A-Levels 101: Everything You Need to Know to Excel in Your Exams

Once you take the GCSE exams, you will have to think of which A-level you should choose. GCSEs help you to determine for A-level you should go for. There is no doubt that A-levels are an important part of your life as they play a crucial role in your career. Thus it is very important to know everything about it, from the different A-level subjects to how to ace it.

Quick Takeaways

  • As discussed above A-levels are the qualifications that you will be taking after A-levels. 
  • They are the qualification that helps you to get into the university as well as boost up chances of getting selected for a job. 
  • According to the rules you will need to have 3 A-levels, but many students study more than 3 A-levels.

However, you must read till the end so that you do not miss any important facts related to the A-levels.

What are A-levels?

A-levels are the qualifications that you have to take after taking GCSEs. It means that it is an advanced level qualification that is generally done after your year 11, which needs at least 4 GCSEs, depending upon the subjects of A-levels. You will be taking your A-levels in the years 12 and 13 at the age of 16-19. It depicts that there are 2 years to complete the A-levels. The first year of it is known as AS level. The course curriculum is of this subject easy than the final year.

To differentiate the students studying in A-levels from the others it was named Sixth Forms. You can either take your A-levels in sixth form or sixth form colleges. When you will do your years 12 and 13 from the place you have done year 11, it will be sixth form.

However sixth form colleges are specifically designed for students to only study A-levels. In these colleges, you get more freedom for the dress code than in the sixth form. Though it is an advanced qualification, it does not mean that it is a higher education. A-levels are just the advanced level of GCSEs and thus are considered as further education.

As you have applied to different sixth forms, you may get multiple offers. You may also be interested in accepting the offer and there is no doubt that you can accept them. However, you must make sure to see the GCSE results first. When you are applying to the A-levels you must make sure that you are applying before the GCSEs results that are in August. Though the deadline for each of the sixth forms varies depending on the subject. You must also know that you need to stay in education till you are 18.

Therefore it is important that you are taking A-levels. If you are not staying the education you may have to face consequences. It does not mean that you will have to complete the A-levels in two years you can take them even in a single year.

How many A-Levels should you take?

According to the rules and regulations you will have to take at least 3 A-levels. However, there are many students who take more than 3 A-levels. Thus you must choose the number of A-levels depending on your own needs.

One thing that you must remember is that sometimes you may have taken a subject that is not interesting. In such a case you must consider the last date for changing the sixth form so that it does not become too late for applying for it.

Furthermore, if you have taken an A-level in which you were not able to pass or have missed the exams, you must not worry about it. You can resit for that particular A-level in order to get good grades. It can be done by reapplying in the same sixth form, sixth form college, or even via online mode. Not every student has the capability of doing well in theoretical qualifications like A-levels. Thus a new qualification i.e T-level is introduced which is equal to 3 A-levels and thus you will only need to take 1 T-level.

How much A-levels are important?

If you live in the UK you must be well aware of how much A-levels are important. There will be no such university that will not look at your A-levels. In fact, most of them will look at your A-level subjects chosen. Similarly, your A-levels are also very important for employers. Having good grades in A-levels and good subjects increases the chances of getting selected. 

Now as you know the importance of your A-levels, you must make sure that you are revising for them properly. Try to make a proper timetable and keep 15-20 hours for proper revision. It is very important to have the motivation for revising.

You must revise in a place which is quiet and tidy. Also, you can go for group revisions and break the syllabus into a study plan which is one of the best ways for preparing for sixth forms. After A-levels, you will have to go for level qualification 4 and thus must have good scores in A-levels. As you know how you can get motivation and how to revise for them, let us learn about different types of  A-levels. 

What are easy and hardest A-levels?

Following are the easiest and hardest A-levels-

Easy A-levels

Below are the top 5 easy A-levels

1. Business Studies

The passing rate of Business studies is around 98% which is very impressive. The course content in this subject covers marketing, finance, etc. Questions in the exams are based on real-life situations. This A-level can also help you in becoming an accountant.

2. Law

The course curriculum of law is quite easy just like Sociology. One thing that may be tough is the amount of study you will have to do. If you are thinking of becoming a lawyer or doing law as higher education, you will need A-level law as a requirement. 

3. Art

Again the passing rate of art subjects is more than 98% i.e 98.7%. You will have to create different art pieces and will get each of them evaluated by your professors. It is one subject that can be taken even if you do not have it at the GCSE level.

