How Many A Levels Can You Take? Which Ones Are the Best?


  1. What is an A-Level?
  2. How many subjects in an A Level?
  3. How many A Levels can you do?
  4. When should you take all 5 subjects?
  5. Things to consider
  6. Which A Levels to take
  7. What not to do 


If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely your kids are considering their A level options. Looking for answers to crucial questions such as how many a levels can you take? How many levels are there? How long do levels take? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll help you answer these crucial questions and more.

How many A-Levels your child takes will play a significant role in the future endeavours they wish to become a part of. Scoring well on A-Levels is a requirement for many prestigious universities and apprenticeship programs

Such high scrutiny can, however, place a lot of stress and pressure on students.

This pressure can often lead to a lot of questions about A-Levels. For instance, your children might be wondering to themselves: How many A-Levels can I take? What A-Levels should I take? How many A-Levels do you need for uni?  

If you’re nervous about your child’s questions, don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Keep on reading to find out what the best course of action is for you and your kids.studying for a levels

What is an A-Level?


So what is an A-Level? How many A-Levels are there? The Advanced Level qualifications are a set of subject-based courses that students from England, Northern Ireland, and Wales take during Years 12 and 13; it is the most common step for students who have completed their GCSE exams

The A-Levels are one of the most globally competitive examinations. In addition, many countries have A-Level colleges associated with the British educational system. Therefore, the academic standards have become both global and, as such, highly competitive. 💪

Hundreds of thousands of students study for their A-Levels every year, making it difficult for your children to stand out from their peers. We want your kids to do their absolute best by making smart and efficient choices. Our 3,000+ top teachers from around the world can help your child fulfil their potential. If you are interested in giving it a shot, you can book a no-obligation, free trial lesson now.

Keep on reading to find out how your kid can excel!


How many subjects in a level?


How many A-Levels are there? How long do A-Levels take?

Your kid can take a maximum of 5 A-Level courses. There are no best A-Levels to take; each child has to do what works best for them.

However, should your child take all five A-Level courses?

For many, that might not be the best strategy. Keep on reading as we explain how many a-levels you need for uni and explore the various options your child has. 


How many A Levels can you do?


Wondering how many A-Levels there are? Students can actually choose from over 80 different subjects in their two years of study. So, how many A-Levels do you do?

The more, the merrier, right?

Perhaps, not in this context. 👎

While it may seem that taking more subjects can help your kid build an excellent application for university, this isn’t the only criterion worth focusing on. Students should only attempt to take 5 A-Level classes if they’re genuinely interested in a range of subjects and honestly believe that they can handle the enormous workload. 

It is generally recommended that your kids choose around three subjects to balance their workload adequately. Switching to A-Levels from GCSEs is a significant transition, and a lot of students might not be able to handle the sudden influx of work, especially alongside managing their personal lives, interests and extracurriculars. 

Taking three subjects can be a sweet spot as this number allows them to have a balanced course load and provides them with sufficient free time to focus on their interests. 

Some students do attempt to take five subjects, believing this decision will benefit them. However, unfortunately, the choice can be entirely counterproductive. Here’s why:


When should you take all five subjects?


All A-Level subjects have a highly competitive and demanding curriculum; your kids may have to spend hours at their desks every day, attempting to complete numerous assignments. 

Simply put, the A-Levels are not easy. But are they worth it? 

Definitely! It depends on the individual, but it can be a fantastic opportunity for some students. So, for those of you whose children are wondering what the best A-Levels to take are, here are your answers! 

  • They are passionate about the subjects

They say passion and ambitions have no limits, and that couldn’t hold more true for kids who are determined to succeed in life!

If your kid is an avid learner and wants to experience interdisciplinary learning at the highest level, they should take all five courses.

For example, if your kid is interested in the laws of Physics and Chemistry, is also curious about the applications of Computer Science and Designing, and is passionate about learning more Economics, they should undoubtedly delve deeper into every field.

