Senior school pupils, 6th form College students or College students

If you’re planning to study at university after school, choosing the appropriate subjects is very important.

Take a look at university courses and if you find some that interest you then check the entry requirements and required subjects for the course.

Here’s some key things to think about when choosing your subjects:

  • choose subjects that are essential requirements for the university course you want to do
  • choose subjects that you enjoy doing. It’s more likely that you’ll do well if you’re actually interested in the subject!
  • choose subjects that you’re already achieving good grades in
  • don’t take subjects that are too similar eg Human Biology & Biology. It’s good to be focused but it can be better to show a wider range of knowledge in two areas eg Biology & Physics
  • you might want to consider subjects which will develop relevant skills, eg essay based subjects for Social Sciences or Business or subjects like Art/Graphic Communication for Product Design

Scottish Highers & Advanced Highers

If you're planning to go to University, choosing the appropriate Highers is important.  

Gaining all of the required Highers and grades by S5 may lead to you receiving an unconditional offer when you apply to university, so putting in the hard work and getting the right grades is well worth it.

In addition to entry requirements, vocational courses require evidence of appropriate skills and interests. Achieving the appropriate qualifications in S5 allows you to focus on gaining relevant experience in S6. If you don’t get the Highers you need by the end of S5 you can usually make up the difference in S6.

Advanced Highers

When to take Advanced Highers:

  • if you enjoy a subject, want to continue studying it and are close to the required entry grades for your chosen course by the end of S5
  • when the Advanced Higher is required or recommended for your chosen University course

Entry with HNC/HND qualifications

If you’re considering progressing to further education before applying to university, it’s important that you contact the admissions staff for your intended degree course to check that your Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) will be considered for entry.

Find information about entry from college.


Usually, universities make offers of places based on three A-level grades. Your choice of subjects will be very important in determining what courses are open to you. Some schools and colleges may also offer stand alone AS levels, which do not contribute to the final A level grade.


You’ll have exams at the end of a (typically) two-year course.

Wales & Northern Ireland

A-levels will continue to be made up of the AS-level and the A2, with the AS levels contributing 40% to the overall A-level grade.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

The International Baccalaureate is offered in a number of UK schools as well as international schools.  The programme is made up of six subjects, chosen from across the different subject groups.

It’s your choice of higher level subjects that will determine what university courses you can apply for.


We welcome a range of BTEC qualifications, including the subsidiary, Diploma and extended Diploma. BTEC's may be studied in combination with other qualifications, such as A-levels.

European & International Qualifications

Find out more about what you'll need to study on our international students pages.