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

How many a-levels can I take
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How many A Levels can I take at college? This is a common question among students who are planning to pursue higher education in the UK. 

The answer is not straightforward, as different colleges and universities may have different requirements and expectations for A-level students. However, there are some general guidelines and trends that you can follow to make an informed decision.

Most students will normally take 3 A-levels in Year 12 and then continue with those 3 A-levels until the end of Year 13 when they will have their final examinations. 

However, some exceptional students may choose to take 4 A-levels from the start of Year 12 or add a subject in Year 13, if they are confident in their abilities and have a clear idea of what they want to study at university

So, How many a levels can I take? Learn, unlearn, and relearn as we take you through this comprehensive journey.

A-Levels and their significance in college education

Before we answer the “How many a levels can I take” question, let’s first see what they are. 

What Are A-Levels?

Levels, short for Advanced Levels, are a series of subject-based exams. They are commonly taken by students in the UK and some other countries. These exams are typically completed during the last two years of high school or secondary education. 

A-Levels allow you to dive deeper into your favorite subjects and show your expertise in those areas.

Related: Can You Take A-Levels Privately? A Complete Guide

Why Do They Matter?

  • College Admission

A-Levels can be your golden ticket to college. Universities often look at your A-level results to decide if you’re a good fit for their programs. Good grades can open the doors to top colleges and courses.

  • Subject Specialization

Also, A-Levels give you the chance to specialize. You can choose subjects that align with your interests and career goals. Whether it’s science, humanities, or arts, A-Levels let you explore your passions.


  • Strong Foundation

Further, think of A-Levels as a strong foundation for college. They equip you with in-depth knowledge and critical thinking skills, which are crucial for higher education.

  • Flexibility

Additionally, A-Levels offer flexibility. You can mix and match subjects to create a unique combination tailored to your aspirations. This helps you stand out in college applications.

  • Global Recognition

It is a known fact that A-Levels are recognized worldwide. So, if you dream of studying abroad, having A-Levels can make that dream a reality.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Number of A-Levels

Choosing the right number of A-Levels is a crucial decision that can shape your academic journey and future career. Let’s treat this first before we go into “How many levels can I take”.

What Are A-Levels?

First, a quick recap. A-Levels are advanced-level exams typically taken during the last two years of high school. They allow you to focus on subjects you’re passionate about and showcase your expertise.

The Goldilocks Dilemma

When it comes to A-Levels, it’s not about too few or too many; it’s about finding the balance that’s just right for you.

Also: How Long Does A GCSE Remark Take?

Why Does It Matter?

Here are the reasons why choosing the right number of A-Levels is a big deal:

  • Manageable Workload

Taking too many A-levels can lead to burnout. It’s essential to choose a number that allows you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

  • Quality Over Quantity

The truth is, that universities prefer students who excel in a few subjects rather than those who spread themselves too thin. Focusing on a manageable number helps you achieve better grades.

  • Specialization

A-Levels offer you the chance to specialize in your favourite subjects. Picking the right number lets you delve deeper into your chosen fields.

  • Exploration

On the flip side, having too many A-levels might limit your ability to explore other interests. Balance is key to a well-rounded education.

  • Individual Goals

Finally, consider your long-term goals. Some careers may require specific A-level subjects, so choose accordingly.

Different subjects and Courses Available for A-Levels

Now, let’s explore the wide range of subjects and courses available for A-Levels. 

Science Subjects

  • Biology: Dive into the fascinating world of living organisms, from cells to ecosystems.
  • Chemistry: Uncover the secrets of matter and chemical reactions, from atoms to complex compounds.
  • Physics: Explore the laws of the universe, from the tiniest particles to the vast cosmos.

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


  • Mathematics: Master the language of numbers, equations, and problem-solving.

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • History: Journey through the past, understanding pivotal events and their impact on the world today.
  • Geography: Explore the Earth’s landscapes, environments, and human interactions with them.
  • Psychology: Delve into the human mind, behavior, and the factors that shape them.
  • Economics: Uncover the intricacies of markets, trade, and the global economy.


  • English Literature: Analyze and appreciate literature’s rich tapestry, from classic novels to modern poetry.
  • Modern Languages: Study languages like French, Spanish, or German to become a global communicator.

Creative Arts

Art and Design: Express your creativity through visual art, from drawing to sculpture.

Drama and Theatre Studies: Explore the world of the stage, from acting to production.

Music: Cultivate your musical talents, whether it’s composing, performing, or music theory.

Additional Choices

  • Business Studies: Learn about the world of commerce, entrepreneurship, and management.
  • Law: Explore the legal system, its principles, and how it affects society.
  • Computer Science: Dive into the world of programming, algorithms, and technology.

Choosing Your Path

The key to selecting the right A-level subjects is to follow your passions and consider your future goals. Think about:

  • Career Aspirations: Do you have a specific career in mind that requires certain A-Levels?
  • Balance: Ensure a manageable workload to maintain a healthy academic and personal life.
  • Advice: Consult with teachers, career counsellors, and experienced individuals to make informed choices.

Be calm, we will soon answer your “How many a levels can I take?” question. Continue reading.

The Grading System and How A-Levels Work

It’s essential to grasp how the grading system works and what to expect. Let’s break it down in simple terms before we guide you on “How many a levels can I take?”

