Top tips for choosing your GCSEs and A Levels - Charlotte

Charlotte - 5 things I wish I'd known about tax

If you’re thinking about which subjects to choose for your GCSEs and A Levels, EY trainee Charlotte's top tips can help. Charlotte is an Assistant Tax Adviser, working in VAT in Reading.

My name is Charlotte and I joined EY in September 2013. I work in VAT in the Reading office. I went to Edgbarrow School and Sixth Form, where I studied 4 ‘option’ GCSEs; French, German, Business Studies and Geography and  3 A Levels; Business Studies, Economics and French.

Choosing which subject to take for GCSE or A Levels is a hard decision in itself. Knowing what I know now, I’ve narrowed down 5 of my top tips for when it comes to choosing your subjects. Hopefully they might help you to make your choices too!

1.     Pick subjects that you’re good at and enjoy doing

For me, enjoying studying a subject is really important. You could find yourself sitting there zoning out whilst trying to cram for the exam. Think about what subjects you really enjoy and take these further; are you a science hotshot? Or perhaps a keen historian? Business-minded? After all, you will be doing these subjects for 2 years. You might even be choosing them because you have a particular career in mind.

2.     Don’t follow your friends – be an individual

You might be very close to your friends, but they aren’t living your life and it’s important that they don’t influence your own career choices in later life. So, as hard as it sounds, I’d recommend  that you don’t follow the crowd when choosing your subjects. Remember that you are an individual; choose your subjects to suit you and your future.

3.     If you have a career in mind, what do you need to do it?

If you already have an idea of what you want to do in the future, think about what sort of subjects you need to do that job. Even if these subjects are a little harder than you anticipated, a few years of learning is worth it in the end for the job that you really want. However, it is important not to lose sight of what subjects you might also need for a plan B, just in case!

4.     Don’t be afraid to look at alternatives

Not everyone learns in the same way. If you’re one of those people who absolutely can’t stand exams, don’t be afraid of looking at alternatives such as BTECs. There’s no shame in doing things a little differently, everyone is an individual.

5.     Talk to people doing the subjects you want to do

There is no better way to judge what a subject is going to be like than asking people who are currently/have previously studied that subject what the syllabus is. That way, you can look at what you could be learning and have a first-hand idea of whether the subject is for you or not. If you don’t know anyone that’s doing the subject, talk to your teacher or your parents. There are always different sources of information and guidance available to you.

I’m always really happy to talk to school leavers researching their career options so feel free to tweet me at @CLWain_EY

“I’m focusing on #myfuturenow so why don’t you?”

EY have just launched a great new campaign to help school leavers who have chosen to start a career in business to take the path that’s best for them. Click here to find out more. 

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