Best A’ level Subjects Combinations To Guarantee You A Place In Top Universities

Advanced Level academic qualifications (A-levels) are subject based higher qualifications that are award in secondary schools in countries like UK, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cameroon, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka.

The A’ level academic course is two years long and is partaken after a students passes O’ level with 5 or more subjects. A’ level passes are a recognised entrance qualification for undergraduate programs in universities worldwide. Most universities require a minimum of passes in 2 or 3 A’ level subjects depending on course one is applying for. Zimsec and Cambridge are the awarding bodies for A-levels in Zimbabwe.

Disclosure : Certain items and links to products/services are affiliate links, and any purchases you make may result in a commission for us. We are paid to give honest opinions on products and/or services on occasion. You will not be charged any additional fees as a result of this.

What subjects can A’ Level students study?

Unlike at O’ level, there are no compulsory subjects at A’ Level. Students have the freedom free to choose a minimum of three related subjects they want to study at A’ level. However, the choice is limited by the number of subjects the student passed at O’ level. The choice of subjects a student studies at A’ level is called a "combination".

Subjects available to students at A’ level depends on the capability of the school to offer them. For example, most rural schools in Zimbabwe do not offer sciences subjects at A’ level because they do not have science laboratories. It is always best to check in advance which subjects the school offers before enrolling in the school.

In Zimbabwe, A’ level subjects are divided into 5 categories:

  • Sciences
  • Visual and performing arts
  • Humanities and languages
  • Design and technology
  • Commercials

Sciences

  • Additional mathematics
  • Pure mathematics
  • Mechanical mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Agriculture engineering
  • Horticulture
  • Animal science
  • Crop science
  • Software engineering
  • Sports management
  • Sport science and technology
  • Computer science

Visual and performing arts

Humanities and languages

  • Shona language
  • Ndebele language
  • Tonga language
  • Tshivenda language
  • Xichangana language
  • French
  • Literature in Shona
  • Literature in Ndebele
  • Literature in Tonga
  • Literature in Tshivenda
  • Literature in Xichangana
  • Literature in English
  • Communication skills
  • History
  • Family and religious studies
  • Sociology

Design and technology

  • Design and technology
  • Building technology and design
  • Wood technology and design
  • Food technology and design
  • Metal technology and design
  • Textile technology and design
  • Technical graphics and design
  • Home management and design

Commercials

  • Accounting
  • Business enterprise
  • Economics
  • Business studies
  • Economic history

With so many subjects to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the best combination of subjects to study in preparation of your preferred university course. Choosing the perfect combination of subjects you choose is very important because Universities will grant you undergraduate courses that match your combination of A-level subjects.


A-level subjects required for specific university programs

Let’s us now looking at the recommended subjects for common university degree programs. For every degree program there essential subjects and merely useful subjects. for studying a particular course and subjects that are merely useful.

Government and Politics degree courses

Politics degree courses usually require the student to have at least 2 A-level passes in humanities. Sometimes commercial subjects such as Economics may be required. For example, at University of Zimbabwe:

  • BSc Honours Political Science and Diplomacy requires 2 A-level passes including History and Religious Studies (Divinity).
  • BSc Honours Government and Public Management require 2 A-Level passes in Economics and other commercials subjects.

Some of the A-level subjects you might choose from if you want to pursue a politics degree include:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Foreign Language

Geography degree courses

Its interesting to note that most universities do not require A-level Geography for a student to study a Geography related degree. Instead they require a mix of humanities, commercials and sciences subjects because Geography itself is a mixture of humanities, commercials and sciences. For example, at University of Zimbabwe,

  • BSc Honours Geological Sciences require passes in A Level Mathematics and Chemistry, or their equivalents.
  • BSc Honours Geographical Information Science and Earth Observation requires at least two ‘A’ Level subjects, including Geography, Physics, Biology, Mathematics or their equivalents.

Some of the A-level subjects you might choose from include:

  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Sociology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics

Engineering degree courses

Engineering degrees courses usually require A-level passes in Mathematics and at least one other science subject, usually Physics. For example, at University of Zimbabwe most engineering courses require 3 A-level passes in Maths,Physics and Chemistry/Technical Drawing/Computer Science.

