Choosing your courses

Before you start
Our aim is success for all.  A and AS Levels are academic courses of study which require a firm foundation at GCSE. Experience shows that to give you the best chance of success, a general requirement of at least 6 separate subjects, including English Language and Maths, at GCSE grade C or above is essential. For a few subjects, there is a strong recommendation that only those with an A or B grade at GCSE should study the subject. To balance that, there are also some subjects that can be studied without having been taken at GCSE.

What are AS Qualifications?
For many years there has been concern that the studies of A Level students are undesirably narrow. Students have had to abandon subjects which they have taken up to the age of 16, often with considerable success and interest, in order to pursue a limited range of A Levels. Humanities students have had little opportunity to continue with mathematical, scientific and technical studies; science students have often had to discontinue their studies in English and foreign languages.

Advanced Subsidiary courses were introduced for the first time in September 2000. They are designed to broaden A Level students’ studies by providing the opportunity for them to continue with more subjects. An AS course will require an intensive one year of teaching time and represents the first year of a full A Level course. Examinations in the AS will be taken in May / June of Year 12. Passes will be graded A-E, as with A Levels and an AS qualification is awarded. To achieve the full A Level qualification you will have to study units called A2 units in Year 13 and take exams in them. To continue with studying your subjects in year 13, it is expected that you achieve an average of at least 3 grades at D or above at AS.

Choosing Subjects
You must consult with the staff that teach you and know about your chances of success in the various subjects which interest you. It is important that you plan very carefully, not only to be sure of taking the subjects you need for your career (career importance of the subjects is given with the subject descriptions), but to be sure that you are taking the subjects in which you feel you will succeed.  Finally, remember that the subjects you choose will fill a large part of your life for the next two years.  Choose subjects that you will enjoy studying. It is recommended that you do not choose more than 2 subjects that you have not studied at GCSE level.

How many subjects should you choose?
At this stage, you should choose 4 subjects at AS level in year 12 and 1 reserve subject. You should clearly state what your 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice subjects are. 

N.B. You must have followed the AS course before taking an A2. You will be given specific, individual guidance as to which of the many combinations will suit you.

After A and AS Levels 
In general terms, A and AS qualifications are the usual means of entry to universities and other institutions of higher education. Not all A Level students, however, will wish to go in that direction and A Levels are essential or desirable for many careers open to eighteen-year olds. Entrants to accountancy, for example, or to most branches of surveying, need A Levels, while other professions look increasingly for the A Level entrant. Please look at the ‘informed choices’ presentation by the Russell International Excellence Group on our website for further university and careers information.

What subjects are available?
The subjects are offered by the faculties as follows: subject to the numbers of students who wish to take the courses.

ENGLISH

English Language
English Literature
English Combined 

MATHEMATICS

Pure Mathematics 
Double Mathematics
Statistics

HUMANITIES

History
Geography
Economics
Business Studies
Politics
Psychology
Sociology
Religious Studies

EXPRESSIVE ARTS

Art
Graphic Design
Music
Music Technology
Drama & Theatre Studies

TECHNOLOGY

Product Design - 3D Design
Product Design - Textiles

SCIENCE

Biology
Chemistry
Physics

MODERN LANGUAGES

French
German
Spanish

ICT

ICT

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Physical Education
BTEC National in Sport

 

What to do next

  1. Decide on your subject choices – make sure you check with your teachers that these are suitable.  You should start researching what A levels are needed for particular careers/university courses, that you are interested in.
  2. Complete and return the Application Form.  Ideally these should be completed by Friday 22nd November so that senior staff have the relevant information for the sixth form interviews.
  3. Attend an interview.
  4. Attend the Introductory Day in June/July.
  5. After GCSE results day, confirm your place ready to start Year 12 in September.