few universities have any other required subjects for Modern Languages. However, there are many Modern Languages degrees that combine with subjects such as History, Classics, or Linguistics.

Therefore, we’d suggest taking History and English Language and/or English Literature alongside a Modern Language or two at A-Level.


As with English Literature, it’s a great idea to pair essay-based subjects together at A-level. This really demonstrates your valuable transferable skill set.

Here are a few recommended subject combinations:

  • History, English Literature, Psychology
  • History, English Literature, Economics
  • History, Economics, one of Philosophy, Sociology or Theology


Geography is an interesting A-level choice. It’s a multi-disciplined subject, and there is a wide range of complementary options when it comes to your A-level subject combinations.

However, certain universities might not regard the Geography A-level as highly as they do the History one.

In terms of A-level combinations, there are a lot of options, from combining with other essay-based subjects to adding Maths or Economics.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Geography, Biology, Economics
  • Geography, Biology, Maths
  • Geography, History, English

Applying for Geography at a Top University?

Not many universities have specific entrance requirements for their Geography courses: they often don’t even require you to have taken Geography at A-level. However, if you want to study Geography at a top university, you should take the subject at A-level.

There are a lot of subjects you could choose to pair with Geography, but we’d suggest picking a mixture of Humanities and Science-based subjects. You could also include English Literature to demonstrate your essay-writing ability.

Any of these combinations would work well as part of your university application:

  • Geography, History, Biology, Maths
  • Geography, English, Physics, Chemistry
  • Geography, History, English, Maths

Feel free to swap any of the Sciences in these combinations for another Science-based subject of your choice. Some Geography departments will like it if you take Latin or a Modern Language at A-level.

An Art-Based Subject

As a rule, we would advise that you only take Art, or an Art-based subject, if it is key to getting into the course you’d like to study at university or if it is a crucial stepping stone to the career you would like to pursue.

We would always recommend including two facilitating subjects alongside an Arts A-level.

If Art is your passion, and you choose an Art-based A-level subject, here are some combinations to consider.

  • Art, English, History/Geography, a Modern Foreign Language
  • Art, English, History/Geography, a Science
  • Art, English, Maths, a Science (brilliant for pursuing Art and keeping your options open for a number of university courses and careers)
  • Art, Maths, Physics (this combination is often preferred by Architecture degree courses)
  • Art, Maths, Business, English
  • Art, Computer Science, Graphic Design (this is a little more niche, and only really works if you’re looking to pursue a career in graphic design or video game animation)

Applying to Fine Art at Oxford?

It will come as little surprise that you’ll need to study Art at A-level if you want to earn an offer for this degree.

If you’re looking for complementary subjects, it’s never a bad idea to take English (there is often more essay-writing in a Fine Arts degree than you might expect).

Other than that, just make sure you avoid “soft” subjects. Most importantly, you should work on creating an outstanding portfolio that shows off your artistic passions and talents.

Best A-Level Subject Combinations for Specific University Degrees

Here, we’ll do an in-depth rundown of which A-level subject combinations you should consider when it comes to applying for more specific, niche, or vocational university degrees at top institutions.

Applying for Architecture?

Most Architecture courses don’t require specific A-level subject choices. It’s more likely that you’ll have to present a portfolio of relevant work that demonstrates your transferable skills.

The lack of required subjects means that your choices need to be more strategic. You need to be able to build a portfolio and demonstrate the raw skills required for an Architecture degree.

Here is our recommended A-level subject combination for Architecture:

  • Art
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Further Maths

Mathematics and Physics allow you to demonstrate an understanding of the core principles of Architecture.

Some Architecture courses are more arts-based than others, so it’s a good idea to be able to demonstrate your creative skills through your A-level subject choices.

Applying for Biochemistry?

Choosing Biology and Chemistry as A-Levels are clear and obvious choices for Biochemistry, but filling your last A-Level and choosing a subject to study at AS can be a little tricky.

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Maths is an obvious choice: it’s not essential for Biochemistry, but the skills that you’ll develop in terms of interpreting statistics and data are beneficial. You’ll also improve your calculation skills.

For your final choice, you can either focus on your scientific skills or for a bit of intellectual balance you can demonstrate your communication skills and ability to form an argument with an essay-based subject such as English or History.

Here is our recommended A-Level subject combination when it comes to applying for Biochemistry:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics, English or History

Applying for Biomedical Sciences?

For most universities, you will need to take two subjects out of Biology, Chemistry, Maths, and Physics, preferably Biology and Chemistry.

