Can you still do A Levels if you fail maths?

Education concept. Student studying and brainstorming campus con

If you’re in a position where you have failed your GCSE maths, you might be wondering what your options are. But don’t panic – whilst failing a core subject like maths isn’t ideal, it certainly isn’t the end of the world. You might have had the plan to do A levels after leaving school. If you don’t know if this is doable with a fail grade in maths, read on to find out more.

Taking A levels

It is certainly possible to take A levels with a fail grade in maths. Generally, to study A levels, students need a minimum of five GCSE passes including maths and English. However, if you have failed maths, most schools and colleges will allow students to study GCSE courses alongside A levels, especially lower-requirement colleges.

They’ll allow you to take certain A levels alongside a resit of GCSE maths. With colleges giving students free periods, you will have plenty of time to fill these periods with extra maths lessons. Furthermore, many A level subjects will be happy to take you even with this fail. These usually include the arts and essay-based subjects. There will, however, be subjects that you won’t be able to take with this maths fail grade.

Subjects that you won’t be able to take

A level maths, further maths, statistics, chemistry, biology, physics, electronics, computer science, psychology, and economics require you to pass maths. These A level subjects include maths in their syllabus, ranging in mathematical ability. For example, psychology includes basic principles of GCSE maths. However, the sciences, like physics, involve difficult calculations that even the most intelligent students struggle with.

These entry requirements are in place to stop you from wasting time with subjects that are beyond your mathematical ability. If you haven’t passed GCSE maths, you are extremely unlikely to be capable of the maths involved in these subjects. You should, therefore, play to your strengths with your A level choices. This will involve doing subjects with little problem-solving, including history, languages, English, art, and geography.

A teacher smiling at camera in classroom

Things to consider

You might’ve found yourself struggling with GCSEs, getting mediocre grades of Cs or below. If this is the case, there are things to consider. If you underperformed in most subjects, even failing maths, you have to consider if A levels are really for you. A levels are incredibly academic, including complex content and a heavy workload. If you struggled at GCSE, you would certainly struggle at A level. This is where many students fall, producing fail grades and not getting into the university they wanted to go to.

Therefore, less-academic options, such as BTEC courses, might be a better option for you. Whilst being more coursework-based, BTECs are less academic and less intense than A levels. Therefore, you might be able to work hard to produce good grades in your BTECs. These will still allow you to go on to university, so it’s certainly something to think about.

Therefore, you can choose to do A levels alongside a resit in GCSE maths. However, you can consider options other than A levels that might be more tailored to you.

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272

If you, or your parents would like to find out more, please just get in touch via email at or call us on 0800 689 1272

New to