The 10 Hardest A Level Subjects to Run Towards or Away From!


  1. What are the hardest A-Levels to do?
  2. What is the most respected A-Level?
  3. How hard is taking four A-Level subjects?
  4. Which A Level board is the hardest?
  5. Final thoughts on the hardest A Levels


Choosing which A Level subjects and how many to take can feel like torture! We’re going to give you some great tips and let you know what is the most difficult A-Level of the top 10 and which is the hardest A Level exam board. Don’t worry, by the end of this, you’ll be much less confused about how to make your decision. 

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What are the hardest A-Levels to do?


We’re going to show you the hardest A Level subjects straight up because we know that’s why you’re here. Before you decide to scratch these off your list though, there are other considerations to make when choosing your A Level subjects:

  • You have to think about subjects you need for university (regardless of whether they’re considered difficult)
  • The exam board your school falls under will make a difference in how difficult a subject is (we’ll share the hardest boards later)
  • Perhaps you should consider the most respected A Levels too (and yes, there’s another list for this too)
  • What other students find challenging might be your best subject

So, now that we’ve given you some caveats, here are the 10 hardest A-Level subjects:

  1. Further Maths
  2. Modern Foreign Languages
  3. Chemistry
  4. Physics
  5. Maths
  6. Biology
  7. Computer Science
  8. English Literature
  9. Economics
  10. History

As you can see, the hardest A Level is Further Maths. It makes the top of the list pretty much every year and not without good reason, it’s certainly not a walk in the park. But no A Level is supposed to be! 💪

Let’s look at Further Maths and some of the hardest A-Level subjects in more detail. 

How difficult is A Level Further Maths?

There’s no debating it, the Further Maths exams are long and hard with intense questions to get the brain working overtime. The extensive syllabus requires dedication in and out of classes and includes favourite topics such as vectors, kinematics, and probability. Just two percent of students doing their A Levels dare to tackle Further Maths (or perhaps need to).

Which is the hardest Science A-Level?

The hardest Science is Chemistry because you’re going to need a good level of Maths to solve complicated questions as well as an incredible memory, plus plenty of hours of revision

What is the toughest subject in A Levels out of humanities?

The toughest subject in A Levels out of all the humanities is Modern Foreign Languages. This comes as no surprise, given the amount of time and effort that needs to go into these. 

It’s really the speaking that catches students out so if you’re planning on studying Spanish or another language, make sure you have a study buddy or tutor to practise your accent and thinking on your feet. 😅

Now you know what's the hardest A-Level subject, will you steer clear of it? If you need it, then don’t. There’s nothing that a good A Level tutor can’t help you out with. We have friendly and qualified tutors who would be happy to get you through any challenging topics. Keep this in mind and choose what you want based on your career objectives and the subjects you enjoy. 


What is the most respected A-Level?


We promised to let you know what is the most respected A-Level and it’s actually the same as the hardest: Further Maths. We think that’s probably music to your ears if you need to take Further Maths…all that work will be worth it and universities will appreciate it, and you.

Here’s the top 10 list of the most respected A Levels:

  1. Further Mathematics
  2. Modern Foreign Languages
  3. Physics
  4. Chemistry
  5. Mathematics
  6. Biology
  7. Psychology
  8. Economics
  9. History
  10. English Literature

These subjects make the list based on four criteria:

  • How academic the subject is
  • How difficult the subject is
  • The subject’s value in the current job market
  • The subject’s workload

How hard is taking four A-Level subjects?


Many students find taking four A Levels is tough. It will demand more of your time and may not be necessary. Universities only require three A Levels and you need to consider entry requirements and if there are minimum grades you need to achieve. 

Having said that, it’s certainly doable and students do it every year. If you’re not sure where you’re headed yet and have four subjects you really want to do, it can pay to leave your options open with that extra subject. 

If you’re also wondering, ‘How hard is it to get an A on A-Levels?’, this will depend on the number of subjects you pick, how many outside commitments you have, and whether you choose subjects that are aligned with your skills. 

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Which A Level board is the hardest?


Generally, some exam boards are considered to be harder in some subjects and easier in others. A quick scan on the student forums and you’ll soon find out that this is hugely subjective though. 🤷

So, which examination board is the hardest AQA Edexcel CIE or OCR? All have their own merits and suit different students better (although, you don’t get a choice unless you change schools!). 

Of the three main ones, AQA exams are known for their extended written answer questions, Edexcel is more logical and offers more past exam papers to use as revision, whereas OCR papers often require more analysis and on-the-spot thinking.

Even though it’s not one of the main three in the UK, we often get asked, ‘Is CIE the hardest exam board’? CIE stands for Cambridge International Examinations and for that reason not many students in the UK actually do CIEs. Standards are high though and the exams are challenging but the truth is, all of them are.


Final thoughts on the hardest A Levels


We hope you’re feeling more confident about choosing your A Level subjects now. You at least have a very good starting point and a framework to work from. Remember, don’t avoid the hardest A Level if you’re passionate about it and need it for your future. If you need help with any of your subjects we offer a free trial class so you have nothing to lose. Good luck!