The following points of general guidance will help you in choosing your subjects.
- You should have a genuine interest in each of your chosen subjects. You must under no circumstances choose a collection of subjects simply because they were the ones in which you achieved your best GCSE results. A realistic approach to choice is required, and advice and guidance should be sought, if needed.
- You should have a sense of purpose from the outset. You should appreciate where the course will take you, and realise that you have made a significant step in leaving the GCSE years behind you. You have moved from the study of a large group of subjects at a somewhat elementary level, to the study of a small number of subjects in depth. Work patterns will, therefore, be different and inevitably much more demanding.
- You should select an appropriate quartet of subjects to study for two years for your long-term goals. Where these are still largely undecided, you should select an acceptable and workable subject combination to give maximum flexibility in the future.
- You should realise that a place in the Sixth Form at Bolton School is no guarantee of a place at a university or other institute of higher education. Many university courses demand high entry grades (in some cases straight As), together with evidence of a record that demonstrates responsible attitudes and, across the board, clear contributions to the community life of the school.
- You should realise that success in the Sixth Form depends as much on what you put into work as on what is put into you. You will have to cope with tasks that are, at times, laborious, involving a measure of routine learning, and, at other times, challenging, involving a degree of difficulty and complexity not previously encountered. It is of paramount importance that you are fully engaged from the start of Year 12, and that you do not attempt to treat this year as a period of rest and/or relaxation following the GCSE programme.
- You should realise that university admissions tutors look not only for academic success and individual potential, but that they also place considerable importance on evidence of a candidate's strong interest in a subject and your genuine commitment to it.
- A minority of students may find academic study of more than three obvious AS/A2 choices either difficult or unattractive. This may be acceptable, depending upon the particular career or university course that the student may have in mind. Students who feel that this is the case should see the Headmaster to discuss their position in more detail.
There is no hard and fast rule which helps to determine subject choices. However, all medical schools will require Chemistry and most now prefer at least one more science. Engineering will require Mathematics and Physics, but, on the other hand, it is now possible to study Law with almost any combination of A levels. Given that language graduates are the most employable in the current job market, it may help to consider a language as a fourth option. Business Studies and Economics are quite clearly related.
Some universities prefer a contrasting fourth subject, whilst others simply look for achievement at the highest possible level. In the final analysis it is likely that you will be allowed to follow whatever course you chose. However, it would be unwise to decide before you have sought advice from your teachers and, in particular, from the Director of Studies and the Headmaster.
A very sociable atmosphere but one that provides well for hard study, when necessary.
Oliver, Year 13