Although Year 11’s have made the decision on what pre A-level subjects to take, there is still time to change. Here is part 2 out of the 3 part series spilling the truth on the subject choices.
Latin is a great subject if you are looking for a challenge as it is not for the faint of heart! I personally have found that Latin A-level was a nice step up from GCSE, as it progressively gets harder over the course. My favourite part of Latin is definitely the literature that we learn, which I find very interesting and helps create a wider knowledge of the subject. Language is harder, in my opinion, as you have to find the balance between a correct translation and making it good English, which is not as easy as it first seems. It is also very important to keep on top of your vocab learning, as it can get overwhelming but if you continue to do little bits of revision throughout the year, then it will be easier. I think that if you are thinking about doing Latin, you really have to love doing it as at times it can get confusing. Although, as you will probably be in a small class, you basically get 1-2-1 education, which definitely helps to refine your technique. All I have left to say is that Latin is an amazing and totally underappreciated subject that goes very well with essay subjects like English, History and (surprisingly) Psychology.
A-level Classical Civilisation
Who doesn’t want to sound sophisticated or be like Boris Johnson? I’m just kidding, but Classical Civilisation A-level is fantastic and not just for intellectual, posh people! The course is divided into 3 sections: Athenian Democracy, Greek Art and World of the Hero (this is where you read/analyse the Odyssey and the Aeneid). The entire course is so interesting and I really enjoy learning about it.
Classics is a mix of English, when analysing Epic literature, and history but without needing to remember thousands of dates. I will warn you, it is an essay based subject so be prepared to write a few essays, but the structure is easy and there is plenty of time to get used to the content. However, if I have to read another passage about Odysseus moaning about not getting home, despite him enjoying his time with the ladies on his journey, I might cry.
I’m also not going to lie, the little owl badge you get for taking a classical subject is also serious motivation.
A-level Religious Studies
A-level religious studies is not a subject for the faint-hearted. There is an unbelievable amount of content to get through. Each individual topic includes a multitude of key words, philosophers and ethicists, and views that must be learnt in order to understand and do well. That being said, the subject is very illuminating and allows you to think in a way that no other subject does at A-level. We discuss all sorts of topics and delve into the depths of morality and reason in order to comprehend the areas of study. You do not need to necessarily have studied RS at GSCE in order to do well, however it certainly does help? As long as you have a keen interest in the subject and are willing to put a lot of effect in, RS is definitely worthwhile.
Psychology has been extremely interesting over this past year. Learning about how and why we acquire our behaviours and where our obsessions come from gives you a new insight to everyday life and the behaviours of those around us. Some areas are difficult to get your head around, depending on your ability to visualise concepts and theories, but with continuous effort and enthusiasm for the subject it is a great a level to take! (Research methods isn’t as bad as it seems – Lucy D).
History is a highly respected A-level not only does it help improve your intellectual rigour but it also helps you gain skills that are invaluable in many jobs. Some of these skills include analysing, researching, communication and problem-solving. In history you learn about the significant individuals, societies, events and issues, and analyse different historical perspectives. A-level history is a massive step up from GSCE level. To flourish in your a level history studies you will need dedication and enthusiasm as there is a lot of content to master and it requires independent learning skills. In Year 12 we study the Soviet Union from 1917-1991, East Germany during the Cold War and we begin the coursework. In Year 13 we look at Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors whilst finishing coursework until January. If you have a love of events and timelines I highly recommend history as an a level choice!
D.T is a really enjoyable subject, being flexible and applicable to real life, with many topics within the subject that you would’ve never heard of before or will most probably hear about later on in life. D.T also is 50% coursework, meaning you have time to gain the grades you want rather than having to cram before an exam, with the risk of not doing very well. The NEA is great as it is completely your own choice on what topic to chose and what product to make, but also is a great fallback if you don’t do amazingly in your exam. However D.T can be slightly tedious at times with quite a few deadlines from teachers throughout the year, therefore plenty of times to get minus’ if not meeting the deadlines. Although these dates and deadlines for coursework can be fairly annoying, you’ll be great full that there is only one exam which counts for the other 50% of the course. D.T is an excellent subject for those who are practical learners.
Geography is a really interesting subject and is more than just colouring in. It builds off GSCE knowledge, however you can take it without having studied it at GSCE level. During this course you have to complete an NEA, basically a research project (doing an EPQ may help his process), however this project uses and develops skills which unis love. Human geography really relates to the world, as well as physical geo e.g. climate change, therefore pairs well with lots of different subjects. The down side is learning lots of different case studies, and having to use examples, so a lot of facts and figures within exams in order to get top marks.
The trip to Devon is also definitely a pro!
-Rob W & Sophie B.
I wouldn’t let these reviews dishearten you from choosing any of these subjects, they’re all so interesting and all A-levels require a lot of work.