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AS and A Levels

A levels are generally studied after the end of senior school, following GCSE’s, so most students taking A level courses are between 16 and 18 years of age. A huge range of subjects are on offer but will vary from school to school. Various exam boards are used by different schools and colleges so the course content will also vary. Look closely at the prospectus to see what each course entails. If you are interested in modern history, for example, make sure the course you are applying for is not Ancient or Tudor history. Many senior schools have a sixth form department or students can attend a sixth form college, or transfer to another school that has a sixth form. A Levels or equivalent (see below) are required for entry into university.

An A Level course is split into two units:

  • AS Level, which is usually taken in Year 12 or Lower Sixth and 
  • A2 Level, which is usually taken in Year 13 or Upper Sixth.
Both parts must be completed to gain an A Level qualification. A Levels are usually a combination of coursework and exams, the proportion of which varies from subject to subject and school to school. Most students will choose four subjects in Year 12 and drop one subject (usually the one with the lowest grade), continuing with three at A2 level. Sometimes students of higher ability will continue with all four subjects in the second year, gaining four A Levels. A Levels are graded A* - E and these grades are converted to UCAS points for University applications.

Most Sixth Form providers will offer the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) alongside A level courses. Click here for more information.

For equivalent qualifications see:

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