4. Drama

If you love to perform in theatres you will have to choose Drama. It is the subject that has the highest passing rate which is 99.8%. In this subject, you will have to perform your coursework and the practical part which is split between 50-50. 

5. Fim studies

Film studies is a subject in which you will have to watch different types of movies and analyze different factors of it. It is the best subject for you if you want to make a career as a filmmaker. 

Hardest A-levels

Below are the top 5 hardest A-levels

1. Economics

Economics is a subject that will help you to learn how the economy of a country works. In this subject, you must have good writing skills. Along with that, it will help you to boost up critical thinking skills along with problem-solving skills. As you will have to interpret various graphs you may need to implement mathematics. 

2. Computer science

The failure rate of computer science is more than 5% which is huge. It is a subject that is specifically for students who are interested in tech. So if you are a student who is not a tech person it is a tough subject for you. You will also need to submit a project for this subject. Thus you must have an excellent NEA project idea for it.

3. Maths

It is one of the subjects that you must only take at A-level if you have scored at least 6 grades in GCSE maths. In this A-level, you will have to study statistics, mechanics, and pure mathematics. This is a subject that is mostly considered by employers and universities. If you love maths, you may think of creating your career in maths and thus take a degree in it. You may also need to take an exam for CFA level 1.

4. Physics

It is a subject that is considered to be one of the toughest subjects. The only reason why it is so tough is that it is the only science subject that has the maximum amount of mathematics. In fact, more than 40% of physics involves mathematics in it.

5. Further maths

Further maths is the advanced level of maths that you will be studying. As we studied above maths is considered a tough choice and thus further maths is tougher. You must only consider taking this subject if you have scored at least an A grade in GCSE maths

What are the least and most respected A-levels?

Following are the most respected and least popular A-levels.

Least Popular A-levels

Below are the top 5 least popular A-levels

1. Geography

The passing rate of Geography is 98.7%. It is one of the easiest humanities subjects. In it, you will be studying very less curriculum which is again easy. If you have taken this subject you will also need to give a project in which you will have to work on NEA ideas.

2. Environmental science

It is a very simple and easy science subject. The only reason why most of the students do not consider it is that they believe that there are not much of job opportunities after it. However, it is not true as you can find a lot of high-paying jobs in this subject.

3. General science

General science was one such subject which helped you to broaden your knowledge. However, in 2020, this subject was not offered as there was a 99.9% decline till 2019. The only reason why no student took it was that it was not considered even a single score by the students. It was a subject in which the students were able to score higher even without studying.

4. Textiles

Textile is a subject that is good for those who do not have good writing knowledge. Thus if you are a person who is not into writing part, you must go for this subject. In this subject, you will need to give 10-hour eczema in which you have to create a piece with the help of fabric.

5. Music

If you are a person who loves music this is a subject for you. The reason why it is the least popular subject is that many students are not into music. Also, there is also a lot of theoretical parts which may make it boring for the students.

Most respected A-levels

Below are the top 5 most respected A-levels

1. Psychology

If you are not good at writing then choosing Psychology is a bad decision. It is one subject in which you will have to write a lot of information just like english. This subject is a mixture of science and english. Thus it is one of the tough subjects. 

2. Maths 

It is one subject that looks widely by universities and employers. The subject helps to develop skills like problem-solving and the ability to take tough tastes. Thus it is one of the most popular subjects. However, you must make sure that you are taking the right type of calculator with you. 

3. Chemistry

If you want to take STEM courses you will need to have chemistry subject. The syllabus that you will be studying in this A-level will be new and different from the content that you have studied in GCSE chemistry. 

4. Physics 

Physics is a subject in which you will have to study both theoretical as well as applied knowledge. As discussed you will be studying the maximum amount of maths in this science subject. There will be different equations that you need to study in this subject.

5. Foreign language

It is one such subject in which you will be studying different languages. You can select languages like french, german, Spanish, etc. In this subject, the content that you will be studying is totally new. It is a respectable A-level because most employers are looking to hire a person who knows more than 1 language


A-levels are the advanced level qualifications taken after completing GCSEs in sixth forms. They are usually taken in the years 12 and 13 and are very important to the university and employers. Usually, you need to take 3 A-levels, but there are many students who take more than 3 A-levels. So it will depend upon you on how many A-levels you want to study. In addition to that you must choose the right A-levels. However, you can always resit for them if due for any reason you were not able to pass it. 

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