A-Level Choices: 5 Tips to Help Your Child Make the Right Decision

5 Tips to Help Your Child Make the Right Decision:

If you are a parent to a teenager who has just completed their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams in any of the British schools in Dubai, chances are you have already started talking about A-levels and university plans.

Selecting your child’s A-level subjects is an exciting time for both you and them. However, with how big an impact these choices can have on their future, it’s natural for you to feel some pressure about making the right decision.

This article explores what A-levels are, what subjects students can take at this stage, and some key tips for parents on how to guide their children through this important decision.

5 Tips to Help Your Child Make the Right Decision

What are A-levels?

A-levels, also known as Advanced Levels, are a set of academic qualifications that are widely recognised and offered in the United Kingdom and many other countries. Students usually take them in their final two years of secondary education, around the ages of 16 to 18.

A-levels boost students’ chances of securing admission to reputable universities in the UK and all over the world. They provide a more profound and specialised study of subjects than GCSE exams. Typically, students select three to four courses to study at A-level, although the exact number may vary depending on the school and the learner’s abilities.

What subjects do A-level students take?

The great thing about A-levels is that students have a diverse range of subjects to choose from, and none of them are compulsory. Instead, it is entirely up to them to pick the courses that interest them the most and that they believe will best align with their future university and career plans.

Some common A-level subjects include:

  • Mathematics
  • English Language and Literature
  • History
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Art and Design
  • Economics
  • Information Technology
  • Modern Foreign Languages — French, German and Spanish

However, it’s important to note that the exact subjects available may vary from one school to another. So, if your child has a particular area of study in mind, it’s always best to check in advance which ones your school offers.

A-levels span two years, with final exams and assessments taking place at the end, and consist of two parts:

  • AS Level (Advanced Subsidiary level) is completed in the 12th year by students aged 16 to 17. It is recognised as a standalone qualification.
  • A2 Level is taken in the 13th year by students aged 17 to 18. After completing the A2 Level, learners can obtain the A-level qualification.

Five Ways to Help Your Child Make the Right A-Level Choices

1. Research University and Career Requirements

If your child is interested in earning a specific degree or pursuing a particular career, then a good starting point is to choose A-level subjects that align with those goals. Many universities list A-level courses as part of their admission criteria to assess a prospective student’s preparedness for a certain program.

For example, an individual who wishes to study Engineering may need to take A-level subjects such as mathematics and physics. Similarly, an aspiring Law student may be required to have A-levels in English literature, history and politics.

That’s why it is essential to research the requirements of your child’s potential university and chosen course and career path to ensure they select matching A-level courses.

2. Encourage Keeping an Open Mind

Taking into account your child’s academic strengths and interests can also help you point them in the right direction when it comes to A-level subject choices. For example, a student can have their heart set on a field like medicine from a young age, only to discover that their strengths don’t lie in the sciences.

It is so important for students to choose courses that play to their strengths and interests. Suppose they pick a subject they don’t find enjoyable or have had difficulty with at the GCSE level. In that case, they’re not likely to find it any easier at A-level and the related university programme.

Talk your child through their subject choices and encourage them to take ones they are passionate about and excel in.

3. Seek Advice from Teachers and Counsellors

Apart from you, nobody knows your child’s academic abilities and potential better than their teachers. Reach out to them for advice on which subjects correspond to your child’s talents and capabilities.

Additionally, many schools have career counsellors who are specially trained to guide students through their options when it comes to higher education. They often work closely with college admissions teams and know which courses are most valued by universities.

4. Consider Course Combinations

Some courses complement each other well, enhancing a student’s skill set and chances of admission to certain programs, while others may overlap too much and limit their options.

For instance, degrees in mathematics, engineering and computer science usually require A-level subjects like maths, further maths and physics. Therefore, taking a combination of these courses will foster your child’s analytical thinking and problem-solving skills and open up a broader range of university and career options.

Another good A-level combination is taking art and design along with media studies or English. In this case, a student could potentially go on to study graphic design, film production or journalism.

5. Attend Taster Classe

Many schools hold open days and offer taster classes throughout the year to introduce students to potential A-level subjects and help them decide which ones are for them. Attending these sessions can give both of you a better idea of the course specifications, the workload and whether or not your child is ready for the subject.

Prepare Your Child for A-Level Success

A-levels are an essential stepping stone towards your child’s higher education and future career. However, as important as making the right subject choices is ensuring they’re enrolled in a school with excellent teachers, adequate support and plenty of resources to reach A-level success.

If you want this for your children, choose a reputable British International School. You can register for one easily through the GEMS online application portal and give them the best possible start to their educational journey.

Also Read: Building Strong Foundations: The Power of Early Childhood Education in Dubai

5 Tips to Help Your Child Make the Right Decision


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