Antony Power
Posted on 19 Nov 2013

Which A Level Subjects do Universities Like?

As a student choosing A Levels with a view to going to University, how do you know which subjects Universities like? Read on, you may find the answer surprising.

In a recent article, journalist and academic Laura McInerney investigated which A Level subjects had been taken by successful applicants to Russell Group Universities.  The Russell Group is an association of the most prestigious Universities in the UK including Oxford and Cambridge (as well as our own Bristol and Exeter).

The received wisdom is that the best subjects to take at A Level to secure a place at a leading University are maths, english, physics, biology, chemistry, history, geography, computing and languages.

Traditional, solid, academic subjects (with the slight exception of computing which is the new kid on the block).  This is also reflected in the Russell Group's own guide to facilitating subjects, Informed Choices.

What Ms McInerney found is quite different.  Using law as an example (as the subject I read at University), the received wisdom is that history is a good facilitating subject along with English.  However, Ms McInerney's research indicates that drama is the best facilitating subject with 100% of applicants studying drama at A Level being offered a place to study law.  Maths also scored better than history and english.

Across Russell Group University courses as a whole, other subjects that do surprisingly well are music, general studies, critical thinking and economics.

There is also an interesting list of courses where it does not seem to matter which subjects you take as almost all applicants are accepted!

To read the full fascinating article, click here.  Well worth a read for anyone looking at which A Level subjects to study.