There are various academic routes a teenager can take once they have completed their GCSEs at the end of year 11; the most popular option being A Levels. These are available across a range of subjects and, like GCSEs, are studied across a two-year period. During the first year, students will typically study four subjects of their choosing and then drop one as they move into the second year. As a result, students usually end up with one AS level qualification and three full A level qualifications. I have teamed up with an independent senior school in Somerset to share some guidance on A Levels so that you, as a parent, feel more prepared when helping your child make the right decision.
When it comes to what subjects your child should study, it is important to encourage them to choose something that fits inline with their future plans. For instance, if they want to become a doctor, they will need to study science related A levels, like Biology and Chemistry. Do some research together and find out what the entry requirements are for different university courses, so that your son or daughter is able to make a more informed decision as to which A levels they will study.
Bear in mind that this will be a stressful time for your child. Studying A levels is far more complex than studying GCSEs, as they delve much deeper into the subject and require far more independent study. This is why students end up dropping a subject after the first year. With that said, it’s important to give your child as much support as possible during their A levels. Make sure they have a quiet, tidy place to study in your home, and cut them some slack if they seem grumpier than usual. You should also try and provide them with as much positive reinforcement as possible, and make sure they are getting enough sleep, exercise and a nutritious diet.
A level exams typically take place in May and June, but the exact timings vary year on year. They are graded A* to E and different universities will require specific grades before they can offer a student a place. It’s important that your child starts their revision several months in advance so that they are able to tackle any problem areas as soon as possible, as opposed to panicking at the last minute. Perhaps you could help your child prepare a revision timetable to ensure they cover all topics. There may even be revision classes that they could join after school or in their lunch break, for some further guidance.
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