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What Is the Best A-Levels Subjects to Take?

Published by Afterschool.my on Mar 03, 2020, 11:15 am

Chances are, if you’re reading this article right now, you’ve decided to continue your studies with A-levels. Congratulations! While this course is notoriously known for being tough, with hard work and determination, your qualification can open doors to an impressive variety of degrees in many countries around the world.

However, choosing subjects for your A-Level can be pretty life pressuring. Thanks to its 100% exam-based approach, your subjects either break or make your results. In this article, we will share what you need to take into account when choosing your A-Level subjects.



Choose Subject That Suits Your Strengths

When choosing your A-level subjects, it’s pretty obvious you need to choose the one you’re most confident in. These subjects could be subjects that you enjoy and are interested in so that the learning process would actually be fun for you (remember, A-level is a long gruelling programme!)

Another alternative? Subjects that you will likely achieve good grades. You may not necessarily be passionate about it but if you’re confident with the subject, then that’s your best choice. This is especially important if you plan to apply to top universities under prestigious programmes.

Say No to “Blacklisted” Subjects 

Some universities have a list of subjects that aren’t encouraged, so look out for those before choosing your subjects.

These ‘blacklisted’ subjects are subjects that don’t equip you with the skills needed to keep up with the demands of the requisite degree programme. Some universities don’t even acknowledge certain courses like Critical Thinking and would prefer you to choose one or two more ‘traditional’ subjects like Chemistry, for instance.

Choose Degree-Relevant Subjects

Arguably the most crucial factor, you need to choose subjects that are relevant to your undergraduate course so that you’ll be equipped with strong foundational knowledge in topics related to your degree programme. Below is a list of degrees and the recommended subjects:

DegreeRecommended Subjects
Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, NutritionEssential: Biology, Chemistry & Mathematics Recommended: Physics
psychological & behavioral sciencesEssential: Mathematics Recommended: Biology
history & modern languagesEssential: None Recommended: Foreign Language and History
Computer ScienceEssential: Mathematics Recommended: Physics, Further Mathematics, Computing
EngineeringEssential: Mathematics & Physics Recommended: Chemistry, Further Mathematics
LawEssential: None Recommended: Mathematics, Economics, Law, English Literature, Accounting
Medicine, Dentistry & PharmacyEssential: Chemistry, Biology & Mathematics Recommended: Physics

Take ‘Facilitating’ Subjects 

Luckily, some universities also offer facilitating subjects for wider degree options. For example, these subjects are the most frequently required for admission in top universities.

  • Mathematics
  • Further mathematics
  • English literature
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • History

You can also opt for choosing subjects that are related to your dream career!

Quality over Quantity

Just because you can take many subjects, doesn’t mean you should. The number of subjects you should take largely depends on where you decide to pursue your studies. Most degree programmes in Malaysia and the UK only require a minimum of 3 subjects as an entry requirement.

Now remember, A-level is a tough course and can be both physically and mentally draining. A smart choice would be choosing subjects within your capabilities!

Consider the Subject Combinations Offered by Your Institution 

Most universities are quite flexible about the A-level subject combinations as long students offer the essential subjects. All Russell Group universities in the UK require at least 3 A level subjects. What about Malaysia? 



One of the best institutions in Malaysia, Kolej Yayasan UEM (KYUEM) providing top quality A-Level programmes in preparation for successful entry to the world's best universities and colleges, in which a significant number of their graduates have successfully entered Oxford and Cambridge, and countless others have entered other top universities around the world such as Imperial College, The London School of Economics and University College London.


KYUEM is one of the best A-Level Institutions that offer fully boarding

 On the topic of subject combinations, generally at KYUEM, for all science and technology courses, students are advised to take Mathematics. Some universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College also appreciate Further Maths, especially for certain engineering degrees. Almost all Engineering courses require both Maths and Physics.

For Medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and life sciences, the subject combination should also include Chemistry and preferably Biology as well. For a pure science course like Physics, you should certainly study Physics besides Maths.

Mathematics is an essential A-level subject for most business-related courses such as Accounting, Finance or Economics. Other subjects that provide you with strong foundational knowledge in topics related to degree programme is recommended.

The humanities course requirements are more flexible than science and technology. There are no prerequisite subjects for Law, for example, so students can do Maths and two Sciences and still apply for a course like Law. Some universities such as LSE, however, recommend at least one essay-based subject like History, Economics or English Literature.

And you’re settled!

We hope our tips will help you choose the best and most suitable subjects for your a-level.

If you are interested to know more and join A-Level Programmes at KYUEM, you may apply for their July intake! To get more information and apply click HERE! 

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