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For teachers

Choose the right advanced-level subjects

Give your students the tools they need to make informed decisions about what subjects to study at A-level or equivalent - with one eye on their future plans.

This activity is designed to give students some pointers about choosing what subjects to study; A-level, International Baccalaureate (IB), Highers, Welsh Baccalaureate, BTEC or another course altogether.

You can also adapt this for GCSE options for younger groups.

To follow the activity, each student will need a copy of our worksheet, below. Use our teacher notes to guide the discussion, find additional resources, ways to adapt this for different year groups and some follow-on activities for students.

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    At a glance

    • Suggested age group: 14-16
    • Activity type: Worksheet-based discussion
    • Subject setting: form-time, PSHE, PSE, PDMU, Health and Wellbeing

    Learning objectives

    • To enable students to make informed choices about what to study at an advanced level.
    • To ensure that students understand the benefits of keeping their subject choice broad if they do not yet know what they want to study at university.
    • To advise students to find out about the requirements for certain degree courses.


    1. Ice-breaker activity: ask students to complete Section A on the worksheet, coming up with a list of things to think about as they decide what subjects to study after 16.
    2. Ask students to read this article about A-levels referenced in Section B, completing the follow-on questions. Feed back on the key information as a whole class activity.
    3. Those who finish quickly can move on to Section C, where they can try out our A-level Explorer tool to help them see what degrees they could do with the subject combinations they are considering studying at advanced level. 
    4. Students can share the favourite degree idea they matched, as well as the most unusual one that cropped up, feeding back on what they learned from the exercise. 

    Curriculum links

    • England: National curriculum – Careers Education
    • Northern Ireland: CCEA - Learning for Life and Work
    • Scotland: The curriculum – Careers education 3-18
    • Wales: The school curriculum – Careers and the world of work