15 Most Respected and Least Respected A-Levels | Ranked for 2024

Least respected A-Levels
Least respected A-Levels

When it comes to choosing A-level subjects, students often face a dilemma. With so many options available, how do you ensure you pick the right ones? Some subjects are revered for their academic rigor and career prospects, while others unfortunately carry a stigma of being the least respected A-levels.

The truth remains that the perception of certain A-level subjects can impact a student’s future opportunities. While all subjects have their value and importance, some may be unfairly labeled as less prestigious or valuable than others.

If you are a student considering your A-level options, it’s important to make an informed decision based on your interests and goals rather than societal perceptions.

In this article, we will look at some A-level subjects that are often overlooked or undervalued to help you make better choices.

What Are A-Levels?

A-Levels are a set of exams taken by students in the UK typically at the age of 18. They are equivalent to the last two years of high school in the US and are considered a pathway to university education.

A-Levels cover a wide range of subjects, allowing students to specialize in areas they are passionate about and excel in.

Each A-level subject consists of different modules and assessments, with grades ranging from A* (highest) to E (lowest). Students usually choose 3-4 subjects to study in depth over the course of two years.

A-Levels are known for their rigorous academic content and are highly respected by universities worldwide. A-Levels provide students with a solid foundation for further education or entry into the workforce.

Read: How Many A-Levels Can You Take At College (In 2024)

What are Least Respected A-levels?

Least respected A-levels are simply those courses and programs that are not highly revered. They are usually not considered high-quality and high-demand courses.

That being said, it’s essential to pursue a subject that you are passionate about and that aligns with your interests and strengths. The value of an A-level subject is subjective and can vary depending on individual preferences and career goals.

So, don’t let perceptions of respectability deter you from studying a subject that excites you and opens doors to opportunities in the future.

Who Takes A-Levels?

A-Levels are typically taken by students in the UK and a few other countries as part of their pre-university education.

These exams are usually taken by students around the age of 16-18, after completing their GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. A-Levels offer a more in-depth study of specific subjects and are commonly used for university admissions.

Students who take A-Levels often have aspirations to pursue higher education at universities both within the UK and internationally. A-Levels are a popular choice among students seeking a challenging and comprehensive academic experience before entering university.

15 Least Respected A-Levels

Here are some of the courses recognized as the least respected programs and courses. This information will help you make informed decisions before going back to school.

#1. General Studies

General Studies is often considered one of the least respected A-level subjects due to its lack of specialization. It covers many topics but doesn’t delve deep into any specific field, making it less relevant for students pursuing specialized careers or academic tracks.

#2. Critical Thinking

While critical thinking skills are highly valuable, the A-level course dedicated solely to this subject has faced criticism for not providing practical knowledge or specific content. It’s often viewed as less substantial than subjects offering specialized knowledge and skills.

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#3. Media Studies

Media studies is a subject that has gained in popularity in recent years but is sometimes viewed with skepticism, particularly by those who prioritize traditional academic subjects. Critics argue that it may not provide the same rigor or depth of knowledge as subjects like mathematics or science.

#4. Travel and Tourism

A-levels in Travel and Tourism can be perceived as less academically rigorous than other subjects. Critics suggest that it may be more focused on practical aspects of the industry, which may not align with the traditional idea of a rigorous academic course. It is one of the least respected A-Levels.

Also read: Is A-Levels Classified as Secondary Education?

#5. Sociology

A-levels in sociology can sometimes be seen as less academically rigorous when compared to science-focused subjects like biology or chemistry. This perception may stem from the notion that they provide more practical training than theoretical knowledge.

#6. Art and Design (non-specialized)

Non-specialized A-levels in Art and Design may face challenges in terms of prestige compared to more specialized art subjects. Some critics argue that they lack the depth and focus to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the art world. Art and Design is one of the least respected A-Levels.

#7. Performing Arts

Performing Arts A-levels, including subjects like drama and theater studies, can face the perception of being less academically rigorous. It is one of the least respected A-Levels. They may be viewed as more vocational and less suited for traditional academic pursuits.

#8. Leisure Studies

Leisure Studies is sometimes seen as a less respected A-level subject due to its focus on the study of recreational activities and leisure management. Critics may question its academic depth and applicability to broader career paths.

Also read: Are A-Levels Harder Than University? 2024 Students Faqs Answered

#9. Film Studies

Some see A-level Film Studies as less academically rigorous, as it focuses on the analysis and appreciation of films rather than traditional academic subjects. However, it’s important to note that the film industry is a significant cultural and economic force, and the skills gained from this subject can be highly relevant in media-related careers.

#10. Citizenship Studies

Citizenship Studies is sometimes considered less prestigious because it covers aspects of political and social education that might be perceived as less academically rigorous than subjects like history or economics. However, it can be valuable in fostering civic engagement and awareness.

Also read: How to Choose a Secondary School in the UK: School Admissions in the UK.

#11. Sports Studies

A-level Sports Studies is often seen as more vocational than academic, focusing on physical education and sports science. It is one of the least respected A-Levels. While it may not align with traditional academic subjects, it can provide students with practical skills and knowledge relevant to careers in sports and fitness.

#12. Dance

A-level Dance can be perceived as less academically rigorous due to its emphasis on physical performance and creative expression. However, it fosters discipline, artistic expression, and physical fitness, valuable skills and attributes.

#13. Accounting

A-level Accounting is occasionally considered less prestigious than mathematics or economics. Some may perceive it as more narrowly focused, emphasizing practical skills for specific career paths in accounting and finance rather than broader academic knowledge.

#14. Religious studies

While religious studies is respected in many academic and professional circles, it can face challenges in certain contexts where its practical applications may not be immediately obvious. Perceptions of religion’s prestige can vary, but it remains a valuable field for understanding human behavior and societal dynamics.

Also read: When Do Year 13 (Sixth Forms) Finish School in 2024?

#15. Environmental Sciences

A-level environmental science, like other sciences, can face challenges in terms of prestige due to its perceived specialized focus. It is one of the least respected A-Levels. Some may view it as less rigorous or less versatile than core sciences like biology or chemistry, but it is crucial in addressing environmental issues and sustainability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are some A-levels considered less respected than others?

Perceptions of respect for A-levels can vary based on practicality, academic depth, and alignment with traditional subjects.

Do least respected A-levels have any value?

Yes, they can be valuable for students interested in related fields and may offer specialized skills or knowledge.

Can choosing a less respected A-level affect future opportunities?

It depends on the career path. Some fields prioritize other subjects, while others value skills gained from these A-levels.

Are perceptions of respect for A-levels universal?

No, they vary by region, industry, and individual perspective.

Should students avoid less respected A-levels?

Not necessarily. Students should choose A-levels that align with their interests and career goals rather than solely based on perceptions of prestige.


While some A-level courses may be perceived as less respected in certain contexts, it’s important to remember that the value of an A-level ultimately depends on an individual’s interests, career goals, and the specific opportunities it provides.

These least respected A-levels can still offer unique skills and knowledge relevant to specific fields, and students should prioritize their passions and aspirations when making educational choices rather than being solely influenced by external perceptions of prestige.



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