Whilst some universities will then accept two other, preferably facilitating, subjects, top universities will expect you to choose all four of these subjects.

Therefore, our recommended subject combination here is pretty simple:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Maths
  • Physics

A lot of universities, such as Warwick, exclude General Studies and Critical Thinking in their course requirements, so it’s best to avoid “soft” subjects when you’re applying to the top institutions.

Applying for Classics?

Ideally, you would study one of the classical languages, whether it’s Latin or Classical Greek, at A-level.

However, many universities understand that not all schools offer these A-levels, and these universities will provide ab initio courses for those who haven’t studied either subject at A-level.

However, taking a Classical Language A-level is a requirement for some university courses, so we have to include them in our recommended A-level options:

  • Latin/Classical Greek
  • History
  • History of Art

If you can’t take Latin and or Classical Greek, you should take one or two modern foreign languages and look for a university course with a four-year or study abroad option so that you can develop your ability in one of the Classical Languages from scratch.

Applying for Computer Science? Best A-Level Subject Combinations

Most university courses don’t require you to have taken Computer Science at A-level to study it at university, however, if it is an option for you then it’s worth taking.

Mathematics is an essential subject, and Further Mathematics is advised. Taking one other science is also a good idea.

It’s common to assume that taking IT is advantageous when for most universities it is in fact wiser to avoid taking that particular subject.

We’d advise taking Maths, Further Maths, and two of the following:

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science

Applying for Economics?

Economics is another mathematics-based subject, so you’ll need to take Maths, and Further Maths if you’re applying to study at a top university. If not, then just taking Maths might suffice.

You should take Economics at A-level if you can, but don’t worry if your school doesn’t offer it.

Combine Maths and Further Maths with two of these subjects:

  • Economics
  • Business Studies
  • Government and Politics
  • Statistics

Applying for Engineering?

For an Engineering degree at a top university, you’ll want to choose Maths and at least one more science. Physics is your best bet.

Whilst not many universities require Further Maths, it’s a good idea to take it, and it’ll give you skills that will be beneficial on your course.

Therefore, we’d recommend that you take Maths, Physics, Further Maths and one of the following:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Statistics

Some universities might accept Engineering or Design and Technology, but if you’re applying to a top university, you’d be better off choosing Maths, Physics, Further Maths, and either Chemistry or Biology.

Applying for Law? Best A-Level Subject Combinations

Both Oxford and Cambridge recommend an essay-based subject if you’re applying to study Law, but neither have specific subject requirements. Despite what you might think, you don’t need to take Law at A-level to study it at university. However, it might be a good idea to take that Law A-level to ensure you enjoy the subject.

If you do choose to take Law at A-level, we recommend pairing it with at least two essay-based subjects such as English and History. You should then choose either Geography, a Modern Foreign Language, or Maths as your final option.

It’s also not a bad idea to take Critical Thinking because it should help with the LNAT. However, we only recommend this as a fifth A-Level and not as one of four subjects.

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Applying for Materials Science?

If you’re looking to study Materials Science as a degree, then your A-level choices are actually quite simple.

  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • We’d then recommend Further Maths as your fourth A-Level, though at most universities it’s not required

Applying for Medicine?

Technically, if you’re applying for Medicine at most universities, you’ll need only to take Chemistry with one of Maths, Further Maths, Biology or Physics as a complementary subject.

However, if you’re looking to apply to Oxford or Cambridge, it’s worth considering that most applicants will take three or four sciences.

We’d recommend this subject combination if you’re applying to study Medicine at a top university:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Maths
  • Physics/Further Maths

Applying for Music?

Most top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, have very similar subject requirements for a Music degree. You’ll require an A-level in Music, though most universities would consider a decent certification in ABRSM Grade 8 Theory to be a fine replacement.

When you’re applying to the best universities, the safest bet is to have both a Music A-level and a Merit or Distinction in ABRSM Grade 8 Theory. Cambridge colleges will look for that Grade 8 certification, while Oxford colleges will also look for candidates with a Keyboard Ability of Grade 5 or above.

Other than taking the Music A-level, you’re better off focusing on working on your musicality and ability than worrying too much about A-level choices. However, as always, top universities will prefer that you take facilitating subjects as part of your A-level subject set.

Applying for Natural Sciences?

You should take at least two Science A-levels alongside Maths.

All Cambridge colleges require at least two science subjects at A-level if you’re applying for Natural Sciences, and some require three.

We’d suggest taking three, if not four Science-based subjects. In addition to Maths, you should consider taking:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Further Maths

Applying for Philosophy?

