As a step up from GCSEs, A-Levels can be entirely different from them. This can make it hard to figure out how well a subject might suit you, even if you’ve studied it at GCSE. Seeing how other students have found the course can be a great way of learning more about the courses you can study without having to experience them for yourself.
Continue reading to learn which A-Level subjects students consider the easiest. This article will take you through the rankings and give you some insight into why students may feel that this course is easy.
Be advised. The ranking of the A-Level subjects in this list is not definitive. Every student will have individual strengths and weaknesses, and so will find some subjects more challenging than others. Additionally, judgements about the hardest A-Levels depend on the criteria that it is based on. In this article we have tried to take into account many different factors that make certain A-Level subjects challenging, but still, keep in mind that the list here is formed of opinions which are based on polling. Although you may want to take them into account when choosing your A-Level subject, you should also think about what your specific skills are and what it is that interests you when choosing your A-Level subjects.
Easiest A-Levels: Student Perception vs Pass Attainment Rates
Below you can find the visualisation A-Level subject difficulty rankings (top – easiest, bottom – 11ᵗʰ easiest). Displayed on the chart are both our own internal polling results and our analysis of pass attainment rates (a grade C or above) for the 2022 cohort.
Click a chart legend (colour key) to filter the ranking by specific metric.
(*) Difficulty perception represents the proportion of students who voted that specific subject as the easiest A-Level during our polling. You can learn more about how we collected this data at the end of this article.
(**) Pass attainment rates refer to the proportion of students in 2022 who achieved a C or above. This data was collected from both here on Ofqual’s website and the this page from JCQ.
Walkthrough of the A-Level difficulty rankings
This section will explain if there’s a relationship between the easiest subjects and the pass rates as well as explain why students may feel these subjects are the easiest. If you want to have your say, please vote in the poll at the end of this article.
10. A-Level Maths
2.12% of the poll considered A-Level Maths as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 10th place. In 2022, 78.5% of students achieved a grade C or above and 22.8% of students achieved an A*. As the average for all subjects was 14.5% achieving an A*, it would seem that A-Level Maths, really is one of the easiest A-Level subjects as it allows students to do so well.
However, A-Level Maths is also considered one of the hardest A-Levels and on our ranking is in 4th place for the most difficult. As this doesn’t quite add up, it’s important to note that how different students perceive A-Level difficulty is entirely personal and can vary greatly, as shown with this subject.
Students may consider A-Level Maths easy due to there often being restriction on who can take it. This means that students will generally already have very good mathematical skills before even beginning the A-Level.
Due to this, students are quite likely to take other subjects that are considered difficult, such as A-Level Chemistry, A-Level Physics or even A-Level Further Maths. This may mean that they consider it easy in comparison to their other subjects, which are considered difficult. For more on this, check out our article on the most difficult A-Level subjects.
9. A-Level ICT
2.54% of the poll considered A-Level ICT as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 9th place. In 2022, 80.5% of students achieved a grade C or above and 9.6% of students achieved an A*.
The proportion of students getting above a grade C suggests that A-Level ICT is easier than A-Level Maths. However, it is still slightly lower than the average of all subjects, which has 82.1% of students gaining a grade C or above.
Students will often find A-Level ICT easy as a large portion of the course will be coursework. This means that students will have the chance to work towards part of their assessment rather than having to do it all through exams. This can make it easier as students have the opportunity to improve their work and make sure it’s their best.
During A-Level ICT, students learn about presenting information, networks, how ICT is used, database systems and more. While it will be in-depth and complex than at GCSE, students may find this easier as it is still quite straightforward. For more on this, check out this guide by WJEC.
8. A-Level Business
4.66% of the poll considered A-Level Business as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 8th place. In 2022, 83.2% of students achieved a grade C or above and 7.3% of students achieved an A*. This suggests that A-Level Business is one of the easiest A-Levels as the proportion of students who received a C or above is higher than the average.
In A-Level Business, students learn about different business-related areas, such as management, marketing, operations, finance, HR and business strategy. While this includes some theories and calculations, this content is fairly straightforward and easy to apply.
As an A-Level Business student myself, I find that similarly to at GCSE, A-Level Business is largely down to common sense and reasoning in order to answer questions, which makes it a lot easier than other subjects. Also, the exams come with a range of questions and so even if essays aren’t your strong point, you may still be able to bank enough marks on the shorter questions to still get a good grade. To learn more about how A-Level Business is, check out this Think Student article.
7. A-Level Religious Studies
6.78% of the poll considered A-Level Religious Studies as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 7th place. In 2022, 87.6% of students achieved a grade C or above and 12.5% of students achieved an A*. This suggests that A-Level Religious Studies is easier than A-Level Business as more students were able to achieve a grade C or above.
In A-Level Religious Students, students will learn about both a specific religion and the philosophy of religion as well as ethics. Due to this content, students may find A-Level Religious Studies easy as it is straightforward and easy to understand. To learn more about A-Level Religious Studies, check out this page by AQA.
6. A-Level Art and Design Subjects
8.47% of the poll considered A-Level Art and Design as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 6th place. In 2022, 90.3% of students achieved a grade C or above and 18.7% of students achieved an A*. This suggests that A-Level Art, in particular, is an easy subject that allows students to get the top grades as well.
This is likely due to the fact that students who choose A-Level Art or similar subjects are likely to be serious about this subject and very interested in it. This is especially as creating the art portfolio throughout your coursework will take a lot of time and effort.
Due to being something that students enjoy and even find easy themselves, A-Level Art and Design can be considered as one of the easiest subjects as there isn’t any actual content to learn or anything difficult except the actual application of your artistic skills. To learn more about what is studied, check out this page by AQA.
