There has been a lot written about ‘soft’ A levels. These are subjects that are regarded by universities as not particularly academically rigorous and depending on the course you are applying for, are not as well regarded as the more traditional academic subjects.
Unless you feel very strongly about these subjects (listed below), or they are in the area that you wish to further your studies (e.g. Art, Music, theatre), they should be avoided. Certainly you should not take more than one of them if you are aiming for a competitive course at a leading university. Many universities are not particularly explicit in this area. However students with 3 or 4 ‘hard’ subjects will be looked on more favourably in comparison with students offering softer subjects if the competition for admission is very tight.
The Russell Group, which represents 20 leading universities, including Oxford, and Cambridge published a guide called Informed Choices in 2011. This acknowledged officially for the first time that they favour students who study traditional subjects at A levelor Pre U. In it they define ‘facilitating subjects’ as those subjects required by universities more often than others.