A Parents’ Guide to A Levels

A Levels are qualifications that can lead to various opportunities, such as university, training, or different career options. They are usually assessed with exams and are typically studied over two years. Most students study three A Level subjects over the course of these two years. Usually, students are required to have a minimum of five GCSEs grades 9 to 4, and at least a grade 6 in the subject that they’d like to study at A Level, but this will vary across schools and colleges. I have teamed up with an independent school in Somerset to share some more information about A Levels for parents, so that they feel more comfortable supporting their teenager through this next chapter of their education. 

Open Evenings

Most schools and colleges will host open evenings, which parents and students can attend to find out more about what’s involved with A Levels. It’s certainly worth attending because you will be able to ask any questions you may have and find out more from the professionals. 

Choosing Subjects

When helping your child choose their A Level subjects, encourage them to think about what they’re likely to enjoy the most and be good at. Do they have any skills or abilities that they’d like to take one step further and gain a qualification in? You should also chat to them about what they’d potentially like to do as a career, as this will strongly influence which subjects they should take. For instance, if they want to become a Psychologist, then Psychology would be a natural choice of A Level subject. They certainly shouldn’t let their friends sway their decision; it would be foolish to study something just because it’s something their friend is studying. 

Dropping a Subject

Generally speaking, students choose four subjects to study in their first year (called AS Levels) and then drop one for the second year, when study becomes more challenging. As a result, they end up with 3 full A Level qualification and one AS Level, all of which support their application into university.

Emotional Support

Whilst your child is studying their A Levels, they may feel stressed and under pressure. It’s important for you to try and be patient with your child and provide them with as much emotional support as possible; let them rant if they need to and provide a shoulder to cry on. It’s a challenging time for them so if you can try and make them home life as stress-free as possible, they should be able to focus their energy into their exams. 

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