Full-time Education: Choosing the Subjects

Option 1: Choose subjects that prepare you for a particular career

This is the best way to choose subjects, if you already know for sure what career you are aiming for. Be careful, though – just because you’ve wanted to be an engineer since you started at secondary school doesn’t mean that you will still want to when you finish your seven years at school. Use the tools on the ‘Careers‘ page of this site to find out what type and level of qualifications specific jobs require.

Option 2: Choose subjects that prepare you for a particular university course

If you already know what you want to study at university, research the typical entry requirements for that course at a range of UK universities. A simple Google search of ‘entry requirements for X at UK universities’ will lead you to this information.

Option 3: Choose subjects you already enjoy or think you will enjoy

This is often the best way to choose subjects to study, if you are not sure what career you are aiming for or what course you want to take at university. Two years is a long time to be studying a course you aren’t enjoying, so you should always make sure you have chosen courses that you imagine you will enjoy in Post-16. Talk to current students and their teachers to find out if your hunch about the course is correct.

Option 4: Choose courses that are delivered and assessed in the way that suits how you learn best

Different qualification types are delivered and assessed in different ways. If you achieve your best results in exams, then A levels are a good choice for you, as are IB diploma courses – many A level courses contain no coursework or very little, though IB diploma courses contain at least 20% coursework. If you achieve best through coursework, then BTEC vocational courses will suit you, as they are 60% coursework, though all IB diploma courses contain at least 20% coursework and many contain far more.

You will probably end up combining these approaches in making your choice of subjects for Post-16. Once you have decided what you want to study, you need to check which providers offer the courses you want to study. Use the links on the ‘Full-time Education: choosing a provider’ page on this site to access online course prospectuses at local sixth form providers and to find out when their open evenings will be held.