The following subjects are available to study at A-Level:
Biology - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study? Biology is the study of life. This course takes you from the microscopic world of the cell through to the global impact of man on our environment. You will be introduced to new concepts such as genetic variation, control of body systems, ecological sampling and specific spheres of biology such as microbiology, immunology, biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology, human physiology, animal behaviour and much more.
What Next? Biology provides the basis for students who wish to proceed to higher education to study biology, medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, marine biology, pharmacy, molecular biology, biomedical sciences, forensic science, microbiology and other scientific subjects. A knowledge of biology helps in the understanding of crucial problems affecting society including environmental and energy issues. Biology is used in many of our most important industries such as medical pharmacology, environmental fields and the food industry.
Business Studies – Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study? The specification focuses on different types of organisations in various business sectors and environments and recognises that they face varying degrees of competition. These organisations include those that are: large and small; local, regional, national and multi-national, and operate for-profit and not-for-profit.
Candidates should be aware of the threats, constraints and opportunities arising from membership of the European Union and the global economy, and the need for businesses to adopt a moral/ethical stance in their decision-making and a responsible attitude towards the physical environment.
What Next? Business Studies is a popular subject and can be effectively combined with most other subjects including IT, languages, social sciences and sciences.
Chemistry - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study? Chemistry is the underpinning science in society. It plays a part in every aspect of our lives from medicines we use to keep healthy to the fertilizers we use on the land to maximize crop yield.
What Next? As well as the classic combination with physics, biology and mathematics, most subjects can be successfully studied alongside chemistry. This is because chemistry is a subject in which many key skills are developed. Such skills are essential to any future career. For those wishing to pursue a career in medicine, veterinary sciences and many other scientific careers, chemistry is a must. Additionally, many chemists find careers in marketing and sales, journalism, advertising and law. The range of careers open to chemists confirms the high regard someone with such an all-round set of skills is held.
Economics - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study?
You will study three topic areas at AS:
- Markets and Society – how buyers and sellers interact and prices are determined within the market place with a specific focus on labour markets; Market failure and government failure.
- Macroeconomic Theory – the function of an economy and the determination of output, prices and employment and Macroeconomic Policy – how output, prices and employment are determined by government economic policy.
- Exchange Rates and International Trade
Similarly, you will study three topic areas at A2:
- Competition & Competitive behaviour – how markets are structured and the influence it has on their behaviour;
- Macroeconomic Economic Issues – study of employment, inflation and economic development.
- Global Economics, Trade & Development –why countries trade and issues surrounding economic development.
What Next? Economics is a popular subject and can be effectively combined with most other subjects including social sciences, mathematics and sciences. The full A-Level in Economics provides the basis for students who wish to proceed to higher education to study law, business management, marketing, accountancy, finance and banking. Large sections of the private and public sector recruit from this area.
English Literature - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study?
English Literature requires students to develop heightened analytical skills when considering a range of texts from the genres of prose, poetry and drama. Students will research relevant contextual factors and learn to engage with literary criticism, in addition to gaining confidence in justifying own interpretations.
At AS-Level, the course commences with Jane Eyre, which students should read in the summer break and continues with Plath and Hughes' poetry and A Streetcar Named Desire. Where possible, there will be opportunities to enhance the curriculum with relevant theatre visits.
The course continues in the second year with Shakespeare and Paradise Lost Book IX. Students also have the independence to express their preferences in selecting texts to analyse for the non-exam assessment.
A-Level English Literature is an academically-challenging subject and compliments a number of disciplines. The analysis involved makes it valuable for a career in law, whilst other professions linked with studying English Literature include journalism and the media.
Government and Politics - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study? The AS-Level Government and Politics course involves the study of the government and politics of Wales and the UK. There is emphasis on how the systems work in both Westminster and Cardiff Bay. How are laws passed? How do we elect our representatives? What are the rules by which the country is governed? How can ordinary citizens participate in politics? There is also emphasis on issues: Where does power really lie? Are Prime Ministers too powerful? Do coalitions work? Are pressure groups democratic? Do political parties matter? There is a chance to visit the Senedd and the Houses of Parliament.
The A2 course focuses on political ideologies such as Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism and Nationalism, and challenges in contemporary politics such as Environmentalism, Feminism and Multiculturalism.
What Next? Government and Politics is almost an essential course of study for active and informed citizenship. The skills it develops are compatible with many other A-level subjects: writing convincing explanations, selecting relevant facts to make a case, analysing and evaluating arguments and reaching and supporting judgements. The subject will open doors into almost any career area and is especially relevant to careers in journalism, law, education, local and national government and public administration, public relations and business management.
History - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study?
At AS-Level, students undertake a depth study into the Weimar Republic, from 1918 - 1933, in addition to a period study of Britain from 1780 - 1880.
At A-Level, students undertake a depth study into Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, in addition to a period study of 20th Century America. Furthermore, students will complete a 3,000 - 4,000-word coursework assignment on a topic of their choice (excluding subjects studied as part of the depth study of Germany from 1918-1945).
What Next? The full A-Level in History provides the basis for students who wish to proceed to higher education to study a wide range of degrees. It combines well with all other A-Level subjects.
