Sixth Form Subject Choices

Sixth Form admission is by competitive examination and interview in November the year before entry. Candidates select four subjects in which they are to be examined, based on their likely choice of courses for study.

Sixth Form Subject Choices

There is a great deal of flexibility in the way in which pupils may approach their choice of courses at Sixth Form level, and that may make the choice quite a difficult one for many; advice on making subject choices is set out in the sections below.

It is for this reason that the choice we are asking you to make now is a provisional one. Pupils may be allowed to change their choices before September and in exceptional circumstances, some even make modifications to their choice up until the end of the first term of Year 12. However, further assessment in the new subject intended for study may be required before permission is given to change. You will understand, however, that the School does need to plan ahead and in very rare cases a late change might not be possible.

At Westminster, most pupils study four subjects in Year 12. A decision on whether to continue all four subjects to A Level is made on the basis of an individual pupil’s own circumstances and ambitions: the majority continue with four subjects, but it suits some pupils to focus their studies on three. For the moment, we need to know the four subjects that pupils think they wish to study in the Sixth Form.

Departments choose the qualification which they feel provides the best educational experience and potential outcomes for our pupils and as such pupils may study towards an A Level or International A Level qualification in their subject.

In addition to their specialist courses, pupils follow the Cultural Perspectives and Options courses. Only Electronics offers an AS Level at the end of Year 12, a course offered in the Options programme, and pupils do not necessarily continue to A Level in Year 13.

The Sixth Form subjects are arranged in four blocks, one subject to be chosen from each block. Some subjects appear in more than one block to give a wider choice of subject combinations. The provisional blocking for September 2023 is shown here. Any changes to blocking will be reflected on this page of the website, so please do check back frequently for updates.

Provisional subject blocks for 2023
Notes:
  • AS Electronics is available within the Options programme.
  • Theatre Studies will be taught in blocks to be decided once subject choices have been made.
Choosing your subjects

It goes without saying that this is an important decision, and one that deserves careful thought. Talk to as many people as possible (parents, teachers, friends), but remember that, ultimately, this is up to you, and it is a decision best made according to the reasons you find most compelling. It might be helpful, however, to bear the following in mind:

  1. First and foremost, choose a subject that you find stimulating, and try to avoid the ‘means-to-an-end’ mentality; if the means are not attractive then there is a large chance that the end will turn out to be less appealing than perhaps it seems at the moment.
  2. Find out as clearly as possible what the A Level course involves, and make sure you are aware not just of its content, but also the methods, by which you will be working (e.g. number of essays, quantity of coursework, number of practicals, amount of factual learning and so on). Moreover, do not assume that the course will necessarily be similar to (I)GCSE; try to find out exactly what will be involved.
  3. Although it is true that your Sixth Form subjects should be ones, in which you are aiming for top grades at (I)GCSE, do not choose a subject simply on the basis that you are good at it now; to be in the running for the top grades at A Level you must be willing to work very hard, within and beyond the syllabus, so make sure the subject is one with which you engage.
  4. Aim for a group of subjects that complement and reinforce each other, but that include sufficient breadth to keep your options open. To this end, it is important to be aware of the requirements that different degree courses may have.

Considering universities and course requirements before choosing your subjects

If you plan to enter higher education post school, it is worth thinking in advance about what subject and at which institution you might like to study before choosing your A Level subjects. Certain universities and courses require specific A Levels, so this may help to inform your subject choices for Westminster.

The UCAS site has lots of useful information about what and where to study at university in the UK, including course requirements. It is definitely worth referring to specific course pages on university websites too. For universities outside of the UK, which may have specific requirements for international students, it is advisable to spend time researching via their websites what they might look for in a prospective applicant. In addition, many schools now have access to a platform called Unifrog, which is the world’s biggest database of higher education opportunities and helps with university course and destination choices; it is worth checking in with your school to see if they have access.

 

 

Before you decide

Please read the notes below carefully as they describe in detail what you will need to consider when choosing your Sixth Form subjects. Further information or advice about the curriculum may be obtained from Ms Clare Leech, Deputy Head (Academic): clare.leech@westminster.org.uk.

  1. At this stage, we are asking pupils to choose their four entrance examination subjects; one subject must be chosen from each Block.
  2. The subjects in each of Blocks 1 to 4 offer two-year courses leading to a full A Level. If a candidate wants to select Further Mathematics, they must select Mathematics in Block 1 and Further Mathematics in Block 3. There will be two entrance examinations; this leads to two A Levels.
  3. There is no formal entrance examination for Art. Candidates portfolios are assessed on the day of the entrance exams (or online for overseas candidates).
  4. Those selecting Music must sit the exams in the UK.
  5. Some pupils may wish to study Electronics. However, no decision needs to be made until a candidate has been offered a place.
  6. Whilst we will do our utmost to accommodate any combination of subjects, no particular combination can be guaranteed other than those listed in the blocking system above.

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