If you find your child is naturally curious and interested in a number of different fields, the A-Levels can be a fantastic platform to encourage multi-dimensional learning

For instance, your child might know that they’re passionate about science but may not be able to decide between Social Science and Natural Science, in which case it might be a great idea for them to delve deeper into both these options. Most kids who take the A-Levels are barely 14-16 years old and haven’t had too many opportunities to explore their interests and passions in-depth. 

With the A-Levels, your kids can experiment with different subjects to determine their niche and interests before applying for specialised university courses. 

This can help them enter university with greater confidence and a clearer picture of what they want to get out of their coursework.

Many kids tend to limit their interests by following conventional paths such as STEM or social sciences. Unfortunately, such limitations can deter your kids from exploring their passions and options, leading to less creativity and unhappiness later in life. 

If your kid wants to explore and believes that they are ready for the challenges of taking five courses, you should undoubtedly encourage them to do so!

  • They want to get into top-tier universities 🎓

One of the most common questions when it comes to A-Levels is: How many A-Levels are needed for university?

Does your kid dream of attending the University of Oxford or Cambridge?

If your kid wants to attend the very best institutions in the country, then taking several courses can be a good option.

To put things into perspective, most Russell Group universities like Oxford and Cambridge set out particular requirements for students attempting the A-Levels. These requirements could include choosing certain subjects to be eligible for admission. 

The same is true for multiple other top-tier universities in the UK. The transition from A-Levels to university is more complex than the one from GCSE to A-Levels. Thus, to make sure that students can handle the course load at such rigorous universities, these colleges often set out subject criteria to better prepare students for the future.

If your kid is ambitious about going to the best universities possible, then taking all five courses can be helpful as it can make their application stand out. 


Things to consider before choosing 4-5 courses


Taking on such an intensive workload should not be a decision taken on a whim. Most children might not even need to take all five A-Level courses, and choosing to do so can unnecessarily burden them. You should make sure that your child is making a well-informed decision when it comes to course selection. Check the following points to analyse if your kid is on the right path.

  • They can handle heavy course loads

Attempting the A-Levels is not going to be easy for your kids.😬

Going from GCSE to A-Levels represents a major change. A lot of rigorous work is needed to switch from studying simple biological concepts in Year 11 to learning complex biological functions in the A-Levels.

Don’t forget to factor in your children’s extracurricular interests and leave them time to pursue their passions. For example, your kid might be interested in debate, music or sports

If your kid can simultaneously handle a heavy course load and extracurriculars, then they could consider taking all five subjects. 

  • Three is the recommended number

Yes, it can be tempting to take all the courses; however, taking three courses is often considered the best strategy. While selecting top universities may require more courses, the majority of colleges are happy admitting students who have taken three courses.

After all, how they’ve performed in their A-Levels matters more than the number they’ve chosen. What’s the point if your child pushes themselves to take all five and performs poorly on all of them

Don’t panic if your kid opts to reduce the number of courses they’re attending if they believe this decision will help them score better marks and thus, get into better universities. 

Furthermore, you don’t want them to look back and realise that they missed out on other parts of life because they were drowning in homework and assignments. And don’t forget: there are multiple avenues for students to grow and learn; limiting their entire high school experience to academics can hamper their growth and development in the long term. 

It is, therefore, better to take on a balanced workload rather than a heavy one. This way, they can both perform better and ensure they participate in extracurricular opportunities schools have to offer. 


Which a levels should I take?


The subjects your kids choose can determine their university admissions and where their career path will eventually take them. However, with more than 80 courses to choose from, how can they choose the best one? Keep on reading to find out.

The courses your kids take completely depends on what kind of future they want to pursue. For example, do they want to become a doctor or a journalist? They can take whatever courses can help them achieve their dreams. Are they still unsure about what to pursue? Below, we have listed some considerations, which can help your kids make the decision that’s right for them. 

  • Consider their interests ❤️

Your kids are more likely to perform well in subjects that they are genuinely interested in. Hence, if you encourage your kid to take popular or conventional courses without factoring in their personal preferences, they might end up scoring poorly on their A-Level exams. For instance, your kid might fail Biology if their interest lies in Economics or Media, thus hurting their chances of getting into a good university. 

