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Should I take four A Levels?

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Once GCSEs are over (hallelujah!), you really get your first opportunity to choose subjects that you actually want to do. Gone are the days of enforced algebra, reading or learning about forces – ugh.

Now is your chance to choose subjects which your academic strengths play to. However, it can be hard to bring the number of subjects you wish to do down to three. A large number of students now take four A Levels, and often drop a subject after completing the first year of study, thus coming away with an AS Level.

Deciding whether you want to start off studying three or four A Levels, and then, if you choose four, deciding whether to drop one after a year can be incredibly difficult. So, here are some things to consider that will (hopefully) make the process that bit easier.

Academic success

A Levels are a big jump up from GCSEs. It is important to make sure you are capable in all of the subjects you wish to do – if you feel as though you may find them difficult, doing three may be wise as it gives you more time to focus on each one.

Extracurricular activities

Do you participate in a sport or other hobby which is time consuming and important to you? Doing four A Levels will obviously require more time for study, so you may find that doing an extra A Level will make it difficult to fit in both school work and your hobby.

Part time jobs

These can lend you really good experience, as well as a bit of extra cash, so are an important part of student life. If you manage your time well, doing four A Levels and maintaining your part time job will be realistic, but you may need to restrict your hours so that you can keep up with studying.

University and job applications

Do you need four A Levels? If you want to really go for it and apply to top universities, yes, it will be useful to have four. It lends you knowledge in an extra area and indicates that you can manage your time well. However, if you don’t need to do four A Levels, why give yourself extra work?

Finally, the most important thing is to make sure you’re happy. If you would enjoy doing four A Levels, go for it, but if you think the work would overwhelm you do not feel pressured into doing it.

Would you take four A Levels? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo: Nana B Agyei / Flickr

Stephanie HartleyShould I take four A Levels?

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