Are A levels the right choice for my child?

As GCSE season approaches, students are on their A game, working hard towards achieving the highest grades possible. However, through all the stress and buzz of this busy period, there is also something else that needs attention; what they will study after the complete their time at secondary school? There are many options to explore post GCSE such as BTEC, T levels, Apprenticeships, with the most popular being A levels. But what are A levels? A levels, also known as advanced level qualifications, is a 2-year course that allows individuals to expand their knowledge further in particular subjects. The structure and teaching style of these subjects are all relatively similar to GCSEs but come with the expectation of independence and extra effort when learning. As with anything, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages that should be explored to ensure your child is taking the right route for their education and future career. Below is a guide that discusses if A levels are the right choice for your child, as advised by one of the best sixth forms in North London

Advantages of A levels:


One of the biggest advantages of A levels is that they offer a lot of flexibility. Students can choose the subjects that they want to study based on their interests and future career goals. This allows them to explore different subjects before making the final decision on their chosen field of study. Additionally, A levels offer a range of study options, which includes full time study, part time study, and distance learning, making it easier for students to balance their studies with any other commitments that they may have in their lives.

Preparation for university

A levels are known to be a guaranteed method of entry when it comes to university. This is because they are recognised by many institutions worldwide, with many courses having specific A level requirements upon entry. By choosing the correct A levels to study, your child will essentially prepare themselves for their future career ahead and have a clear pathway towards their desired degree. Additionally, A levels prepare students for a future of independent learning. The jump from GCSE to A levels is the biggest due to the changes students feel when it comes to assistance and workload. At this point in their education, they will be expected to spend more time studying out of mandatory hours and take on a heavier workload in a shorter space of time. During this time, teachers like to treat students like young adults, allowing them privileges in return for independence and hard work. In turn, this prepares them for university, a space where studies and efforts will rely completely upon themselves.

Disadvantages of A levels:

Exam focused

As with everything, comes disadvantages. A levels are a great qualification for students to attain as they are widely recognised and can be used for a number of purposes. However, A levels are well known for being completely exam focused, with only a handful of subjects incorporating coursework. This means that students are often judged on their ability to perform well in exams. This approach to exams can be rather stressful for students who struggle with tests or have a preference to a more practical approach to learning. 

Stress and workload

A levels are a two-year course that requires a lot of hard work and dedication from students. Each subject typically requires around 5 hours of study per week as well as additional time for homework and revision. Students who struggle with time management or have other commitments may find it difficult to keep up with the heavy workload that A levels come with. This can lead to students feeling very pressured, resulting in many suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues. Unfortunately, this can have a negative impact on a student’s overall well-being and may affect their ability to achieve their full potential.

Whilst A levels are a popular choice for students post GCSEs, they do come with disadvantages that should be considered. If it isn’t suitable for your child, it’s okay! There are many other methods of study that can be explored to help your child achieve their future goals. 



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Buddy Ladner