Some of the A-level subjects you might choose from include:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Computer Science
  • Technical Design and Technology
  • Economics
  • Statistics

Economics degree courses

Since economists deal with a lot of numbers, a pass in A-level Mathematics is usually essential to study Economics related degree programs at University. However most universities require any 2 A-level subjects for a person to study Economics related degrees. A-level Economics or Business Studies is considered a relevant A-level subject.

A-level subjects you might choose from if you want to study Economics include:

  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • Business Studies
  • Statistics

Chemistry degree courses

Chemistry and Mathematics are essential for the study of Chemistry degree courses. Some of the A-level subjects you might choose from include:

  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Biology

Physics degree courses

Physics and Mathematics are essential for the study of Physics degree courses. Some of the A-level subjects you might choose from include:

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Human Biology

Biochemistry degree

Biochemistry degree courses usually require A level passes in sciences subjects including Chemistry and Biology. My advice would be to choose Mathematics as the third subject of the combination. Though Mathematics is not an essential requirement for studying Biochemistry,it will help you in interpreting statistics and data usually found in the course.

The most recommended combination for someone aspiring to study Biochemistry would be, Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry. You can swap Mathematics with any other sciences subjects and it would still be okay.

Here is our recommended set of A-Level subjects you can choose from if you want to study Biochemistry at University:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Computer science
  • Geography

Medicine degree courses

In most universities, A-level Chemistry is compulsory if you want to study medicine. 3 A-level sciences subjects are required. For example, at University of Zimbabwe:

  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery requires 3 A-Level passes in Chemistry (Compulsory) and any two from Biology, Physics or Maths.
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery requires 3 A-Level passes in Chemistry (Compulsory) and any two from Biology, Physics or Maths.

Some of the A-level subjects you might choose from include:

  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Theology and Religion

Some universities have no specific subject requirements if you want to study Theology and Religion whilst some require at A-level passes in essay-based subjects, such as any of the following:

  • English Literature
  • History / Heritage studies
  • Geography
  • Divinity/ Religious studies
  • A Foreign Language

Law

Most universities recommend an essay-based subjects if you’re applying to study Law, but have specific subject requirements. We recommend that your combination should include at least two essay-based subjects. Best subjects to choose from include:

  • English Literature
  • History / Heritage studies
  • Geography
  • Divinity/ Religious studies
  • A Foreign Language

Choosing the best subject combinations

There are a lot of good subject combinations a person can choose at A-level. However there is a misconception that Sciences combinations are superior, and as such, when a student gets straight A’s at O-level people expect the student to go for a Sciences combination. My advice is go for the combination that allows you to later choose your favourite career.

One of my best friends got straight A’s, including in Maths, Physics and Chemistry at O-level. Folks encouraged him to go for a Sciences combination. Instead he "rebelled" and chose an Arts (Humanities) combination. He scored 15 points and went on to study law at UZ. Guess what, today he is one of the best lawyers in Zimbabwe and he is proud of that. He went against the norm and landed his dream career.

Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before choosing A-levels subject combinations:

  • Which are subjects are you likely to enjoy and be good at?
  • Which subjects does your future career require?
  • Which subjects complement each other? For example, if you have to choose physics, you must as well include mathematics or another science subject because they go hand in hand.

Here is a list of some of the best A-level combinations

  • Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry
  • Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry
  • Mathematics, Biology, Physics
  • Mathematics, Physics, Further Mathematics
  • Mathematics, Biology, Geography
  • Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science
  • Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science
  • Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Accounting
  • Mathematics, Geography, Economics
  • Accounting, Economics, Mathematics
  • Accounting, Computer Science, Mathematics
  • Business Studies, Economics, Mathematics
  • Geography, Biology, Physics
  • Geography, Biology, Economics
  • Religious Studies, History, Sociology
  • Political Science and Diplomacy
  • English, History, Sociology
  • History, English Literature, Sociology
  • History, English Literature, Economics
  • History, Economics, Sociology
  • Geography, History, English Literature

Conclusion

There are several factors that come into play when picking the best A-level combination. The options are not much the same for everyone. To avoid picking the wrong combination:

  • first pick the most essential subject for the course you want to study at university.
  • then pick a complementary subjects for the most essential subject. Try to pick subjects that are related to your most essential subject.

Always remember that some universities are more strict than others in terms of the A-level grades. So, always check out your preferred universities’ subject requirements. In most of our examples here we used University of Zimbabwe as reference, so be sure to check with other universities as well or visit other websites that talk about university requirements.


Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.