Not all A grades are equal – Students and parents continue to misunderstand the value of ‘hard’ A-Levels, Tutors International reports

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Posted in: College admissions, Home schooling, Professional tutoring associations

Adam Caller, founder of the leading global private tutoring company, commented this week that when choosing which A-Levels to take, ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ subjects are not being due consideration.

Research [1] conducted by the Institute of Education at University College London, concluded that the top British universities were showing favour to those choosing traditional core subjects, such as English, History, and Mathematics, over career-specific ‘soft’ subjects, such as Drama or Psychology.

In his statement, independent education consultant, Adam Caller, offered his own advice for students choosing their A-Level options.

Mr Caller commented: “If you’re serious about an application to Oxbridge or other good universities, you must think about your competition for that place. Even though a university might say they want an AAB, or AAA, it is clear that not all As are equal. Three A-grades in “Facilitating” subjects such as Science or Mathematics, or English Literature or History on the Humanities side, will always be more attractive to an elite university than A grades in two hard subjects and one soft. Think about the university you want to go to right at the start, and check with them as to what A-Levels combinations they recommend for the course you want to pursue.

These observations align with statements made by researchers, who found that students applying to top universities to study Law, Accounting, and business-related degrees were, in fact, less likely to be accepted if they had studied the subjects at secondary level.

Mr Caller, however, went on to stress that passionate students could still study their desired subjects, with some mindful tweaking to their timetable.

“For example, if you wish to do a degree in English, and were planning to study English Literature, Drama, and Maths, swap Drama for English Language. Similarly, choose Economics over Business Studies, Maths over Accounting, and so on. If you’re passionate about a softer subject, by all means, study it at A-Level, but it makes more sense to study it in addition to three hard subjects, rather than replacing a potentially essential grade. If you’re worried about timetable issues and clashes between subjects, another option is to study for that A-Level at home with a private tutor.”

Tutors International has been helping children and families all over the world to tailor their academic curricula to their own specific needs, interests, and career aspirations, since 1999. A talented private tutor, expertly matched with their student, is able to use the subjects and topics a child is most interested in, and design a curriculum that keeps them engaged and focused, whilst also keeping them on track for a successful university application.

To find out more about the services offered by Tutors International, visit Tutors can browse the latest vacancies and submit an application by visiting

[1] Students choosing A-Levels in career specific subjects are less attractive to elite universities, new study suggests. Harry Yorke, The Telegraph, 13 August 2017.

• Tutors International provides an unparalleled tutoring service that matches the right tutor with the right child, in order for the student to fully reach their personal potential and academic excellence. Providing a service for children of all ages at different points in their educational journeys, Tutors International is a reputable tutoring company founded on a commitment to finding the perfect tutor to realise the specific goals and aspirations of each student. Private Tutors are available for residential full-time positions, after-school assistance, and homeschooling.

• Founded in 1999 by Adam Caller, Tutors International is a private company based in Oxford, a city renowned for academic excellence. Our select clientele receives a personally tailored service, with discretion and confidentiality guaranteed.