Mathematics/Further Mathematics - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study? The emphasis of the course is on using and applying maths and students taking responsibility for their learning. The AS-Level specification has been selected to develop the students’ abilities to reason logically, and to understand the relationship between ‘real world’ problems and mathematical models. The A2 specification extends students’ range of mathematical skills and techniques and uses them in more difficult unstructured problems. Students will develop an awareness of the relevance of maths to other fields of study, the world of work and society in general.
What Next? Maths provides a useful route into many careers. The ability to think logically and be able to solve problems is highly valued in the work place. Maths is now a requirement for a number of university courses and is also an advantage for many subjects: actuarial work and insurance, economics and business, management, finance, accountancy, computer science and ICT, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, genetics, engineering and physics, social sciences and law.
Please note: some students may take Double Mathematics where they complete the whole of A-Level Maths in the first year, having twice the usual amount of lessons. AS/A2 Further Maths is then taken in the second year, provided the student has achieved a minimum of B grade at A-Level Maths. It contains six modules, three of which are taken in January and three in June. All modules are all equally weighted and chosen from the following areas: Further Pure Maths, Mechanics and Statistics.
Modern Language - French - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study? The following topics will be studied with reference to target language countries, as well as in a wider global context as appropriate:
AS-Level: leisure and lifestyles, the individual and society
A2-Level: environmental issues, social and political issues.
In addition to the specified topics, A2 students take one guided study option from: regions of the country studied; the world cinema or the world of literature.
What Next? The ability to speak another language is a definite asset. Modern foreign languages are commonly used in the world of commerce, international business, and diplomacy, the world of art, financial services, the media, tourism and technology. A modern foreign language is relevant and useful for a number of degree courses such as: Law, Medical Courses, Business Studies, Marketing/Export Management, Journalism/Media Studies, Education and Tourism.
Geography - Examination Board –WJEC
What Will I Study? The AS/A2 Geography course examines a number of contemporary themes and global issues, besides providing students with numerous core skills for higher education.
During the AS year, the WJEC course focuses on population, settlement, tectonics and coastal landscapes. Students also undertake, with the guidance of college tutors, two personal investigations into topics from human and physical geography.
The A2 year comprises of studies in other themes including global systems (water and carbon cycles), global governance (migration, globalisation and governance of oceans) and 21st century challenges (an extended response question focusing with stimulus material drawn relating to the aforementioned topics). In addition, students will be taught about tectonic hazards and must study two additional topics from a choice of: ecosystems; economic growth and challenge; India, China or Sub-Saharan Africa; energy challenges and dilemmas; and weather and climate. In the final unit, A2 students also complete an independent investigation based on fieldwork and secondary data, on a choice of topics set by the exam board.
What Next? Geography is a very popular subject at university, especially as it can be studied at degree level either as an art, a science or as a combined course with other humanities-based subjects. The study of geography helps to develop a number of skills which are always sought by employers including numeracy, literacy, problem-solving, IT skills, team-working, and time management, as well as the ability to present cogent and well-balanced arguments in either a verbal or written format. The popularity of the subject also stems from the way the geography syllabus covers a number of contemporary issues besides allowing students, through personal investigations, to explore the topics that interest them in more detail.
Physics - Examination Board - OCR
What Will I Study? The AS course combines the best of the ‘traditional’ physics topics (mechanics, materials, current, electricity and radiation), with the most modern of ideas involving quantum and particle physics. The A2 course includes the essential and fundamental topics of field theory, nuclear physics and kinetic theory, as well as more specialised areas such as cosmology, medical physics and particle physics.
What Next? The full A-Level in Physics provides the basis for students who wish to proceed to higher education to study physics, engineering, material sciences, geophysics, medicine, veterinary sciences and other scientific careers. A famous quote by the late professor Richard Feynman of Caltech: ‘If you are a physicist you can be everything.’ Quite simply, Physics is regarded very highly as a qualification by employers and higher education. It does not restrict students’ progression in any career as it enhances their qualification profile.
Psychology - Examination Board - WJEC
What Will I Study? Psychology is a stimulating and challenging subject. A simple definition is that it is the scientific study of mind and behaviour. However, psychologists do not just measure and observe behaviour; they try to understand why people behave certain ways. This is interesting because different psychologists take different approaches to psychology: they have different theories about the causes of behaviour and different ways of testing their theories.
At AS Level you will study each of the 5 main approaches to psychology: the biological approach, the psychodynamic approach, the behavioural approach, the cognitive approach and the positive approach. This will involve consideration of the assumptions of each approach, the therapies that have arisen from the approach, key research studies associated with the approach and a debate associated with the approach. You will also be taught research methods.
At A2 level you will study how the approaches are used to explain specific behaviours such as schizophrenia and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. You will also consider controversies in psychology such as sexism, cultural bias and the use of non-human animals for psychological research. There will be the opportunity to conduct your own research and develop your own conclusions.
What Next? Psychology is useful for a range of university courses and careers including: clinical psychologist, educational psychologist, forensic psychologist, health psychologist and occupational psychologist.