While there are usually no set requirements for studying Philosophy at university, we’d recommend a mix of Arts and Science-based subjects. An Arts-based subject will give you essay-writing skills, while Science subjects help to develop your logic and reason.

We’d suggest choosing four of the following:

  • Philosophy
  • English Literature
  • English Language and Literature
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Physics and Philosophy is a popular undergraduate degree at Oxford, so we’d recommend that you consider taking Physics as one of your choices at A-level.

Applying for Philosophy, Politics and Economics?

There are no set subject requirements to study PPE at university, and even Oxford will consider any subject combinations.

However, as with most subjects, there are preferences and various factors to consider. If you’re applying to a competitive university, you should follow the following recommendations.

We think that taking History and Maths is essential if you’re applying to study PPE at Oxford. It’s also advised if you’re applying to another competitive university. In addition, consider English, Economics, Geography, or a Modern Language as one of your other options.

Applying for Politics?

Politics degree courses don’t usually carry any specific entrance requirements, and a mix of Humanities and Science-based courses will provide a solid foundation and good general knowledge.

We’d recommend any of the following A-level courses if you’re planning on applying for Politics at university:

  • History
  • Government and Politics
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Foreign Language
  • Law
  • Mathematics

Applying for Theology and Religion?

There are no specific subject requirements to study Theology and Religion at most universities. However, you should try to take an essay-based subject, such as:

  • English
  • History
  • Geography
  • A Modern Foreign Language
  • A Classical Language such as Latin

The Final Thoughts: Choosing the Best A-Level Subject Combinations for Applying to University

There are several factors to consider when you’re picking the best A-level combination for applying to the top universities.

Try to pick a facilitating subject as your top A-level choice, then build the rest of your choices around that subject.

You should also try to think about what you want to study at university and pick out a combination of subjects that sets you up to submit a strong application for that particular degree.

Some universities are more strict than others in terms of their A-level subject requirements. For example, Trinity College, Cambridge might have slightly different course requirements to an Oxford college, so it’s best to head online. Check out each Oxbridge college’s subject requirements.

If you’re looking at non-Oxbridge universities, head to the relevant department’s website to see their A-level requirements. You can also reach out to your chosen universities or work with an education consulting service to make sure that you’re making the right choices.

To get in touch with us, to chat with one of our expert mentors.

(Video) Research Bytes | A Level Subject Choice and Higher Education Participation


What is a good combination of A-Level subjects? ›

Suggested Subject Combinations

Here are a few of our favoured A-level combinations that work well with Maths: Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology. Maths, Physics, Economics, Business Studies. Maths, Psychology, English, Economics.

What are the 3 best A levels? ›

The best A-levels for specific degree subjects
  • Physics. ...
  • Biology. ...
  • Medicine. ...
  • Mathematics. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Computer Science. ...
  • Architecture. ...
  • 'Facilitating' subjects.

What is the most popular A-Level Choice? ›

1. Mathematics. A-level maths is the most popular A-level taken by students who go on to university. The subject sharpens many key skills, namely the ability to get to grips with problems, something that lies at the centre of many fields.

What is the hardest combination of A-Levels? ›

Closely connected to the single Mathematics A-Level, Further Mathematics is also considered one of the hardest A-Levels because it counts as two subjects. When you study Further Maths, you'll be earning both your general Mathematics A-Level, as well as a qualification in Further Maths.

How many A are good in A-Level? ›

You should take three A-Levels at a minimum, because that is the standard requirement for all universities, even the very best ones, although you can take up to five A-Levels if you choose.

How do I pick my A levels? ›

A few dos and don'ts when choosing A Levels

Talk to students who are already taking that subject. Find out how the course will be assessed and whether this will suit you and your strengths. Ask for some honest feedback from your teachers as to how they think you would do at A Level.

What happens if I fail my A-Levels? ›

Resit an exam

However you can't retake specific modules – you would have to re-take the whole exam for the year. You'll need to wait a year to re-sit any exams as A-levels and AS-levels are only assessed by exam in the spring.

Can you go to Harvard with A-Levels? ›

Over 850 universities in the US formally accept Cambridge International AS & A Levels, including all Ivy League and Ivy Plus universities. These universities include Brown, Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Yale.

Which subject is most popular? ›

Most popular subjects for international students in the US
2Business & management
3Mathematics & computer science
4Social science
1 more row

WHAT A-Levels do girls take? ›

The most popular A-Level subjects

While biology, maths and chemistry are popular with female students too, physics and computer science are much less so. The arts – notably English literature and art & design – are much more popular with female students than male, as are psychology and sociology.

