Can You Drop an A Level in Year 12? When Is It Too Late to Change A-Level Subjects?

As a high school student in Year 12, you may be considering your options for dropping a subject to lighten your workload. But is it possible to drop an A-level in Year 12?

Many students struggle with this decision, considering the consequences and potential impacts on their future academic and career goals.

The decision to drop an A-level in Year 12 is a significant one because it can have huge implications on your university applications and career prospects.

While some students may feel overwhelmed by their workload and want to focus on subjects they excel in, others may be unsure if they can handle the demands of a particular subject. It’s important to consider all angles before making a decision.

In this article, we will look at the process of dropping an A-level in Year 12, the potential consequences, and the factors to consider when making this decision.

Will dropping an A level affect my future university prospects?

Dropping an A level can potentially impact your future university prospects, as universities often consider a student’s academic profile when making admissions decisions.

However, it’s important to remember that universities also take into account various other factors, such as personal statements, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation.

If you have a valid reason for dropping the A level and can demonstrate your commitment and passion in other areas, it may not significantly harm your chances.

That being said, if dropping the A level will leave a significant gap in your academic qualifications related to your desired course of study, it’s advisable to carefully consider the decision.

You could explore alternative options, such as self-studying the subject or taking up relevant courses or certifications, to showcase your interest and skills in that area.

Read: 15 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Revise For GCSEs And A-Levels

What should I do if I feel overwhelmed by my current A levels in year 12?

Feeling overwhelmed by your A levels in year 12 is a common experience, but it’s important to remember that you can still scale through this.

Firstly, try to break down your workload into smaller, more manageable tasks. Creating a study schedule or to-do list can help you stay organized and prioritize your assignments effectively.

Additionally, don’t hesitate to reach out for support from teachers, classmates, or even a school counselor if you’re feeling overwhelmed. They can provide guidance, resources, and reassurance to help you navigate through this challenging period.

Endeavor to also take breaks, practice self-care, and maintain a healthy balance between studying and relaxation.

Also read: How To Get An A* In A-Level Maths ( Ultimate Guide)

Can You Drop an A Level in Year 12?

Yes, it is usually possible to drop an A Level subject in Year 12. However, it’s important to consider the implications of doing so before making a decision.

Dropping a subject can affect your overall academic profile and future opportunities, so it’s advisable to discuss your options with your teachers, parents, and school counselor.

If you are struggling with a particular subject or finding it too challenging, it may be worth considering dropping it to focus on your other subjects.

Related: The 10 Easiest GCSE Subjects

What Are the Official Procedures for Dropping an A-level course in Year 12?

As we’ve said, dropping an A-level course in Year 12 is a decision that should not be taken lightly, as it can have implications for your academic progress and prospects.

However, educational institutions generally have established procedures for students who wish to make such changes. These procedures may include:

Consulting Appropriate Authorities

The first step is often to schedule a meeting with your school or college’s academic counselor or a designated teacher. During this meeting, you can discuss your reasons for wanting to drop the A-level course and explore potential alternatives.

Consideration of Options 

Your academic counselor will likely discuss alternative subjects or courses that align better with your interests and goals. They may also evaluate your academic performance and how a change might impact your course load.

If you are under 18, your parents or guardians may need to be involved in the decision-making process and provide consent for any changes to your course selections.

Deadline Awareness

Be aware of any deadlines your school or college sets for dropping courses. There may be specific dates by which you must inform them of your decision to drop a subject to avoid academic or financial penalties.

Administration and Paperwork 

Once you and your academic counselor have decided to drop an A-level course, there will likely be administrative paperwork to complete. This may include notifying relevant teachers and departments and updating your course schedule.

Financial Implications

Be sure to inquire about any financial repercussions for dropping a course, such as potential refunds or additional fees.

Future Planning 

After making the change, work closely with your academic counselor to develop a new academic plan that aligns with your goals and ensures you stay on track for your chosen career path.

Also read: How To Prepare Properly For A-Levels After GCSEs

What Are the Academic and Financial Implications of Dropping an A-Level Course at Year 12?

Here below are the academic implications and financial implications of dropping an A-level at year 12.

Academic Implications:


Dropping an A-level course will likely affect your academic progression. You may need to extend your time in education by taking an additional year to complete the A-levels you need for your chosen path.

