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A levels

What Are A Levels?

The full name for A Levels is GCE Advanced Levels and they are designed to follow on from GCSEs, from the ages of 16-18. A Levels are taught across the UK, except for Scotland; there is a wide range of subjects available for study at A Levels but these will vary from school to school. There are also various different exam boards offering slightly different syllabuses for the same subject so this could be an important consideration.

What’s Happening To AS-levels?

AS-levels will still exist, and you can continue to take a separate AS-level qualification at the end of Year 12 before dropping the subject or going on to take the full A-level in Year 13; but unlike before, your AS results won't count towards your A Level grade.

The policy your school or college adopts will determine what exams you sit and the qualifications you gain at the end of Year 12. Some might not enter any students for AS qualifications in order to free up more teaching time for A Levels, while others will continue to work in the same AS/A Level format. Check with your tutor or head of sixth form to see what your options will be, as this will have an impact on how many A Level subjects you select ahead of starting your Year 12 studies.

Are There A-level Changes In Wales And Northern Ireland?

Unlike in England, AS-levels for Welsh and Northern Irish students will continue to count towards overall A Level marks. In Wales, an AS will count for 40% of the marks, with A2s counting for the remaining 60%.

Why Study A Levels?

A Levels or equivalent qualifications are required to gain entrance to university. They are the obvious choice for many students as they are the more traditional qualification, especially for those aiming to study academic subjects at university.

Are There Alternatives To A Levels?

There are many alternatives to A Levels as post-16 education. These differ in approach and curriculum, and are not offered universally at every sixth form or college. Post-16 education qualifications include:

  • International Baccalaureate
  • Cambridge Pre-U
  • Foundation Programmes
  • BTEC Diplomas
  • Scottish Highers

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