What is the hardest A-Level to study? ›

The 12 hardest A-Level subjects are Mathematics, Further Mathematics, History, Chemistry, Biology and Physics. The list also includes English Literature, Art, Psychology, Computer Programming and Music. You might be looking at some of these subjects and thinking, “No way!

What is the hardest subject to get a first in? ›

Law. Law is officially the hardest subject to get a first class degree in4, so we all know it's hard going. If you think you know what it's like to have a lot of reading, go and talk to a Law student.

What is the hardest subject? ›

10 most difficult courses in the world you need to know about
  • Engineering. Students who want to make a career in the engineering field are required to have tactical skills, analytical skills, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. ...
  • Chartered Accountancy. ...
  • Medicine. ...
  • Pharmacy. ...
  • Architecture. ...
  • Law. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Statistics.
28 Nov 2021

Which A levels are the easiest? ›

What are the easiest A-Levels to take?
  • Archaeology.
  • Law. ...
  • Geography. ...
  • Drama/Theatre Studies. ...
  • Textiles. ...
  • Art. ...
  • Design & Technology (D&T) ...
  • Business Studies. Now, despite featuring as the most difficult subject on our list of easiest A-Levels, Business Studies still boasts a pass rate of 98%. ...

Is 4 A levels better than 3? ›

1. Four A levels look better than three – incorrect. It is the grades of the three A levels and the subjects those A levels are in that are important. Put all your efforts into those three A levels – thousands of other students nationally, who got 8s and 9s at GCSE are doing that and you are competing with them!

What is the least popular A-Level subject? ›

The 10 Least Popular A-Level Subjects – Ranked for 2022
  1. Environmental studies.
  2. Home Sciences. ...
  3. Performing Arts. ...
  4. Information Technology. ...
  5. Geography. ...
  6. Modern Foreign Languages. ...
  7. Religious Studies. ...
  8. Media / Film Studies. ...
15 May 2021

Which gender does better in A-Levels? ›

In the 2021 results, the rate of A* and A grades for female A-Level students was 46.4%, compared to 41.7% for boys.

What are soft A-Levels? ›

Soft Subjects is a controversial term given to some A level subjects that are considered less academic. They are often newer and subjects on this list include: Media Studies, Business Studies, Film Studies, Design Technology, Health and Social Care and Criminology.

Are 3 subjects enough for A Levels? ›

You'll typically choose three or four subjects to take. Some students take more subjects, if they're planning to apply to a competitive university (eg Oxford, Cambridge) or course (eg medicine, law), for example. Most universities' A-level entry requirements boil down to three A-level grades.

Can you get 100% in A Levels? ›

A-levels (maybe some subjects more than others) don't lend themselves well to full marks in the way that perhaps other countries systems do. And it's got me thinking I don't think I've ever known or heard of anybody to get 100% on a proper exam or mock. Yes end of unit tests or half term assessments but that's it.

Do A Levels expire? ›

Your GCSEs, A-levels and Degree will never 'expire' but some people want to see evidence of recent learning, so sometimes will ask you do a short course to show you are still as capable as you were 20 or so years ago.

Is getting a * in a level hard? ›

For the A Levels that I did, it's fairly easy so long as you don't slack off and have some natural aptitude for the subjects -- you won't be able to get A*s with four hours' revision like at GCSE, however. I learned that the hard way.

Can you get a job with a levels? ›

Getting a job after A Levels

Once you've completed your A-levels (or an equivalent qualification like a BTEC) you can leave school and find a job. If you're aged 18 or over you can look for jobs without needing to do any more further education or training.

Do universities accept 2 A levels? ›

For the majority of students, it isn't possible to get into university with only 2 A-Levels. The majority of universities require at least 3 qualifications or better explained as 112 UCAS tariff points.

Is D fail in A-Level? ›

Is an E or D a pass at A-level? An E or D is still a pass at A-Level - but it will result in lower UCAS points. A pass is indicated by one of six grades, A*, A, B, C, D or E, - where A and A* is the highest grade and E is the lowest. In order to meet the pass criteria, you must get an E grade or above on results day.

How many people pass A-Levels? ›

About one in seven entries (14.6%) were awarded an A*, down from nearly one in five in 2021 (19.1%), but higher than the 2019 figure of 7.7%.

Is an E in A-Levels a fail? ›

Every A-level student will have set grades they need to attain for a place in university or other post-college avenues. Most will look to get results in the A to C range, which is what most higher education institutions require. But people who get grades below this threshold won't fail, as an E is technically a pass.

