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The Russell Group are going to give poorer kids better A-Level advice

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Some people just know what they want to be when they grow up. I watched Open University science programmes on Sunday mornings and wanted to uncover the mysteries of the earth. I duly took A Levels in Chemistry, Maths and Geology before studying the latter at degree level and for my PhD. The educational path for me was clear, at least for the early part of my career.

Many young people, however, are less sure. Should they focus on the subjects they enjoy, or those they are told will lead to the best jobs? Should they specialise in sciences, arts or humanities, or spread their bets? Their parents will know the anxiety of trying to provide sound advice.

So how much do the subjects you study at school really have a bearing on your later life? If you want to enter a selective university, the answer is often a lot.

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Admissions teams have a responsibility to accept only the students they believe are prepared for the rigours that will follow. Whether it’s to study Physics, Music or French, for many degrees some prior knowledge is vital, as are specific skills.

Yet in a recent survey of hundreds of Year 10s conducted by the Russell Group, pupils consistently ranked choosing the right subjects as less important for getting into university than other........

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