Education Eye: Crucial that subjects play to your strengths

Catherine Stoker

Catherine Stoker

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Are you in year 11 and starting to consider future sixth form subject choices?

This is an important part of preparing for year 12 in September 2015, especially if embarking on a change of school at this stage.

Sixth form offers opportunities to either continue subjects you have studied at GCSE or to embark on new ones. Choosing the right subjects in the right combination to ensure your ability to make a strong application to university or other pathway to higher education can be tricky.

From September 2015 A levels are changing, so there are some important new factors to consider in the way your chosen subjects are assessed. If your school offers IB, choosing this over A levels is also an important decision.

Firstly you need to enjoy, feel motivated and inspired by the subjects you choose in the sixth form. Review the content and the academic skills required for each of the subjects you are considering. You must be interested in the syllabus and feel confident that you have the required academic skills to do well in it.

For example, some subjects require a lot of independent research and background reading, essay writing, creative thinking, logic, maths skills, project work. It’s crucial that your subjects match your strengths.

Secondly, your combination of subjects must fit your career aspirations. Review entry requirements for university courses via the UCAS website. Ensure you’re keeping your options open. If the subjects you need to fulfil career aspirations don’t match your strongest academic skills and interests, meaning you’re choosing subjects you find very difficult, consider changing your career aspirations.

Seek guidance from your school and other advisers, but remember you need commitment and motivation to work hard to achieve success in sixth form, so be sure they’re your subject choices and career ambitions and not those of friends, relations or others offering helpful advice.

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