What a level grades are needed for Oxford? ›

Offers for Oxford places are between A*A*A and AAA at A-level, depending on the course. (See course pages.) See a list of Oxford courses with conditional offers including at least one A*. A-level grades of students who applied in 2020 during the 2021 UCAS cycle.

How many A Levels are needed for US universities? ›

Entry requirements for American Universities

You will need to be studying post-16 qualifications (ie A-Levels) for four-year universities but you could get into a community college with less. For more competitive universities, you will need to be studying at least 3 A-Levels or their equivalent.

Does Harvard accept low grades? ›

In general, students with a 3.0 GPA still have a chance to get into Harvard, provided that the application can demonstrate that they are what the university is looking for exactly. In some instances, hooks, such as being an athlete, allow applicants to get admitted into Harvard, even with a low GPA.

What is a good number of A-Levels? ›

You should take three A-Levels at a minimum, because that is the standard requirement for all universities, even the very best ones, although you can take up to five A-Levels if you choose.

Is 3 or 4 A-Levels better? ›

1. Four A levels look better than three – incorrect. It is the grades of the three A levels and the subjects those A levels are in that are important. Put all your efforts into those three A levels – thousands of other students nationally, who got 8s and 9s at GCSE are doing that and you are competing with them!

Should I take 3 or 4 subjects for A-Levels? ›

Your top priority should be getting the best possible grades in three subjects – if taking four would stretch you too thinly then it's counterproductive.

How many A-Level subjects should I choose? ›

A-levels take two years and can lead to further study at university, apprenticeships, training or work. Most students choose three subjects to study at A-level, although you can do up to five. When you apply to university, most will give you an offer based on three subjects.

What is the pass mark for A-Levels? ›

For passing grades, 40% corresponds to an E grade, 50% a D, 60% a C, 70% a B, and 80% an A. The A* grade was introduced in 2010 and is awarded to candidates who average 80% UMS across all modules, with a score over 90% UMS in all A2 modules.

Can you get 100% in A-Levels? ›

A-levels (maybe some subjects more than others) don't lend themselves well to full marks in the way that perhaps other countries systems do. And it's got me thinking I don't think I've ever known or heard of anybody to get 100% on a proper exam or mock. Yes end of unit tests or half term assessments but that's it.

Do universities accept 2 A-Levels? ›

For the majority of students, it isn't possible to get into university with only 2 A-Levels. The majority of universities require at least 3 qualifications or better explained as 112 UCAS tariff points.

How many people get 4 A * s at A-Level? ›

But people's results are usually over-optimistically predicted, there's no formal data on predicted grades and most people do 3, not 4 A Levels, and people doing 4 are probably going to do well in them. so I'd be inclined to say around 2-3% of people would be precited 4A*, with 1-1.5% actually achieving it.

WHAT A-Levels do you need to be a doctor? ›

A levels – To get on to a medical and dentistry degree, you will require three A levels and A grades. Typically chemistry and biology A level are required, with some schools preferring a third related science subject.

Is doing 5 A-Levels too much? ›

5 A-levels is not really that much but its not necessary to do all 5 especially if that means jeopardising your chances of getting straight A*. Bear in mind though that there are a number of people who have sit 6-8 A-levels and I know of one person who got 8A*s straight at A levels last year....

Does Oxford prefer 4 A levels? ›

Oxbridge entry requirements

Oxford and Cambridge Universities are known for demanding the highest grades of As and A*s off students. However, doing 4 A levels over 3 is neither required nor preferred. 3 A levels are demanded from the universities, and most students who go there only do 3.

Can you get into Oxford with 3 A levels? ›

basicallly, yes, of course you can. it's other qualities that matter, and how well you actually do in those A-levels. no use doing 4 if less time for each subject is going to drag your grades down. concentrate more on studying and doing well on those subjects you do instead of worrying about this.

What grade is a fail in A-Level? ›

You have passed if you get one of six grades, A*, A, B, C, D or E, – where A and A* is the highest grade and E is the lowest. A D and an E is a pass, but it will get fewer Ucas points. If a student does not pass, it will show on their results sheet as “Not Classified” or similar.

WHAT A-Levels do universities look for? ›

Some A Level subjects are regarded by virtually all universities as being acceptable. These are sometimes known as 'facilitating' subjects such as Maths, English, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, History, Geography or a foreign language.

What does a * mean in A-Levels? ›

The A* at A Level is awarded to candidates who achieve a grade A on the A Level overall (80%), and who also achieve at least 90% on the uniform mark scale (UMS) across their A2 units.


1. Do Universities care about your grades? | GCSE, Report Cards and more | A&J Education
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