What should I do for a-levels?

I am struggling to decide what subjects I should pick for a-level (ap’s in the US), I habe loads of interests including computer programming, cyber-security, philosophy, politics, maths, siciology, psychology, music and film but I cannot pick just a few with the a-levels. I am already half way through one year of a-levels, doing engineering, maths and physics but I want to scrap thay and start again because I hate the subjects I picked. I dont think a-levels are for me but I have to do them, so what can I do about it?

Maybe think about where you want to end up and what you need to do to get there

What do you want to do after A-levels? Most people I know go straight on to University. Do you have a course in mind you want to do?

It might be a good idea to look at alternatives to A-levels. e.g. Jobs, Apprenticeships. Cyber-Security is a growing sector and there are apprenticeships in Cyber-Security (I’m not sure of the requirements though).

It might be a good idea for you to have a look through university courses or jobs or apprentiships you might be interested in and find what requirements they have.

If you take any subject at A-level I reccommend maths.

A Maths A-level can be useful because:

  • Maths is hard, you might not get the chance to have this much help learning it ever again.
  • It is a requirement for quiet a few science based university courses.
  • It is used a lot in some areas of computer programming/cyber security.
  • Even some jobs after university will ask about your maths A-level if your degree is not very technical.

You will probably need to work really hard at it but I think it is worth it. khan academy is a really good resource that explains maths concepts well, better than most teachers.

Computer programmig can also be hard to learn so it might be worth dooing it for A-level. You will probably get the chance to do this at university though (depending on your course) so maybe there is no rush.


I think in the future I want to be doing something based in the humanities that actually will help people too; not all theory for example sociological research that could help communities with problems.

I was actually thinking that since programming is more practical amd experienced based that it would be better to learn on the side as a hobby, because from what I have experienced a-levels are quite academic therefore I might pick subjecs that are academic at a-level and practical things I will teach myself.

Thank you for the well structured reply :)

Have a look at 80k Hours.


Hmm, I am not that familiar with the specific a-level system, but in my (early onset grumpy old man syndrome) view it doesn’t really matter so much what you chose as long as it is mentally stimulating and not just the “easy” route.

Very generally speaking: something that involves maths (as annoying as that can be) is probably a good idea, as that is a skill our brain likes to forget and getting back up to speed later on is difficult. So by going that route it keeps more options open.

Edt: also, instead of going for what you seem to like (for example music or programming), better chose a topic that is less in your primary interest, as doing something in school isn’t much fun anyways and you can always do the former as a hobby. It also happens quite often that if you do a fun thing as a job / in school it stops being fun even as a hobby, and that is something you want to avoid.


Thank you poVoq that is actually a really good point i hadn’t considered i dont want to become disinterested with my interests by doing them at college.

A loosely moderated place to ask open ended questions

If your post is

  1. Open ended
  2. Not offensive

it’s welcome here!

  • 0 users online
  • 76 users / day
  • 153 users / week
  • 216 users / month
  • 338 users / 6 months
  • 1 subscriber
  • 118 Posts
  • Modlog