See: GCSE vs A-Level: What’s The Difference & Similarities Between A-Levels And GCSEs? 

How the Grading System Works

A-Levels use a grading system that ranges from A* (the highest) to E (the lowest). These grades reflect your performance in each subject.

A (A-Star):* Outstanding performance, demonstrating in-depth knowledge and exceptional skills.

A: Excellent performance, with a strong understanding of the subject.

B: Good performance, showing a solid grasp of the subject matter.

C: Satisfactory performance, meeting the minimum requirements for many universities.

D: Below average performance, which may limit your university options.

E: Marginal pass, but it’s generally not accepted by most universities.

How A-Levels Work

  • Subject Selection

You typically choose three to four subjects, although some students opt for more. These subjects should align with your interests and future goals.

  • Two Years of Study

They are usually a two-year program, commonly taken during the last two years of high school. You’ll attend classes, complete assignments, and prepare for exams.

  • Assessment

Your performance is primarily assessed through exams, which occur at the end of the two years. These exams determine your final grades.

  • UCAS Points

Each grade earns you a specific number of UCAS(Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) points. Universities use these points to assess your eligibility for their programs. The higher your grades, the more options you have.

  • University Admissions

Your results play a significant role in university admissions. Many institutions set specific grade requirements for their courses.

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

How Many A levels Can I Take?

One of the common questions students have is, “How Many Can I Take?” The answer isn’t set in stone, as it depends on various factors, but let’s simplify it for you.

Typical Number of A-Levels

Most students opt for these subjects. This is a manageable load and allows you to focus on your chosen subjects while maintaining a balanced workload.

Factors to Consider

  • Your Ability

Consider your academic strengths and how confident you feel about each subject. Taking on too many can be overwhelming, so choose subjects that play to your strengths.

  • Time and Effort

Each requires a significant amount of study and preparation. Think about the time and effort you can realistically invest.

  • University Requirements

If you have specific universities or courses in mind, check their entry requirements. Some courses may ask for particular one or expect higher grades.

  • Career Goals

Consider your long-term career aspirations. Certain professions may require specific A-level subjects, so choose accordingly.

Flexibility with A-Levels

  1. Levels offer flexibility, allowing you to tailor your education to your interests and goals. You can:
  • Mix and match subjects to create a unique combination that suits you.
  • Start with a higher number of subjects and then drop some if you find it too challenging.
  • Explore different subjects in your first year and then narrow them down in your second year.

Read Also: How Many GCSEs Do You Need To Do A Levels?

The Importance of Balance

While it’s essential to challenge yourself academically, balance is key. Taking on too many A-levels might lead to burnout and lower grades. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Guidance from Advisors

Also, seek advice from your teachers or school advisors. They can provide insights into your strengths and help you make informed decisions about the number to take.

Pros and Cons of Taking Different Numbers of A-Levels

Now, we’ve answered your question on “How Many A levels Can I Take?” However, choosing how many A-Levels to take can be a significant decision with both advantages and drawbacks. Here are the pros and cons:

Taking Three A-Levels


  • Focused Study: With three subjects, you can concentrate more on each, delving deeper into the material.
  • Balanced Workload: It allows for a reasonable balance between academics and other interests.
  • Better Grades: You may have a higher chance of achieving top grades due to focused study.


Limited Variety: You have fewer subjects to explore, which may limit your exposure to different fields.

See More: Can I See My Marked GCSE Papers? Get Exam Papers Back

Taking Four A-Levels


  • Broader Knowledge: Four subjects offer a wider range of knowledge, potentially making you more well-rounded.
  • Flexibility: You have more options when it comes to university course requirements.


  • Intensive Workload: It can be challenging to manage the workload and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Stress: Balancing four subjects can be stressful, potentially affecting your overall performance.

Taking Five or More A-Levels


  • Extensive Knowledge: You gain expertise in multiple subjects, which can be an advantage for certain careers.
  • Impressive Resume: It can make your university application stand out.


  • Overwhelming Workload: Juggling five or more subjects can lead to burnout and lower grades.
  • Limited Focus: With so many subjects, it’s challenging to go deep into any of them.

Choosing Wisely

The right number of A-Levels varies from person to person. Consider your academic strengths, interests, and long-term goals when making this decision. Also, seek advice from teachers or advisors who can provide guidance tailored to your situation.

Also See: Can You Get Kicked Out of Sixth Form For Attendance?

Balancing Act

Remember that quality often surpasses quantity. It’s better to excel in a few A-Levels than to spread yourself too thin. A manageable workload allows you to perform your best while maintaining a balanced life.

FAQs on How Many A-Levels Can You Take At College

When do I take A-level exams?

A-level exams are usually taken at the end of a two-year course, with exams typically occurring in May or June.

Can I retake A-level exams?

Yes, you can retake A-level exams if you’re not satisfied with your results. Many students choose to retake to improve their grades.

Do universities consider A-level results for admissions?

Yes, universities in the UK and around the world often use A-level results as a primary factor for admissions. 


Colleges may have specific policies or recommendations about the number of A-levels you can take. So it’s wise to check with your chosen institution.

You can generally take three to four A-levels at college. However, it’s crucial to weigh the workload and your ability to excel in each subject. Remember, it’s not about “how many A levels can I take?” but how well you can perform in them.


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