University Admissions 

If you plan to attend university, your A-level choices are essential for your application. Dropping a subject may limit your options when applying to specific degree programs, particularly those with subject prerequisites.


Dropping an A-level course will typically be noted on your academic transcript. While it won’t necessarily harm your prospects, it may require an explanation in your university application.

Financial Implications:


Educational institutions often charge fees for A-level courses. If you drop a subject, you might be eligible for a partial refund, but this varies by institution and may depend on the timing of your decision.

Additional Costs

If you take extra time to complete your A-levels, additional costs may be associated with staying in education longer, such as tuition fees and living expenses.

Scholarships and Grants

If you were awarded scholarships or grants based on your initial A-level choices, a change may affect your eligibility for financial support.

Student Loans

In some countries, changes to your A-level course load could impact your eligibility for student loans or financial aid. Be sure to check with relevant authorities or institutions regarding your specific situation.

Employment Opportunities

While not directly financial, it’s worth considering that some employers may inquire about your educational background and the reasons for any changes to your A-level choices when you enter the job market.

Also read: How Many GCSEs Do You Need For University? | 2024

Can I re-enroll in the dropped subject at a later time?

Yes, you can usually re-enroll in a dropped subject at a later time. It’s important to check with your school or university’s policies on dropping and adding courses to understand any specific rules or deadlines that may apply.

In most cases, there is a designated period during which students can make changes to their course schedules, so be sure to take advantage of that window if you decide to re-enroll in the subject.

If you do choose to re-enroll in the dropped subject, it’s a good idea to reach out to your academic advisor or department for guidance on how best to proceed.

They can provide valuable insight into how the change may impact your academic progress and help ensure you meet any requirements.

Also read: What Happens If You Do Worse in a GCSE Resit?

What Factors Should Students Consider Before Dropping Their A-Levels at Year 12?

Deciding to drop an A-level in Year 12 is a significant choice that requires careful consideration. Before making this decision, students should take into account several important factors:

Academic Interest

Reflect on your interest in the subject you’re considering dropping. Are you struggling with the subject because you find it uninteresting, or are there other reasons? Assess whether your lack of interest is temporary or persistent.

Future Goals

Consider your long-term educational and career goals. Are the A-level subjects you’re studying aligned with your desired path? Determine if the subject you’re considering dropping is essential for your plans or if alternative routes are available.


Seek guidance from teachers, academic counselors, and subject advisors. They can provide valuable insights into your performance, potential, and the implications of dropping a subject on your academic journey.

Alternative Subjects

Investigate other A-level subjects that suit your interests and abilities better. Discuss these alternatives with your educational institution and explore the availability of these subjects.

Course Load

Evaluate your overall course load. Ensure that dropping a subject won’t lead to an excessively light or heavy academic workload, as both can negatively affect your performance and well-being.

Parental Input

Discuss your considerations with your parents or guardians. They can provide valuable perspectives and may be involved in decision-making, especially if you are under 18.

Financial Implications

Understand the financial aspects of the decision. Inquire about potential refunds or additional fees associated with dropping a subject and any impact on scholarships or grants.


Consider the timing of your decision. Dropping the subject early in the academic year might allow for a smoother transition, while late changes can be more challenging to accommodate.

Also read: Can You Redo GCSE Maths at University?

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the typical deadline for changing A-level subjects?

Deadlines can vary, but it’s best to inquire with your educational institution. Usually, changes are easier to make early in the academic year.

Are there financial penalties for changing A-level subjects late?

Financial implications depend on your institution’s policies. Late changes may involve additional fees or limited refunds.

Can I change A-level subjects in Year 13?

Changing subjects in Year 13 can be challenging due to time constraints, but it’s not impossible. Consult with your school for guidance.

Will changing A-level subjects affect my university prospects?

It can impact university applications if you don’t meet specific subject prerequisites. Discuss alternative pathways with academic advisors.

What should I do if I’m unsure about changing A-level subjects?

Seek guidance from teachers, counselors, and parents. Carefully consider your interests, career goals, and the potential impact on your academic journey.


The decision to drop an A level in year 12 is a personal one that should be carefully considered. While there are valid reasons for dropping a subject, such as struggling with the workload or needing to focus on other priorities, it’s important to weigh the potential consequences and impact on future opportunities.

Seeking advice from teachers, parents, or school counselors can help in making an informed choice. Remember, your education is valuable, and finding the right balance that works for you is key.



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