It is, therefore, essential to navigate your kids’ interests and inspire them to follow their passions. The courses that they end up taking can play a defining role in the career paths they ultimately end up choosing. 

Studying for something they are not passionate about now will only deter them from being curious and enthusiastic about learning in general. Therefore, it is important for them to follow their hearts. 

However, finding a particular interest or passion can in itself be a daunting task. Your kids are most likely 14-16 years old; they are still growing and have a lot to learn about life. They may require your guidance to help them make the best decision for themselves. You can ask your child the following questions to help them navigate their often-conflicting feelings.

  • Which subject did you enjoy the most at GCSE?
  • What interests you the most?
  • What kind of person do you want to be when you grow up?
  • Do you have anyone who inspires you?
  • Which career path are you interested in?
  • Which profession excites you the most?
As good and responsible parents, you should support what your kid wants to pursue. Forcing a choice on them can be counterproductive as it forces them to study rather than getting them excited about learning. 
  • Research 💻

Your kid might want to become a pharmacist. In this case, choosing Biology becomes a requirement for them.

Likewise, they might be keen to go to a top university like Oxford or Warwick. In this case, they will have to research the requirements set by these universities/courses/apprenticeship programs to enrol.

It is, therefore, important for your kids to do the necessary research before making their final A-Level selections. 
  • Choose a combination of subjects

The world becomes more complex with every passing second, and this complexity has opened new jobs, degrees, and opportunities for today’s generation. However, in most schools, the subjects are still polarised.

STEM students don’t take social sciences and vice versa. Similarly, an economics student might ignore art and music. Thus, many students miss out on the numerous interdisciplinary combinations they could have thrived in.

Thus, if you see your kid focusing too closely on only one stream, you should advise them to explore other fields as well. This is because:

  • Their interests might change
  • They might not be well-informed about their other options
  • Many universities prefer well-rounded students
  • The job market favours people with mixed skills
  • It is always better for them to explore their options than to stay in their comfort zone
  • Hence, with the right amount of research, exploration, and trial and error, your kids can choose the best subjects for them. 


What not to do while choosing courses❌


Many students make the mistake of not being careful enough while choosing their courses. Here are some things your kid should avoid doing, so that they don’t make the mistake of selecting a course that ultimately doesn’t work for them.

  • Following their friends

It’s likely that your kid may prioritise certain classes just because their friends are taking them. However, following their friends is often not the best decision for your children. Instead, as responsible parents, you have to realise that their interests and ambitions must come before the influence of their peers. 

As teenagers, peer pressure can play a major role in your children’s lives. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that your child recognises their priorities and makes sound decisions accordingly. 

  • Social influences

Many parents, knowingly or unknowingly, put pressure on their kids to choose specific subjects in the hopes that this will benefit them in the future.  

However, this practice should be avoided because everyone is unique, and what worked for someone else may not necessarily work for your child. As loving parents, you should also keep your personal bias in check and ensure that you are not forcing your ideas on them. 

  • Not researching the school

Choosing a school can be as important as choosing the correct subjects, and this isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. 

Many schools might not offer the subjects your kids are interested in or the ones required for the particular university of their choice. The school also might have a bad reputation in terms of not caring about their students or not providing them with the necessary facilities

The A-Levels are crucial qualifications and you have to make sure your child is studying for them at the right place. Going to schools that are unsupportive or have poor standards of teaching can be detrimental to your child’s education. 

Here is a list of a few must-haves for the school you choose to send your kids to:

  • Student support
  • Good online support
  • Well qualified and highly-rated teachers
  • A skilled guidance counsellor
  • Courses your kids are interested in
  • Good extracurricular activities

Choosing suitable courses, in terms of both quality and quantity, can be pivotal when it comes to your kids’ success at university, apprenticeship programs, and beyond. Above everything else, the best thing that a good parent can do is to support their kids while they make their personal choices, trusting that they will make the best decision for themselves. 

GoStudent’s one-on-one tutoring can help your kids prepare for the demanding coursework of A-Level classes. If you are considering enrolling your children in additional classes, we urge you to try a free trial lesson now

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