5. A-Level Law
8.69% of the poll considered A-Level Law as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 5th place. In 2022, 71.3% of students achieved a grade C or above and 8% of students achieved an A*.
As these figures are relatively low, it could suggest that A-Level Law is actual more difficult than students perceive it to be. The reasoning for this is unclear, which suggests that it may be a subject that some consider easy and other consider hard.
In A-Level Law, students learn about how the law works, and will study topics including the legal system in the UK, human rights and criminal law. Students may consider A-Level Law easy if they find the content of this straightforward. To learn more about A-Level Law’s content, check out this guide by AQA.
4. A-Level Geography
11.44% of the poll considered A-Level Geography as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 4th place. In 2022, 85.6% of students achieved a grade C or above and 11% of students achieved an A*.
This suggests that it is one of the easiest A-Levels as students performed much better than with A-Level Law and achieved above the average for all subjects. However, as the percentage of students that got an A* is slightly lower than it is for all subjects, it may suggest that getting the top grades is more difficult.
In A-Level Geography, students learn about both physical and human geography, focusing on topics, such as the water cycle, ecosystems and resource security. Due to this, students may find A-Level Geography easy as the content is often quite straightforward and easy to understand. Also, compared to other subjects, there isn’t that much of it, allowing it to be studied in greater depth and in more of a paced way.
Also, like with many humanities A-Levels, part of the course is examined with an NEA. This can make it easier for students as it means that not everything is relying on their final exams.
3. A-Level Drama
12.50% of the poll considered A-Level Drama as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 3rd place. In 2022, 91% of students achieved a grade C or above and 14.9% of students achieved an A*. This suggests that A-Level Drama is an easy A-Level as so many students were able to do so well in it.
This is likely due to the fact that students who take A-Level Drama already have the basic skills needed to put together performances and to study different pieces, making it easier for them to access the new A-Level content.
Also, A-Level Drama may be considered easy due to the nature of the exams. This is because instead of their only being written exams as there are with most A-Levels, A-Level Drama also has practical exams, which make up large percentages of the assessment.
This may make students feel that A-Level Drama is easy as these students would have picked it due to their interest in the subject and so will likely also be good at the practical side of A-Level Drama. To learn more about how A-Level Drama is assessed, check out this page by AQA.
2. A-Level Film/Media/TV Studies
20.13% of the poll considered A-Level Film/ Media/ TV Studies as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 2nd place. In 2022, 87.5% of students achieved a grade C or above and 6.3% of students achieved an A*. While it is slightly lower than A-Level Drama, A-Level Film/ Media/ TV Studies still has a very high rate of students achieving a C or above, suggesting that it is one of the easiest A-Level subjects.
In A-Level Film/ Media/ TV Studies, students learn about different aspects of media or film/ TV content. This may include learning about the industries these exist in and studying specific aspects in depth, such as magazines or social media in A-Level Media, or studying specific films or TV shows in A-Level Film/ TV Studies.
Due to this, students may consider these A-Levels easy due to the content being straightforward. Also, as students may already be familiar with some of this content due to their wider world knowledge, this can make it even easier.
1. A-Level Sociology
20.76% of the poll considered A-Level Sociology as the easiest A-Level, putting it in 1st place. In 2022, 82.1% of students achieved a grade C or above and 9% of students achieved an A*.
While the figures for the proportion of students that achieved a grade C or above is high, suggesting that it is one of the easiest subjects. The proportion of students that received a grade A* is quite low, especially in comparison to the average of all subject being 14.5%.
This is likely due to students’ perception of A-Level Sociology being easy. This is because if they view it in this way, which clearly many do from even this ranking, some students may not realise how much effort they still need to put in to get the top grades.
In A-Level Sociology students learn about different aspects of society, such as education, crime, culture, poverty, the media and health. While students learn about this with some theory, the rest will be key elements, some of which they may already be aware of.
Due to this, students may feel that A-Level Sociology is easy due to the uncomplicated content. To learn more about A-Level Sociology, check out this page by AQA.
It is important to remember for A-Level Sociology and the rest of these subjects that students may find them easy for different reasons and that the ones suggested here may not apply to all students.
How were these rankings decided?
For each A-Level subject on this list, we discuss both of the following factors:
- Our findings through student polling (ranking factor)
- Our research on pass rates (based of Ofqual’s data release)
To prevent the complexity of attempting to combine these, we rank each subject by solely its student polling results. As stated, it isn’t perfect, and students should absolutely be taking these rankings with a pinch of salt.
How was the polling data collected?
Between January 2021 and January 2023, we displayed a poll on this page which prompted readers to vote on which A-Level subject was the easiest. Within this timeframe, we collect 472 votes, excluding submissions that were disregarded from the data set due to formatting issues or other errors.
Listed below are some key limitations of our polling methods that could’ve swayed results:
- Static ordering of subjects on voting form: A previous iteration of our survey form listed A-Level subjects in the same order each time. It could be argued that this would favour the subjects that were listed at the top. This issue has been fixed in our updated voting form below.
- Voting form displayed only a subset of A-Level subjects: Previously, only a small selection of A-Level subjects was displayed on the survey. We have since expanded the size of this selection on the voting form.
- Potential bad actors: Despite having anti-spam software in place, it is possible repeated entries were made by single individuals. With respect to privacy, we don’t ask for more information than we need and as a result, it is almost impossible to identify submission users to check if they are unique.
This article is a member of a series of A-Level ranking articles listed on this site. If you find our data and analysis within this article helpful, you may also wish to take a look at this Think Student article to find out which A-Level subjects are considered the hardest.