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A-level Choices- are these 'soft'?

(39 Posts)
questioner123 Fri 10-Feb-17 20:33:54


My DD is looking at choosing English (lang and lit), psychology and government and politics for a-level. Are these classed as 'soft' a-levels? Any help or advice is really appreciated!

lljkk Fri 10-Feb-17 20:49:58

English is a toughie, not soft. What does she want to do after A-levels?

TheOracleAtSelfie Fri 10-Feb-17 20:51:24

Depends what she wants to study. I did French, govt & pol, philosophy, and classics. Went on to Cambridge!

questioner123 Fri 10-Feb-17 21:10:46

She is thinking either Law, journalism, or teaching? hmm

ScarletSienna Fri 10-Feb-17 21:12:17

I took three of those plus Law and went into teaching. They're fine for applying to arts subjects at uni which is probably the main thing.

Allthebestnamesareused Sat 11-Feb-17 14:35:16


As a solicitor (and I was a wannabe journo at school) I'd say they are good choices for all 3 of those careers.

Not soft at all!

Noitsnotteatimeyet Sat 11-Feb-17 15:32:59

Tell her to avoid journalism as a career ... sadly there is no future in it for the vast majority of wannabe journos (and I suspect that quite a few lawyers will say something similar about law)

Cinderford Sat 11-Feb-17 15:36:36

The A level English Language and Literature combined is regarded as soft. Straight Literature is a facilitating subject; not sure about English Language.

Onceuponatime21 Sat 11-Feb-17 15:39:55

Interesting article. Has link to Russell group "facilitating subjects" and also LSE re non preferred courses. Cambridge's trinity also publishes list of a levels it doesn't rate.

myfavouritecolourispurple Sat 11-Feb-17 15:40:21

They are fine. Especially for law and journalism.

TheCakes Sat 11-Feb-17 15:41:32

There are still decent careers to be had in journalism. True, local newspapers are in decline, but media in general is booming. There is work around for those with talent and initiative. Just make sure she knows it won't be handed to her on a plate.
Good A Level choices if that's the path she chooses.

Cinderford Sat 11-Feb-17 15:43:58

RTFT now. My understanding is that law faculties prefer A levels in faciliatating subjects which prove the applicant can assimilate information and present a compelling argument e.g. history, English Literature. But you could try looking on t'internet for the individual preferences of each uni your DD is interested in. HTH

Ciutadella Sat 11-Feb-17 16:14:07

My understanding -please tell me if I'm wrong! is that there are:

1. Facilitating subjects which are subjects you need to do for particular degrees eg Want to do geography at university? then you must do geog A level. And so on for physics etc. These subjects tend to be highly rated by universities

2. Other 'highly rated' subjects - you don't need them for a degree, but they are still considered 'good' or 'hard' subjects. eg Want to do philosophy or economics at university? You don't need the a level in that subject, but they are still just as highly rated, or 'preferred'. The LSE and Trinity lists (as far as I remember) seem to suggest that is the case.

3. Other subjects (ie 'soft' in op's parlance!).

Of op's dd's subject, Eng lit is facilitating - the others aren't.

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 11-Feb-17 17:26:04

If you changed it to English lit, history and government and politics OR psychology, then you'd have an ideal combination for journalism (and quite possibly law!). There's no reason not to do psychology but make sure your DD knows exactly what the syllabus is, because I think sometimes students get a bit of a shock that it isn't what they expected.

catslife Sat 11-Feb-17 17:33:04

For teaching you need a National curriculum subject and English (any type) would fit the bill.

Sunnie1984 Sat 11-Feb-17 17:41:19

I did similar for my a levels. I did law at uni.

For what it is worth, I would do English literature as a single subject, psychology is fine but so many people do it and it's not something that is as interesting/useful as people think it will be.

NannyOggsKnickers Sat 11-Feb-17 17:41:30

None of those subjects are 'soft' but I'd get her to look at fields and courses she might be interested in for uni now. Otherwise she will be a bit boxed in by two English subjects. The seperate English qualifications are well received subjects. I teach both and neither are in the least bit soft, especially under the new specifications.

Onceuponatime21 Sat 11-Feb-17 17:42:41

Yes def agree with students not understanding exactly what is psychology...

NannyOggsKnickers Sat 11-Feb-17 17:43:45

Sorry, just RTFT. She'd be fine for any of her courses with those three. How academically able is she? That's an enormous work load. The coursework is pretty extensive for the English subjects.

TheSecondOfHerName Sat 11-Feb-17 18:22:39

DS1 is doing the English Literature A-level course rather than English Language & Literature. He finds the lessons interesting but isn't particularly good at it (got B in language & B in literature at GCSE).

He says he finds the Government & Politics course boring, but seems to enjoy discussing the subject itself. It doesn't seem conceptually difficult but there is a lot of content to learn.

The subject he enjoys most at A-level is History, and he finds the course interesting.

I think your daughter should choose the subjects that most interest her.

yeOldeTrout Sat 11-Feb-17 20:04:14

Is going to Uni a common path into journalism? I thought maybe lots went straight into local newspapers/media & worked their way up from there, No path via Uni.

questioner123 Sat 11-Feb-17 20:15:56

Thank you all very much for your replies. It is so helpful. The thing is, she would be interested in history, but she didn't do it at GCSE. Do you think this would be difficult then for her to do it at A-Level?

clary Sat 11-Feb-17 20:30:07

You can still do history A level if you didn't do it at GCSE, talk to the teacher.

Do you mean combined Eng lit and lang (agree with others it's looked down on, sorry) or two separate A levels? DD is academic and was strongly advised by her English teacher at A level open evening to do Eng literature NOT language or the combined A level.

BTW I am a former journalist; former because there are very few jobs for journalists any more (sad as I was a good journo) so if she is stuck on that make sure she knows how hard it might be.

That said, there are still roles esp in online reporting. If you want to do it tho you should be blogging by now to show you mean business.

Pcat Sat 11-Feb-17 20:35:41

I did psychology a level as an adult. It is very sciencey which may or may not suit her and the non maths and science students on my course had to take extra maths classes to cope with the statistics side. It is great for developing critical thinking skills and developing an evidence based approach which is becoming more important in education for example.

Iamastonished Sat 11-Feb-17 20:40:49

"The A level English Language and Literature combined is regarded as soft"


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