Your post-16 subject choices will affect what you can go on to study at university. Whether or not you know what academic path you'd like to pursue, these resources will give you information and guidance about what subjects to consider.
Cambridge's "Subject Matters"
The Russell Group's "Informed Choices"
Explore your subject (super-curricular work)
There are lots of ways in which you can explore your subject beyond the curriculum; what is sometimes called super-curricular work. This is not something that needs to cost you any money!
Reading is the best way to find out more about the subjects you're passionate about. Visit libraries and see what's available in your areas of interest. Browse and then dig in. Look for relevant magazines and publications and keep an eye on the news media. If you like to have something to listen to, whether out and about or at home, then you can subscribe to podcasts or look for local talks and public lectures (at local universities, for example). The internet can be a fantastic resource and there's a growing volume of educational videos and other media out there.
Follow lines of enquiry into the areas that interest and engage you the most. This should not be an extra exercise for the sole purpose of enhancing a personal statement - exploring a subject you care about should hopefully come naturally and be enjoyable! You should be able to engage the material analytically and critically, so don’t spend time with material that doesn’t interest you. If you’re finding it a chore then this might be a good indication that you have not picked the subject that is best for you. Explore things that genuinely interest you and see where your investigations lead!
- Cambridge Undergraduate Study
A good place to start. Each subject has a resources tab pointing you to a number of specific suggestions for wider super-curricular study.
- My HE+ and Oxplore
If you don’t know where to start, these Cambridge and Oxford sponsored resources suggest some initial avenues of exploration.
- Oxford and Cambridge Outreach
A site that collects together resources and upcoming events being advertised by the colleges and departments of Oxford and Cambridge.
- Talking Politics
Discussions of politics and current affairs. Panel chaired by Cambridge's Prof David Runciman.
- iTunes U
Free downloadable educational content containing new research and lectures by academics from all the top universities in the UK and abroad.
Lectures and masterclasses
Subject masterclasses are subject-specific events for Year 12 students offering you the chance to experience typical undergraduate teaching and get a flavour of what it's like to be a student here.
- TED talks
A wide range of lectures on topical subjects.
Examples of subject-specific resources
- The Institute for Economic Affairs
A resource for those interested in economics, analysis and public policy.
- The National Archives
The National Archives has a fantastic online catalogue of resources and lessons - a must for all teachers and students interested in History.
- Millennium Maths Project
An education initiative for 3-19-year-olds focussing on increasing mathematical understanding, confidence and enjoyment, developing problem-solving skills, and promoting creative and imaginative approaches to maths.
- STEP Support Programme
This free online STEP Support Programme is offered by the University of Cambridge to help university applicants develop their advanced mathematical problem-solving skills and prepare for STEP mathematics exams.
- For all branches of science, especially physical sciences, mathematical ability is crucial, so practising maths problems is never wasted:
- Oxford Sparks
Videos, podcasts, news and other resources from Oxford University about everything science-related.
- MOOC and edX offer free online courses in a variety of subjects: